Yesterday, newly elected and returning lawmakers convened for the first day of Wisconsin's new legislative session. Since the legislature adjourned last year, voters in Utah, Oklahoma, and Missouri enacted medical cannabis laws, bringing the number of medical cannabis states to 32.
And, on Election Day, more than a million Wisconsinites cast non-binding votes in support of medical marijuana or adult-use programs. In all 11 counties and two cities — both red and blue — where it was on the ballot, medical cannabis measures passed overwhelmingly. Support ranged from 67% to 89%.
Despite that massive show of support, Wisconsin patients either needlessly suffer or risk arrest to find relief from cannabis. Let your lawmakers know you want them to change that this year.
Wisconsin's new governor, Tony Evers (D), supports medical cannabis, but he can only sign a bill if one makes it to his desk. Wisconsin doesn't have a binding, statewide ballot initiative process. As was the case in Illinois and Minnesota, the only way to enact a medical cannabis law in the state is through the legislature.
So please, send a quick note to your elected officials, and share this message with other compassionate Wisconsinites.
Yesterday’s blue wave in Illinois poised to become a green wave next session
Gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker, who has been a vocal supporter of legalizing, taxing, and regulating cannabis for adults’ use, appears to have handily won yesterday’s gubernatorial election. While official election results are still pending, both the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times reported a margin of victory of around 55% of the vote.
In the race for state attorney general, cannabis reform supporter Sen. Kwame Raoul also notched a win with around 54% of the vote. Both J.B. Pritzker and Kwame Raoul were rated A+ candidates by MPP leading up to the election for their strong positions in support of sensible marijuana policy.
And a hearty congratulations go out to friend-of-the-movement Bob Morgan, who won the 58th District seat in the Illinois House of Representatives! Morgan headed up the successful launch of the state’s medical cannabis program, and as a private attorney, Bob has continued to be engaged in cannabis reform. He is a welcome addition to the General Assembly.
Yesterday’s results come as Sen. Heather Steans and Rep. Kelly Cassidy prepare to introduce a revised bill for the session starting in January that would legalize cannabis for adults in Illinois. This moment is a huge step toward the bill’s passage and an exciting moment for those who seek an end to cannabis prohibition in Illinois.
Another election, and another historic night for marijuana reform.
Michigan has passed legalization! MPP played a central role in this campaign from start to finish. From coordinating the initiative drafting to overseeing the production of TV ads, MPP staffers worked alongside a excellent campaign team for two years to make Michigan the first state in the Midwest to adopt legalization. This is a huge win that will maintain our momentum in Washington, D.C. to pass a landmark federal reform bill through Congress in the near future.
Utah passed medical marijuana! MPP led the drafting process and played an important supporting role throughout the campaign. We are so proud of the Utah Patients Coalition team on this historic win that will end the heartless policy of criminalizing patients. If we can pass medical marijuana in Utah, then we can pass it in any state in the country…and we will.
In Missouri, voters approved medical marijuana, and they chose the best of the three possible initiatives. We congratulate our allies in the marijuana reform movement for this important win that will help patients access the medicine they need.
Sadly, North Dakota did not pass its legalization initiative. In such a conservative state, it was always an uphill battle. The proponents ran a strong campaign, but in a midterm year, the electorate was always going to be a challenge. North Dakota passed medical marijuana in 2016. It’s only a matter of time before the state adopts legalization, either via ballot initiative or legislative action.
As a movement, we won three out of four states. And for MPP, we’ve now played a leading role in seven of the 10 states that have legalized marijuana for adults (Colorado, Alaska, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Vermont, and Michigan).
We couldn’t do this work without the support of voters, allies, activists, and donors. We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to everyone who made these crucial victories last night possible.
In other great news, voters elected at least seven governors who support ending marijuana prohibition — Ned Lamont in Connecticut, JB Pritzker in Illinois, Michelle Lujan Grisham in New Mexico, Tim Walz in Minnesota, Gavin Newsom in California, Jared Polis in Colorado, and Gretchen Whitmer in Michigan. For more details, check out our elections page.
The Illinois general election takes place on November 6. It’s fast approaching, and voters this year will have a huge impact on the future of cannabis policy in Illinois. Lawmakers continue to look closely at ending marijuana prohibition and legalizing cannabis for adults 21 and over, and the differences between the two major party candidates for governor couldn’t be bigger on this issue: JB Pritzker (D) has come out in strong support of legalizing and regulating marijuana, while Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) remains opposed.
Take a minute to check out our Illinois Voter Guide and see where the candidates on your ballot stand on cannabis reform. Not all the candidates have a voting history on cannabis bills in the state House or Senate, but for those that do, we’ve summarized the voting record on key cannabis-related bills over the past several years.
If you haven’t registered to vote yet, you have until October 21 to register online. For more information, including where you can cast your ballot and when voting locations will be open, check out the state’s website here.
In nearby Michigan, voters will have an opportunity to legalize marijuana themselves. But in Illinois, there’s no citizen initiative process, so only lawmakers can end the wasteful and cruel policy of prohibition. This year’s elections will likely have a huge impact on the future of cannabis policy in Illinois. Now is the time for voters who support a better path for Illinois to make their voice heard.
A new poll shows the Michigan marijuana legalization campaign ahead with 56% support. While we remain cautiously optimistic about success on Election Day, we are not out of the woods yet.
A well-funded opposition campaign could still emerge. If that happens, we would likely see misleading TV and online ads telling voters that legalization has failed in Colorado, California, and beyond.
The Michigan campaign needs resources in order to present voters with the facts on this issue: prohibition has proven to be an utter failure and legalization policies are working effectively in other states.
There are just 55 days until Election Day. I know you get many such requests, but will you make a $20 donation today to support legalization in Michigan?
Michigan is a very important campaign for these reasons:
– Michigan would be the first state in the Midwest to legalize, putting pressure on nearby states including Illinois and Ohio;
– Michigan would become the second most populous state in the country to fully legalize marijuana; and
– A victory in Michigan would further increase pressure on Congress to pass federal reform in 2019.
This November, let’s make Michigan the 10th state to legalize marijuana.
Illinois governor signs opioid alternative bill, making huge improvements to medical cannabis program
Sweeping changes include medical cannabis access for opioid patients, streamlined process, and others
Illinois’s medical cannabis program took a major step forward today as Gov. Bruce Rauner signed bill SB 336, the Alternatives to Opioids Act, into law.
This historic change makes several key improvements:
• Opioid patients now qualify. Patients who are — or could be — prescribed opioid drugs will be able to register to obtain medical cannabis as an alternative.
• Shorter wait times. Patients will get provisional authorization to access medical cannabis as soon as their paperwork is submitted for registration — saving weeks of wait time.
• No more fingerprint requirement! Patients and caregivers will no longer be required to submit fingerprints to register for the program, and those with felony convictions in their past will no longer be denied access to the program.
Many thanks go to bill sponsors Sen. Don Harmon and Rep. Kelly Cassidy, and the many medical cannabis patients and supporters who worked to pass this major improvement to state law. The full text of the measure is here.
In other news, if you are in the neighborhood, the public is invited to tonight’s town hall on cannabis legalization for adults in La Grange, Illinois.
When: Tuesday, August 28 7:00 p.m.
Where: La Grange Village Hall Auditorium, 53 S. La Grange Road, La Grange, Illinois
Who: Bill sponsor Sen. Heather Steans, Rep. Jim Durkin, and several other panelists
Another big win for medical cannabis patients today — please spread the word! And if you can, come to tonight’s town hall and support a sensible legalization law in Illinois!
Students in Illinois who require access to medical cannabis during school hours were granted relief earlier in August, when Gov. Bruce Rauner signed Ashley’s Law into law. This marked a major step forward for patients, including the new law’s namesake, Ashley Surin, who sought access to help manage her seizure condition. Another bill, which would allow those prescribed opioids to qualify for the state program, is still awaiting the governor’s signature.
The governor only has until August 28 to sign, amend, or reject the bill.
The Opioid Alternative Pilot Program Act, which passed on May 31, not only allows those who could be prescribed opioid drugs to qualify for the medical cannabis program, it also dramatically improves current law by streamlining wait times and removing fingerprint requirements for patients. For a summary written by bill supporters — including key changes to background checks and shortened approval process — click here. The final bill draft language is here.
Gov. Rauner needs to hear from those who support this important change. If you are an Illinois resident, please click here to send an email message to his office.
The Illinois General Assembly passed the Opioid Alternative Pilot Program Act yesterday during a whirlwind last day of its regular legislative session. If signed into law, SB 336 would allow those who could be prescribed opioid drugs to qualify for the medical cannabis program. It also dramatically improves current law by streamlining wait times and removing fingerprint requirements for patients.
This bill would provide welcome relief to thousands who need a safer alternative to harmful opioid drugs. For a summary written by bill supporters — including key changes to background checks and shortened approval process — click here. The final bill draft language is here.
A huge shout-out goes to the medical cannabis community, the warriors who worked so hard to make it happen, and primary bill sponsors, Sen. Don Harmon and Rep. Kelly Cassidy, and co-sponsors for their leadership and support. Thousands of lives could improve as a result.
But without the governor’s signature, it won’t become a reality. Gov. Rauner has 60 days from the day he receives it to sign or veto the measure, and he needs to hear from you. If you are an Illinois resident, please take a moment to voice your support for the measure with the governor’s office.
The Illinois House of Representatives may soon vote on SB 336, which would allow those who could be prescribed opioid drugs to qualify for the Medical Cannabis Pilot Program. Last month, the Senate passed the measure by a wide margin, but its future in the House is less certain.
While opioids can be highly addictive and dangerous, many seriously ill patients across the country are opting for a safer alternative. Medical cannabis has emerged as an effective option for hundreds of thousands of patients around the U.S. Yet, Illinois’ medical cannabis law does not include pain as a qualifying condition. It’s past time to allow patients to use cannabis instead of opiate-based medications.
Another bill which would also provide patients welcome relief passed both chambers and is now on Gov. Bruce Rauner’s desk. If signed, HB 4870 would allow students who are registered patients to access medical cannabis at school under certain circumstances. While limited, it is an important improvement to ensure patients do not have to choose between their health and their education. If you are an Illinois resident, call Gov. Rauner at (217) 782-0244 and ask him to sign this important bill into law.
An important medical marijuana bill emerged from the Senate yesterday that could bring welcome relief to seriously ill patients around the state. Senate Bill 336 would allow patients who qualify for opioid prescriptions to enroll in the state’s medical cannabis program. SB 336, sponsored in the Senate by Sens. Don Harmon and Chris Nybo, emerged with a strong 44-6 vote in support. The bill is now in the House.
Seriously ill patients should not be pushed towards some of the most harmful drugs available, particularly when there is a safer alternative. Studies in recent years have supported what many medical marijuana patients already know: medical cannabis can be an effective alternative for patients who might otherwise rely on opioid drugs.
Sen. Harmon’s bill would not only provide that alternative, it would also make other critically important improvements to the state program, including removing the current fingerprint requirement for all patients. Rep. Kelly Cassidy has already stepped in as chief co-sponsor in the House, along with over two dozen other House members who have joined with her as co-sponsors. But it’s crunch time in Springfield, and lawmakers are now working through the busiest time of the year — it’s important the bill continue to advance without delay.
If you are an Illinois resident, please ask your representatives to support this bill and to consider co-sponsoring if they haven’t signed on already.