Sen. Tom Davis introduced a new bill today that would establish a medical cannabis program for seriously ill patients in South Carolina. The text of Senate bill 366 is available here. Sen. Davis' office sent out a summary of the bill, and we have our own as well. Rep. Peter McCoy is expected to file his own version in the House soon.
You lawmakers need to hear from you. Click here to forward a message asking for support.
Sen. Davis and Rep. McCoy sponsored medical cannabis bills in 2018, and in many respects this year's effort will pick up where last year's left off. Measures in both chambers passed out of committee last year, but time ran out before floor votes could be taken. Given the groundwork laid since then, we hope to see a bill pass and be presented to the governor for his signature in 2019.
At the same time, there are signs of increasing support among members of the GOP. Members of the Charleston County GOP voted yesterday in support of a resolution asking the state legislature to adopt a medical cannabis measure for patients in South Carolina. Based on recent polling, 63% of Republicans in the state support such a program.
2019 could be the year patients finally get a program they deserve! Make sure your lawmakers hear from you, and please forward this message to friends, family, and supporters in South Carolina.
Over the weekend in Dallas, the Republican Party of Texas convened for their state convention where, among other business, delegates adopted a platform to express their position on various political issues.
With support from 78% of delegates, the following is now the official position of the Texas GOP: "We call upon the Texas Legislature to improve the 2015 Compassionate Use Act to allow doctors to determine the appropriate use of cannabis to prescribed patients."
Thanks to the work of dedicated Republican delegates who support marijuana law reform, the Texas GOP is now officially in support of medical marijuana!
Of course, this confirms what we already knew: Marijuana law reform is not a partisan issue. Texans of all political persuasions acknowledge that cannabis is medicine and support the reform of outdated policies. This move by Republican delegates affirms the integrity of the doctor/patient relationship by declaring that patients should have safe and legal access to medical cannabis if their doctors recommend it, consistent with another section of the platform which states, "Health care decisions...should be between a patient and health care professional and should be protected from government intrusion."
While this new position does not change current state law, it does demonstrate that even the most conservative Texans agree: Cannabis should be accessible to patients.
Last week, Republican presidential candidates were asked about their positions on marijuana policy reform. While most of them responded that they would let states determine their own policies, they also stated their opposition to making marijuana legal for adults and revealed their serious misunderstandings of the relative harms of marijuana compared to alcohol and other drugs.
Here is the portion of the debate concerning marijuana policy:
Vice's coverage included some great comments from MPP's Dan Riffle:
Riffle added that he was disappointed that "scientifically incorrect" information mentioned during the debate was not challenged, particularly Christie's assertion that marijuana is a gateway drug.
"It's troubling to have presidential candidates to be so misinformed on marijuana," said Riffle. "The Institute of Medicine, the nation's foremost authority on science, medicine, and health, has said there's absolutely nothing about the physiological properties of marijuana that leads people to use other drugs."
Riffle noted that he agrees with former Hewlett-Packard executive Carly Fiorina's comment during the debate that young people are being misled "when we tell them that marijuana is just like having a beer," but not for the reasons she implied.
"It's not like having a beer," he said. "It's safer. And there's an abundance of medical and scientific research that has shown this."
Click here to see MPP's guide to the 2016 presidential candidates.
Earlier today, a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced a bill in the Senate that would banks to do business with the marijuana industry in states where it is legal for medical purposes or adult use.
Introduced by the Senate delegations from Oregon and Colorado, two of the first states to legalize recreational marijuana, the bill would prohibit the federal government from penalizing banks that work with marijuana businesses.
Though four states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana, the drug is still illegal under federal law. That makes it difficult for businesses operating in those legalized states to access financial services through the banking industry. Instead, those companies have to run all-cash operations that the senators say invite crime.
The entire legal landscape that legal marijuana currently faces is “insane,” said GOP Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado in an interview.
According to a press release from Drug Policy Alliance, "Reps. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) and Denny Heck (D-WA) introduced the House version of this Senate bill earlier in the year, having also introduced a banking bill the previous session."
A debate between the candidates for the Republican nomination to become the next Governor of Vermont produced a pleasant surprise this weekend. The Associated Press reported that all three Republican gubernatorial candidates said they support ending marijuana prohibition. The momentum behind legalizing and regulating marijuana in Vermont seems to be growing with each passing week!
The Vermont primary election takes place TODAY. Before you go to vote, please click here to view MPP’s voter guide for the Vermont primary election.
We know that marijuana prohibition will end in the Green Mountain State. Please help us end this destructive policy as quickly and sensibly as possible.
A new poll by Quinnipiac University reveals that 82% of Florida voters support medical marijuana. Florida advocates are currently pushing for legislation that would allow seriously ill residents to use marijuana with a recommendation from their doctors.
Support for the proposed constitutional amendment is high among voters of every political stripe, age and income level, with independents lending the most support: 88 percent, the poll shows.
The overall 82-16 percent support for medical marijuana is the biggest to date. The previous high-point for Florida approval was about 70 percent in a poll taken earlier this year by the medical marijuana advocacy group, People United for Medical Marijuana.
Nearly half of Florida voters favor [legalization] -- 48 percent -- while 46 percent oppose pot legalization for personal use. That's within the margin of error, but it's a leading indicator of a shift in public opinion. Support for legalization is again strongest among independents (57-37 percent), and then Democrats (55-39 percent).
But Republicans are opposed 30-64 percent. Contrast that with GOP voter support for medical marijuana is solid: 70-26 percent.
Medical marijuana is a contentious subject in Florida, where seniors and patients have been working diligently to educate voters and gather support. The political establishment has noticed, and the placement of medical marijuana on the November 2014 ballot could influence the gubernatorial race.
On Tuesday, reported in the New Times Broward-Palm Beach, the Florida State Attorney’s office in Manatee Country dropped all charges against Cathy Jordan’s husband, Robert, once it was established that Cathy needs marijuana for medical reasons.
Law enforcement officers raided the Jordan home on February 25 after a state employee who was visiting a neighbor spotted some marijuana plants on their property. After confiscating the plants, deputies referred the case to prosecutors, listing Robert for potential cultivation charges.
Cathy, the namesake to medical marijuana legislation, the Cathy Jordan Medical Cannabis Act, has been using marijuana to alleviate her ALS-related symptoms since 1989. The bill, which would allow patients to possess up to four ounces of marijuana and grow up to eight marijuana plants, has stalled for the year in Florida’s GOP-controlled legislature.
If you are a Florida resident, please contact your lawmakers and ask them to support medical marijuana.