Medical Marijuana

Montana Court Ruling Hurts Medical Marijuana Program

February 29th, 2016 3 Comments Chris Lindsey
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Montana Supreme Court (Photo: Eliza Wiley)

The Montana Supreme Court dealt a huge blow to thousands of patients last week in the legal challenge to the state’s medical marijuana law. Under the ruling, medical marijuana providers, known as caregivers, will be limited to two patients — or three if the caregiver is also a patient. By comparison, the average caregiver in Montana serves 14 patients.

In addition, the court ruled that doctors who recommend medical marijuana to 25 or more patients in a 12-month period will face an audit of their practice by the state. The only provision of the law the court blocked is the ban on compensation for caregivers. A copy of the ruling is available here.

We expect the Department of Public Health and Human Services will send letters out to patients and caregivers with more information, and those affected should watch the state’s website for updates.

It is possible the state legislature could reconsider its harmful law when it reconvenes in 2017. In addition, the Montana Cannabis Information Association, which brought the legal action, has vowed to take the matter to voters through a voter initiative aimed at the November 2016 election. Another initiative effort currently gathering signatures for this year’s election would legalize marijuana for all adult consumers 21 or over, similar to alcohol.

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Tax and Regulate

Vermont Senate Approves Marijuana Regulation Bill

February 24th, 2016 No Comments Matt Simon

Today, the Vermont senators who support ending marijuana prohibition stepped onto the Senate floor knowing they would face a contentious debate from their prohibitionist colleagues. After much discussion, the champions of reasonable regulation narrowly prevailed when the Senate voted 16-13 to approve S. 241!

However, S. 241 must survive an additional floor vote before it advances to the House.

If you are a Vermont resident, please send one more message to your senators and let them know how you feel about this historic development! Consider editing the form message to express your own thoughts about how marijuana prohibition has failed Vermont.

In approving S. 241 today, the Senate became only the second legislative chamber in the United States to approve a marijuana legalization bill. (The New Hampshire House of Representatives narrowly passed a similar bill in 2014, but it did not advance.). The fact that it has made it this far is a testament to the strength of our robust Vermont Coalition to Regulate Marijuana, your many calls and emails, and the leadership of Gov. Peter Shumlin and legislative leaders.

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Tax and Regulate

Vermont Bill to Make Marijuana Legal for Adults Poised for Full Senate Vote

February 22nd, 2016 No Comments Morgan Fox

Today, the Vermont Senate Appropriations Committee voted 4-3 to approve S. 241, a bill that would end marijuana prohibition for adults and create a regulated and taxed system for marijuana production and sale. The bill has already been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Finance Committee.

Next, S. 241 will move to the Senate floor for a vote by the full Senate, which will probably happen later this week. If it passes there, it will go to the House of Representatives, and the committee process will begin anew after the legislature takes a break for Town Meeting Week (February 29 to March 4).

William-Sorrell
Attorney General William Sorrell

Last week, Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell and two former attorneys general, Jerome Diamond and Kimberly Cheney, sent a letter to legislators encouraging them to move forward with the proposal to end prohibition and regulate marijuana.

Earlier today, Vermont Public Radio released the results of a new poll conducted by the Castleton Polling Institute that found 55% of Vermonters support passing a law to legalize and regulate marijuana for adult use. Only 32% said they are opposed. The survey of 895 Vermonters was conducted February 3-17.

If you are a Vermont resident, please send them an email urging them to support S. 241.

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Uncategorized

Marijuana Regulation Bill to Be Introduced in Maryland

February 22nd, 2016 7 Comments Kate Bell

Maryland Del. Curt Anderson is introducing a bill to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol. This sensible approach would stop punishing adults for using a substance that’s safer than alcohol, while raising millions in tax revenue and creating thousands of good jobs.MDCoalition2

Although 53% of Marylanders support this policy, the General Assembly will not move forward unless they hear from YOU — their constituents. That’s why the Marijuana Policy Coalition of Maryland is having a Lobby Night on Monday, March 7 from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. in Room 142 of the House of Delegates Office Building. After hearing an update directly from legislators and some talking points from coalition leaders, you can meet with your legislators to urge them to support our bill to tax and regulate cannabis. Click here for more information and to sign up.

If you are a Maryland resident and cannot attend the lobby night, please contact your lawmakers and ask them to support regulating marijuana similarly to alcohol.

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Prohibition

Urge Republican Presidential Candidates to Address Marijuana Policy at Nevada Caucus

February 22nd, 2016 1 Comment Robert Capecchi

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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Research

Study: Marijuana Use Does Not Cause Anxiety or Depression

February 18th, 2016 4 Comments Marijuana Policy Project

Yet another study has been released that counters long-held beliefs about the dangers associated with marijuana use.

Washington Post reports:

New research published today in the journal JAMA Psychiatry found that using marijuana as an adult is not associated with a variety of mood and anxiety disorders, including depression and bipolar disorder.

This is a challenge to some previous research which has shown that marijuana use is associated with depression and anxiety.

The researchers examined the records of nearly 35,000 U.S. adults who participated in the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. They examined the prevalence of marijuana use among the study participants in 2001 and 2002, then checked on the participants’ rates of mental-health problems three years later in 2004 and 2005.

After controlling for a variety of confounding factors, such as socio-demographic characteristics, family history and environment, and past and present psychiatric disorders, the study found that “cannabis use was not associated with increased risk for developing mood or anxiety disorders.”

The new study adds to prior research discrediting the connection between marijuana and common mental-health disorders. And it’s important, because much of the federal government’s current literature on marijuana includes claims about links between marijuana and depression that are inaccurate in light of the latest findings.

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Medical Marijuana, Tax and Regulate

Key Marijuana Bill Passes Oregon House

February 16th, 2016 No Comments Chris Lindsey

A bill that would make several changes to the Oregon medical and adult use marijuana programs passed the House yesterday on a vote of 48-11.2000px-Seal_of_Oregon.svg

HB 4014 would lower the annual patient registration fee for veterans from $200 to $20, and it would allow medical cannabis patients on probation to be treated the same as if they were administering a prescribed pharmaceutical medication. It would also allow patients who have submitted physicians’ statements to receive medical marijuana before the state issues registration cards — avoiding what for many can be a long delay.

HB 4014 also makes significant changes for businesses. In particular, it would remove current residency requirements for business owners and investors. This has been somewhat controversial — while many support this change as a way for local businesses to get access to much-needed loans, others oppose it as creating more competition for smaller, locally owned shops.

If you are an Oregon resident and support HB 4014, please take a moment to ask your senator to support this important bill and pass it without delay.

Two other bills may also advance this week, including one that makes clear that banks serving marijuana businesses would not be subject to state criminal laws, and another that would allow nonmedical retail businesses to serve medical patients without imposing taxes.

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Tax and Regulate

Vermont Senate Finance Committee Votes to End Marijuana Prohibition

February 16th, 2016 No Comments Matt Simon

On Friday, the Vermont Senate Finance Committee voted 6-1 to approve S. 241, a bill that would end marijuana prohibition for adults and create a regulated and taxed system for marijuana production and sale. Before passing the bill, the Finance Committee adopted a 25% tax rate that would be applied to retail sales. (This is roughly on par with the tax rates in Oregon and Colorado, and it is significantly less than the rate in Washington state).

This bill is still a work in progress. We will continue to update you on new developments as it advances through the committee process.

If you are a Vermont resident, it’s very important that your senators and representatives hear from you today. Please send them an email urging them to support S. 241. If you are able to take a few minutes to personalize your email, that may increase its impact on legislators.

S. 241 will be considered by the Senate Appropriations Committee next. A vote by the full Senate is expected within the next couple weeks.

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Tax and Regulate

Connecticut Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Regulate Marijuana for Adults

February 16th, 2016 No Comments Becky Dansky

Last week, 10 Connecticut state representatives introduced HB 5236, legislation that would legalize the sale and use of marijuana for adults.Seal-of-Connecticut While it is unlikely HB 5236 will pass during this year’s short session, garnering co-sponsors and holding a hearing this year will help build the foundation for passage down the road.

If you are a Connecticut resident and support ending marijuana prohibition in your state, please contact your representative and ask him or her to support HB 5236.

In addition to the four states and Washington D.C. that have already legalized adult use, several of Connecticut’s neighbor states are currently considering legalization including Massachusetts, Vermont, and Rhode Island.

Legalizing marijuana for adults makes the illicit marijuana trade obsolete and would create much-needed revenue to the state during a time of financial hardship. In 2015, Colorado’s system of marijuana regulation brought in over $135 million in revenue for the state.

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Medical Marijuana

North Carolina Lawmaker Starts Petition to Gather Support for Medical Marijuana

February 16th, 2016 5 Comments Becky Dansky
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Rep. Kelly Alexander

State Rep. Kelly Alexander has been a strong advocate for comprehensive, workable medical marijuana policies in North Carolina. Last year, he filed HB 78, which would have allowed seriously ill patients to use, possess, and cultivate a limited amount of marijuana if recommended to do so by their physicians. Unfortunately, the bill was voted down in committee.

As part of this effort, Rep. Alexander is collecting signatures on a petition to show his colleagues in the legislature that North Carolinians support allowing the terminally ill to access medical marijuana — and he plans to introduce a bill that would do so during the short session this year.

Rep. Alexander is also hosting an Early Voting Kick Off Block Party — which is also a fundraiser for his campaign — to help get out the vote. This is a chance to thank Rep. Alexander for his leadership on behalf of compassionate medical marijuana laws.

Wednesday, March 2
7:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.
Label Charlotte
900 NC Music Factory Blvd., Ste. B6
Charlotte, NC 28206
General admission tickets: $45, VIP tickets: $75

If you live in North Carolina, please contact your lawmakers and urge them to support comprehensive medical marijuana legislation when the new session starts this year.

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