Medical Marijuana

NY Governor Signs Bill Adding PTSD as Qualifying Condition for Medical Marijuana Program

November 13th, 2017 No Comments Marijuana Policy Project

A bipartisan bill to add post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a qualifying condition for New York’s medical marijuana program was signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo during Veterans Day weekend. The Senate passed S 5629 in June (50-13), and the Assembly version, A 7006, received overwhelming approval in May (131-8). New York is the 28th state to allow medical marijuana to be used to treat PTSD.

“Gov. Cuomo should be applauded for helping thousands of New York veterans find relief with medical marijuana,” said Bob Becker, Legislative Director for the New York State Council of Veterans Organizations. “PTSD is a serious problem facing our state, and now we have one more tool available to alleviate suffering.”

Thank you to all of our supporters who joined our efforts by contacting your elected officials. It is because of your dedication we were able to get the PTSD bill signed in New York.

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Medical Marijuana

Poland to Allow Medical Marijuana in Pharmacies

November 8th, 2017 No Comments Marijuana Policy Project

Poland became the latest country to allow marijuana to be used for medical purposes this week.

The Independent reports:

Under new regulations that came into force on Wednesday cannabis from imported plants can be processed at Polish pharmacies – as long as it has been logged with the country’s Office for Registration of Medical Products.

Pharmacists are already prepared to make the drugs, according to the Polish Pharmaceutical Chamber (PPC).

A spokesman said: “Given the fact that there are nearly 15,000 pharmacies in Poland, an overwhelming majority is authorised to make prescription drugs – that’s around 90 percent.

“It is estimated that up to 300,000 patients could qualify for medical marijuana treatment.”

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General

Virginia Governor-Elect Supports Decriminalization

November 8th, 2017 No Comments Marijuana Policy Project

On Tuesday, Virginia was faced with a  choice between three candidates for governor, all of whom supported some kind of sensible marijuana policy reform. At the end of the day, they decided to back Ralph Northam, who was clearly the best candidate on this issue.

Marijuana Moment reports:

Northam, a Democrat, made marijuana decriminalization a centerpiece of his gubernatorial campaign, often describing the issue in racial justice terms. He also spoke about the medical benefits of cannabis.

Here’s a look at his statements and pledges on marijuana:

“We need to change sentencing laws that disproportionately hurt people of color. One of the best ways to do this is to decriminalize marijuana,” he wrote in a blog post early this year. “African Americans are 2.8 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession in Virginia. The Commonwealth spends more than $67 million on marijuana enforcement — money that could be better spent on rehabilitation.”

As a physician, Northam is “increasingly convinced by the data showing potential health benefits of marijuana, such as pain relief, drug-resistant epilepsy, and treatment for PTSD,” his campaign website says. “By decriminalizing it, our researchers can better study the plant so doctors can more effectively prescribe drugs made from it.”

The lieutenant governor also sent a letter to the Virginia State Crime Commission, which is conducting a review of the effects of potential marijuana decriminalization. “Virginia spends $67 million on marijuana enforcement – enough to open up another 13,000 pre-K spots for children,” Northam wrote. “African Americans are nearly 3 times as likely to get arrested for simple possession of marijuana and sentencing guidelines that include jail time can all too often begin a dangerous cycle of recidivism.”

During a debate, Notham mentioned that his father is a judge while making a point about the cost of enforcing marijuana laws.

MPP is looking forward to working with Governor-elect Northam and the legislature to pass beneficial marijuana legislation in the upcoming session.

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Tax and Regulate

New Jersey Poised for Big Changes After Election

November 8th, 2017 1 Comment Kate Bell

Gov. Chris Christie has said that he is the “only impediment” to taxing and regulating marijuana in New Jersey — and he is leaving office in January 2018. Phil Murphy (D), who has repeatedly touted his support for legalization, beat Kim Guadagno (R) by about 10 percentage points and will be the next governor!

Senator Nicholas Scutari (D-22), sponsor of the bill to end marijuana prohibition in New Jersey, won easily, and Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3), another vocal supporter of legalization, was also victorious.

New Jersey is now well-placed to be the first state to end marijuana prohibition through the legislative process (as opposed to a citizens’ ballot initiative) — but a bill still won’t pass without hard work. And the details of the bill — things like ensuring people who have been criminalized for marijuana possession can expunge their records once marijuana possession is legalized — will require close attention to guarantee New Jersey implements the best possible public policy.

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Prohibition

Virginia Election Could Have Big Impact on Marijuana Policy

November 6th, 2017 1 Comment Marijuana Policy Project

Virginia will elect its next governor tomorrow, November 7. Please take a minute to examine each candidate’s position on marijuana policy before you head to the polls. While every candidate favors some form of reduced penalty for simple possession, they have significant differences in opinion regarding marijuana penalties in the commonwealth.

  • Democrat Ralph Northam supports decriminalization of marijuana and legalizing the medical use of marijuana.
  • Republican Ed Gillespie opposes decriminalizing marijuana but favors a three-strikes approach for simple possession. The first two violations would not carry criminal charges, but a third would. He is open to “appropriate, limited, tightly regulated use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.”
  • Libertarian Cliff Hyra supports decriminalization, the establishment of a medical marijuana program, and allowing responsible adults ages 21 and older to consume marijuana.

This election is important, as the governor holds considerable sway over the direction of Virginia’s policies. Please visit your local polling station between 6:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. tomorrow, November 7, if you are a Virginia resident. If you don’t know where your polling station is, click here to find out. Check your voter registration here, and be sure to bring a photo ID with you when you head to the polling station. Make your voice heard tomorrow!

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Tax and Regulate

Maine Governor Vetoes Marijuana Regulation Bill, Advocates Urging Legislative Override

November 3rd, 2017 5 Comments Marijuana Policy Project

On Friday, Maine Gov. Paul LePage followed through on threats to veto legislation that would have started the process of implementing a regulated marijuana market that Maine voters called for when they approved Question 1 in 2016. The bill, which was supported overwhelmingly in the House and Senate, would have created rules for cultivation, processing, and retail establishments, as well as set tax rates for adult-use marijuana and delay marijuana social consumption lounges until summer 2019.

LD 1650 was the product of nearly seven months of transparent deliberations in the legislature that included input from a variety of stakeholders and concerned residents. Gov. LePage and House Minority Leader Ken Fredette (R-Newport) attempted to circumvent this legislation by introducing a bill to officially delay marijuana retail sales until 2019, but it was defeated in late October. Read the rest of this entry »

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Uncategorized

American Legion Backs Medical Marijuana; Poll Shows Overwhelming Veteran Support

November 2nd, 2017 No Comments Morgan Fox

A poll commissioned by the American Legion in October showed record support among veterans for medical marijuana.

The Cannabist reports:

With polling showing Americans’ support for marijuana legalization has hit new highs, a new survey by the American Legion shows strong support within the military veteran community for medical marijuana research and legalization.

The “robo-call” survey commissioned by America’s largest veterans service organization polled vets and their non-professional caregivers in early October. It found that 81 percent of veterans and 83 percent of caregivers support the federal legalization of cannabis to treat a physical or mental condition.

“We already know that greater than 80% of the American public supports research into the efficacy of medical cannabis,” Joe Plenzler, spokesman for the American Legion, said in a statement to The Cannabist. “What this survey shows is that America’s veterans feel even more strongly about the need to study cannabis and its potential in treating, PTSD, chronic pain and other ailments veterans face every day.”

You can find a full video of the American Legion press conference releasing the poll results below, and read about some veterans’ stories here.

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Prohibition

St. Louis Alderwoman Introduces New Marijuana Ordinance

October 25th, 2017 No Comments Marijuana Policy Project

Missouri Alderwoman Megan Green is introducing an ordinance in St. Louis to prevent the use of city resources to enforce laws prohibiting the use of marijuana. Specifically, the ordinance would:

  • Prohibit city police and other officials from using city resources to enforce marijuana prohibition against adults; and
  • Continue to enforce marijuana prohibition laws against minors and those who provide marijuana to minors.

Alderwoman Green said, “We’ve come to a point as a country, and as a city, where marijuana usage is not taboo in the way that it used to be.”

And people across Missouri are beginning to agree.

Earlier this year, voters in Kansas City approved a measure to reduce the penalties for simple possession of marijuana, amending local laws regarding possession of up to 35 grams of marijuana for adults age 21 and older from a criminal misdemeanor to a civil offense punishable by a $25 fine.

Also in Missouri, there is a citizen initiative to place a measure on the 2018 ballot that would implement a medical marijuana program. New Approach Missouri is leading the campaign. Please visit their website to get involved.

MPP worked closely with Alderwoman Green and others allies in St. Louis to provide guidance on the details of the proposed ordinance and we thank her for being a leader on this issue.

With all of this local government involvement and citizen-initiated activity, let’s not forget that Missouri’s legislature is at a standstill. If you are a Missouri resident, please tell your state representatives to move forward with improving the state’s marijuana policies.

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Research, Tax and Regulate

National Gallup Poll Shows 64% Support for Legalization

October 25th, 2017 3 Comments Marijuana Policy Project

The latest Gallup poll showed that nearly two thirds of Americans support making marijuana legal, a record high.

Tom Angela reports for Forbes:

The 64% of Americans who say cannabis should be legal in a new Gallup poll released on Wednesday represents the highest level of support in the organization’s 48 years of polling on the topic.

The new survey also shows that a majority of Republicans — 51% — support legalization for the first time. Seventy-two percent of Democrats and 67% of independents are on board.

Gallup been asking the same question — “Do you think the use of marijuana should be made legal, or not? — since 1969. That year, only 12% of Americans backed legalization.

MPP’s Morgan Fox released the following statement:

It makes sense that support for ending marijuana prohibition is increasing. Americans are tired of wasting resources arresting hundreds of thousands of individuals every year for using a substance that is safer than alcohol. In the five years since the first states made marijuana legal for adults, it has become increasingly clear that — unlike prohibition — regulation works. Adult-use marijuana laws create jobs, generate tax revenue, and protect consumers while taking the marijuana market out of the hands of criminals.

As public support for ending marijuana prohibition continues to grow, it is crucial that states continue to be given the freedom to serve as laboratories of democracy. We urge the Department of Justice in particular to continue its policy of not interfering in states with well-regulated adult-use and medical marijuana programs while lawmakers catch up to the will of the people.

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Research

Texas House Committee Tasked With Studying Marijuana Laws

October 24th, 2017 No Comments Marijuana Policy Project

Although the Texas legislature does not reconvene until 2019, marijuana policy reform is on its agenda in the interim! Yesterday, Speaker of the House Joe Straus announced “interim changes” that committees will look into between legislative sessions — including by holding hearings and reporting back — and one of them is marijuana policy.

The House Criminal Justice Committee, led by Chairman Joe Moody (D-El Paso), will “study current practices for the enforcement of criminal laws against low-level possession of marijuana” and “examine the use of alternative punishments and improvements to criminal enforcement mechanisms and community supervision.”

The subject is familiar to both Chairman Moody and his fellow committee members. Earlier this year, the committee heard testimony on and ultimately passed House Bill 81, Chairman Moody’s proposal to replace criminal penalties with a simple citation/ fine for low-level marijuana possession. The bill died after it did not receive a floor vote.

Please stay tuned for opportunities to be part of this important conversation between legislative sessions, during which time an estimated 120,000 Texans will be arrested for marijuana possession.

If you are a Texas resident, please contact your legislators today in support of more sensible marijuana policies for Texas!

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