Medical Marijuana

N.H.: Help us “bring back the heart” and pass HB 364!

Also, legalization advocates will debate prohibitionists this Wednesday, August 21 at 7 p.m. in Moultonborough!

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!

Read more

Medical Marijuana

N.H.: Gov. Sununu vetoes home cultivation bill

Urge your representatives and senators to override the veto and pass HB 364 into law!

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.

Please contact your representatives and senator right now — urge them to override the veto and pass HB 364!

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 msimon@mpp.org.

After you email your representatives and senator, please share this important update with your friends and family!

Read more

Medical Marijuana

N.H.: Home grow bill finally lands on Gov. Sununu’s desk

Call the governor's office one last time today and urge him to sign HB 364!

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.

Please call Gov. Sununu one last time and urge him to sign HB 364!

After you call Gov. Sununu, please share this important update with your friends and family!

Read more

Medical Marijuana

TOMORROW (Wed. 7/17): Action meeting to support Rhode Island’s medical marijuana program

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.

Read more

Medical Marijuana

Rhode Island General Assembly passes state budget with medical marijuana changes

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.

Read more

Medical Marijuana

Rhode Island: House budget would reduce home grow for patients and raise costs

If you live in Rhode Island, contact your state representative and ask them to oppose these provisions in the budget.

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.

Please take action right now and send an email to your state representative asking them to oppose these changes to the medical marijuana program.

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!

Read more

Medical Marijuana

N.H.: Legislature sends home cultivation bill and several other bills to governor’s desk

Action has been delayed on legalization, but we're still doing everything we can to pass the medical cannabis home cultivation bill — please call Gov. Chris Sununu today and urge him to sign HB 364 into law!

The New Hampshire Senate has delayed action on the legalization bill, but several cannabis-related bills have been approved by both chambers of the legislature, and they will soon land on the desk of Gov. Chris Sununu.

Most of these bills passed with strong support in both chambers, but the fate of one critical bill remains uncertain. HB 364, which would allow registered patients and caregivers to cultivate a limited supply of cannabis at home, passed the House today in a final voice vote. Unfortunately, the margin of support in the Senate was only 14-10, so we would have to gain two votes in the Senate in order to override a potential veto.

Please call Gov. Sununu right now and urge him to sign HB 364!

Here are the other cannabis-related bills that appear to be on track to become law:

  • HB 399 would allow people who received misdemeanor possession convictions prior to decriminalization to apply to have their records annulled. It passed both chambers in a voice vote. We are very grateful to our allies at ACLU-NH and Americans for Prosperity for their work to help get this bill passed.

  • HB 350 would allow physician's assistants to certify patients. It passed both chambers in a voice vote.

  • SB 88 would eliminate the three-month waiting period for provider-patient relationships. It has already passed the House (263-90) and the Senate (17-7) and awaits a final vote in the Senate.

  • SB 145 would allow alternative treatment centers to reorganize as for-profit businesses. It passed both chambers in a voice vote.

After you call Gov. Sununu and urge him to sign HB 364, please share this important update with your friends and family!

Read more

Tax and Regulate

Rhode Island: Join us on Thursday for a lobby day at the State House!

With just over a month remaining in this year’s legislative session, supporters of sensible and just cannabis policies must make their voices heard. Article 20 of Gov. Raimondo’s proposed budget is still in play, but the legislation needs important amendments around home cultivation, social equity, and other important issues.

We need your help to urge our lawmakers to end prohibition, protect patients, and legalize with equity. Please join us in calling for sensible cannabis policy reform:

When: Thursday, May 23 at 3:00 p.m.

Where: The Rhode Island State House (82 Smith Street, Providence)

Parking is available across the street from the capitol building at the Department of Health and in the Providence Place Mall garage. After you enter the State House and proceed through the metal detector, you will find a Regulate Rhode Island volunteer coordinator immediately to your left next to the Civil War-era cannon display. The coordinator will provide you copies of our talking points document, which you can view here.

Please RSVP and help us spread the word by sharing our Facebook event.

For far too long, legislative leaders have kicked the can down the road on marijuana policy reform. The best way to show our lawmakers the importance of this issue is to show up and speak with them directly.

See you there!

Read more

Tax and Regulate

N.H.: Senate presses “pause” on legalization

HB 481 won’t receive a committee vote until December, but we’re still working to pass bills to allow home cultivation and enable annulments for past convictions — contact your senator about the annulment bill today!

On Tuesday, New Hampshire’s Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously decided to postpone action on the legalization bill until later this year. Three of the five senators on the committee said they wanted to spend more time working on HB 481 and understanding the details before bringing it to a vote in the full Senate, so it’s clear that this is only a temporary setback. The committee will vote on the bill before the end of 2019, and it will come before the Senate in January 2020.

We are now turning our attention to two critical bills that need our help to get across the finish line. One very important bill, HB 399, would allow people who received misdemeanor possession convictions prior to decriminalization to apply to have their records annulled. It has already passed the House in a voice vote, and it passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. However, the committee vote was only 3-2 (Senators Shannon Chandley and Sharon Carson voted no), so victory remains far from certain.

No Granite Stater should have to be burdened with a criminal record for having possessed small amounts of cannabis prior to decriminalization. Please email your state senator today!

Meanwhile, the medical cannabis home cultivation bill will receive a final vote in the House on May 23, and we expect it to pass by an overwhelming margin. After that, it will proceed to Gov. Chris Sununu’s desk. Call Gov. Sununu’s office today and urge him to support HB 364!

Please share these important updates with your friends and family!

Read more

Tax and Regulate

25 days to legalize marijuana in Illinois!

If you live in Illinois, contact your state legislators today to tell them it’s time for smart, equitable cannabis policies in Illinois!

After years of committee hearings, town halls, and stakeholder meetings, Sen. Heather Steans and Rep. Kelly Cassidy have crafted a thoughtful proposal to end cannabis prohibition in Illinois! SB 7 would set the gold standard for smart, equitable cannabis policy. It includes secure home cultivation, robust expungement, community reinvestment, and ensures the benefits of the new industry go to those who suffered from the war on cannabis.

Now, we need all hands on deck to get the bill past the finish line before the legislature adjourns on May 31.

Email your state legislators TODAY to make sure they know their constituents want them to vote “yes” to legalize marijuana for adults' use. Our free, automated system makes it quick and easy to make your voice heard.

Then, spread the news on social media to rally other thoughtful Illinoisans to action.

Legalizing and regulating marijuana is a priority of Gov. J.B. Pritzker. But we know passage can’t be taken for granted. Don’t sit on the sidelines. Write your state legislators today, and spread the word.

Read more