This fall, House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler is leading "Be Heard on Cannabis" community conversations across Minnesota to explore how to replace cannabis prohibition with sensible regulation. At the end of the process, Rep. Winkler plans to introduce a bill to legalize and regulate cannabis in Minnesota and shepherd it through the House.
Mark your calendars for these upcoming dates, to take part and add your voice to the conversation on how to move forward.
St. Paul "Be Heard on Cannabis" Community Conversation
When: Thursday, October 10, 7:00 p.m.
Where: Hallie Q. Brown Community Center, 270 Kent Street, Saint Paul, MN 55102
St. Cloud "Be Heard on Cannabis" Community Conversation
When: Saturday, October 12, 1:30 p.m.
Where: St. Cloud Public Library Mississippi Community Room, 1300 W. St. Germain Street, St. Cloud, MN 56301
Eden Prairie "Be Heard on Cannabis" Community Conversation
When: Monday, November 18, 6:30 p.m.
Where: Eden Prairie Community Center, Cambria Room, 16700 Valley View Road, Eden Prairie, MN 55346
Eagan "Be Heard on Cannabis" Community Conversation
When: Tuesday, November 19, 6:30 p.m.
Where: Eagan Community Center, South Oaks Meeting Room, 1501 Central Parkway, Eagan, MN 55121
For a list of the hosts and panelists who will lead each community conversation, along with other cities "Be Heard on Cannabis" will visit, check out Rep. Winkler's Be Heard on Cannabis webpage.
Don't miss your chance to let your elected officials know it's time to stop punishing Minnesotans for a substance that's safer than alcohol. You may want to consider making a pitch for an inclusive, diverse industry, for allowing home cultivation, and for expunging past convictions.
Even if you're not able to make it, you can still make your voice heard. Speaker of the House Melissa Hortman has an online survey you can complete here. Finally, please spread the word by email or social media to help grow the chorus for reform.
Yesterday was an incredibly frustrating day at the N.H. State House for patients and advocates, as the effort to override Gov. Chris Sununu’s veto on the home cultivation bill fell three votes short of success. The vote was 13-11, and 16 votes would have been necessary in order to pass HB 364 into law.
A few senators told us yesterday morning that they were leaning in favor of voting for the override, but when it came time for the vote yesterday afternoon, we actually lost one senator who had voted in favor of the bill on May 2: Senator Kevin Cavanaugh (D-Manchester).
In positive news, the House and Senate both voted to override the governor’s veto on SB 88, a bill that will eliminate the required three-month waiting period before a medical provider can certify a new patient for the therapeutic cannabis program. This bill will become law in 60 days. This article in the Union Leader covers both the success of SB 88 and the failure of HB 364.
After you follow up with your elected officials about HB 364, please share this sad news with your family and friends.
The Senate will vote TOMORROW (September 19) — please urge your senator to support overriding the veto and passing HB 364 into law!
In an overwhelming show of support for patients, the N.H. House voted 259-120 to override Gov. Chris Sununu's veto of HB 364! The Senate is expected to cast a final vote on the bill tomorrow, and if it passes there by more than two-thirds, the governor's veto will be overridden and the bill will become law.
It is critical that all 24 senators hear from us today! Please email or call your senator right now!
If you are able to visit the State House tomorrow morning to show support for HB 364, your presence would be welcome! Here are more details:
WHAT: N.H. Senate votes on veto overrides, including HB 364
WHEN: The Senate session begins at 10 a.m. You can meet me outside the Senate chamber (second floor of the State House) between 9 and 10 to get your sticker and demonstrate support for the bill as senators enter the chamber.
WHERE: State House, 107 N Main Street, Concord
If you haven't already done so, please contact your senator today and tell them home cultivation should not be a crime for patients in the "Live Free or Die" State!
Please share this link with friends and supporters: MPP.org/nhveto
Patients have expressed dissatisfaction with New Hampshire's therapeutic cannabis program from the outset, so it should come as no great surprise that the program has flunked a legislative performance audit. On Sunday, the Union Leader reported that the medical cannabis program received a "failing grade," in part because "nearly 100% of patients fail to receive cards... within a mandated time frame."
The opponents of allowing home cultivation have frequently argued that the state's medical cannabis program is fine the way it is, but the performance audit tells a very different story. Please contact state legislators today and tell them patients in the "Live Free or Die" state deserve better — improvements are urgently needed, and they should start by overriding the governor's veto on HB 364!
The bill, which would allow registered patients and caregivers to possess up to three mature plants, three immature plants, and 12 seedlings per patient, passed the Senate 14-10 on May 2. However, since HB 364 was vetoed by Gov. Chris Sununu, two additional Senate votes will be needed in order to pass the bill into law.
The House of Representatives is expected to vote in favor of overriding the veto on Wednesday, September 18. Assuming that happens, 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.
Please share this link with friends and supporters: MPP.org/nhveto
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!
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
After you email your representatives and senator, please share this important update with your friends and family!
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.
After you call Gov. Sununu, please share this important update with your friends and family!
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.
Late yesterday, the Rhode Island Senate adopted the House's budget bill, sending the legislation to Gov. Raimondo for her approval. Although the governor's January budget proposal included a plan to legalize marijuana for adults, the state legislature removed it and instead increased the number of licenses for medical marijuana compassion centers from three to nine. The budget also raises the annual licensing fees for these businesses to $500,000 — by far the highest in the nation.
Though the outcome is not what we hoped for, we were successful in avoiding an even worse result. After MPP and our allies called legislators' attention to it, the House amended out a budget provision that would have allowed the Department of Business Regulation to establish "criteria for eligibility or a demonstration of need" for patients and caregivers who wish to grow medical marijuana. Given the department's stated opposition to home cultivation, many patients could have lost their ability to produce their own medicine had this provision not been removed.
Looking ahead, advocates for sensible marijuana policy reform in Rhode Island are regrouping and planning for next year. With the legislative session winding down and no elections coming up, the next six months are an excellent time to contact your state senator and representative and talk with them about the need for sensible cannabis policy reform.
Though it is disappointing when progress does not come quickly, our movement is winning, and our numbers are growing. We must continue speaking out and advocating for reform. I appreciate you for sticking with us and continuing this fight.
Stay tuned for more updates soon.
This Friday, the Rhode Island House will debate H 5151 Sub A, the budget bill for the coming fiscal year. As written, Article 15 of this legislation would make two significant changes to undermine the state's medical marijuana program.
First, the House budget would require all patients who wish to grow for themselves to register as their own caregiver. Then, it empowers the Department of Business Regulation to establish criteria for caregivers, which may include "eligibility" and "a demonstration of need." Depending on how the department uses this authority, it could effectively eliminate home cultivation for all but a few patients.
Second, while the current budget proposal would increase the number of compassion centers from three to nine, it also raises the annual licensing fee for these facilities to $500,000 a year, which is 10-100 times more than what most other states require for medical marijuana business licenses. This fee will ensure that only people with deep pockets can enter the market, and the increased costs will be passed down to patients in the form of increased prices.
Limiting patients' ability to grow their own medicine while simultaneously increasing costs for patients at the compassion centers is a cruel and unnecessary way to balance the budget. Enough is enough.
Thank you for taking action!