Medical Marijuana

Texas GOP Supports Medical Marijuana

May 16th, 2016 4 Comments Heather Fazio

Over the weekend in Dallas, the Republican Party of Texas convened for their state convention where, among other business, delegates adopted a platform to express their position on various political issues.

With support from 78% of delegates, the following is now the official position of the Texas GOP: “We call upon the Texas Legislature to improve the 2015 Compassionate Use Act to allow doctors to determine the appropriate use of cannabis to prescribed patients.”TX GOP

Thanks to the work of dedicated Republican delegates who support marijuana law reform, the Texas GOP is now officially in support of medical marijuana!

Of course, this confirms what we already knew: Marijuana law reform is not a partisan issue. Texans of all political persuasions acknowledge that cannabis is medicine and support the reform of outdated policies. This move by Republican delegates affirms the integrity of the doctor/patient relationship by declaring that patients should have safe and legal access to medical cannabis if their doctors recommend it, consistent with another section of the platform which states, “Health care decisions…should be between a patient and health care professional and should be protected from government intrusion.”

While this new position does not change current state law, it does demonstrate that even the most conservative Texans agree: Cannabis should be accessible to patients.

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Medical Marijuana

Limited Medical Marijuana Bill Passes Louisiana House

May 13th, 2016 No Comments Maggie Ellinger-Locke

On Wednesday, the Louisiana House of Representatives passed Sen. Fred Mills’ SB 271 in a 62-31 vote, bringing your state one step closer to a workable medical marijuana program. Now the bill returns to the Senate for a concurrence before moving on to Gov. John Bel Edwards — who is supportive — for his signature. You can read a summary of the bill here.Seal_of_Louisiana.svg

However, SB 271 alone will not end the flaws in Louisiana’s current medical marijuana law, which is why Sen. Mills has also introduced SB 180. This bill has passed the Senate and is currently in the House. Should both bills pass, Louisiana becomes the first state in the Deep South to adopt a workable medical marijuana program!

If you are a Louisiana resident, please click here to find out how your lawmakers voted and ask them to show support for a compassionate program. (Once you type in your zip code, the correct email will automatically load based on how your legislators voted.)

The end of the legislative session is drawing near, and we only have a few more weeks to seek reform from lawmakers in Baton Rouge.

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Medical Marijuana

Medical Dispensaries Beginning to Open in New Hampshire

May 11th, 2016 No Comments Matt Simon

At long last, the first New Hampshire dispensary has opened! Sanctuary ATC opened its doors in Plymouth on May 1 and began serving patients, including many who told The Manchester Union Leader they were seeking a less harmful and more effective alternative to opioids.

Temescal Wellness, which will operate dispensaries in Dover and Lebanon, has opened as well. A fourth approved dispensary, slated for Merrimack, has not yet announced when it will be opening.2000px-Seal_of_New_Hampshire.svg

We would like to thank the countless Granite Staters who advocated for safe, legal access to cannabis over the years and helped make this victory possible. We also think it’s important that we take a moment to remember the patients who worked to pass this law but did not live long enough to see the first dispensary open. This list includes Clayton Holton, Scott Turner, Barbara Filleul, Hardy Macia, and Linda Horan.

There were no celebrations in 2013 when this law was passed because we knew it would be a long time before any patients could benefit and we knew some patients could not afford to wait for safe, legal access to cannabis. Today, now that a dispensary is open and now that over 600 patients have been issued ID cards protecting them from arrest, we believe it is finally time to declare victory! We will, of course, continue pushing for further improvements to the law.

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Prohibition

MPP’s Voter Guide for D.C. Council Primary June 14

May 11th, 2016 No Comments Kate Bell

MPP has just released our first-ever voter guide for D.C. Council elections. We hope that D.C.’s Democratic voters will find this guide useful as they prepare to vote in D.C.’s Democratic primary elections on Tuesday, June 14, 2016. There are big differences between the candidates, whose grades range from A+ to F based on their responses to our survey (and, for sitting council members, key votes on marijuana policy reform).Flag_Map_of_Washington_DC

D.C. Council elections are important because the nation’s capital can serve as an important model of sensible marijuana policy. In addition, each member of the council has a lot of influence since there are only 13 council members, while most state legislatures have over 100 members.

Some of these races are expected to be very close. For example, the last time that current Ward 8 Council member LaRuby May and challenger Trayon White faced each other (in a special election), the race was decided by only 78 votes. 

We have also included information about how to register to vote, update your registration information, and find your polling place.

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Medical Marijuana

Louisiana Mothers Plea for Medical Marijuana Protections in Billboard Campaign

May 10th, 2016 1 Comment Maggie Ellinger-Locke

This morning, two MPP-designed billboards were launched in Baton Rouge and Shreveport, featuring mothers and their young children who face intractable epilepsy. The billboards read: “Medical marijuana would help my child. Will our legislators?” and urge viewers to ask their representatives to support medical marijuana legislation.1TOgIxv

The full Louisiana House could vote on SB 271 — which would fix a fatal flaw in the state’s existing medical marijuana bill — as soon as tomorrow.  Please, call or email your representative before they cast their vote.

The sheriffs’ association is lobbying vigorously against the bill, and representatives need to hear an outpouring of support from constituents calling on them to do the right thing. SB 271 has already passed the Senate — after initially falling short in a vote — and Gov. John Bel Edwards has said he will sign it.

If you’d like to help reform marijuana laws in Louisiana, please contact Sensible Marijuana Policy for Louisiana and find out how you can get involved.

 

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Tax and Regulate

California Initiative to Legalize and Regulate Marijuana is Headed for the November Ballot

May 5th, 2016 12 Comments Marijuana Policy Project
The campaign in support of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act announced today that it has collected more than enough signatures to place the initiative on the November ballot.13051785_1561302290867287_3261976781645789533_n
If you want to see California end marijuana prohibition this year, please sign up for the campaign to follow its progress and show your support for the initiative.
The Los Angeles Times reports:

A measure to legalize marijuana for recreational use in California appears headed for the Nov. 8 ballot.

A coalition that includes former Facebook President Sean Parker on Tuesday said it has collected 600,000 signatures, more than enough to qualify the initiative. …

The coalition, which includes some law enforcement and civil rights leaders, needed to collect 365,880 signatures of registered voters to qualify the initiative, which would also place a 15% tax on retail sales of the drug.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Medical Marijuana, Prohibition, Uncategorized

Kansas Lawmakers Reduce Possession Penalties

May 5th, 2016 No Comments Kate Bell

Early Monday morning, the Kansas Legislature ended their session after meeting for only 78 of the 90 scheduled days. They did take a small step forward by passing a bill that reduces the penalties for marijuana possession. A first offense would be punishable by a maximum of six months, instead of one year, in jail and a second offense would no longer be a felony.index The bill now heads to Gov. Brownback’s desk, and will become law if he does not veto it within 10 days.

Unfortunately, the legislature did not pass any type of protections for medical marijuana patients, although it considered several bills to do so. The House did pass a bill, sponsored by Rep. John Wilson, which would have allowed patients to use low-THC medical cannabis and provided for in-state access. Although those provisions did not pass the Senate, it is significant because this is the first time any type of medical marijuana bill was passed by either chamber of the Kansas Legislature.

If you are a Kansas resident, please ask your legislators to consider a comprehensive medical marijuana bill next year.

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Prohibition

Tennessee Marijuana Penalty Reduction Signed by Governor

May 2nd, 2016 2 Comments Kate Bell

The 2016 Tennessee legislative session, which ended on April 23, saw an incremental improvement in the state’s marijuana policies.Tennesseestateseallrg Last week, Gov. Bill Haslam signed HB 1478 into law, which will eliminate the provision that makes a third conviction for possession of marijuana a felony. The law will take effect on July 1, 2016.

This change will reduce the penalty for third-time possession from between one and six years of incarceration to less than one year in jail. In addition, having a misdemeanor rather than a felony record will reduce the collateral consequences associated with the conviction. The bill also increases penalties for repeat DUI offenders and defelonizes third-time possession of all drugs except for heroin.

There is more work to be done, however. The sentences for marijuana possession are still unduly harsh for a drug that is less harmful than alcohol, and the law is enforced in a racially disparate manner. If you are a Tennessee resident, please ask your legislators to consider removing all criminal penalties for marijuana possession in next year’s session.

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Prohibition

New Life for New Hampshire Decriminalization

May 2nd, 2016 No Comments Marijuana Policy Project

The New Hampshire Senate killed HB 1631 in April, but last week the plan to reduce marijuana possession penalties to a violation was given new life in the House. In a 12-7 vote, the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee agreed to amend a Senate-approved bill, SB 498, by adding provisions that would decriminalize possession of one-quarter ounce of marijuana for first offenses.

We expect that the amended SB 498 will pass the House by a wide margin before it returns to the Senate. Last week, 14 out of 24 senators voted against decriminalizing one-half ounce or less of marijuana, so we will need at least three of these senators to vote in favor of SB 498 in order to pass it. We are optimistic that this can be achieved, in part because Gov. Maggie Hassan has indicated that she would be willing to sign a bill if it was limited to first offenses of one-quarter ounce or less.

The amended SB 498 is far from perfect, but even in this modest form it would prevent many Granite Staters from being arrested and hauled into court for possessing small amounts of marijuana. Please take a moment to follow up with your senator and urge him or her to support this compromise.

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Research, Tax and Regulate

Maine Marijuana Initiative Officially Approved for November Ballot

April 28th, 2016 No Comments Marijuana Policy Project

State officials announced Wednesday that a proposed initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Maine has officially qualified for the November ballot.

After a court-ordered review of petitions it had previously invalidated, the Maine Secretary of State’s Office determined the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol submitted more than the 61,123 signatures that were needed to qualify.ME Release Header - NEW

Last month, the secretary of state informed the campaign that the initiative had been disqualified because only 51,543 valid signatures had been submitted. The campaign filed a lawsuit challenging the decision, and a Kennebec County Superior Court judge ruled in their favor earlier this month after learning state officials invalidated more than 5,000 petitions —which included more than 17,000 signatures from Maine voters that were validated by town clerks — without actually reviewing every petition in question. The petition was then remanded to the Secretary of State’s Office to review all of the disputed petitions and determine whether enough valid signatures were collected.

According to a new poll released this week by the Maine People’s Resource Center, nearly 54% of likely voters would approve the initiative if the election were held today. Only about 42% said they would oppose it. The full results are available at here.

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