Medical Marijuana

N.H.: Help us “bring back the heart” and pass HB 364!

Also, legalization advocates will debate prohibitionists this Wednesday, August 21 at 7 p.m. in Moultonborough!

The N.H. House is scheduled to meet on Wednesday, September 18 to vote on veto overrides, including HB 364, the bill that would allow limited home cultivation for patients. If the House votes to override the governor's veto and pass HB 364, the bill will proceed to the Senate for a final vote.

We're committed to fighting for every vote we can get in the legislature and passing this bill into law. To that end, I'm pleased to report that we found the designs from our 2009 N.H. Compassion campaign and updated them for current use.

Although the 2009 campaign tragically fell two votes short of success when Gov. Lynch's veto was sustained in the Senate after being overridden by the House, the patients who fought for that bill seemed to be fans of this design. Many of those patients are no longer with us, and I feel that "bringing back the heart" and using it for online ads and other materials would be a good way to honor their memories.

Please help us "bring back the heart" by making a donation to MPP's veto override effort today! We need to pick up two more Senate votes, but there are several votes in play.

If you haven't already done so, please contact your representatives and senator and urge them to support passing HB 364 into law!

Finally, in case you thought the legalization debate was dead until 2020, I'm pleased to report that former Rep. Ted Wright and I will be discussing the pros and cons of legalization with two opponents, including Sen. Bob Giuda, on a panel this Wednesday, August 21 at the Moultonborough Public Library, beginning at 7 p.m.

Please share this important news with your family and friends!

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Prohibition

Arkansas: Little Rock proposing marijuana policy reform

Little Rock City Board Member Ken Richardson is proposing to make marijuana arrests the lowest possible police priority. This measure — which would effectively reduce marijuana possession to a citation — will save court and law enforcement resources while not needlessly punishing adults with jail time.

While attitudes on marijuana policy are changing all over the country, we can't rest now. In fact, Little Rock voted down a similar ordinance last year!

To find your Ward Director, please click here. Be sure to reach out to them before the meeting and let them know you support this proposed ordinance. (If Richardson is your board member, you can thank him for his leadership.)

Here are a couple of points you can make in support:

* Please support Board Member Richardson's proposal to cite, not jail, people for marijuana possession. Incarceration is a traumatic, disproportionate penalty for possessing marijuana.

* This measure would allow law enforcement to spend more time on crimes with victims, instead of wasting their time booking individuals for using a substance most Americans think should be legal.

You can also show up in person to demonstrate your support for this important measure:

What: Little Rock Board of Directors meeting

When: Tuesday, August 20 at 6:00 p.m.

Where: Little Rock City Hall, 500 West Markham Street, Board of Directors' Chambers, 2nd floor

The city will vote on this next week and needs to hear from constituents beforehand. Reach out to your city board member today. If you or anyone you know is a resident of Little Rock, please let them know about the meeting and forward this email to them.

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Prohibition

Delaware Gov. Carney signs decrim expansion bill!

On July 31, Gov. John Carney signed a bill into law that expands decriminalization for cannabis possession of one ounce or less to those under 21. The law became effective upon the governor's signature.

This important legislation will save young adults from life-altering criminal convictions, which can close the door on opportunities including jobs, housing, and higher education. For more information on Delaware's decriminalization law, check out our summary here.

In other news, the adult-use legalization bill, HB 110, will pick up where it left off in the House Appropriations Committee in 2020. You can read our summary of HB 110 here.

Please ask your representative to support HB 110 to end cannabis prohibition and replace it with a system where cannabis is regulated similarly to alcohol.

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Medical Marijuana

N.H.: Gov. Sununu vetoes home cultivation bill

Urge your representatives and senators to override the veto and pass HB 364 into law!

On Friday afternoon, Gov. Chris Sununu vetoed HB 364, the bill that would allow registered patients and caregivers to cultivate a limited supply of cannabis at home. This is a very disappointing development, but it's possible that the House and Senate can be persuaded to pass the bill into law despite the governor's veto.

Please contact your representatives and senator right now — urge them to override the veto and pass HB 364!

In order to override the veto, two-thirds majorities will be necessary in both the House and Senate. The House has voted by more than two-thirds to support home cultivation bills on several occasions in the past, and the Senate voted 14-10 in support of HB 364 on May 2. This means two additional votes will be needed in order to reach two-thirds in the Senate.

If you have a personal story to share with legislators about how allowing home cultivation would make a positive difference in your life or the life of a patient you know, please include that in your emails to legislators. If you're comfortable having your story shared with legislators or the public, please send details to me at msimon@mpp.org.

After you email your representatives and senator, please share this important update with your friends and family!

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Medical Marijuana

N.H.: Home grow bill finally lands on Gov. Sununu’s desk

Call the governor's office one last time today and urge him to sign HB 364!

Yesterday, after a series of delays, the medical cannabis home cultivation bill was finally delivered to Gov. Chris Sununu's desk. That means the governor will have until Saturday to sign or veto HB 364, which would allow registered patients and caregivers to cultivate a limited supply of cannabis at home. If he takes no action, the bill will become law without his signature.

Please call Gov. Sununu one last time and urge him to sign HB 364!

After you call Gov. Sununu, please share this important update with your friends and family!

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General

N.Y.: Gov. Cuomo signs decrim expansion bill!

Ask your lawmakers to support legalizing, taxing, and regulating marijuana for adult use.

Today, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed A08420 into law, which will fix the state's decriminalization law and provide for automatic expungement for those with certain misdemeanor cannabis convictions. The law will take effect in 30 days.

This reform will save thousands of New Yorkers from arrest and allow those with previous cannabis convictions to move on with their lives. It also reduces the penalty for possessing about an ounce of cannabis from a $100 fine to a $50 fine. For more details, read our full summary of the bill here.

While this improved decriminalization law is an important step forward, there is still work to be done to improve New York's marijuana laws. Unfortunately, the legislature failed to pass a legalization measure before the session adjourned.

The majority of New Yorkers support legalization. Let your lawmakers know you want them to pass legislation to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for adult use in 2020.

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Medical Marijuana

Minn. patients and health providers: Help expand the medical cannabis program​

Submit a letter of support if you could benefit from allowing oral uptake delivery or from adding chronic pain or TBI to the program.

Minnesota's medical cannabis law started as one of the most restrictive in the nation. Thanks to the hard work of our allies at Sensible Minnesota and the voices of patients and providers, it has steadily been expanded via the Department of Health petition process. Intractable pain, PTSD, autism, and other conditions have been added administratively to include tens of thousands more patients.

Sensible Minnesota is now focused on expanding conditions to include chronic pain, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and to allow oral uptake delivery. If you are a patient, caregiver, family member, healthcare provider, or someone else who could benefit from the addition of these conditions or delivery method, please consider providing a letter of support by the end of the day on Friday, July 26.

The National Academy of Sciences found there is conclusive or substantial evidence that cannabis relieves chronic pain. Adding "chronic pain" would allow thousands more patients to qualify who do not fall under the restrictive definition of intractable pain.

Oral uptake delivery — which can be done with gums, lozenges, or mints — permits patients to absorb cannabinoids through the mucosal lining of the mouth. This means the patient doesn't need to swallow the product, which can take far longer to get into the bloodstream to provide relief.

If you are a pain or TBI patient who has already received benefit from medical cannabis, please consider providing a letter to share your story.

You can submit your letter of support using Sensible Minnesota's online form or via email to petitions@sensible.mn. If you have questions or would like more information, please reach out to petitions@sensible.mn.

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Tax and Regulate

Legalization + social justice in Michigan

If you live in Michigan, ask your state legislators to support automatic expungement for low-level marijuana offenses.

For decades, marijuana prohibition destroyed lives and harmed communities in Michigan. Fortunately, voters said enough is enough and passed Prop 1 last year. As the state now moves forward with implementing a legal marijuana market, we must take steps to undo past injustices and support those who have been most impacted by punitive marijuana laws.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has publicly called for prior low-level marijuana offenses to be erased from individuals' criminal records. And now, state Sen. Jeff Irwin is sponsoring legislation, SB 263, to automatically expunge prior marijuana use and possession convictions, which could affect nearly 250,000 residents in the state.

Send a letter to your state legislators and ask them to support this important legislation.

In a related update, the Marijuana Regulatory Agency recently released rules to implement Prop 1's social equity provisions. Residents of the 19 cities in which marijuana arrests rates were disproportionately higher than the rest of the state will be eligible for technical assistance, fee reductions, and educational resources to help them get a leg up in obtaining a marijuana business license. You can find a list of the cities and more details about the new regulations here.

As Michigan finds itself in an exciting new era of legalization, we cannot leave behind those who have suffered as a result of prohibition. It is encouraging to see policymakers taking steps to address these issues, and we will continue monitoring the state's progress.

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Prohibition

North Dakotans can now apply to have low-level marijuana convictions pardoned

The first round of pardon applications, which you can access here, will be accepted until Aug. 10

Great news! In a unanimous decision last week, North Dakota's Pardon Advisory Council voted to allow individuals previously convicted of certain marijuana crimes to apply to have those offenses pardoned.

The new policy, supported by Gov. Doug Burgum and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, will wipe the slate clean — free of charge — for thousands of North Dakota residents with marijuana possession convictions on their records. This is a victory for justice and advocates of sensible marijuana policy reform. It will eliminate many hardships, such as obstacles to employment and housing, faced by individuals with prior marijuana records.

The attorney general estimates that up to 175,000 prior convictions will be eligible for pardon. Help spread the word and share the application with others. People who have struggled for years under the weight of a criminal record for marijuana deserve a chance to build a better life.

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Medical Marijuana

TOMORROW (Wed. 7/17): Action meeting to support Rhode Island’s medical marijuana program

If you're worried that the needs and interests of medical cannabis patients are being ignored in Rhode Island, I hope you'll join Ellen Lenox Smith from RIPAC and me tomorrow (July 17) at 6:30 p.m. in the Bell Street Chapel (5 Bell St., Providence) to discuss priorities and ways patients and allies can effectively advocate for the program. You can visit the Facebook event page here.

As the state makes significant changes to the medical marijuana program, patients do not have a seat at the table, and political leaders are treating the medical marijuana program as a source of tax revenue. On top of that, we see attempts nearly every year to roll back home cultivation rights, which have been a vital safety net and crucial source of medicine for many patients since the program started.

We are calling on all supporters of the medical cannabis program to come together and discuss ways to strengthen patients' influence over policies that deeply affect them. We believe it's possible to create a more organized and unified voice to fight for the program.

Hope to see you tomorrow evening.

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