A bill that would establish regulations and protections for a wide range of medical marijuana businesses in California continues to make progress in the legislature. Sen. Lou Correa’sbill SB 1262recently emerged from the Assembly Public Safety Committee, and will next be considered in the Appropriations Committee in August.
Sen. Correa’s bill has been heavily amended no less than five times since it was introduced in February. Many of the changes in the past few months have been big improvements, but some provisions remain troubling. For instance, the current version of the bill requires costly business license fees, saddles local governments with primary responsibility to enforce the law, and gives wide latitude to law enforcement officials to prohibit businesses.
We have been told it is too early to know if these requirements will change as negotiations among many different groups continue at a rapid pace. The only thing that is certain is that the bill remains very much a work in progress. For a list of MPP’s concerns with the current draft of the bill, click here.
A University of Minnesota research group, led by chief researcher Kalpna Gupta, has found that the cannabinoids in marijuana can help treat pain caused by sickle cell disease, reports Minnesota Daily. The group has been running tests on mice and it has yielded good outcomes from those tests. The study says the next step is to move onto human trials; however, it is running into issues with Minnesota’s laws.
In order to take this next step, the research will be moved to California, where medical marijuana became legal almost 20 years ago. Minnesota, on the other hand, has a stricter medical marijuana law that will take effect next summer. This research may actually affect the Minnesota law, however, by providing evidence that could help add sickle cell disease to the qualifying health conditions for the program.
The conditions currently approved by Minnesota law include cancer, HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, and seizures. The Department of Health in Minnesota is presently creating a task force to investigate the therapeutic effects of marijuana. Dr. Gupta’s research is being funded by the National Institute of Health’s grant, and is intended to test the effects of vaporized marijuana on 35 sickle cell disease patients at the beginning of July. Minnesota’s medical marijuana laws are some of the strictest in the nation, but the research Dr. Gupta is doing may be able to help more patients find relief.
You read that correctly — Congress just voted to end the federal government’s war on medical marijuana!
During a debate regarding a Justice Department funding bill, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), a longtime MPP ally, offered an amendment intended to block DEA raids on medical marijuana dispensaries. It passed by a surprisingly wide margin — 219-189. The amendment will not become law until it is signed by the president, but we’re well on our way.
MPP played a key role in building support for this measure, and we couldn’t have done it without our supporters.
We have had a lot of victories since MPP was founded in 1995, but this is one of the biggest — not just in the organization’s history, but in the history of the marijuana policy reform movement.
We worked with Congressman Rohrabacher and former Congressman Maurice Hinchey on this amendment for more than a decade, and our lobbying presence in Congress has never been stronger. This year alone, we met with staffers from more than 100 congressional offices, as well as dozens of members in person. With this victory, even more doors will be open to us in the future.
In Californiathis week,SB 1262, introduced by Sen. Lou Correa, would create a long-overdue regulatory structure for medical cannabis cultivators and dispensaries, including collectives and cooperatives. The original bill draft contained many offensive provisions, including unreasonable and possibly unlawful requirements on physicians. Fortunately, Sen. Correa removed nearly all the troubling provisions and we now have a largely workable solution.
While medical marijuana patients have protections under state law, the citizens who serve them lack a regulatory framework. This leaves them vulnerable to aggressive federal law enforcement efforts to undermine the state program. In addition, regulation can help protect the environment, avoid unauthorized access, and reduce incidents of crime and violence. After the amendments were made, the bill passed out of committee with a unanimous vote, and will be heard next by the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Another bill died in committee. AB 2500 would have made everyone driving with 2 or more ng/mL of active THC in his or her system guilty of DUI. This unscientific and discriminatory bill failed to get sufficient votes to advance any further.
Both of these developments benefit medical cannabis patients in California!
In an interview with Rolling Stone yesterday, Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers voiced his support of medical marijuana use to treat pain in the NBA. Currently, the NBA has strict penalties for drug use, which typically lead to suspensions and fines. It was only in 2011 that the NBA stopped testing for marijuana use in the off-season, but now that marijuana is in the limelight, its place in the NBA, as a form of medical treatment for pain, has come into question.
Griffin was asked:
The NFL might let players use medical marijuana to treat pain. If you had a vote, would the NBA do the same?
It doesn’t really affect me, but so many guys would probably benefit from it and not take as many painkillers, which have worse long-term effects. So I would vote yes. I just think it makes sense.
Griffin joins the chorus of other outspoken athletes like Larry Sanders of the Milwaukee Bucks, who said earlier this year, “I believe in marijuana and the medical side of it.”
Like any professional sport, the need for painkillers is a part of the game, and, as Griffin pointed out, the harmful long-term effects of some painkillers makes medical marijuana use an alluring alternative. Even the World Anti-Doping Agency and the UFC have begun by changing their thresholds of permissible amounts of marijuana.