Medical Marijuana

Tennessee Has Organized a Medical Marijuana Committee

August 28th, 2017 1 Comment Marijuana Policy Project

House Speaker Beth Harwell and Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally formed a committee to study the potential impacts of legalizing medical marijuana in Tennessee.

The committee will be chaired by Sen. Steve Dickerson, R-Nashville, and Rep. Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby, who has been a staunch advocate for medical marijuana in the Volunteer State.

Speaker Harwell has recently said she is “open” to considering a law allowing medical marijuana in Tennessee and has launched a House task force to fight the state’s ongoing opioid crisis.

A 2014 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that states with medical marijuana laws are associated with a significant reduction in mortality from opioid abuse; these states saw a 25% reduction in opioid overdose deaths, compared to states without such laws.

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Prohibition, Tax and Regulate

Alaska Publishes Proposed Rules for Cannabis Cafés

August 28th, 2017 3 Comments Chris Lindsey

The Alaska Marijuana Control Board published proposed rules for cannabis cafés. Please take a look and consider submitting written comments in support.

It’s important for the board to hear that the public wants adults to be allowed to consume cannabis at regulated establishments.

Comments are due by October 27 at 4:30 p.m., and they may be submitted by email to [email protected], or by regular mail. For more information on making submissions, please see the state’s public notice, available online here. While comments are not due until late October, we strongly encourage you to submit them early so that board members have time to review and consider submissions.

Under the current proposal, the state would allow cannabis flowers to be purchased and consumed on-site by vaporization or smoking, one gram at a time. Concentrates would not be available. Cannabis edibles and food that does not contain cannabis could also be available. A newly proposed addition to the rules would ensure cannabis café workers are not exposed to marijuana smoke while on duty.

The status quo is unworkable for the state’s tourists, and adult residents should not be relegated to private homes when alcohol consumers can choose from a variety of bars and restaurants. It is also important to ensure renters — whose leases may prohibit cannabis consumption — are not shut out of the freedoms Alaskan homeowners enjoy.

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Tax and Regulate

Denver Businesses Applying for Social Consumption Permits

August 25th, 2017 1 Comment Marijuana Policy Project

In November 2016, Denver voters approved a measure that allows local businesses to apply for permits to set aside areas for marijuana consumption by their customers. Now, after months of conflict over the extremely restrictive nature of the rules, the city is accepting applications.

Advocates are still decrying the regulations, however, saying that the rules are designed to make it almost impossible for most businesses to take part. In particular, they are concerned that a requirement that applicants be at least 1,000 feet from a variety of educational, treatment, and public facilities, including city parks, eliminates most potential applicants and is unfair when compared to much less restrictive buffer zones for businesses that sell alcohol. Locals are considering a lawsuit against the city to address this issue.

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Prohibition

UPDATE: Virginia Marijuana Decriminalization Forum Rescheduled

August 21st, 2017 No Comments Marijuana Policy Project

The Virginia State Crime Commission has rescheduled its meeting to present its findings on marijuana decriminalization. It’s important that advocates attend this meeting and show that Virginians support sensible marijuana policies.

What: Virginia State Crime Commission public meeting to present its findings on marijuana decriminalization

When: Monday, October 30, at 1 p.m.

Where: House Committee Room, Ground Floor, Room W011, Pocahontas Building, 900 East Maine Street, Richmond, VA

Don’t forget that the Commission is still accepting written comment on marijuana decriminalization. The specific issues it’s examining are available here. Make sure to submit your comments by Friday, August 23, at 5 p.m. You can email them to [email protected] or mail them to:

1111 East Broad Street, Ste. B036
Richmond, VA 23219

Be sure to check out our decriminalization webpage for assistance crafting your comments. Here are some of the best key points to hit:

  • Punishing marijuana possession with a fine will save the state money, help eliminate enforcement disparities, and allow police to pursue actual violent criminals.
  • Marijuana is safer than alcohol, and marijuana consumers shouldn’t be criminalized for choosing a safer substance.
  • Nearly eight in 10 Virginians support replacing marijuana criminal convictions with a fine (decriminalization), and 62% favor ending marijuana prohibition altogether.

Please spread the word to other Virginians who support humane marijuana policies.

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Medical Marijuana

New Hampshire Adds Chronic Pain to Qualifying Conditions

August 17th, 2017 3 Comments Matt Simon

New Hampshire’s therapeutic cannabis law is finally expanding to include patients who suffer from chronic pain. HB 157 went into effect on Tuesday, adding “moderate to severe chronic pain” as a qualifying condition. This new law will allow many more Granite Staters to use cannabis as an alternative to prescribed opioids — a critically important reform for a state that is struggling to turn the tide against opiate addiction.

Until this week, patients could only qualify with a pain diagnosis if their pain was deemed to be “severe” and related to one of the specific medical conditions provided for in the law. As a result, it was much easier for medical providers to prescribe opioids than to certify patients for therapeutic cannabis. Patients who would like to apply now that the law has changed can access the updated application forms here.

For those who are waiting for the addition of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), that is scheduled to take effect on August 27.

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Medical Marijuana

Utah Campaign Launches Signature Drive in Salt Lake City

August 16th, 2017 No Comments Marijuana Policy Project

The Utah Patients Coalition held a news conference on Thursday to announce the official launch of signature gathering efforts to get a medical marijuana initiative on the Nov. 2018 ballot.  Volunteers began collecting signatures in downtown Salt Lake City immediately following the event.

The Utah Medical Cannabis Act received approval from Lt. Governor Spencer Cox on August 10 to begin gathering signatures after supporters held 10 public hearings across the state and met with various state departments and stakeholders. More than 113,000 valid signatures are required to qualify for the ballot.

Good 4 Utah reports:

They are due April 15, 2018, but this group wants to get all the signatures turned in before the 2018 Legislative Session starts.

“The legislature has had an opportunity for the last three or four years to make substantive policy on this and has failed to do so, so now I think it’s time for the people to decide on this issue,” said DJ Schanz, Utah Patients Coalition Campaign Director.

The initiative would allow patients with certain qualifying conditions to legally and safely access medical cannabis with the recommendation of their doctor. It limits the number of dispensaries and cultivators, allows local zoning for medical cannabis facilities, prohibits using medical cannabis in public view, maintains the illegality of driving while intoxicated, and closely mirrors the legislation passed by the Utah Senate in 2016. Home cultivation and smoking medical cannabis would not be permitted.

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Medical Marijuana

New York Health Dept. Proposes Medical Marijuana Improvements

August 10th, 2017 1 Comment Marijuana Policy Project
The New York Department of Health proposed additional changes to the state’s medical marijuana program today. While the official proposed regulations will not be released until August 23, the changes appear to be very positive. Once the rules are released, the public will have 30 days to comment.
New forms of medicine would be allowed, including topicals and chewable lozenges, as well as “[c]ertain non-smokable forms of ground plant material,” which will hopefully be clarified in the full text of the regulations. Having whole plant cannabis available for vaporization could dramatically reduce prices for patients, and we will seek to make sure it’s permitted.
Other changes would reduce burdens on medical professionals, hopefully encouraging more of them to participate. For more information and the complete list of proposed changes, you can read the Department of Health’s full announcement.

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Medical Marijuana

New Approach Missouri Gathers More Than 50K Signatures

August 10th, 2017 1 Comment Marijuana Policy Project

With nine months left to gather signatures, the hard-working volunteers of New Approach Missouri are well on their way with over 50,000 already collected! The total number required to qualify for the 2018 ballot is 160,199.

However, gathering enough total signatures is only one part of the process in Missouri. It is also necessary that the signatures be distributed across different congressional districts in the state. So New Approach Missouri is planning to hire a professional petitioning firm to help push the campaign over the finish line and to ensure that geographic distribution requirements are met.

In other news, the list of advocates calling for medical marijuana in Missouri has expanded to include retired NFL player Kyle Turley, who played for both the Kansas City Chiefs and the St. Louis Rams! Kyle is a patient and an advocate because medical marijuana has allowed him to live without pain and painkillers, as well as helping him to overcome depression. Check out his story here.

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Prohibition

National Conference of State Legislatures Passes Resolution Urging De-Scheduling of Marijuana

August 7th, 2017 5 Comments Marijuana Policy Project

The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) approved a resolution Monday urging that the Controlled Substances Act should be amended to remove marijuana from scheduling in order to give federally approved banks the ability to work with marijuana businesses. This would also allow states to determine their own marijuana policies without the threat of federal interference. For a resolution to pass, it must be supported by a majority of participating legislators in each of 75% of the states represented at the conference’s general business meeting.

Due to the Schedule I status of marijuana under federal law, federally insured banks risk penalties if they offer financial services to marijuana-related businesses. For that reason, many of these businesses are forced to operate on a cash-only basis, making them a target for criminals. While limited guidance has been issued, which intended to encourage financial institutions to serve marijuana businesses, access to banking remains a problem.

The full resolution can be found here.

MPP’s Karen O’Keefe said the following statement in a press release:

“State legislators and the vast majority of voters agree that marijuana policy should be left to the states,” said Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, which tracks marijuana policy in all 50 states and lobbies in state legislatures throughout the country.

“Legitimate, taxpaying marijuana businesses should not have to face the difficulties of operating on a cash-only basis. Allowing banks to offer them financial services will be good for the industry and benefit public safety,” O’Keefe continues. “Even more so, states should not have to worry about the federal government interfering with their marijuana policy choices.”

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Medical Marijuana, Tax and Regulate

South Dakota Has 90 Days to Collect Enough Signatures for 2018 Ballot

August 7th, 2017 1 Comment Marijuana Policy Project

New Approach South Dakota has 90 days to collect the remaining signatures needed to place marijuana initiative measures on the 2018 ballot.

Two petitions are being circulated — one seeks to legalize marijuana for medical uses and the other to legalize certain amounts of marijuana for adult use and to regulate and tax marijuana businesses.

Signatures are tied to the number of votes cast in the state’s most recent gubernatorial election, so each petition needs at least 13,871 signatures by November 2017 to make it on the November 2018 ballot.

To read the petitions and for more information about adding your signature, check out New Approach South Dakota’s website.

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