Yesterday, the Alabama Senate approved the state’s medical cannabis bill — SB 165 — in a 22-11 vote! The bill now heads to the House of Representatives, where the speaker has not yet committed to letting it receive a vote.
Write your state rep today to ask them to support patients and to urge leadership to let it get a vote. To have even more impact, you can give your state representative a call after sending your email.
Senators debated SB 165 for hours and considered numerous amendments — accepting some and rejecting others.
The bill, which is sponsored by a physician, Sen. Tim Melson (R), would allow qualifying patients to use and safely access medical cannabis preparations. While it is more restrictive than most medical cannabis laws — and does not allow smoking or vaporization — SB 165 would still be a dramatic improvement from current law. For more details, check out our summary.
After you reach out to your own representative, spread the word to other compassionate Alabamians so that they, too, can raise their voices for compassion.
Earlier this year, Gov. Gina Raimondo submitted her annual budget proposal to the General Assembly. Like last year’s, the proposed legislation includes a plan to legalize and regulate marijuana for adults’ use. You can read a summary of it here.
We’re happy to see the governor once again leading on this issue, and as we advocated last year, this year’s legislation does more to address the harms created by decades of marijuana criminalization, including the creation of a Community Equity and Reinvestment Council. However, we also have significant concerns about the proposal as currently written.
We are asking members of the General Assembly to amend the legislation in three key ways:
- In case of a conflict with federal law, the law should establish a privately run system of retail stores as a back up to replace state-run establishments.
- Legislators should remove the ban on people with prior drug felonies from owning and operating a marijuana business.
- The law should allow adults to cultivate a small number of plants in their residences.
With these amendments, we believe the governor’s proposal would be greatly improved and would urge state legislators to pass it.
On Thursday, May 5, the Vermont House of Representatives voted 99-44 to approve an amended bill that would allow four well-regulated non-profit medical marijuana dispensaries throughout the state.
I am pleased to announce that the Senate has approved the amendments, and the bill is now on its way to the governor to be signed into law!
It is expected that Gov. Peter Shumlin will approve the bill. He has stated his support for marijuana reform publicly in the past and has been a consistent ally.
Hopefully, with Gov. Shumlin’s help, medical marijuana patients in Vermont will soon be able to access the highest quality medicine safely and affordably.
In a great show of respect for the will of the voters in Montana, Gov. Schweitzer vetoed H.B. 161, the bill that would have repealed Montana’s medical marijuana law. That law, which was approved by a large majority of voters in 2004, has come under criticism lately, and overzealous lawmakers are doing everything they can to gut or eliminate the program.
While this is a wonderful sign of support from the governor, medical marijuana patients and businesses are still at risk. The legislature is currently considering another bill that would seriously damage the ability of patients to access their medicine, and would destroy the legitimate medical marijuana industry that has emerged in Montana. S.B. 423, and especially the House version of the bill, would add to the already staggering unemployment rate in Montana and would effectively send patients back to criminal organizations to get their medicine. It would also severely limit the number of patients for whom a caregiver can grow marijuana.
Hopefully, the Senate will reject the House’s version of “repeal lite” and insist on a more compassionate proposal. Even if the Senate rejects the House’s unworkable bill, though, the Senate version was also too onerous and unworkable, especially for pain patients. Patients will likely need to rely on the governor to see the error in this bill as well, and suggest reasonable regulations for Montana’s medical marijuana industry that do not hurt patients or their caregivers.