Last year, the New Hampshire House and Senate passed a bill that would have allowed patients and caregivers to grow a limited supply of cannabis. Sadly, Gov. Chris Sununu vetoed the bill. The House voted to override his veto, but the Senate fell three votes short of doing so.
A nearly identical bill, SB 420, passed the Senate Health and Human Services Committee last week, and it is scheduled for a vote in the full Senate on Thursday, February 6.
For the sake of patients who are still struggling because of limited access to cannabis, please contact your senator right now and urge them to support HB 364!
Additionally, if you live in the Manchester area, it is especially important that you follow up with a phone call to your senator’s office. All three of Manchester’s senators voted against the bill in 2019!
SB 420 would allow possession of three mature plants, three immature plants, and 12 seedlings for each patient. The bill is critically important because many patients are unable to afford the products that are available at dispensaries, which are not covered by health insurance. For some patients, home cultivation is simply the best, most affordable option.
After you contact your senator, please share this message with your family and friends.
The emerging cannabis industry — with $17 billion in sales this year — is currently troubled by a lack of racial diversity within its ranks. It is impossible to ignore the fact that members of the African American community and other racial minorities have paid a particularly high price in the war on cannabis. When the business community that follows legalization leaves behind people of color, there is cause for concern.
Recently, equity in the cannabis industry has moved to the forefront of many legalization discussions around the United States. It became the most significant issue in passage of Illinois’ recent legalization bill, and equity remains central in the discussions in New Jersey and New York. It can include many facets — from additional points on license applications for minority-owned businesses to incubator programs that help businesses get off the ground.
Yet, the single biggest advancement in equity in the near term will come from an unlikely and perhaps even unremarkable source — access to regulated financial services.
African Americans have access to far less wealth than their white counterparts. As a result, it has been difficult for black entrepreneurs to enter into the cannabis industry, which has relied on private equity to seed business opportunity. Opening banking services to the cannabis industry helps not only existing companies, but also minorities seeking access to that industry.
For example, many of the specific equity policies that states are putting in place require banking services to be meaningful. In Illinois, the state’s new landmark law to legalize and regulate cannabis establishes a fund to provide tens of millions of dollars in grants and loans to social equity applicants. Yet it remains to be seen if the financial institutions that serve the state will be willing to provide the banking services necessary to implement that portion of the law. The SAFE Banking Act would create a “safe harbor” for banks that provide small business loans, which could help level the playing field and increase opportunities for diverse representation within the cannabis industry.
Additionally, the SAFE Banking Act would establish important reporting requirements that do not exist today. It would mandate an annual report to Congress on access to financial services for minority- and women-owned cannabis businesses and recommendations to expand access for them. It would also require the Comptroller General to study barriers to marketplace entry for minority- and women-owned cannabis businesses and report to Congress on recommendations.
Members of Congress should allow banks to provide financial services to cannabis businesses. This creates access to resources for minority and women entrepreneurs and increases the chances for success in state equity initiatives. The SAFE Act is the best next step toward establishing a more equitable cannabis industry in the U.S.
Steven Hawkins, Executive Director, Marijuana Policy Project
During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing this week on combating the opioid epidemic, Illinois Senator Dick Durbin made a comment that is a perfect example of the kind of entrenched ignorance that MPP has been battling for nearly 25 years. Referring to his home state of Illinois, which only days ago passed a landmark, MPP-backed bill to legalize cannabis for adult use, Sen. Durbin remarked that:
"We've had medical marijuana. I've been to one of those clinics. It was almost a laughing matter."
Really, Senator? Ready access to life-changing medical treatments is basically a joke to you?
- It's not a joke for parents who have to drive across state lines, risking their livelihood and their freedom, in order to procure the only medicine available that can successfully treat their child's multiple sclerosis symptoms — just because their state is run by people who share your outdated perspective on medical marijuana.
- It's not a joke to the veterans suffering from severe PTSD who can't get a prescription at their local VA hospital because the federal government inserts its prohibitionist restrictions between them and their physicians.
- And it's certainly no joke to the greater than 10 million people located in prohibition states who are suffering from cancer, HIV/AIDS, debilitating arthritis, anorexia, cerebral palsy, chronic pain, or the numerous other afflictions for which medical marijuana is an effective treatment.
To them, and to us, medical marijuana is no laughing matter at all. With your contribution today, we can continue to fight for life-saving access for medical cannabis patients.
Please help us send Senator Durbin a clear message that it's past time for attitudes like his to evolve, that the harm caused by failed prohibitionist policies is both ongoing and urgent, and that he should use his national profile to shine a light on the problem — not to belittle the issue.
Thank you for standing up for medical cannabis patients. Together we can overcome the ignorance and misinformation — and ensure a brighter future for those who are still being denied safe access to the medicine they need.
Unlike alcohol and other legal products, Colorado prohibits patients and adult consumers from having cannabis delivered. Sure, delivery exists, but it’s unregulated and unsafe for everyone involved.
But a bill to fix that is on the move. HB 1234 — which would allow safe, regulated delivery — has passed out of the House and is starting to make its way through the state Senate.
Many medical cannabis patients have significant mobility limitations. Driving to the store is impossible for some due to their medical condition. Far more dangerous prescriptions can be delivered in the mail, but cannabis delivery remains illicit and in the shadows. Starting next year, medical cannabis deliveries would be allowed.
Beginning in 2021, HB 1234 would allow all adults 21 and older the benefits of cannabis delivery. This can provide safe, regulated access to adults and bring cannabis consumers closer to equal footing with alcohol consumers.
HB 1234 can pass this year, but it’s crucial that senators hear from supportive constituents. Take a few moments to send your senator a note using our free online tool, then share this message with friends and family in Colorado.
Vermont’s medical marijuana patients have finally been afforded a safe, legal option that doesn’t require the hassle of cultivating marijuana plants! As reported by The Burlington Free Press, two dispensaries have now opened their doors to patients: Vermont Patients Alliance held a “soft opening” late last week in Montpelier and Champlain Valley Dispensary opened Monday in Burlington.
The Free Press reported that both dispensaries are now open three days a week. A third dispensary has been approved and plans to locate in Brandon. A total of four dispensaries are allowed under the law MPP and our allies worked hard to pass in 2011.
These dispensaries will expand access and make life much easier for many patients. However, there is still room for improvement in Vermont’s medical marijuana law. For example, it only allows a maximum of 1,000 patients to be served by dispensaries. Additionally, patients who designate a dispensary are no longer permitted to cultivate their own plants.
State-regulated dispensaries are now open in the following seven states: NM, ME, CO, AZ, NJ, RI, and VT. State-regulated dispensaries are allowed, but have not yet been selected, in four additional states: MA, CT, NV, and DE. In the District of Columbia, dispensaries should be serving patients soon.
Medical marijuana patients in the Aloha State could be looking at major improvements to their ability to access their medicine. Last week, two proposals were introduced in the state legislature to augment the 10-year-old law.
Sen. Will Espero proposed a bill that would increase the number of plants a patient can personally grow from four to 10. Patients would also be able to designate a caregiver to grow the same amount of plants instead, and each caregiver would be able to take on up to four patients. This bill would also keep patients' names and grow site locations private, and would allow a person with a qualifying condition to get a medical marijuana recommendation from a doctor other than his or her primary care physician.
A bill that would set up state-licenced compassion centers was also introduced by Sen. J. Kalani English. While the licensing fees and taxes for these businesses would be large, this proposal would be the first of its kind to allow dispensaries to provide marijuana to non-Hawaii residents who are legal medical marijuana patients in their home states.
Of course, the police are fighting this tooth and nail, and are trotting out the same old predictable arguments. According to Sen. Espero, Hawaii lawmakers aren't buying it anymore. And neither is the new governor.