General

Louisiana Legislature convenes; slew of marijuana policy reforms proposed!

Urge your legislators to stop criminalizing cannabis consumers.

Today, Louisiana’s state lawmakers convene in Baton Rouge for their 2020 legislative session. Already more than a dozen bills are pending to improve the state’s cannabis policies.

Write your lawmakers to let them know you want 2020 to be the year Louisiana stops arresting cannabis consumers.

Proposals have been introduced to regulate marijuana for adults’ use, to allow local legalization, to decriminalize simple possession, and to improve the state’s medical marijuana program in various ways — including by allowing whole plant cannabis and expanding qualifying conditions.

Here’s a snapshot at some of the bills that have been introduced:

  • Rep. Edmond Jordan’s HB 626 would set up a system of legal, regulated cannabis sales to adults 21 and older along with permits for personal cultivation. (Unfortunately, it does not appear to remove criminal penalties.)
  • Rep. Ted James’ HB 546 would put a state constitutional amendment on Louisiana’s November 2020 ballot to legalize and regulate cannabis for adults 21 and older.
  • Rep. Cedric Glover's HB 346 would put a state constitutional amendment on the November 2020 ballot to allow localities to legalize marijuana.
  • Rep. C. Denise Marcelle’s HB 49 would reduce cannabis possession penalties, including by decriminalizing first-offense possession of up to 14 grams. The current penalty includes up to 15 days in jail.
  • Rep. Ted James’ HB 385 would allow whole plant/flower medical cannabis.
  • Rep. Ted James’ HB 386 would allow physicians to recommend cannabis for any condition that is debilitating to the individual patient
  • Rep. Jeremy LaCombe’s HB 455 would allow people receiving hospice or palliative care to qualify for medical cannabis.
  • Rep. Rodney Lyons’ HB 330 would add chronic pain caused by fibromyalgia as a qualifying condition.
  • Rep. Joe Marino’s HB 158 would allow Alzheimer's, ALS, and a few other neurodegenerative diseases to qualify for medical cannabis.
  • Sen. Gerald Boudreaux's SB 267 would remove the sunset on the medical cannabis program.

To weigh in on any of these bills, you can look up your legislator here and give them a call. Or you can use our automated system and rewrite the letter to focus on the issue(s) you care most about.

After voicing your support for marijuana policy reform, please spread the word so that others can join the chorus for humane and sensible marijuana laws!

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Medical Marijuana

Ohio: Send a letter to expand qualifying conditions for medical marijuana

Click here to send an email to the State Medical Board of Ohio.

The State Medical Board of Ohio is accepting public comments through March 1 regarding the possible addition of anxiety, autism spectrum disorder, and cachexia (wasting syndrome) as qualifying conditions for medical marijuana.

Research shows medical marijuana can be helpful in treating all three conditions. More than 10 states already allow anxiety as a qualifying condition. Over 20 allow autism spectrum disorder patients to access medical marijuana. And nearly 30 states have approved cachexia (or wasting syndrome).

Please take a moment to let them know you support adding these conditions by emailing them at MedicalMarijuana@med.ohio.gov or using our email tool, which has a pre-written message you can edit.

Thank you for taking action, and please forward this email to others so they can send a letter, too! We'll keep you updated on the medical board's decision.

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Tax and Regulate

State officials are seeking input on Michigan’s marijuana regulations

As the state’s medical marijuana program undergoes significant changes and regulators take steps to implement the voter-approved adult-use legalization initiative, the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency is asking the public the weigh in.

The newly formed agency will hold its first meeting on Thursday, June 13 at 9:30 a.m. in the Williams Building, located at 525 W. Ottawa Street in Lansing. If you are unable to attend the hearing in person, the event will be livestreamed on the state’s Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) Facebook page. The public is also encouraged to email comments to MRA-Legal@michigan.gov.

Passage of Prop 1, which legalized marijuana for adult use last year, was a huge step forward in establishing more sensible marijuana policies in the state, but smooth and fair implementation of the law is also critical. If you have concerns or opinions about the future of marijuana in Michigan, please get involved and share your views with the agency.

Thank you.

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Medical Marijuana

Bill to add inhalation to medical marijuana program passed Louisiana Legislature!

Contact Gov. John Bel Edwards and ask him to sign the bill.

On Wednesday, the Louisiana Legislature passed HB 358, a bill that would allow patients to inhale (but not smoke) medical marijuana. Louisiana is the only one of the 33 medical marijuana states that does not allow this important method of administration. The bill is now on the desk of Gov. John Bel Edwards awaiting his signature.

Contact the governor now and ask him to sign this important legislation!

After you've asked the governor to sign the bill, please spread the word to others in Louisiana.

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Medical Marijuana

Missouri: Updates on the rollout of medical marijuana program

Last November, Missouri voters overwhelmingly approved Amendment 2 to establish constitutional protections for medical marijuana patients and create a system for them to safely access medical marijuana. For the past several months, state officials have been making progress in implementing the new law. Here are a few updates:

  • The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has issued draft rules governing physicians and the system they must use to issue medical marijuana recommendations to qualifying patients.

  • The law requires the department to finish the rule-writing process by June 4.

  • Regulators are also accepting suggestions from the public about rules for the medical marijuana program. Click here to share your opinions with them!

  • Patients will be able to apply for a medical marijuana registration card by July 4.

  • DHHS has established 10 advisory committees composed of subject matter experts to help review draft questions for the facility license applications. More information about these committees and how feedback can be provided can be found here.

  • The state commissioned and published a study by three economists predicting there will be 26,000 registered medical marijuana patients in Missouri by 2022.

Thank you for continuing to support sensible marijuana policy reforms, and stay tuned for more updates from us!

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Medical Marijuana

Maine Legislature overrides Gov. LePage on medical marijuana reform

Earlier this month, the Maine Legislature overrode Gov. LePage’s vetoes of LD 238 and LD 1539, bills to improve Maine’s medical marijuana program. LD 238 allows for third-party extraction of medical marijuana. LD 1539 is the culmination of the Health and Human Services Committee’s session-long work reforming the medical marijuana program.

The bipartisan omnibus reform bill:

  • removes the qualifying condition list so that any Mainer can use medical marijuana so long as their doctor thinks it would be helpful for them;
  • eliminates the requirement that a patient must designate a caregiver or dispensary as their sole provider, allowing for more patient choice;
  • adds two more dispensaries to the existing eight dispensaries and removes the cap on the dispensaries after January 1, 2021;
  • allows for caregivers to open storefronts, if the town approves; and
  • much more…you can read a summary of the changes here.

These reforms are a win for the patients and the industry, and a hearty “Congratulations!” is in order for everyone that worked hard to make this happen.

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