Medical Marijuana

Gov. Brian Kemp signs Georgia’s Hope Act bill into law

Registered patients will have safe, in-state access to low-THC oil.

Yesterday, Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed the Georgia’s Hope ActHB 324 — into law. At long last, patients will be able to safely access low-THC medical cannabis oil within Georgia.

In 2015, the Georgia General Assembly passed a bill allowing patients to register to possess up to 20 fluid ounces of medical cannabis oil with up to 5% THC. The legislature later expanded the law to include more medical conditions, and more than 8,000 patients are signed up. However, the law didn’t include any access to cannabis oil.

Under the Georgia’s Hope Act, six producers will be allowed to cultivate medical cannabis preparations in Georgia, as could two universities. Pharmacies will sell the medical cannabis preparations, and regulators could authorize private dispensaries. (Due to medical cannabis’ federal illegality, it is far from certain that universities or pharmacies would participate.) It is expected to take at least a year before legal sales begin.

You can check out MPP’s summary of the law here.

MPP is grateful to CompassionateGA, and its lobbyist Jacob Eassa, for their advocacy efforts and to all the patients and loved ones who spoke out for so many years. We also appreciate the leadership of bill sponsor Rep. Micah Gravley (R) and former Rep. Allen Peake (R) and all the lawmakers who supported the legislation.

Stay tuned for updates during implementation, along with next year’s efforts to improve the law.

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Medical Marijuana

N.H. Senate will vote soon on home cultivation of medical cannabis

If you live in New Hampshire, urge your senator to support HB 364!

In four of the last five years, the N.H. House has passed bills that would have allowed patients and caregivers to grow a limited supply of cannabis. Sadly, these bills have all failed to pass the Senate. Instead, all four were referred to so-called “interim study” and then completely ignored.

This year, it appears that a home cultivation bill may finally have a good chance of passing the Senate. HB 364, which has already passed the House in a voice vote, is currently being considered by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. The committee appears likely to vote on the bill next Tuesday.

For the sake of patients who are still struggling because of limited access to cannabis, please contact your senator right now and urge him or her to support HB 364!

If you are a patient who would personally benefit from this bill’s passage, or you are a friend or family member of a patient, please email all five members of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee and share your story.

As amended by the House, HB 364 would allow possession of three mature plants, three immature plants, and 12 seedlings for each patient. The bill is critically important because many patients are unable to afford the products that are available at dispensaries, which are not covered by health insurance. For some patients, home cultivation is simply the best, most affordable option.

After you contact your senator in support of the home cultivation bill, please share this message with your family and friends.

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Medical Marijuana||Tax and Regulate

Md.: 2019 legislative session adjourns, focus shifts to 2020

If you live in Maryland, please ask your legislators to support legalizing, taxing, and regulating marijuana for adults 21 and older!

The Maryland General Assembly wrapped up its 2019 legislative session on Monday, April 8. It was a somber end to the legislative session with the passing of House Speaker Michael Busch, who was Speaker of the House of Delegates for 16 years.

A number of cannabis reform bills were introduced this session, including legislation to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for adults' use. Unfortunately, neither those bills nor the bill that would legalize cannabis following voter approval in 2020 passed this session.

But, the state is positioned to seriously consider legalizing and regulating cannabis in 2020. A work group will be convening during the interim to study how to best implement the legalization of marijuana in Maryland. The work group will report its findings by December 31, 2019, just in time for the 2020 session. Stay tuned for updates from the work group and opportunities to weigh in on meetings!

In the meantime, be sure to keep up the momentum and let your delegate(s) and senator know you want them to support legislation to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for adults 21 and older.

In other news, several bills to improve Maryland's medical marijuana program were also introduced this session. A bill that will allow edible cannabis products to be an option for patients was passed on Monday. It will be effective upon signature by Gov. Larry Hogan or 30 days after presentment by the General Assembly.

A bill to add opioid use disorder as a qualifying condition and a bill to ensure medical marijuana patients do not lose their gun rights were also introduced this session. Unfortunately, these bills did not advance.

There is increasing momentum for marijuana policy reform in Maryland. Keep the pressure up by contacting your lawmakers today and sharing this message with your family and friends in Maryland. Together, we can end prohibition!

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Medical Marijuana

Fla.: House committee approves bill to limit THC in medical cannabis

If you live in Florida, contact your representatives and ask them to vote NO on HB7117.

Just two weeks after the legislature and Gov. Ron DeSantis repealed a ban on smoking medical cannabis in the face of a lawsuit, the House Appropriations Committee approved a bill that would limit cannabis flowers to just 10% THC. The bill, HB7117, now heads to the Florida House floor.

Please ask your representatives to protect patients and vote NO on HB7117!

This THC limit would leave patients behind who respond best to medical cannabis with higher proportions of THC.

THC has proven medical benefits, including relieving nausea and appetite loss. Patients who benefit from strains of cannabis that have more than 10% THC deserve legal access to the medical cannabis they need to treat their conditions.

Patients and their allies in Florida have fought for years to establish a comprehensive system to create safe access to medical cannabis. This bill would roll back progress that has been made and is an affront to the 71% of voters who enacted the state’s medical cannabis law.

Ask your representatives to support patients across the Sunshine State and vote NO on HB7117. Then, forward this message to your friends and family in Florida and encourage them to do the same.

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Medical Marijuana

Ga.: Legislature approves in-state supply for low-THC medical cannabis!

Georgia's Hope Act heads to Gov. Kemp, who is expected to sign it.

Yesterday evening, in the waning hours before the legislature adjourned for 2019, a conference committee hammered out final language to allow safe access to low-THC medical cannabis oil within Georgia. The Senate signed off on the Georgia's Hope Act in a 34-20 vote, while the House vote was 147-16.

The Georgia's Hope Act, HB 324, now heads to Gov. Brian Kemp (R), who is expected to sign it into law.

In 2015, the Georgia General Assembly passed a bill allowing patients to register to possess up to 20 fluid ounces of medical cannabis oil with up to 5% THC. The legislature later expanded the law to include more medical conditions, and more than 8,000 patients are signed up. However, the law didn't include any access to cannabis oil.

Under the Georgia's Hope Act, six producers could cultivate medical cannabis preparations in Georgia, as could two universities. Pharmacies could sell the medical cannabis preparations, and regulators could authorize private dispensaries. (Due to medical cannabis' federal illegality, it is far from certain that universities or pharmacies would participate.)

MPP is grateful to Jacob Eassa, lobbyist with CompassionateGA, who worked hard to get the bill past the finish line and ensure the bill remained workable. We would also like to thank MPP grantee Nora Bushfield of CompassionateGA for their organizing efforts and all the patients and loved ones who spoke out for so many years. And of course, this was only possible due to the leadership of bill sponsor Rep. Micah Gravley (R), former Rep. Allen Peake (R) who championed medical cannabis legislation for years, and all the lawmakers who supported the legislation.

While this is a huge victory, work remains to be done in future legislative sessions to improve the law. It still does not meet MPP's definition of an effective medical cannabis law.

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Medical Marijuana

S.C. Lobby Day next Wednesday, as medical cannabis bill advances

If you live in S.C., click here to send a message to your lawmakers in support of the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act.

Our allies at Compassionate South Carolina are hosting a Lobby Day in Columbia on Wednesday, April 3 to make the case for a medical cannabis program directly with lawmakers. This event can have a huge impact at an important time — a key deadline is just one week later. If you are a patient, loved one, veteran, or medical professional, please consider attending!

Meanwhile, please click here to send a message to your senator and representative in support of the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act — S. 366/ H. 3660.

Lobby Day enables those who support allowing medical cannabis to meet with their own senator and representative and talk about this important bill. Supporters will meet up, talk about the measure and get tips for talking with lawmakers, and make visits at the State House. For more information on the event, click here.

S. 366 emerged from the Senate subcommittee that was reviewing it and will be considered by the full Senate Medical Affairs Committee next Thursday. We want the committee to support the bill, vote "yes," and send it to the floor of the Senate for a vote. A summary of the bill is available here. You can find some key points in support of it here.

Let's keep the pressure up. If you haven't done so already, please send an email message to your state representative and senator in support. You can do that by clicking this link and forwarding a message today. Then, please pass this on to your networks so that they, too, can speak out for compassion.

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Medical Marijuana

Ga. patients: Help push back on ill-conceived measure to import low-THC oil

If you live in Georgia, click here to call the lieutenant governor right now and tell him Georgia's patients deserve better!

 

Over the past several days, MPP has learned of an absurd proposal that would require Georgia to import low-THC oil from other states rather than allowing in-state production. This is a seriously flawed solution. Not only would federal law enforcement authorities refuse to authorize such a scheme, no other states allow out-of-state exports. Georgia patients will again be left on their own.

Patients lives are in the balance. Call Lt. Gov. Duncan right now and tell him Georgia should not waste time with unworkable proposals for patients.

It is likely this idea will be considered in committee tomorrow, so it is critical the lieutenant governor hear from you before 1:00 p.m. tomorrow. If you plan to call and you haven't already, don't delay!

Since passage of its low-THC oil program in 2015, patients have technically had permission to possess oil, but it has been illegal for them to obtain it from any source. The state is looking for a solution, and lawmakers are considering measure HB 324, which would create a program similar to 33 other states across the U.S. See our summary here. Ideas like interstate trafficking only serve to undermine realistic proposals like HB 324.

If you haven't called the lt. governor already, please do so now. Follow this link and call today to tell him you won't allow it.

Then, pass this email to friends, family, and other medical cannabis supporters in Georgia.

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Medical Marijuana

N.H.: Senate hearing on medical cannabis home grow bill TOMORROW!

Patients who feel strongly about home cultivation are encouraged to testify at the hearing, which is scheduled to begin at 2:15 p.m.

Since 2009, the New Hampshire House has passed numerous bills that would allow patients and caregivers to cultivate a limited supply of cannabis. These bills have all failed to pass the Senate, but there are good reasons to believe this year might be different. Tomorrow afternoon, the Senate Health and Human Services Committee will hold a public hearing on the bill.

Here are the details:

WHAT: Public hearing on HB 364, a bill that would allow patients and caregivers to grow a limited supply of cannabis (three mature plants, three immature plants, and 12 seedlings per patient)

WHERE: Room 101, Legislative Office Building, 33 North State Street, Concord

WHEN: Scheduled for 2:15 p.m. on Tuesday, March 26 (but may begin a bit later, since other bills are also on the agenda)

This is an important opportunity for patients to testify in support of improving the medical cannabis law. If you've never testified before, or if you have any questions, please contact me at msimon@mpp.org.

Additionally, our allies at Americans for Prosperity will be hosting another phone banking and letter writing session in support of HB 481, the adult-use legalization bill, tomorrow, Tuesday, March 26 from 5 to 8 p.m. at their offices in Manchester (340 Granite Street, First Floor) and Portsmouth (767 Islington Street, Second Floor). All legalization supporters are welcome. Dinner will be provided for volunteers. For more details, and to RSVP on Facebook, click here.

Please share this message with your family and friends!

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Medical Marijuana

Florida: Legislation to repeal ban on smoking medical cannabis has reached Gov. DeSantis’ desk!

On Wednesday, the Florida House of Representatives sent a bill to allow patients to smoke medical cannabis to Gov. Ron DeSantis' desk. In February, Gov. DeSantis called on lawmakers to send him a bill that would repeal the ban, after a court ruling in 2018 deemed the ban unconstitutional. The bill passed the Senate last week by a vote of 38-0.

Repealing the smoking ban will allow patients and their doctors greater access to administer medical cannabis and to decide for themselves which mode of administration is most appropriate for them. The bill will take effect as soon as the governor signs it.

Additionally, the bill allows patients to receive up to 2.5 ounces of whole flower cannabis every 35 days as recommended by their doctor and requires patients under the age of 18 to have a terminal condition and to get a second opinion from a pediatrician before smoking medical cannabis.

Patients and their allies in Florida have fought for years to establish a comprehensive system to create safe access to medical cannabis. Gov. DeSantis signing this much-needed legislation into law will mark a great victory for patients across the Sunshine State.

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Medical Marijuana

Utah lawmakers approve bill to make minor changes to medical marijuana law

Legislators in Utah have passed legislation, SB 161, that would implement technical fixes to Utah's newly adopted medical marijuana law. The bill now goes to Gov. Gary Herbert for his signature.

Changes include elimination of language that could be used to discriminate against parents who are medical marijuana patients and extending protections to family members of patients who are assisting their loved one with accessing medicine. You can read details about the legislation by visiting the website of our local ally, the Libertas Institute.

In the compromise reached before passage of Prop 2 last year, all parties agreed to wait until 2020 before proposing and adopting major policy changes to the Utah Medical Cannabis Act.

Stay tuned for more updates.

Thank you.

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