The wait is over. After submitting well over the required number of voter signatures in September last year, Mississippians for Compassionate Care has received the good news that their initiative to legalize medical marijuana will appear on the November ballot!
Polling indicates that 77 percent of Mississippians support allowing medical marijuana. The state currently has a CBD program, but access is severely restricted.
Although a supermajority of residents are on the side of reform, some politicians, such as Republican Gov. Phil Bryant, are opposed. Those against the measure will likely do what prohibitionists often do: misinform and use fear tactics to dissuade voters.
If you live in the state, please get involved. You can support the campaign and learn more about Mississippians for Compassionate Care by visiting their website. Passage of a medical marijuana law in one of the most conservative states in the country would be a major victory for patients and families living there as well as for our movement.
Earlier this week, the Utah House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved legislation that would allow individuals suffering from intractable epilepsy to possess and use certain marijuana extracts if their neurologist recommends its use. Patients would only be able to obtain and use marijuana extracts that contain no more than 0.3% THC and more than 15% CBD. Although this law leaves the vast majority of patients behind, it is certainly an improvement on the status quo.
If it becomes law, H.B. 105 would only provide protection for cardholders who use and possess extracts that have been analyzed for cannabinoid content by labs approved by the Department of Health. Minors would only be approved for the program if their parent or guardian has oversight. Passage of this legislation could bring relief to many families grappling with severe epilepsy.
Although the bill does not cover patients suffering from MS, ALS, cancer, HIV, and a host of other serious conditions that respond well to marijuana, it would be a positive step forward.
You may know that the University of Mississippi has been growing marijuana for the federal government's little-known medical marijuana program, the Compassionate Investigational New Drug program, for decades. Each month, the federal authorities send four patients a tin canister filled with about 300 pre-rolled marijuana cigarettes. Unfortunately, Mississippi's seriously ill patients are not able to access medical marijuana even with a doctor’s recommendation, and they risk arrest and prosecution if they try.
Mississippians battling cancer, MS, and other serious conditions are fortunate to have a champion in State Senator Deborah Dawkins (D-Pass Christian). Sen. Dawkins has just introduced S.B. 2252, which would make it legal for qualifying patients to possess up to three mature plants, four immature plants, and up to 30 grams of usable marijuana for each plant.
It’s time Mississippi started making sure its own seriously ill patients have safe, legal access to medical marijuana — just like those four patients still benefiting from the federal government’s little-known program!
Please contact your legislator today, and urge him or her to support S.B. 2252.
The multiple sclerosis patient in New Jersey who was sentenced to five years in prison for growing marijuana plants and has been incarcerated since March may be released today while he appeals his case.
A state appellate court ruled yesterday that John Wilson, who says he used marijuana to treat his condition, should be released on bail.
“Family and supporters were optimistic, but pointed out that John spent three weeks in the Somerset County Jail, then a week in a Trenton [transfer] facility and had just been moved to a state prison complex in southern New Jersey. Some were growing concerned over his health.”
Two state senators have asked New Jersey’s governor to pardon Wilson, in part because the state passed a medical marijuana law during the course of his trial.
New Jersey resident John Wilson, 37, may spend the next five years in prison because he grew marijuana, which he used to treat his multiple sclerosis. A judge handed down the five-year sentence on Friday, months after a jury found Wilson guilty of growing 17 marijuana plants—which he used only to treat the effects of his debilitating illness.
Throughout most of his trial, Wilson was prevented from mentioning his disease to the jury. Then in January, New Jersey became the 14th state in the nation to pass a medical marijuana law, but Wilson was still not allowed to argue a medical defense, because the law did not exist at the time of his arrest. New Jersey’s law does not allow patients to grow their own marijuana (as Wilson had done) but it will provide them with safe access to their medicine through dispensaries—which would have eliminated the need for Wilson to grow his own plants, if only the law had been passed two years earlier.
There is a chance that Wilson might receive parole and be out of prison in about a year, if he is accepted into the state’s Intensive Supervision Program, but that has not yet been decided.
In the meantime, his attorney, James Wronko, is promising to appeal.
“I continue to be amazed that in our system of justice, an individual who is growing marijuana to treat his personal multiple sclerosis ends up in state prison,” Wronko told a local news outlet. “I find it extremely ironic that an individual who could not afford medicine and had to resort to growing marijuana is now going to state prison where he will be given access to all the drugs available to treat multiple sclerosis.”