General

Congress Votes to End War on Medical Marijuana

May 29th, 2014 44 Comments » Kate Zawidzki

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.

Rep. Rohrabacher with MPP's Rob Kampia and Dan Riffle
Rep. Rohrabacher with MPP’s Rob Kampia and Dan Riffle

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.

 

Read more



Medical Marijuana, Video

TV Ads Urge Gov. Cuomo and New York Senate Majority Co-Leader to Support Medical Marijuana Bill

May 29th, 2014 14 Comments » Morgan Fox

The Marijuana Policy Project launched two hard-hitting television ads Thursday that urge New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and State Senate Majority Co-Leader Dean Skelos to support the Compassionate Care Act, a bill that would allow seriously ill people to access medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it.

The New York State Assembly approved the Compassionate Care Act Tuesday (91-34) for the fifth time since 2007. Gov. Cuomo has not expressed support for the measure, and in previous years, Senate leaders have not allowed it to receive a vote on the Senate floor.

Read more



Medical Marijuana

Minnesota Governor Signs Medical Marijuana Legislation

May 29th, 2014 2 Comments » Kate Zawidzki

Gov. Mark Dayton has signed SB 2470, making Minnesota the 22nd state with a compassionate medical marijuana law. While the new law contains unnecessary restrictions, it will bring needed relief to some very deserving patients and their families.

Passage of this law was never certain, and, at times, political pundits dismissed the idea that the legislature could agree to any kind of program; but patients, families, and advocates prevailed.

While lawmakers had the pleasure of actually casting the votes, they would not have been in a position to do so without the tireless work of all the advocates, patients, and their families.  We look forward to continuing working with Minnesotans to protect all the sick and suffering who can benefit from the medical use of marijuana.

 

Read more



Tax and Regulate

Nevada Legalization Ballot Initiative Launched

May 27th, 2014 9 Comments » Morgan Fox
05.27.2014_Sen Tick Segerblom and Joe Brezny at petition launch
Sen. Tick Segerblom and Joe Brezny

The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol launched a signature drive Tuesday in support of a 2016 ballot measure that would end marijuana prohibition in Nevada. State Sen. Tick Segerblom (D-Las Vegas) and former Nevada Republican Senate Caucus Executive Director Joe Brezny were the first to sign the petition at a news conference in Sen. Segerblom’s law office.

The initiative would make private possession of up to one ounce of marijuana legal for adults 21 years of age and older. It would establish a tightly regulated system of licensed marijuana retail stores, licensed cultivation facilities, licensed manufacturing facilities, licensed testing facilities, and licensed distributors. It also establishes a 15% excise tax on wholesale transactions and directs all tax revenue from the tax to be spent on education.

In order to qualify for the 2016 ballot, the campaign must submit more than 100K valid signatures by Nov. 11, 2014.

Read more



Prohibition

Louisiana Legislature Approves Modest Marijuana Policy Reform

May 23rd, 2014 7 Comments » Kate Zawidzki

Thursday, the Louisiana Senate overwhelmingly approved HB 681 — modest marijuana policy reform — with a vote of 30-7. The House previously approved the legislation in a near-unanimous vote, 92-1!

HB 681 would make positive, albeit modest, reforms to the way Louisiana treats a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge for someone who is on parole. Currently, acquiring a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge while on parole automatically results in parole revocation. If signed by Gov. Jindal, this legislation will give judges discretion to penalize parolees charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession with administrative sanctions instead of outright revocation.

While this is a small step towards sensible marijuana policies, it is at least a step in the right direction.

 

Read more



Medical Marijuana

Medical Marijuana Constitutional Amendment Proposed in North Carolina

May 23rd, 2014 15 Comments » Kate Zawidzki
Kelly Alexander
Rep. Kelly Alexander

North Carolina Rep. Kelly Alexander (D-Mecklenberg) has introduced legislation to put a constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana on November’s ballot. If enacted, qualified medical marijuana patients and their caregivers would no longer be subject to arrest and prosecution for using marijuana under a doctor’s order. HB 1161 — the North Carolina Medical Cannabis Act — would also set up a “regulated medical cannabis supply system” so that patients can safely access their medicine.

Rep. Alexander has previously introduced variations of this bill into the legislature; however, they have been either ignored or rudely killed, despite overwhelming public support for medical marijuana. Because the North Carolina Medical Cannabis Act would amend the state’s constitution, it must get a three-fifths vote in both chambers before it can be placed on November’s ballot. If you are a North Carolina resident, ask your lawmakers to support HB 1161 today.

 

 

Read more



Medical Marijuana

Tennessee Governor Signs CBD Bill

May 21st, 2014 20 Comments » Kate Zawidzki
Bill Haslam
Gov. Bill Haslam

On May 16, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed a limited medical marijuana bill into law. SB 2531 proposes creating a four-year study on the benefits of cannabidiol, often referred to as “CBD,” a non-psychoactive component of marijuana. Unfortunately, the many limitations placed on the bill by lawmakers mean it is unlikely to result in relief for seriously ill patients in the state. MPP will not be counting Tennessee as a “medical marijuana state.”

The law unrealistically depends on the Drug Enforcement Administration authorizing the cultivation of marijuana within Tennessee for study. The DEA has maintained a monopoly on the cultivation of marijuana for research in Mississippi, and has steadfastly refused to allow other producers in the past 50 years. Even if it weren’t for that problem, laws that limit patient access to CBD leave most seriously ill patients behind. For a more detailed look at the bill and its many limitations, click here.

Under the bill, Vanderbilt University would conduct the study and Tennessee Tech would theoretically grow marijuana. As in Maryland, we hope Tennessee will move beyond its ineffective medical marijuana law and quickly pass a workable law that will help seriously ill patients in Tennessee.

 

 

Read more



Medical Marijuana

Illinois House Approves Bill To Allow Medical Marijuana for Seizures

May 21st, 2014 14 Comments » Kate Zawidzki

Even before the first medical marijuana ID card has been issued, both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly have voted to expand the state’s medical marijuana law to include more suffering patients. Earlier today, the House voted 98-18 to allow both adults and minors with seizure disorders to qualify for medical cannabis.

Illinois’ medical marijuana law, which was signed into law last August, is one of only three to leave behind seriously ill minors. The House amended SB 2636 to also allow the health department to develop rules allowing other seriously ill minors to qualify. The bill now heads to the Senate for concurrence.

 

Read more



Medical Marijuana

New York Senate Committee To Vote On Compassionate Care Act

May 20th, 2014 1 Comment » Morgan Fox
(03-03-09) Savino-HS-019
Sen. Diane Savino

Today, the Senate Health Committee will vote on Sen. Diane Savino’s medical marijuana bill. This will be the first time since 2010 that a Senate committee has voted on the Compassionate Care Act, which has already been approved by the Assembly four times. If the bill passes the Senate Health Committee, it must pass at least one more committee vote before heading to the full Senate.

Thousands of New Yorkers continue to suffer needlessly because they cannot safely access medical marijuana, including children enduring hundreds of debilitating seizures daily. Get to know some of these children by watching this video produced by our allies at “NY Parents for Legalizing MMJ.”

The Compassionate Care Act would provide safe, legal access to medical marijuana for thousands of patients. An overwhelming 88% of New Yorkers support allowing medical marijuana.

 

 

Read more



General

MPP’s Rob Kampia to Speak at NCIA Cannabis Business Summit

May 19th, 2014 3 Comments » Morgan Fox

The National Cannabis Industry Association is launching its first national conference, The Cannabis Business Summit, June 24-25 in Denver, Colorado. The summit will offer cannabis business leaders a national stage on which to discuss the best practices and business developments from around the industry. The summit will include more than 35 sessions, more than 800 attendees, and an exhibition floor featuring more than 30 leading cannabis businesses over the course of two days. Several topic-oriented tracks will give attendees the opportunity to focus on their areas of expertise. Conference highlights and topics covered will include:

  •  Latest state and federal policy developments
  • Best practices in cultivation, retail, and infused products
  • Latest developments in banking and taxation
  • Securing investment for cannabis businesses
  • Streamlining your business with technology
  • Security, compliance, and safety for you and your customers
  • Integrating sustainability into your business plan
  • Risk management and industry insurance
  • Responsible and effective marketing
  • Philanthropy and community engagement

Marijuana Policy Project Executive Director Rob Kampia will also be speaking at the event!

NCIA’s Cannabis Business Summit will be held at the Colorado Convention Center in downtown Denver. Along with the educational sessions and an exhibitor showcase, the event will also include a fundraising reception to support NCIA’s work advancing the policy goals of the responsible cannabis industry. Visit the conference website online, and register at http://www.cannabisbusinesssummit.com.

 

Read more