Medical Marijuana

Medical Marijuana On the Move in South Carolina

February 28th, 2018 1 Comment Marijuana Policy Project

MPP, our allies, and supportive lawmakers have made tremendous strides this year gaining support for a sensible and compassionate medical marijuana program in South Carolina. However, while the vast majority of South Carolinians support allowing medical marijuana, and despite strong support in the House, it’s not clear if Speaker of the House Jay Lucas will attempt to prevent a floor vote.

H3521 was assigned to committee last year, and that group of lawmakers is now ready to advance the bill to the House floor for a key vote. But insiders tell us that Speaker Lucas might delay passage by sending the bill to another committee. If that happens, it is extremely unlikely the bill will advance further before time runs out.

If you are a South Carolina resident, please urge your representative to call for a floor vote on H3521 when it is returned to the full House, and to support passage.

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Medical Marijuana

W. Va. House Passes Limited Bill to Improve Medical Cannabis Law

February 28th, 2018 3 Comments Marijuana Policy Project

Today, the West Virginia House of Delegates passed a bill making limited improvements to the medical cannabis program. HB 4345 would increase the number of licenses available for growers and dispensaries, and it would allow patients to pre-register for the program. Unfortunately, the bill would also add onerous restrictions on physicians that would discourage them from certifying patients. You can read a summary of the bill here.

If you are a resident of West Virginia, please call your state senators today and urge them to amend and pass HB 4345.

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Medical Marijuana

N.Y. Lawmakers Consider Expanding Medical Marijuana Program

February 28th, 2018 1 Comment Marijuana Policy Project

New York has recently been making significant progress on expanding its overly restrictive medical marijuana program, but many patients are still left out due to the state’s limited list of qualifying conditions. Please ask your state lawmakers to support bills that would address this problem. These bills are:

A08904 / S07755 — eliminates the list of qualifying conditions and instead allows a medical professional to recommend medical cannabis for any “severe debilitating or life-threatening condition, or symptom or complication or its treatment”

A09016 / S07564 — adds opioid use disorder as a qualifying condition

A00582 — adds dysmenorrhea (pain related to menstrual cramps) as a qualifying condition

A09869 — adds autism as a qualifying condition

While adding qualifying conditions is certainly helpful (which is why MPP led an effort last year that resulted in the addition of PTSD), eliminating the list and allowing medical professionals to recommend cannabis for any serious condition is even better. If you are a New York resident, please ask your lawmakers to respect the practitioner/patient relationship.

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Tax and Regulate

Update on Regulation Progress in Maine

February 26th, 2018 No Comments Marijuana Policy Project

The Maine MLI Committee has been back to work over the last two months on the latest iteration of their omnibus bill to establish regulations for the adult-use marijuana market. Unfortunately, most of the changes have been politically oriented to garner support from House Republicans. Changes that concern us the most are the removal of social clubs from the bill and reducing the number of flowering marijuana plants an adult can grow, from six to three per adult.

We are still waiting on the final language of the bill, which may be a week or two. Once the final bill is released, we will be sure to send it to you.

Across the hall, in the Health and Human Services Committee, some structural reforms are being considered. For the first time, in a long time, stakeholders are working together with the committee to make the medical program better for patients and the industry. We will keep you abreast of these changes as they occur.

In the meantime, we are meeting with Republican, Democratic, and Independent candidates for governor. Not only do these meetings allow us to ask the candidates where they stand on marijuana policy, but also, they allow us to be a resource and answer questions they may have. We are frustrated and disappointed that adults in Maine will not have a legal way to purchase marijuana this year and hope the next governor will make implementation a top priority.

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Prohibition

Wyoming Senators Still Trying to Move Marijuana Policy Backwards

February 23rd, 2018 No Comments Marijuana Policy Project

The Wyoming Legislature is only meeting for a limited, budget session this year, but two-thirds of senators voted to spend time considering an increase in the penalties for possessing marijuana products.

Senate File 23, sponsored by the Joint Judiciary Committee, would set the threshold for a felony charge — for mere possession — at three grams of concentrate, three ounces of edibles, or 36 ounces of liquids (such as infused soda). This is extremely low; one tray of marijuana brownies could easily weigh one pound (16 ounces) and contain only 1/8 of an ounce of cannabis flower. Yet, three ounces of flower is required to trigger a felony charge under current law.

Instead of wasting time trying to give more citizens felony records, which will have a huge negative impact on their ability to get a job, housing, or an education, the legislature should consider more sensible policies. If you are a Wyoming resident, please ask your lawmakers to eliminate the existing felony for possession of marijuana flower and remove jail time for possessing personal use amounts of cannabis.

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Prohibition

Alabama to Consider Decriminalizing Marijuana Possession

February 20th, 2018 1 Comment Marijuana Policy Project

The Alabama House Judiciary Committee will be considering a bill that would decriminalize less than one ounce of marijuana.

Currently, Alabamans caught with small amounts of marijuana can be sent to jail for up to one year. These bills, HB 272 and SB 251, would change the penalty for possessing less than one ounce of marijuana to a violation instead of a misdemeanor. That means the penalty would be paying a fine of up to $250 instead of facing jail time.

There is real momentum to pass this bipartisan bill this year. One of the sponsors, Rep. Patricia Todd, said, “I haven’t talked to one person who is against.”

If you are an Alabama resident, please ask your representatives and senators to support HB 272 and SB 251.

 

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Tax and Regulate

Maryland to Hold Hearings on Legalization Ballot Bill

February 19th, 2018 No Comments Marijuana Policy Project

The bills to let the people of Maryland decide whether the state should tax and regulate cannabis for adults, SB 1039 and HB 1264, will have hearings beginning tomorrow and on March 13.

 

In order for the people to vote on whether to end marijuana prohibition, lawmakers must pass SB 1039 or HB 1264 to put the issue on the November 2018 ballot. If you are a Maryland resident, please ask your lawmakers to allow voters to put an end to the failed and biased policy of cannabis prohibition and replace it with a system that allows adults to lawfully consume a substance that is safer than alcohol. You can also click here for more information on these bills.

If you are interested in sharing your personal story with lawmakers, please contact us!

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Medical Marijuana

Medical Marijuana Sales Begin in Pennsylvania

February 15th, 2018 5 Comments Marijuana Policy Project

Today marks an historic day in the Keystone State. Less than two years after the governor signed Act 16 into law, six dispensaries have begun selling medical marijuana to patients and caregivers. Pennsylvania is expected to be one of the largest medical marijuana markets in the country, and those involved in implementation should be applauded for reaching this point ahead of schedule.

To date, 10 dispensaries and 10 grower/processors have been approved to operate. Over the next few months, we expect up to 81 dispensary locations to open across the state. More than 17,000 patients have registered to participate in the medical marijuana program, with nearly 4,000 certified by a physician. As of this week, 708 physicians have registered with the department and 376 have competed the training to become certified practitioners.

However, the implementation process is not yet complete. The Medical Marijuana Advisory Board is still working on its recommendations for changes to the program. This week, they met to discuss one of the most important issues — allowing patient access to medical cannabis flower. This is a vital expansion of the program that will improve patient access and lower costs. Only two states have attempted a medical program without flower, which led to disastrous results for patients. You can learn more about the importance of patient access to flower here.

If you want to learn more about becoming a registered patient, visit the DOH website.

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Medical Marijuana

West Virginia to Consider Medical Marijuana Improvements

February 14th, 2018 No Comments Marijuana Policy Project

West Virginia State Senator Richard Ojeda, who championed last year’s medical cannabis legislation, has put forward a new bill for 2018 seeking to make the medical cannabis program more accessible for patients.

SB 487 would make several positive changes to the law, including allowing patients and caregivers to grow their own limited supply of cannabis. It would also eliminate onerous restrictions on doctors and make it easier for patients to qualify. You can read a summary of the bill here.

The West Virginia Medical Cannabis Board is also expected to consider changes to the current law later this month.

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Prohibition

Federal Spending Deal Keeps Medical Marijuana Protections in Place… For Another Few Weeks

February 9th, 2018 4 Comments Marijuana Policy Project

After a government shutdown lasting only a few hours, Congress passed yet another temporary spending bill on Friday that will keep medical marijuana patients and providers safe for a little while longer. The bill includes the amendments that has been part of the spending budget since 2014, which prevents the Department of Justice from spending resources to prosecute people or businesses that are in compliance with state laws. This deal is set to expire on March 23.

Congress will need to pass another spending bill before then in order to continue keeping state medical marijuana programs safe. In the event of a government shutdown, there will be nothing to stop federal prosecutors from targeting medical marijuana programs around the country.

However, supportive lawmakers are using the temporary reprieves to push for even more comprehensive protections, including amendments that would extend protections to businesses in the adult-use market.

Please contact your lawmakers and ask them to support state marijuana protections in the final spending bill.

 

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