Prohibition

Illinois Senate Approves Decriminalization Bill

April 20th, 2016 9 Comments Chris Lindsey
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Sen. Heather Steans

Illinois Sen. Heather Steans’ bill to decriminalize marijuana possession, SB 2228, passed the Senate Tuesday on a vote of 40 to 14. The measure will now be considered by the Illinois House of Representatives.

Sen. Steans’ bill would lower penalties by removing the possibility of arrest and a jail sentence for the possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana. Perhaps more importantly, it removes the possibility of a harmful criminal record for cannabis possession, which can last a lifetime. Instead, the bill would replace criminal penalties with a fine of between $100 and $200.

SB 2228 is part of a multi-year effort to help move away from the harsh penalties currently in place and to help bring more consistency to possession laws in Illinois, which can be unfairly applied.

If you are an Illinois resident, please take a moment to ask your representative to vote in support of SB 2228.

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Medical Marijuana

Pennsylvania Becomes 24th Medical Marijuana State

April 17th, 2016 6 Comments Becky Dansky

Today, Gov. Tom Wolf signed the Medical Marijuana Act (SB 3) into law, making Pennsylvania the 24th state to legalize medical marijuana. This tremendous victory was made possible through the hard work of families, advocates, and lawmakers.PA_24-2

SB 3 will allow patients with qualifying conditions to use and safely access medical marijuana. Once applications are available from the Department of Health, eligible patients whose doctors recommend cannabis will be able to obtain identification cards. The law allows for up to 150 dispensary locations across the state.

When dispensaries open, medical marijuana will be available as pills, oils, gels, creams, ointments, tinctures, and liquids. Vaporization is allowed but smoking is initially prohibited. Dispensaries cannot sell edibles, but medical cannabis products can be mixed into food or drinks. Dry leaf/flower is not allowed immediately but the Department of Health can change that following an advisory board report two years after enactment. For more details, visit MPP’s summary of the Medical Marijuana Act.

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Prohibition, Research

Prominent Doctors Launch Group to End Marijuana Prohibition

April 15th, 2016 10 Comments Marijuana Policy Project

Some of the country’s most prominent physicians have teamed up to launch the nation’s first organization of doctors formed to advocate for the legalization and regulation of cannabis for adult use.DRCR-LOGO-WEB-colors-small

Washington Post reports:

The group — which is announcing its formation Monday, under the name Doctors for Cannabis Regulation (DFCR) — is endorsing the legalization of marijuana for adult recreational use, a break from the position of the American Medical Association, the largest organization of doctors in the country. DFCR argues that the prohibition and criminalization of marijuana use does more harm to the public than good. Citing hundreds of thousands of annual marijuana arrests, racial and economic disparities in marijuana enforcement, and the role of prohibition in keeping marijuana prices high and lucrative to violent drug dealers, the physicians say that creating a legal and regulated marijuana market is the best way to ensure public safety, combat the illicit drug trade and roll back the negative consequences of strict enforcement policies on disadvantaged communities.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Uncategorized

Arizona Campaign Collects More Than 200K Signatures

April 15th, 2016 No Comments Marijuana Policy Project

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Arizona announced Tuesday that it has collected more than 200,000 signatures in support of a proposed initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Arizona. The campaign needs to collect 150,642 valid signatures of registered Arizona voters to qualify the initiative for the November ballot.

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Prohibition, Tax and Regulate

Vermont House Committee Revives Marijuana Bill

April 15th, 2016 No Comments Matt Simon

Last week, some observers appeared to give up on Vermont legalization bill S. 241 after it was gutted by the House Judiciary Committee. Not so fast! Today, the House Ways and Means Committee voted to amend S. 241 and restore core legalization provisions. 2000px-Vermont_state_seal.svgThe bill would not only legalize possession of up to one ounce of marijuana for adults 21 and older, but it would also allow personal cultivation of up to two plants. Next, the bill is expected to be considered by the Appropriations Committee.

In order to legally cultivate two plants, a person would be required to purchase a permit from the Department of Health for $125. Permits would be good for one year, and information on permit-holders would have to be kept confidential by the department (no fishing expeditions by law enforcement would be allowed).

We will continue advocating for a regulated market approach, but we are very pleased with this development, and we will continue to push for improvements as the process continues.

If you are a Vermont resident, please contact your lawmakers and tell them to support this measure.

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Medical Marijuana

Senate Appropriations Committee Approves VA Physician Recommendation Amendment

April 14th, 2016 9 Comments Robert Capecchi

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday approved an amendment to the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill that is intended to ease access to medical marijuana for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, serious injuries, and other debilitating conditions.US-DeptOfVeteransAffairs-Seal-Large

The amendment, authored by Sens. Steve Daines (R-MT) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR), would prohibit the spending of funds on enforcement of a Veterans Health Administration directive that prohibits VA physicians from recommending medical marijuana to their patients, even in states that have made it legal.

If enacted, VA physicians would no longer face penalties for discussing medical marijuana with their patients or completing the paperwork patients must submit in order to participate in state medical marijuana programs. Currently, veterans in states with medical marijuana laws must find a doctor outside of the VA system to discuss medical marijuana as a treatment option and provide the requisite documentation.

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Medical Marijuana

Pennsylvania Poised to Become Next Medical Marijuana State

April 13th, 2016 1 Comment Becky Dansky

Almost a year after the Pennsylvania Senate first approved SB 3, the General Assembly is finally sending the medical marijuana legislation to Gov. Tom Wolf for his signature.13015406_10153387914096816_204741021068623634_n

SB 3 will create a comprehensive, compassionate medical marijuana program that allows patients with certain serious conditions access to medical marijuana with their doctors’ recommendation. Medical marijuana will be dispensed through a well-regulated system of state authorized grower/processors and up to 150 dispensary locations. While the bill still contains some flaws, it is one of the stronger bills to make it through a legislature, and is a particularly impressive bill in light of the strong opposition it faced from Speaker Mike Turzai and Health Committee Chair Matt Baker.

If you’d like to know more about SB 3, details are available here.

Congratulations to all of the remarkable advocates and compassionate lawmakers who fought tirelessly to make this program a reality.

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Medical Marijuana

South Carolina Senate Committee Kills Med. Marijuana Bill, Hope Remains in House

April 13th, 2016 1 Comment Becky Dansky

On Thursday, the South Carolina Senate Medical Affairs Committee voted 9-2 against the South Carolina Medical Marijuana Program Act (S. 672), effectively killing the legislation for the year.Seal_of_South_Carolina.svg Fortunately, there is still hope the House will take action on its version of the bill — H. 4037 — which was approved by a House subcommittee by a vote of 3-1 last year.

If you are a South Carolina resident, please contact your lawmakers and tell them South Carolina patients deserve access to safe and effective treatment.

S. 672/H. 4037 would allow patients with certain serious medical conditions to use and safely access medical marijuana. The legislation also would create a reasonable, well-regulated system of access through growers, processors, dispensers, and certified labs.

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Uncategorized

Louisiana Considering Comprehensive Medical Marijuana Bill

April 13th, 2016 No Comments Maggie Ellinger-Locke

Last week, Louisiana Rep. Ted James (D–Baton Rouge) filed HB 1112, the Louisiana Therapeutic Use of Cannabis Act, which would establish a comprehensive program allowing seriously ill Louisianans to use and safely access medical marijuana.

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Rep. Ted James

While the legislature enacted a bill seeking to institute a similar program last year, problems with that law — and prior ones dating to 1978 — have made the systems unworkable. For example, the current program requires a doctor’s prescription for a patient to legally possess and consume medical marijuana under state law. But under the federal Controlled Substances Act, doctors cannot prescribe marijuana. They can, however, recommend it.

HB 1112 removes this flaw and offers seriously ill patients and their families treatment options that may offer relief. Under the bill, patients could obtain up to 2.5 ounces of therapeutic cannabis from regulated establishments in a 14-day period. For a full summary of the bill, please click here.

If you are a Louisiana resident, please tell your lawmakers that you want to see an effective medical cannabis program in Louisiana and urge them to support HB 1112.

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Medical Marijuana

Ohio Medical Marijuana Campaign Begins Signature Gathering

April 6th, 2016 2 Comments Marijuana Policy Project

Late last week, the Ohio Ballot Board certified an initiative that would establish a comprehensive medical marijuana program in Ohio. The five-member board reviews proposed ballot measures to ensure they represent only one issue.OMM_horizontal-green_logo

Ohioans for Medical Marijuana must now collect 305,591 valid signatures of Ohio voters by early July to qualify for the November 2016 ballot. Last week, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine confirmed the group submitted at least 1,000 valid signatures of Ohio voters and determined their initiative summary “is a fair and truthful statement of the proposed law.”

The summary and full text of the initiative are available online at https://www.ohioansformmj.org/initiative.

 

Signature gathering for the initiative has already begun. Please contact Ohioans for Medical Marijuana if you would like to get involved.

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