Medical Marijuana

N.H.: Help us “bring back the heart” and pass HB 364!

Also, legalization advocates will debate prohibitionists this Wednesday, August 21 at 7 p.m. in Moultonborough!

The N.H. House is scheduled to meet on Wednesday, September 18 to vote on veto overrides, including HB 364, the bill that would allow limited home cultivation for patients. If the House votes to override the governor's veto and pass HB 364, the bill will proceed to the Senate for a final vote.

We're committed to fighting for every vote we can get in the legislature and passing this bill into law. To that end, I'm pleased to report that we found the designs from our 2009 N.H. Compassion campaign and updated them for current use.

Although the 2009 campaign tragically fell two votes short of success when Gov. Lynch's veto was sustained in the Senate after being overridden by the House, the patients who fought for that bill seemed to be fans of this design. Many of those patients are no longer with us, and I feel that "bringing back the heart" and using it for online ads and other materials would be a good way to honor their memories.

Please help us "bring back the heart" by making a donation to MPP's veto override effort today! We need to pick up two more Senate votes, but there are several votes in play.

If you haven't already done so, please contact your representatives and senator and urge them to support passing HB 364 into law!

Finally, in case you thought the legalization debate was dead until 2020, I'm pleased to report that former Rep. Ted Wright and I will be discussing the pros and cons of legalization with two opponents, including Sen. Bob Giuda, on a panel this Wednesday, August 21 at the Moultonborough Public Library, beginning at 7 p.m.

Please share this important news with your family and friends!

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Medical Marijuana

N.H.: Gov. Sununu vetoes home cultivation bill

Urge your representatives and senators to override the veto and pass HB 364 into law!

On Friday afternoon, Gov. Chris Sununu vetoed HB 364, the bill that would allow registered patients and caregivers to cultivate a limited supply of cannabis at home. This is a very disappointing development, but it's possible that the House and Senate can be persuaded to pass the bill into law despite the governor's veto.

Please contact your representatives and senator right now — urge them to override the veto and pass HB 364!

In order to override the veto, two-thirds majorities will be necessary in both the House and Senate. The House has voted by more than two-thirds to support home cultivation bills on several occasions in the past, and the Senate voted 14-10 in support of HB 364 on May 2. This means two additional votes will be needed in order to reach two-thirds in the Senate.

If you have a personal story to share with legislators about how allowing home cultivation would make a positive difference in your life or the life of a patient you know, please include that in your emails to legislators. If you're comfortable having your story shared with legislators or the public, please send details to me at msimon@mpp.org.

After you email your representatives and senator, please share this important update with your friends and family!

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Medical Marijuana

N.H.: Home grow bill finally lands on Gov. Sununu’s desk

Call the governor's office one last time today and urge him to sign HB 364!

Yesterday, after a series of delays, the medical cannabis home cultivation bill was finally delivered to Gov. Chris Sununu's desk. That means the governor will have until Saturday to sign or veto HB 364, which would allow registered patients and caregivers to cultivate a limited supply of cannabis at home. If he takes no action, the bill will become law without his signature.

Please call Gov. Sununu one last time and urge him to sign HB 364!

After you call Gov. Sununu, please share this important update with your friends and family!

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Medical Marijuana

Minn. patients and health providers: Help expand the medical cannabis program​

Submit a letter of support if you could benefit from allowing oral uptake delivery or from adding chronic pain or TBI to the program.

Minnesota's medical cannabis law started as one of the most restrictive in the nation. Thanks to the hard work of our allies at Sensible Minnesota and the voices of patients and providers, it has steadily been expanded via the Department of Health petition process. Intractable pain, PTSD, autism, and other conditions have been added administratively to include tens of thousands more patients.

Sensible Minnesota is now focused on expanding conditions to include chronic pain, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and to allow oral uptake delivery. If you are a patient, caregiver, family member, healthcare provider, or someone else who could benefit from the addition of these conditions or delivery method, please consider providing a letter of support by the end of the day on Friday, July 26.

The National Academy of Sciences found there is conclusive or substantial evidence that cannabis relieves chronic pain. Adding "chronic pain" would allow thousands more patients to qualify who do not fall under the restrictive definition of intractable pain.

Oral uptake delivery — which can be done with gums, lozenges, or mints — permits patients to absorb cannabinoids through the mucosal lining of the mouth. This means the patient doesn't need to swallow the product, which can take far longer to get into the bloodstream to provide relief.

If you are a pain or TBI patient who has already received benefit from medical cannabis, please consider providing a letter to share your story.

You can submit your letter of support using Sensible Minnesota's online form or via email to petitions@sensible.mn. If you have questions or would like more information, please reach out to petitions@sensible.mn.

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Medical Marijuana

TOMORROW (Wed. 7/17): Action meeting to support Rhode Island’s medical marijuana program

If you're worried that the needs and interests of medical cannabis patients are being ignored in Rhode Island, I hope you'll join Ellen Lenox Smith from RIPAC and me tomorrow (July 17) at 6:30 p.m. in the Bell Street Chapel (5 Bell St., Providence) to discuss priorities and ways patients and allies can effectively advocate for the program. You can visit the Facebook event page here.

As the state makes significant changes to the medical marijuana program, patients do not have a seat at the table, and political leaders are treating the medical marijuana program as a source of tax revenue. On top of that, we see attempts nearly every year to roll back home cultivation rights, which have been a vital safety net and crucial source of medicine for many patients since the program started.

We are calling on all supporters of the medical cannabis program to come together and discuss ways to strengthen patients' influence over policies that deeply affect them. We believe it's possible to create a more organized and unified voice to fight for the program.

Hope to see you tomorrow evening.

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Medical Marijuana

N.H.: Gov. Sununu signs some bills, vetoes others​

The medical cannabis home cultivation bill still hasn't arrived on Gov. Sununu's desk — there's still time for you to call his office and urge him to sign it!

Gov. Chris Sununu has signed a few cannabis-related bills into law, while vetoing others. On Friday, he signed a very important bill, HB 399, which will allow people who received misdemeanor convictions for possessing small amounts of cannabis prior to decriminalization to have their records annulled. The new law will take effect on January 1, 2020. Our allies at ACLU-NH and Americans for Prosperity, and the bill's lead sponsor, Rep. Renny Cushing, deserve our sincere thanks for their outstanding advocacy on this issue.

HB 364, which would allow registered patients and caregivers to cultivate a limited supply of cannabis at home, still has not been delivered to the governor's desk but should be arriving there soon.

Please call Gov. Sununu right now — thank him for signing HB 399 and urge him to sign HB 364!

Here is an update on other medical cannabis bills that passed the House and Senate:

  • HB 335 expands the number of possible dispensary locations in the state from six to eight by authorizing regulators to allow each dispensary to open a second location within their assigned geographic areas. Gov. Sununu signed it into law.

  • HB 350 allows physician's assistants to certify patients. Gov. Sununu signed it into law.

  • SB 88 would eliminate the three-month waiting period for provider-patient relationships. Gov. Sununu vetoed it. It passed by a veto-proof margin in both chambers of the legislature, so it's possible the veto could be overridden.

  • SB 145 would allow alternative treatment centers to reorganize as for-profit businesses. Gov. Sununu vetoed it. It was two votes shy of a veto-proof vote in the Senate.

After you call Gov. Sununu, please share this important update with your friends and family!

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Medical Marijuana

New Jersey: Gov. Murphy signs medical marijuana expansion

Today, Gov. Phil Murphy signed the Jake Honig Compassionate Use Medical Cannabis Act into law. The bill is named after a pediatric cancer patient who passed away last year. Towards the end of Jake's fight, he relied on medical marijuana to ease the symptoms of the terrible disease. His family has since become advocates for medical marijuana reforms and helped spearhead this new law.

The new law will expand patient access to medical marijuana, by allowing more qualifying conditions and increasing the amount a patient can purchase in a month. It also creates a five-member Cannabis Regulatory Commission to govern the medical marijuana program. A summary of the changes can be found here.

While the legislature didn't manage to pass legalization this session, it's only matter of time. Support for changing marijuana laws is growing every day. Just last week, New Jersey state senators held a press conference calling for decriminalization and expungement reform. Together, we can bring about marijuana policy reform in New Jersey.

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Medical Marijuana

Wisc. Assembly speaker wants to pass medical cannabis!​

Ask your legislators to get on board with this compassionate issue.

Although he's staunchly opposed to legalization, Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R) wants the legislature to consider medical marijuana. For a bill to make it to Gov. Tony Evers' (D) desk, challenges would have to be overcome — such as Sen. Majority Leader Fitzgerald's opposition and securing the rank-and-file votes.

That's where you come in.

Please send an email to your state senator and assembly member to let them know it's wrong to brand the seriously ill criminals for relieving their suffering.

To have even more impact, give your state lawmakers a call. Or, better yet, if you or a loved one could benefit from medical cannabis, consider requesting an in-district meeting.

MPP's federal policies director — Don Murphy — was once a law-and-order Republican state lawmaker in Maryland. One day in 1999, a veteran with cancer sat down in Don's office and asked for his help. Don had never given medical marijuana much thought, much less considered sponsoring a bill. But Darrell Putman's plea changed everything, prompting Don to introduce the state's first medical marijuana bill, which laid the groundwork for Maryland's medical cannabis program.

Lawmakers are people, and we've seen honest, heartfelt pleas change minds in state after state. If this issue is personal to you, consider sharing your story with your legislators in person. Let us know if you need some guidance.

And please be sure to spread the word. Together, we can pass a compassionate medical cannabis law in Wisconsin.

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Medical Marijuana

Rhode Island General Assembly passes state budget with medical marijuana changes

Late yesterday, the Rhode Island Senate adopted the House's budget bill, sending the legislation to Gov. Raimondo for her approval. Although the governor's January budget proposal included a plan to legalize marijuana for adults, the state legislature removed it and instead increased the number of licenses for medical marijuana compassion centers from three to nine. The budget also raises the annual licensing fees for these businesses to $500,000 — by far the highest in the nation.

Though the outcome is not what we hoped for, we were successful in avoiding an even worse result. After MPP and our allies called legislators' attention to it, the House amended out a budget provision that would have allowed the Department of Business Regulation to establish "criteria for eligibility or a demonstration of need" for patients and caregivers who wish to grow medical marijuana. Given the department's stated opposition to home cultivation, many patients could have lost their ability to produce their own medicine had this provision not been removed.

Looking ahead, advocates for sensible marijuana policy reform in Rhode Island are regrouping and planning for next year. With the legislative session winding down and no elections coming up, the next six months are an excellent time to contact your state senator and representative and talk with them about the need for sensible cannabis policy reform.

Though it is disappointing when progress does not come quickly, our movement is winning, and our numbers are growing. We must continue speaking out and advocating for reform. I appreciate you for sticking with us and continuing this fight.

Stay tuned for more updates soon.

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Medical Marijuana

Rhode Island: House budget would reduce home grow for patients and raise costs

If you live in Rhode Island, contact your state representative and ask them to oppose these provisions in the budget.

This Friday, the Rhode Island House will debate H 5151 Sub A, the budget bill for the coming fiscal year. As written, Article 15 of this legislation would make two significant changes to undermine the state's medical marijuana program.

First, the House budget would require all patients who wish to grow for themselves to register as their own caregiver. Then, it empowers the Department of Business Regulation to establish criteria for caregivers, which may include "eligibility" and "a demonstration of need." Depending on how the department uses this authority, it could effectively eliminate home cultivation for all but a few patients.

Second, while the current budget proposal would increase the number of compassion centers from three to nine, it also raises the annual licensing fee for these facilities to $500,000 a year, which is 10-100 times more than what most other states require for medical marijuana business licenses. This fee will ensure that only people with deep pockets can enter the market, and the increased costs will be passed down to patients in the form of increased prices.

Please take action right now and send an email to your state representative asking them to oppose these changes to the medical marijuana program.

Limiting patients' ability to grow their own medicine while simultaneously increasing costs for patients at the compassion centers is a cruel and unnecessary way to balance the budget. Enough is enough.

Thank you for taking action!

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