A new poll was released Monday showing increased support for allowing medical marijuana in West Virginia. The poll, which was commissioned by MPP and conducted by Public Policy Polling, found that 56% of Mountain State residents support passing a medical marijuana law (up from 53% last January), and only 34% oppose laws that would allow patients to obtain and use medical marijuana (down from 40%). Results are available here.
If you live in West Virginia, share these poll results with your state legislators today!
The West Virginia Legislature begins its 2014 general session Wednesday. Unfortunately, the Joint Committee on Health decided to conclude its offseason study without voting on the medical marijuana issue. It appears that, for political reasons, passing a medical marijuana law may be a difficult goal to achieve in an election year such as 2014. With elections coming up later this year, it is particularly important that legislators hear from you and other supporters today. They need to understand that public opinion has dramatically changed, and that most West Virginians support allowing patients to have safe, legal access to medical marijuana.
Earlier this month, the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services issued proposed regulations for a single medical marijuana compassion center that could only cultivate 150 plants – far too few to meet patients’ needs. MPP submitted comments on behalf of Delaware’s patients and potential providers urging the department to revise the regulations to ensure a workable program.
The regulations unnecessarily restrict the compassion center program to a single pilot center that can possess no more than 150 plants and 1,500 ounces of medical marijuana. Gov. Jack Markell announced this approach at a time when the federal government indicated it was concerned about large-scale grows. However, since then, the Department of Justice directed federal prosecutors to stop considering “the size or commercial nature of a marijuana operation alone” as a reason to take legal action against it.
The plant limit will result in shortages, forcing patients to go without or driving them to the criminal market. Meanwhile, a single compassion center does little to help patients who happen to live miles from it. DHSS should register three centers as called for by law.
You can read MPP’s proposed revisions here.
Following the city’s first medical marijuana sale earlier this week, Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray said that the city should discuss the possibility of legalizing marijuana.
“I don’t have a position on whether to legalize it or not, but we should have that discussion,” Gray told News Channel 8.
Mayor Vincent Gray
He said that the topic is an important one because current prohibitionist policies result in harmless young people getting criminal records.
The mayor’s statement comes after growing call for reform in the District. On July 10, D.C. Councilmember and mayoral candidate Tommy Wells proposed legislation to remove criminal penalties for the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana.
Gov. Pat Quinn
In another historic victory for patients, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) just signed MPP’s medical marijuana bill into law. This makes Illinois the 20th state to allow safe and legal access to medical marijuana!
The measure was approved in the Senate (35-21) on May 17 and in the House (61-57) on April 17. It was endorsed by the Illinois Nurses Association and the Illinois State Bar Association, and more than 270 doctors from across the state signed on to a statement in support of safe access to medical marijuana for patients with serious illnesses.
We put nearly 10 years of hard work into passing this bill. MPP deployed staffers to testify at hearings, hired lobbyists in the state capital, provided grants to local activist organizations, aired TV and radio ads, and mobilized supporters to put pressure on state legislators and the governor.
Once this law goes into effect, patients will be able to obtain marijuana at 60 dispensaries — which will be served by 22 grow locations — creating the third-largest, state-regulated medical marijuana system in the country.
This enactment of the Illinois law is MPP’s third major legislative achievement this year. (We also passed a medical marijuana bill in New Hampshire and a decriminalization measure in Vermont.)
As a result, 40% of the U.S. population now lives in states with workable medical marijuana laws, and 17 states have decriminalized or legalized marijuana possession. This is a huge feat, but we cannot rest yet!
Unfortunately, people in more than half of the states still face criminal penalties for marijuana possession — including medical marijuana patients.
In Costa Mesa, CA on Sunday, July 21, the California Democratic party passed two new resolutions at its executive board meeting. The first of the two dealt with President Obama’s federal raids on marijuana dispensaries.
The resolution reads, “THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the California Democratic Party requests: President Obama to allow the newly enacted marijuana legalization laws in Colorado and Washington to go into effect with no federal interference, and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the California Democratic Party asks President Obama to end the Department of Justice interference and raids by federal agencies in states with medical marijuana laws, and a comprehensive study be immediately undertaken to produce recommendations for reform of our nation’s marijuana prohibition.”
This position in the California Democratic platform will have drastic implications for the 2016 candidate chosen by the Democrats. California has historically been a cornerstone of Democrat success. Given President Obama’s earlier comments about racial disparity in arrests like drug offenses, this is an opportunity for Obama to step forward and stop some of those unfair arrests by keeping his campaign promise not to interfere with medical marijuana in states where it is legal.