New Approach South Dakota submitted nearly 15,000 signatures to the Secretary of State with hopes of adding a medical marijuana measure to the 2018 ballot.
South Dakota Secretary of State Shantel Krebs said the review of the submitted measure would likely be finished within four months. Her office conducts a random sampling of the signatures to determine validity, with at least 5% of the collected signatures being reviewed.
The medical marijuana measure that was submitted for signature validation would allow patients with certain conditions like cancer, HIV/AIDS, chronic debilitating pain, and PTSD to obtain a registration card to possess up to three ounces of marijuana.
To read the full text of New Approach South Dakota’s proposed medial marijuana ballot initiative, check our their website. We are hopeful that the initiative will qualify for the 2018 ballot and that South Dakotans will have the opportunity to adopt a compassionate policy for medical marijuana patients.
Oklahoma will vote on medical marijuana in 2018! The Oklahoma Secretary of State has certified Question 788 for the ballot, meaning Oklahomans will finally have the opportunity to vote on medical marijuana in November of next year. After collecting enough signatures to qualify for the 2016 election, the group Oklahomans for Health faced legal difficulties when the state's attorney general took issue with the ballot summary of the new law.
After a hard-fought legal battle, Oklahomans for Health has come out on top, ensuring that the question will appear on the ballot in next year's election. Seventy-one percent of Oklahomans believe that marijuana should be legal for medical purposes. There are a multitude of studies that show that medical marijuana can help patients suffering from cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, and other devastating conditions. These patients should not have to wait any longer or risk jail time to access treatments that may help them. Mark your calendar for November 6, 2018, then forward this message to let your friends and family know about this important development.
Both the Georgia House and Senate this year presented bills that would make changes to the state’s low-THC medical marijuana law. The better of the two, House Bill 65, just passed the House by a huge margin of 156-6 in support. The bill is now on its way to the Senate.
House Bill 65 would increase the list of qualifying medical conditions, adding HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, autoimmune disease, peripheral neuropathy, and others, and it would offer basic protections for those patients visiting from out-of-state. Unfortunately for many veterans and others, PTSD was removed from the list while in committee earlier this week.
The Senate’s bill, SB 16, has already passed the Senate. Unfortunately, while it would add autism as a qualifying medical condition, it would lower the total amount of THC allowable in medical marijuana products from 5% to 3%, harming the program for all who participate.
A proposal to make Kansas the 29th medical marijuana state has been introduced by Senator David Haley (D-Kansas City), and it’s supported by local advocacy group Bleeding Kansas. SB 155, the Kansas Safe Access Act, would allow seriously ill Kansas residents with certain qualifying conditions to access medical marijuana with a doctor's recommendation.
Sixty-eight percent of Kansans believe that marijuana should be legal for medical purposes. There are a multitude of studies that show that medical marijuana can help patients suffering from cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, and other devastating conditions. These patients should not have to wait any longer or risk jail time to access treatments that may help them.
If you are a Kansas resident, please contact your lawmakers and urge them to support this sensible legislation.
After years of advocacy from patients and their loved ones, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives approved compassionate, comprehensive medical cannabis legislation this evening!
SB 3 will now return to the Senate, which approved the bill last May, to consider the House’s amendments. Gov. Tom Wolf has been a strong champion of the issue and will sign the legislation when it arrives at his desk.
SB 3 allows patients with qualifying conditions to use and safely access medical cannabis with their physicians’ recommendations. As amended by the House, it allows up to 25 growers and processors to produce medical cannabis, which would be dispensed by up to 50 dispensaries with up to three locations each.
Qualifying conditions include cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, seizures, autism, sickle cell anemia, and intractable pain if conventional therapies or opiates don’t work or are contraindicated. More details are available here.
Thank you to everyone who has worked so hard for so long to make this compassionate bill a reality, including the amazing team at Campaign4Compassion, the American Trade Association for Cannabis and Hemp, Gov. Tom Wolf, Sens. Mike Folmer and Daylin Leach and their staff, especially MP Tomei, Reps. Mike Regan, Nick Miccarelli, Russ Diamond, and Joe Petrarca and staffer Sarah Speed, Majority Leader Dave Reed, and MPP’s lobbyist Jim Davis!
Today, Texas State Rep. Marisa Márquez (D-El Paso filed HB 3785 — the comprehensive, whole-plant medical marijuana bill that patients and advocates have been campaigning for. This marks a historical moment in Texas, as it is the first bill of its kind to be considered by the Texas Legislature.
HB 3785 proposes a far more comprehensive approach to protecting patients than the two other medical marijuana-related bills introduced in the Texas House this session. The bill establishes a framework for dispensaries, growers, and manufacturers to provide seriously ill patients with the medicine they need.
The qualifying conditions are far broader than other bills, and would include: cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, Alzheimer's, PTSD, and conditions causing wasting, severe pain, severe nausea, seizures, or severe muscle spasms.
Registered patients (and their caregivers) would be free from fear of arrest and could legally possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana. They’d also be permitted to grow up to six plants in their home, three of which could be mature plants estimated to yield four ounces each per year.
If you are a Texas resident, please take a moment to contact your Texas legislators about this important bill. We’ve set up a webpage that allows you to email them both in one shot. Supporters are encouraged to personalize the form letter provided if you or a loved one could benefit from legal access to medical marijuana.
UPDATE: The bill was voted down in the House.
Last week, a bipartisan group of North Dakota state representatives introduced compassionate legislation that would establish a workable medical marijuana program in North Dakota. Under HB 1430, seriously ill patients would be able to possess and cultivate a limited amount of marijuana. It would also create a system of registered medical marijuana providers to ensure patients have safe and reliable access.
If you are a North Dakota resident, please tell your elected representatives to support this compassionate legislation.
Twenty-three states and Washington, D.C. have compassionate laws on the books that protect individuals suffering from HIV/AIDS, cancer, ALS, and other serious medical conditions from arrest and prosecution for using marijuana medicinally under their doctors’ recommendations. Why should the seriously ill in North Dakota not be afforded the same protections? We trust our physicians to prescribe highly addictive and potentially lethal drugs to treat many of these same conditions, so why should they be prevented from recommending marijuana, which has never caused a lethal overdose, if they think it would work best? It's clear now more than ever: North Dakota should enact a workable medical marijuana program.
Is Gov. Mark Dayton – thankfully – softening his irrational opposition to medical marijuana? It appears as though that might be the case. Yesterday, ECM reported that Gov. Dayton will allow staff to work with patients and advocates on the issue of medical marijuana. He even expressed interest in researching the issue himself. While we still “don’t know where he stands,” according to Heather Azzi, political director for Minnesotans for Compassionate Care, with your help, we can educate the governor’s staff and demonstrate just how ridiculous law enforcement’s “blanket opposition” to medical marijuana really is.
Twenty states and Washington, D.C. all have workable medical marijuana laws protecting seriously ill patients from arrest and prosecution for using medical marijuana with a physician’s recommendation. Why should Minnesotans suffering from cancer, HIV/AIDS, Dravet syndrome, PTSD, ALS, MS, and other enumerated conditions be forced to break the law in order to have a better quality of life? Ask the governor to listen to patients and providers and be skeptical of the “chicken little” opposition with which certain members of law enforcement provide him.
Once again, Obama’s DOJ shows no sympathy for medical marijuana patients.
Last April, 12 HIV/AIDS activists were arrested outside of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s office as they protested funding cuts to HIV/AIDS and needle exchange programs in D.C. The protesters were offered the standard “Deferred Prosecution Agreement,” requiring them to stay away from the Cannon House Office Building for six months, perform 32 hours of community service, and test negative in three drug tests. If they were able to meet these requirements, the charges against them would be dropped.
Within three months, all of the protestors had completed their community service hours, and 10 of the 12 successfully produced negative drug tests. And this is where the story gets complicated …
Two of the protestors, Antonio Davis and David Goode, used medical marijuana, recommended by their physicians, to deal with pain and other side effects caused by their HIV/AIDS treatment regimens. And though both men submitted letters from their doctors verifying their need for medical marijuana and, moreover, were assured by a judge that marijuana would not be screened for, the U.S. attorney for the District refused to honor the original deal spelled out in the Deferred Prosecution Agreement.
Now, the case has been transferred from one prosecutor to another and yet another, with each new prosecutor setting new conditions and requiring more community service time from the protestors. All of the protestors are now being required to complete a third 32-hour stretch of community service … or go to trial.
But because of failed drug screenings, medical marijuana patients Davis and Goode don’t have this option. They must go to trial and could face up to six months in jail. Meanwhile, Davis has stopped using his doctor-recommended marijuana and is suffering both mentally (worrying about possible consequences of a conviction) and physically (losing 20 pounds) because of it.
It’s insane that federal prosecutors are treating these medical marijuana patients so harshly. Marijuana has continually been shown to reduce the nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite caused by HIV/AIDS and by the various medications used to treat HIV/AIDS. Observational research has found that by relieving these side effects, medical marijuana improves the likelihood that patients will adhere to life-prolonging treatments. Furthermore, clinical trials have shown that marijuana can significantly reduce a specific type of pain that often afflicts patients with HIV/AIDS — neuropathy, a painful nerve condition for which there are currently no FDA-approved treatments. (Visit the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research website to view more studies on marijuana’s therapeutic value.)
The story here is just another piece to add to the very puzzling pattern of the Obama administration burying its head in the sand. In the past several months, the administration has cracked down on patients and providers, refused to let a clinical study proceed, and continued to ignore medical evidence … evidence that medical marijuana actually helps sick people! The story here is but one glimpse into the suffering caused by federal obstinance in regard to medical marijuana, and as the old saying goes, “if you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.”
Last week, the Global Commission on Drug Policy, an international organization consisting of high level current and former heads of state and policy experts, released a report suggesting world governments give up the war on drugs and consider more rational harm-reduction policies, including removing all criminal penalties for the possession and use of marijuana. The Commission, which included former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan and former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz, among many others, urged leaders to consider alternatives to incarceration for drug use to shift their focus toward treatment of drug abusers, rather than punishment and interdiction for recreational users.
"These prominent world leaders recognize an undeniable reality. The use of marijuana, which is objectively less harmful than alcohol, is widespread and will never be eliminated,” said Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. “They acknowledge that there are only two choices moving forward. We can maintain marijuana's status as a wholly illegal substance and steer billions of dollars toward drug cartels and other criminal actors. Or, we can encourage nations to make the adult use of marijuana legal and have it sold in regulated stores by legitimate, taxpaying business people. At long last, we have world leaders embracing the more rational choice and advocating for legal, regulated markets for marijuana. We praise these world leaders for their willingness to advocate for this sensible approach to marijuana policy."
This study comes as Portugal enjoys the tenth year of its experiment with decriminalizing all drugs. Since making the bold policy move in 2001, Portugal has seen crime, use rates, addiction rates, overdose deaths, and blood-borne disease all decrease significantly. The study released last week suggests that a similar model could be adopted successfully elsewhere. It also stresses the damage that prohibition policies do to society, including massive government expenditure, enrichment of criminal organizations, and interference with treatment and prevention of diseases like HIV/AIDS.
Today, reports issued by several Senate subcommittees stated that America's massive spending to fight the drug war in Latin America has not stopped narcotics from entering the U.S., nor has it affected use rates.
So what exactly is the justification for this continued insanity?
UPDATE: The Marijuana Policy Project's Robert Capecchi talks about the Global Commision on Drug Policy report on FOX9 in the Twin Cities.