Interim DEA Director Calls Medical Marijuana a “Joke”

November 5th, 2015 14 Comments Morgan Fox

On Wednesday, interim director Chuck Rosenberg of the Drug Enforcement Agency made some troubling statements regarding medical marijuana.

CBS News reports:

Dir. Chuck Rosenberg

“What really bothers me is the notion that marijuana is also medicinal — because it’s not,” Rosenberg said in a briefing to reporters. “We can have an intellectually honest debate about whether we should legalize something that is bad and dangerous, but don’t call it medicine — that is a joke.”

“There are pieces of marijuana — extracts or constituents or component parts — that have great promise” medicinally, he said. “But if you talk about smoking the leaf of marijuana — which is what people are talking about when they talk about medicinal marijuana — it has never been shown to be safe or effective as a medicine.”

Doctors in nearly half the states and mountains of research definitively show that whole-plant marijuana is effective at treating a variety of conditions. While it is heartening that the director admits some components of marijuana may have medical value and that it is worth having a discussion about making marijuana legal for adults, these statements show a serious lack of knowledge about the substance, especially for the head of a drug control organization.

Rosenberg took over the agency in April after previous director Michele Leonhart resigned in disgrace following criticism for a number of scandals under her watch and embarrassing statements, including refusing to admit that heroin is more dangerous than marijuana in front of a Congressional panel.

Read more


Mexico Moving Closer to Making Marijuana Legal

November 5th, 2015 No Comments Morgan Fox

Our neighbor to the South is one step closer to making marijuana legal after a recent court ruling!

The New York Times reports:

The Mexican Supreme Court opened the door to legalizing marijuana on Wednesday, delivering a pointed challenge to the nation’s strict substance abuse laws and adding its weight to the growing debate in Latin America over the costs and consequences of the war against drugs.Mexico_Flag_Map.svg

The vote by the court’s criminal chamber declared that individuals should have the right to grow and distribute marijuana for their personal use. While the ruling does not strike down current drug laws, it lays the groundwork for a wave of legal actions that could ultimately rewrite them, proponents of legalization say.

The decision reflects a changing dynamic in Mexico, where for decades the American-backed war on drugs has produced much upheaval but few lasting victories. Today, the flow of drugs to the United States continues, along with the political corruption it fuels in Mexico. The country, dispirited by the ceaseless fight with traffickers, remains engulfed in violence.

The marijuana case has ignited a debate about the effectiveness of imprisoning drug users, in a country with some of the most conservative drug laws in Latin America. But across the region, a growing number of voices are questioning Washington’s strategy in the drug war. With little to show for tough-on-crime policies, the balance appears to be slowly shifting toward other approaches.

Read more


Bernie Sanders Introduces Bill in Senate to End Federal Marijuana Prohibition

November 5th, 2015 No Comments Morgan Fox
Sen. Bernie Sanders

Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) introduced a bill Wednesday that would repeal all federal penalties for possessing and growing marijuana, allowing states to establish their own marijuana laws. The bill is available online at

The “Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2015” strikes all references to marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act, but retains penalties for transporting marijuana from states or jurisdictions where it is legal to those where it is not. It is the fourth marijuana policy reform bill to ever be introduced in the Senate, and it is the first that proposes ending marijuana prohibition at the federal level.

Earlier this year, Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kirstin Gillibrand (D-NY), and Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced medical marijuana legislation, known as the CARERS Act. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced a bill to address the tax status of marijuana businesses, and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) introduced a measure that would allow marijuana businesses to access banking services.

Last month, Sanders became the first-ever major-party presidential candidate to express support for legalizing and regulating marijuana for adult use.

Read more

Medical Marijuana

Kentucky Governor-Elect Supports Allowing Medical Marijuana

November 5th, 2015 No Comments Matt Simon
Matt Bevin

On Tuesday, Kentucky voters took to the polls and elected Matt Bevin governor. Bevin, a Republican and Tea Party favorite, has acknowledged what the vast majority of voters know: “There is unequivocal medical evidence” that medical marijuana is beneficial for certain conditions. He defeated prohibitionist Jack Conway (D) 52.5% to 43.8%.

With House Speaker Greg Stumbo (D) sponsoring medical marijuana legislation, next year holds great promise for the state taking a serious, bipartisan look at a more compassionate approach.

Americans living in 23 states and the nation’s capital can legally use and access medical cannabis, and upwards of 80% of Americans support allowing the seriously ill to use this beneficial medicine. Yet, some politicians — including defeated gubernatorial candidate Jack Conway — still haven’t gotten the message.

If you are a Kentucky resident, please make sure your lawmakers hear: Voters expect them to end the cruel status quo and to stop forcing patients to risk their freedom to improve their health.

Read more


MPP Launches ‘Pledge 4 Growth’ Campaign to Build Support Among Marijuana Business Community

November 4th, 2015 2 Comments Marijuana Policy Project

We’re excited to announce the Pledge 4 Growth campaign to benefit the work of the Marijuana Policy Project. The concept is simple: industry business owners can donate 0.420% of their gross revenue to MPP on a quarterly basis to help end marijuana prohibition in the U.S. We want to make it easy for you to change laws and change history!MedMen.Pledge4Growth.HorizontalLogo-01

MedMen, a marijuana consulting and management firm, is a founding partner and donor to Pledge 4 Growth.

The legal marijuana industry exists today because of the hard work of advocates over the past few decades. And the industry’s outlook is better than ever. In order to keep that outlook positive, industry leaders must support advocates’ ongoing efforts. By pledging to donate just .420% of your gross revenue to MPP, you can help support the organization’s lobbying and coalition-building work, its tax-deductible public education projects (via MPP Foundation), and its political action committee (MPP PAC).*

MPP is dedicated to ending marijuana prohibition and replacing it with a regulated marijuana market for adults and medical patients. You can help us continue to build an environment in which marijuana businesses can operate legally and be treated fairly.

Will you join Pledge 4 Growth and support our work alongside industry leaders like MedMen? Let your customers know that you are committed to improving and advancing marijuana policy reform by displaying the Pledge 4 Growth seal on your website, social media, company collateral, or storefront.

To learn more about the campaign, please visit or email Chris Rempert at [email protected].

* The Marijuana Policy Project supports ballot initiatives via separate campaign committees in each of the states in which it works.

Read more

Tax and Regulate

MPP to Support Newly Filed CA Legalization Initiative

November 4th, 2015 4 Comments Marijuana Policy Project

California voters are ready to end marijuana prohibition in 2016 and replace it with a more sensible system. That is exactly what the Adult Use of Marijuana Act will do, and that is why MPP is proud to support it.california-160550_640 We look forward to working with the initiative proponents and doing whatever we can to help pass this measure and make history in California next year.

Under the proposed initiative, marijuana will be regulated, taxed, and treated similarly to alcohol. Adults will no longer be punished simply for possessing it, and law enforcement officials will be able to spend more time addressing serious crimes. It will take marijuana sales out of the underground market and marijuana cultivation out of our national forests. The fact that it will generate hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue each year is a huge bonus that will benefit all Californians.

Read more

Tax and Regulate

Ohio Issue 3 Defeat Will Not Impact 2016 Initiatives

November 4th, 2015 17 Comments Morgan Fox

Last night, a controversial Ohio ballot initiative that would have regulated marijuana for adults was voted down by a relatively wide margin, marking the first time that a major state referendum to make marijuana legal for adults has failed since 2010.2000px-Seal_of_Ohio.svg However, the defeat of a marijuana-related ballot initiative in the Buckeye State will have no bearing on the outcomes of several marijuana-related initiatives expected to appear on state ballots next year.

A proposal to make marijuana legal for adults and regulate it like alcohol has already qualified for the November 2016 ballot in Nevada, and similar measures are expected to qualify for the ballots in Arizona, California, Maine, and Massachusetts. The measures do not include the widely unpopular “monopoly” language included in the 2015 Ohio initiative that limited the commercial cultivation of marijuana to only 10 predetermined producers. The 2016 initiatives are also expected to benefit significantly from heightened voter turnout during a presidential election.

MPP is supporting several of the 2016 initiative efforts. We neither supported nor opposed the Ohio initiative this year.

“It’s pretty obvious that the outcome in Ohio does not reflect where the nation stands or the direction in which it is heading when it comes to marijuana policy,” said MPP’s Mason Tvert. “It only reflects where Ohio voters stand on a specific and rather unique proposal in an off-year election. It will not have any bearing on the outcomes of the initiatives that we expect to appear on other states’ ballots in 2016. Read the rest of this entry »

Read more

Medical Marijuana

South Dakota Medical Marijuana Campaign is Collecting Signatures for 2016 Ballot Initiative

November 2nd, 2015 No Comments Brendan Valentine

New Approach South Dakota (NASD) is collecting signatures for a proposal to make medical marijuana legal! This ballot initiative will appear on the 2016 ballot if supporters can collect enough signatures by November 9. That’s only a week away!SouthDakota-StateSeal.svg

To help get the measure past the finish line, contact NASD’s Melissa Mentele at [email protected].

If the proposal appears on the 2016 ballot and is approved by the voters, it would:

— Legalize the medical use of marijuana for patients with a medical practitioner’s certification and one of several listed conditions, including cancer, AIDS/HIV, seizure disorders, PTSD, and severe pain;
— Allow patients and their caregivers to possess up to three ounces of cannabis and grow six plants;
— Create a licensing system to provide patients with safe access to medical cannabis, allow businesses to process, dispense, and test medical cannabis products; and
— Prohibit public smoking and driving under the influence of marijuana.

The full measure can be viewed here. Support for compassionate medical marijuana policy is an urgent matter for some South Dakotans. We encourage residents to contact NASD to ask how you can help support the initiative.

Read more

Medical Marijuana

New Hampshire Allowing Pre-Registration for Medical Marijuana Patients

November 2nd, 2015 No Comments Matt Simon

Today, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services announced the opening of a pre-registration process for the therapeutic use of cannabis program.1000x100header06 The announcement, which appears on the department’s website, explains that patients and their designated caregivers may now submit their applications and that dispensaries are expected to open in the first quarter of 2016. The application forms are now available online.

Unfortunately, the department still says it will not begin issuing ID cards until the first dispensary is ready to open. This means patients could continue to be without legal protections for several more months. However, at least it is now possible for patients to submit applications rather than simply waiting for the program to become operational.

We encourage patients to pre-register, as this will reduce the chances the department will experience a backlog when it begins issuing ID cards.

Please share this news with your friends and family, and especially with any patients you know who have been waiting to benefit from this program.

Read more

Medical Marijuana

Delaware Adds Autism to Medical Marijuana Qualifying Conditions

November 2nd, 2015 No Comments Robert Capecchi

Over the weekend, the November 2015 issue of the Delaware Register of Regulations was published, expanding the legal protections of the state’s medical marijuana act to reach more individuals. The published regulations officially added “autism with self-injurious or aggressive behavior” to the list of conditions, giving doctors one more treatment option should they think it would benefit their patients.

The condition was added after a petition to do so was submitted to the Department of Health and Social Services. The department took testimony and conducted its own research on the matter, and it ultimately concluded that the petition had merit and the condition should be added. This is the first condition to be added by the petition process in Delaware.

Thank you to everyone who spoke in support of the petition, as well as those who attended the Medical Marijuana Act Oversight Committee meeting last week to share your experience with the program to date.

Read more