Urge Republican Presidential Candidates to Address Marijuana Policy at Nevada Caucus


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On Tuesday, individuals across the Silver State will gather together to caucus with their friends and neighbors during the Republican presidential caucus. MPP encourages all of our supporters in Nevada to use this opportunity to caucus for sensible marijuana policy reform!

You can start by reviewing the responses of some of the Republican candidates to the following question:

“If elected, how would your administration address the current tension between state and federal marijuana laws?”

This question, which to date has not been specifically addressed by Sen. Ted Cruz (TX) or businessman Donald Trump, was asked as a direct result of our partnership with Change Politics. Please visit our page on their site and continue to “up-vote” all of our questions to be sure all the candidates’ views on marijuana policy reform are thoroughly addressed.

If you’d like more in-depth information, please see MPP’s presidential report card, which has information about both the Republican and Democratic candidates. Of those still in the race, Donald Trump leads the Republican pack having earned a C+; Sen. Ted Cruz is close behind with a C.

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Presidential Candidates Respond to MPP’s Question on ChangePolitics


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Last month, MPP partnered with ChangePolitics for the launch of its new platform, which is designed to ask ChangePolitics-Socialshare-280x150questions of the presidential candidates and get them on the record about various policy issues.

One of MPP’s questions made it into the top 10 “Most Popular in New Hampshire,” and the Concord Monitor editorial team selected it as one of the final five to be answered by the candidates just ahead of the nation’s first primary election on February 9. 

If elected, how would your administration address the current tension between state and federal marijuana laws?

You can check out the responses from the Democratic candidates and the responses from the Republican candidates at ChangePolitics.org. Also be sure to visit MPP’s profile page to view and vote for all of our questions so we can get more responses from the candidates.

 

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New Hampshire Bill to Add PTSD as Qualifying Condition Introduced


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Assemblyman Joe Lachance

Now that medical marijuana cards are finally being issued to qualifying patients in New Hampshire, one lawmaker is working to make sure others who could benefit are not left behind. On Thursday, Assemblyman Joe Lachance introduced a bill that would add post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to the list of qualifying conditions.

Al Jazeera America reports:

The proposed legislation comes as New Hampshire grapples with an opioid and heroin addiction and overdose crisis. Medical marijuana advocates argue that better access to cannabis would offer an alternative means of pain relief to people now using painkillers or heroin. In 2015 the state’s medical examiner attributed 385 deaths to opiates, almost double the 192 fatalities in 2013, according to New Hampshire Public Radio.

Also, adding PTSD to the list of illnesses approved for cannabis treatment could provide another option to people who’ve found no relief with standard anti-anxiety or antidepressant medication, advocates say.

Joe Lachance, a Republican state assemblyman who co-sponsored the PTSD measure, is one of the 62 medical marijuana cardholders in the state of 1.6 million people. A military veteran and former police officer, Lachance said he suffers from chronic pain and PTSD, ailments only marijuana has helped ease. He also said marijuana helped him kick an opiate habit.

 

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Studies Show Marijuana Use Does Not Lower IQ


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Last week, the Washington Post reported on a pair of studies released in January that further disprove an often-repeated theory that marijuana use is linked to lower intelligence.

You might have heard that smoking marijuana makes you stupid.

If you grew up in the ’80s or ’90s, that was more or less the take-home message of countless anti-drug PSAs. In more recent years, it’s a message we’ve heard — albeit in more nuanced form — from Republican candidates on the campaign trail and from marijuana opponents at the state-level.

The contemporary version of argument can be traced to a 2012 Duke University study, which found that persistent, heavy marijuana use through adolescence and young adulthood was associated with declines in IQ.

Other researchers have since criticized that study’s methods. A follow-up study in the same journal found that the original research failed to account for a number of confounding factors that could also affect cognitive development, such as cigarette and alcohol use, mental illness and socioeconomic status.

Two new reports this month tackle the relationship between marijuana use and intelligence from two very different angles: One examines the life trajectories of 2,235 British teenagers between ages 8 and 16, and the other looks at the differences between American identical twin pairs in which one twin uses marijuana and the other does not.

Despite vastly different methods, the studies reach the same conclusion: They found no evidence that adolescent marijuana use leads to a decline in intelligence.

The full article is available here.

 

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Time Running Out for Pennsylvania House to Act on Medical Marijuana


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Patients at the Pennsylvania Statehouse in a symbolic doctor’s office, still waiting for the House to act.

With very few session days remaining this year, Republican leadership in Pennsylvania still has not introduced medical marijuana legislation in the House. Early reports about the contents of the draft still raise serious concerns — including a 10% THC cap, an explicit prohibition on dried flowers and plants, and no immediate legal protections for patients.

If you are a Pennsylvania resident, please call your representative today! Let him or her know it is critical that these problems are addressed and the bill is brought to the floor for a vote immediately. You can click here to find your representative’s contact information along with talking points to guide your call.

It has been almost six months since the Senate passed sensible medical cannabis legislation. Seriously ill patients have been suffering while waiting for the House to take action. They should not have to wait one more day. It is time for the House to vote on comprehensive and compassionate medical marijuana legislation. Let them know that Pennsylvanians are tired of waiting. They need to do it right! Do it now! Let them know that compassionate use legislation should be focused on the needs of patients and not politics as usual.

Urge them to tell leadership our concerns and to demand safe and affordable access for Pennsylvania’s most fragile citizens.

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Kentucky Governor-Elect Supports Allowing Medical Marijuana


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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.

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Pennsylvania Patients and Lawmakers Demand Approval of Medical Marijuana Bill


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On Tuesday, a group of Pennsylvania lawmakers, patients, and their families gathered at the State Capitol to demand swift action from the legislature in moving a medical marijuana bill that has been stalled for months.

Julie Michaels, front left, of Connellsville, and Jessica Hawkins, right, of Pittsburg, look on as Hawkins' son Lucciano, 2, right center, gives a hug to Michaels' daughter Sydney, 5, left center, as supporters gather at the Pennsylvania State Capitol Building to promote the legalization of medical cannabis in Harrisburg, Pa. on Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015.   Dawn J. Sagert - dsagert@yorkdispatch.com
Julie Michaels, front left, of Connellsville, and Jessica Hawkins, right, of Pittsburg, look on as Hawkins’ son Lucciano, 2, right center, gives a hug to Michaels’ daughter Sydney, 5, left center, as supporters gather at the Pennsylvania State Capitol Building to promote the legalization of medical cannabis in Harrisburg, Pa. on Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015. Dawn J. Sagert – York Dispatch

The Patriot-News reports:

In early summer, medical marijuana seemed on the verge of becoming legal in Pennsylvania.

But the effort, which supporters insist easily has enough votes to pass, now seems caught up in delays and stalling tactics, according to supporters who rallied Tuesday at the state Capitol.

One of the supporters was state Rep. Mike Regan, R-York County, a former federal law enforcement officer who said he represents a highly conservative district, and hasn’t received a single call of opposition from a constituent.

“This has got to stop being about politics and it has to start being about people,” he said. “I will not stop fighting until this is law.”

Regan also noted he spent much of his career arresting drug dealers. He said he is convinced medical marijuana is a safe and valuable medication, and won’t become a gateway to illegal drugs and more illegal drug use in Pennsylvania.

A medical marijuana bill introduced by state Sen. Mike Folmer, R-Lebanon County passed 40-7 in the Senate in May. In the House, leaders in early summer created a group to draft a bill that would pass the Republican-controlled House.

Democrat Gov. Tom Wolf has come out strongly in favor of medical marijuana and has said he will sign a bill.

If you are a Pennsylvania resident and are tired of waiting for the legislature to enact compassionate, effective medical marijuana legislation, please contact your lawmakers and let them know the time to act is now.

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GOP Presidential Hopefuls Debate Marijuana Policy


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Last week, Republican presidential candidates were asked about their positions on marijuana policy reform. While most of them responded that they would let states determine their own policies, they also stated their opposition to making marijuana legal for adults and revealed their serious misunderstandings of the relative harms of marijuana compared to alcohol and other drugs.

Here is the portion of the debate concerning marijuana policy:

Vice‘s coverage included some great comments from MPP’s Dan Riffle:

Riffle added that he was disappointed that “scientifically incorrect” information mentioned during the debate was not challenged, particularly Christie’s assertion that marijuana is a gateway drug.

“It’s troubling to have presidential candidates to be so misinformed on marijuana,” said Riffle. “The Institute of Medicine, the nation’s foremost authority on science, medicine, and health, has said there’s absolutely nothing about the physiological properties of marijuana that leads people to use other drugs.”

Riffle noted that he agrees with former Hewlett-Packard executive Carly Fiorina’s comment during the debate that young people are being misled “when we tell them that marijuana is just like having a beer,” but not for the reasons she implied.

“It’s not like having a beer,” he said. “It’s safer. And there’s an abundance of medical and scientific research that has shown this.”

Click here to see MPP’s guide to the 2016 presidential candidates.

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Iowa and New Hampshire Polls Reveal Bipartisan Support for Respecting State Marijuana Laws


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Recent polls conducted in Iowa and New Hampshire in preparation for the presidential primary elections there show that a majority of voters in both parties think states should be able to carry out their own marijuana laws without federal interference. Public Policy PollingPublic_Policy_Polling_logo reports that 71% of Iowa respondents and 73% of New Hampshire respondents want the federal government to stay out of marijuana policy.

This poll also shows that support for state freedom in determining marijuana policy is non-partisan and has taken hold among Republicans as well as Democrats and Independents. 64% of Iowa Republicans and 67% of New Hampshire Republicans are in favor of the next president respecting state marijuana laws.

For more information, please visit Marijuana Majority. Read the rest of this entry »

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Respect State Marijuana Laws Act Reintroduced in Congress


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Earlier today, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) has reintroduced the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act in the U.S. House of Representatives. This short, simple bill would resolve the tension between state and federal marijuana laws by making an exception to federal law for activity in compliance with state laws that regulate marijuana for medical or adult-use purposes.

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Dan Riffle, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, and Rob Kampia

Please take two minutes to urge your representatives to support this bill! 

 

Because of MPP’s success in changing public opinion and state laws, we expect numerous bills to be introduced this year to reform federal marijuana laws. We will support all of them, but Rep. Rohrabacher’s bill stands out. It’s the best policy — covering not just medical marijuana, but adult-use laws passed in four states and Washington, D.C. — and has the best chance of passing. Last year, we passed an amendment very similar to this bill, thanks to broad bipartisan support for respecting state laws, and this year the bill has twice as many Republicans on board than when it was introduced last year.

Republican co-sponsors include Reps. Justin Amash (R-MI), Duncan Hunter (R-CA), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Tom McClintock, and Don Young (R-AK). Democratic co-sponsors include Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Dina Titus (D-NV), Janice Schakowsky (D-IL), Jared Polis (D-CO), and Mark Pocan (D-WI).

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