Today, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services announced the opening of a pre-registration process for the therapeutic use of cannabis program. The announcement, which appears on the department’s website, explains that patients and their designated caregivers may now submit their applications and that dispensaries are expected to open in the first quarter of 2016. The application forms are now available online.
Unfortunately, the department still says it will not begin issuing ID cards until the first dispensary is ready to open. This means patients could continue to be without legal protections for several more months. However, at least it is now possible for patients to submit applications rather than simply waiting for the program to become operational.
We encourage patients to pre-register, as this will reduce the chances the department will experience a backlog when it begins issuing ID cards.
Please share this news with your friends and family, and especially with any patients you know who have been waiting to benefit from this program.
The rollout of Massachusetts’ medical marijuana program has been proceeding more slowly than anticipated, but a major milestone was reached last week with the approval of 11 dispensary applications. The Department of Public Health granted eleven provisional certificates on Friday, and it’s possible that some of the approved dispensaries will be ready to serve patients before the end of this year.
The department had previously given preliminary approval to 20 applicants, but, after further review of the applications, nine were rejected. Massachusetts’ law authorizes up to 35 dispensaries, so these rejected applicants and others will be allowed to reapply in 2015.
Additionally, it’s disappointing that the state has not yet made it possible for patients to apply for ID cards. However, with dispensaries planning to open in only a matter of months, it seems likely that the ID card issue will soon be resolved.
Yesterday morning, after meeting with Gov. Hassan’s policy advisors, a special committee of seven representatives and senators agreed on the final language of HB 573 that will move medical marijuana forward to Gov. Hassan’s desk.
Then, Gov. Hassan issued a formal statement indicating that she intends to sign the bill after it is approved one last time by the House and Senate. She said the compromise “addresses the concerns that I have heard and expressed throughout this session, and provides the level of regulation needed for the use of medical marijuana…. I encourage the full legislature to pass this compromise so I can sign this legislation into law."
Sadly, Gov. Hassan was not willing to agree to any significant changes, so only minor improvements were made by the committee. Home cultivation will remain a felony under all circumstances, and patients will have no legal protections until ID cards are issued (which could take up to 19 months).
Despite these imperfections, we are very pleased that New Hampshire will finally be moving forward with implementation of a medical marijuana law.
Medical marijuana patients living in California’s capital will finally be able to realize the full benefit of the state’s medical marijuana law.
This week, the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors approved a resolution making the state-mandated medical marijuana ID card program available to county residents. The cards keep patients who are already allowed to possess marijuana under the state’s 12-year-old Compassionate Use Act from being wrongfully arrested by state and local law enforcement.
You might think that implementing a state mandate in the capital county of that state wouldn't be controversial. However, it wasn’t so simple. The issue was brought to the board back in March but supervisors voted 3-2 against issuing the cards, based mainly on the untruthful testimony of Sheriff John McGinness, who seems to get all of his information about marijuana from Reefer Madness-era propaganda.
After the state Supreme Court unanimously upheld the law requiring counties to issue the cards and the item was back on the board's agenda, Sacramento County’s top attorney warned the board that if they refuse to implement the ID card program, the county could not win any lawsuit stemming from that decision. Even Sheriff McGinness eventually conceded that the county should follow state law.
So, the debate’s finally over and we can all go home ... right? Not quite.
Sacramento supervisor and reactionary ideologue Roberta MacGlashan, who responded to testimony from the elderly and ill with a scowl, voted against implementation and said she would never support the program until a court forced her to. So while legislators in the state capitol were dealing with what may well be the worst budget crisis in the California history just a few blocks away, a local politician advocated using public funds in an unwinable lawsuit so that police could continue arresting law-abiding citizens for just a little bit longer. This would be laughable if it weren't for the fact that people's health and safety is on the line.
California's medical marijuana state ID cards protect qualified patients and caregivers from arrest, and each of the state's 58 counties is required to make them available to their residents. However, in a crusade against the voter-approved medical marijuana law, some counties have refused to implement the program.
Fortunately, most counties are respecting the rule of law – even in traditionally conservative, rural and agricultural communities. Just yesterday, the Board of Supervisors in Kings County unanimously voted to implement the ID card program and the cards will be available to local patients very soon. The decision comes only two weeks after another San Joaquin Valley county, Fresno, also moved to implement the program. These developments are significant because San Joaquin Valley voters rejected Proposition 215 twelve years ago and the region has been painfully slow in implementing the state law ever since.
Have these agricultural, Republican-dominated communities been suddenly overrun by drug legalizers? Hardly. Instead, local policymakers across California – in red and blue counties alike – are acknowledging that the state's medical marijuana law is here to stay. It's unfortunate that counties like San Diego and San Bernardino are continuing to ignore state law, but these scofflaws are increasingly looking less credible and more like isolated, rogue elements every day.