Gov. Tim Walz (D) has taken important steps to preserve safe access to medical cannabis during this time of social distancing. Medical cannabis businesses have been allowed to remain open during the stay-at-home order. By executive order, the governor is permitting curbside pickup and telemedicine, and he has pushed back expiration dates on patient certifications and is allowing temporary caregivers.
While we commend the governor for these important measures, we are disappointed he has not allowed home delivery during the crisis. Please take a moment to thank the governor for what he’s already done, while urging him to allow delivery.
In the face of the pandemic, we are advised to stay at home and — when it’s necessary to go out — to maintain at least six feet of distance from others. During these difficult times, the safest way to obtain medical cannabis is contactless delivery. Medical cannabis patients shouldn’t have to put themselves in danger to access the medicine they depend on.
After you write the governor, you can go the extra mile by spreading the word to others, calling his office at 651-201-3400, or making an appeal on Twitter.
Legalization Appears Stalled Due to the Virus
When this year’s legislative session convened in February, there were high hopes that the House of Representatives would approve legalization this year. House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (D) was expected to introduce a comprehensive legalization proposal based on principles he outlined that reflected stakeholder input, including from his "Be Heard on Cannabis" tour over the fall and winter.
Since then, life changed dramatically. Efforts to prevent transmission of novel coronavirus stalled legislative action. The legislature convened briefly in late March for a coronavirus relief bill, but it has otherwise recessed until mid-April. It appears we’ll need to shift our focus to passing in 2021.
Unfortunately, leadership in the Senate is behind the times. Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-Nisswa) has said the Republican caucus is strongly opposed. However, the entire legislature will be on the ballot in November, so there’s an opportunity to elect more lawmakers that recognize the folly of prohibition.
Stay tuned for a voter guide and opportunities to get engaged.
Fortunately, medical cannabis businesses have been deemed “essential” under the order and remain open to patients across the District.
Still, there are additional actions that could be taken to ensure patients can safely access their medicine in a way that is consistent with public health guidelines on preventing the spread of coronavirus:
- Allowing and encouraging cannabis delivery, including allowing for it to be contactless. (This is particularly important for patients who are immunocompromised, elderly, or otherwise particularly at-risk.)
- Allowing and encouraging online ordering and curbside pickup from dispensaries
- Extending the expiration date of medical cannabis cards until after the crisis has abated
A number of states with medical cannabis programs have already implemented these measures in response to coronavirus.
You can also sign our petition for safe access in times of coronavirus here.
Thank you for your compassion. We wish you and your loved ones well.
Just a few weeks ago, before life changed dramatically, the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act (H. 3660/S. 366) was primed for action.
In January and February, the House 3M subcommittee heard testimony on H. 3660. Another committee meeting on the bill was scheduled for March 25, and we were optimistic H. 3660 would advance. Meanwhile, the Senate Medical Affairs Committee scheduled a March 19 hearing on S. 366.
Unfortunately, both hearings were cancelled as the legislature began to furlough to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus. It remains to be seen if any legislation other than COVID-related issues will be taken up this year or if we’ll have to refocus efforts to 2021.
Stay tuned for updates and opportunities to move the issue forward, including a voter guide on state legislative candidates.
We wish you and your loved ones well during these difficult times.
On Tuesday, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice signed SB 339, a bill that authorizes rulemaking by the Department of Health and Human Resources. The final version of the bill included an amendment adding “dry leaf or plant form” to the list of acceptable forms of medical cannabis. As a result, it appears that when dispensaries open, they will be able to sell cannabis flower to patients!
Thanks to all who contacted their legislators and helped secure this important victory. The legislature is no longer in session, so further progress on cannabis policy will have to wait until 2021. Fortunately, 2020 is an election year, so there will likely be many opportunities to replace elected officials who have opposed sensible cannabis policies with candidates who are supportive of reforms.
We will send more information on candidates’ positions in advance of the primary election, which is scheduled for May 12. Until then, please stay safe, and be sure to forward this good news to any patients you know who are waiting for legal access to medical cannabis.
As governments today respond to COVID-19, it’s critical that medical patients maintain access to cannabis for medical use. This is particularly true in Alaska, and we are asking for your help.
Please join with us in asking Gov. Mike Dunleavy to ensure that cannabis businesses, which serve patients along with adult consumers, are included as essential businesses. Click here to send a message to the governor to thank him for keeping businesses open so far and to ask for his support on behalf of patients all around the state.
As of today, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, California, Illinois, Michigan, Maine, Maryland, and Nevada, along with a long list of medical-only states, have declared that retail cannabis establishments are “essential services.” That designation helps ensure access even if there is a stay-at-home order. Alaska’s governor has not yet extended that protection to cannabis businesses, leaving patients and consumers vulnerable. Without a home delivery option, patients and consumers would simply be cut off if retail shops closed. That should not be acceptable, and the governor should hear that message. Help us get word to his office.
The flip side is for all of us in the cannabis movement to remember that in many ways, we are also stewards of health. Businesses should consider measures to help ensure the well-being of their patients and customers through social distancing and good business practices.
- Our own letter to the governor is available here.
- The Alaska Marijuana Industry Association’s great letter and recommendations for businesses is here.
- A chart we put together that compares different state approaches in response to COVID-19 is here.
- The link to get word to the Alaska governor’s office on this issue is here.
Please stay safe, and mind your health and the health of this community.
In the past week or two, our lives have changed dramatically.
As we strive to “flatten the curve,” schools have shuttered their doors. Those workplaces that can switch to remote work, including MPP, have done so. Hundreds of thousands of workers are newly unemployed. Tens of thousands of Americans have been diagnosed with the virus, and healthcare professionals are making heroic sacrifices.
Our hearts go out to each of you for all you are going through as we come together to reduce the death toll.
As some states roll out “Safer at Home” policies, they are recognizing people still need access to essentials, including medicine. MPP and allied organizations are working to make sure they do not lose sight of the fact that millions of Americans depend on cannabis as part of their treatment regimens.
We are urging governors and legislative leaders in states with medical cannabis and legalization laws to ensure access in a way that keeps everyone as safe as possible.
You can sign our petition here to add your voice to the plea for safe access.
Among the recommendations — which are similar to ones put out by our friends at Americans for Safe Access — are declaring cannabis businesses an essential service (keeping them open in case of a stay-at-home order), allowing delivery, allowing telemedicine, and relaxing bureaucratic requirements that could interfere with access.
We’ve also compiled a list of what measures states currently have in place for safe access in these uncertain times.
We wish you and your loved ones well. We’re all in this together.
Yesterday, the Alabama Senate approved the state’s medical cannabis bill — SB 165 — in a 22-11 vote! The bill now heads to the House of Representatives, where the speaker has not yet committed to letting it receive a vote.
Write your state rep today to ask them to support patients and to urge leadership to let it get a vote. To have even more impact, you can give your state representative a call after sending your email.
Senators debated SB 165 for hours and considered numerous amendments — accepting some and rejecting others.
The bill, which is sponsored by a physician, Sen. Tim Melson (R), would allow qualifying patients to use and safely access medical cannabis preparations. While it is more restrictive than most medical cannabis laws — and does not allow smoking or vaporization — SB 165 would still be a dramatic improvement from current law. For more details, check out our summary.
After you reach out to your own representative, spread the word to other compassionate Alabamians so that they, too, can raise their voices for compassion.
See below for the first email from South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws, the campaign working to legalize marijuana for adults and establish a medical marijuana program in the state! Click here to sign up for their campaign email alerts. And please consider donating today. This campaign is crucial to our goal of passing landmark federal marijuana reform through Congress.
Marijuana Policy Project
---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws <info@
Date: Fri, Mar 13, 2020 at 3:21 PM
Subject: Together, let's legalize marijuana in South Dakota
My name is Drey Samuelson, political director for South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws, and this is our first official campaign email! Although I know a fair amount of the folks on this list, I wanted to take the opportunity to introduce myself as one of the leaders of our historic campaign to pass two marijuana reform ballot initiatives (one for medical marijuana and the other for full legalization) in South Dakota this November.
A little about me: I spent three years as a Sioux Falls field representative for then-Congressman Tom Daschle, and then a few years later, in 1986, I ran the successful congressional campaign for then-South Dakota State Senator Tim Johnson. Following the election, Tim hired me to be his Chief of Staff. In all, I spent 28 great years on Tim’s team as we worked to deliver results for the people of South Dakota.
(Photo: H. Darr Beiser / USA Today)
Following Tim's retirement, I returned to South Dakota to co-found TakeItBack.Org, a nonpartisan nonprofit that used ballot initiatives to advance anti-corruption reforms that advocates could not pass through South Dakota’s conservative state legislature. I had learned the power of ballot initiatives earlier in my life, having served as campaign manager for an anti-corporate farm campaign in Nebraska in 1982. Despite being heavily outspent, we won.
And that's why I'm here, working on these two initiatives. It is quite clear that getting these two initiatives through the South Dakota legislature would be virtually impossible, so advocates of sensible marijuana policy reform were left only one option: taking our case directly to the people of South Dakota. Thankfully, through a great deal of hard work and generous funding, we were able to qualify both initiatives for the general election ballot, and we're now in position to put together a campaign to pass both of them. I have no illusions that either is a slam dunk, but I have seen the polling and am convinced that if we run smart, well-executed campaigns, we'll win them both. The fact is the people of South Dakota are ready to adopt medical marijuana and full legalization. The purpose of this campaign is to effectuate the will of the people.
And that's where you come in. We are determined to run an energetic and highly-organized grassroots campaign, one that isn't top-down but bottom-up, which relies on many hundreds of volunteers across the state.
Right now, here are a few quick ways you can help us win!
- Donate to the campaign!
- Sign up to volunteer: use this sign up form or simply reply to this email.
- Forward this email to your friends and family and encourage them to sign up for email updates through our website: https://www.southdako
- Follow or Like us on Facebook – we need to build our audience and reach more voters!
Minnesota’s 2020 legislative session is underway, and several cannabis-related bills have been introduced. While we are still eagerly awaiting House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler’s bill to legalize and regulate cannabis, another important bill needs your support. SF4255 would improve the medical cannabis program, including by allowing patients to vaporize cannabis in its natural, flower form.
Minnesota has some of the most expensive medical cannabis products in the nation, and many patients turn back to the illicit market as a result. Two of the four other states that once prohibited flower cannabis — Pennsylvania and New York — now allow it. Minnesota should, too.
The bill would also ease access in rural areas of the state by allowing dispensaries to operate mobile distribution units. This would save patients and their caregivers hours-long round trips.
Please write your lawmakers today to ask them to work to pass SF4255, and spread the word.
On Thursday, March 5, the Florida House approved a 10 percent THC cap on medical cannabis for patients under 21 years old. The cap was submitted as an amendment to HB 713, which is a larger healthcare package.
This THC limit would leave younger patients behind who respond best to medical cannabis with higher proportions of THC. Please take a minute to ask your lawmakers to reject this amendment!
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 Florida voters who enacted the state’s medical cannabis law.
Ask your lawmakers to stand with patients across the Sunshine State and reject the THC cap! Please forward this message to your friends and family in Florida and encourage them to do the same.