Medical Marijuana

Ohio: Medical cannabis dispensaries open today

At least five shops are now approved to open, with more on the way

Ohio has now approved five dispensaries to begin serving patients, with most announcing they are opening for the first time today, January 16. This is the final major milestone for a program first adopted by lawmakers in 2016, and a relief to those patients who can now get access.

According to the state's website, CY+ and Ohio Valley Natural Relief LLC are opening in Wintersville. There are two shops owned by The Botanist, one in Canton and one in Wickliffe included in the approval list, along with The Forest Sandusky in Sandusky, Ohio. The state's recently updated list is available online here. Many additional dispensaries are expected soon.

While Ohio has one of the most carefully regulated programs in the country, it hasn't been without challenges. Confusion over patient protections since the law was adopted continued throughout the process, and the high regulatory hurdle the state set for operators took longer to implement than many expected – with the state missing its final deadline last September. The program's launch is a relief.

We wish to thank the many supporters who contributed to the bill's passage and adoption following our voter initiative. MPP is pleased that the voter initiative we initiated in 2014 jump-started a serious effort in the legislature to pass such a measure, with today's sales being the final result. Thanks everyone!

Please forward this message to friends, family, and supporters. The big day has finally arrived Ohio!

 

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Medical Marijuana

Indiana’s legislative session kicks off today

If you live in Indiana, ask your lawmakers to support a comprehensive medical marijuana program today!

Today marks the first day of Indiana’s legislative session. With the 2018 elections behind us, it’s time to push for medical marijuana in the Hoosier State. Lawmakers will feel increased pressure to reform Indiana’s outdated marijuana laws, especially since neighboring Ohio and Michigan have legalized medical and adult use marijuana, respectively.

Senate Democrats have made medical marijuana legalization part of their 2019 legislative agenda. Across the aisle, Republican Rep. Jim Lucas has filed legislation to allow medical marijuana.

If lawmakers hear from enough constituents, they will be more likely to support Rep. Lucas’ compassionate bill. Please contact your lawmakers today and ask that they support medical marijuana in 2019. Then, please share the link with your friends and family. Together, we can bring relief to thousands of patients in Indiana.

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General

It’s Election Day – vote like our marijuana policies depend on it!

If you haven’t voted yet, look up your polling place and check out our Election 2018 page and voter guides.

Over the years, our movement has made significant progress through the ballot box. This year will be no different. Be part of the wave of change today and go vote!

Voters are weighing in on adult-use legalization initiatives in Michigan and North Dakota and medical marijuana measures in Utah and Missouri. Some residents of Ohio and Wisconsin, too, have a chance to voice their support for local measures ending punitive marijuana policies. Go here for information about this year’s ballot questions.

Voters in states without marijuana-related ballot initiatives can play a huge role in changing marijuana laws, too.Visit MPP’s website to find out where candidates stand on marijuana policy in every gubernatorial race, along with in-depth state legislative voter guides for nine states. Roughly half the country lacks a ballot initiative process. The only way we can change marijuana laws in those states is to support thoughtful elected officials and oppose those who aren’t.

If you haven’t voted yet, make a plan right now. Look up your polling location and set a time to go. Spread the word on social media and urge your friends to vote, too!

There’s too much at stake to sit it out.

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Tax and Regulate

New poll on the Michigan legalization campaign

A new poll shows the Michigan marijuana legalization campaign ahead with 56% support. While we remain cautiously optimistic about success on Election Day, we are not out of the woods yet.

A well-funded opposition campaign could still emerge. If that happens, we would likely see misleading TV and online ads telling voters that legalization has failed in Colorado, California, and beyond.

The Michigan campaign needs resources in order to present voters with the facts on this issue: prohibition has proven to be an utter failure and legalization policies are working effectively in other states.

There are just 55 days until Election Day. I know you get many such requests, but will you make a $20 donation today to support legalization in Michigan?

Michigan is a very important campaign for these reasons:

– Michigan would be the first state in the Midwest to legalize, putting pressure on nearby states including Illinois and Ohio;
– Michigan would become the second most populous state in the country to fully legalize marijuana; and
– A victory in Michigan would further increase pressure on Congress to pass federal reform in 2019.

This November, let’s make Michigan the 10th state to legalize marijuana.

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Medical Marijuana

West Virginia Becomes the 29th Medical Marijuana State

Today, West Virginia officially became the 29th state to pass medical marijuana legislation!

Gov. Jim Justice signed the law today after the bipartisan bill passed both the Senate and House earlier this month.

While the law isn’t perfect, it’s a great start toward providing safe and legal access to medical marijuana for qualifying patients. A summary is available here.

This achievement didn’t happen overnight. In fact, MPP, along with many other advocates, has been working tirelessly to get a medical marijuana bill passed for years.

MPP released the following in a press release:

“This legislation is going to benefit countless West Virginia patients and families for years to come,” said Matt Simon of the Marijuana Policy Project, who is a West Virginia native and graduate of West Virginia University. “Medical marijuana can be effective in treating a variety of debilitating conditions and symptoms. It is a proven pain reliever, and it is far less toxic and less addictive than a lot of prescription drugs. Providing patients with a safer alternative to opioids could turn out to be a godsend for this state.”

Six states have adopted comprehensive medical marijuana laws in the past 12 months. Three of those laws, including West Virginia’s, passed through Republican-controlled legislatures. Lawmakers in Pennsylvania and Ohio approved them last April and June, respectively. The other three were approved by voters in November in states won by Donald Trump — Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota.

“Intensifying public support and a growing body of evidence are driving the rapid growth in the number of states adopting medical marijuana laws,” Simon said. “Lawmakers are also learning about marijuana’s medical benefits from friends, family members, and constituents who have experienced them firsthand in other states. More than nine out of 10 American voters think marijuana should be legal for medical purposes. In light of this near universal support, it is shocking that some legislatures still have not adopted effective medical marijuana laws.”

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Medical Marijuana

Proposed Ohio Medical Marijuana Regulations Released

Dec 16, 2016 Chris Lindsey

dispensaries, Level II, OH, Ohio, physicians, regulations

flag_of_ohio-svgProposed rules were published yesterday governing both dispensaries and physicians operating in the emerging medical marijuana program in Ohio. Both sets of proposed rules are available online. Members of the public are invited to review and comment on them before January 13, 2017.
Most of the proposed rules are sensible, but there is room for improvement. One area of concern is the state’s initial proposal to limit the total number of dispensaries to 40. Given the state’s population and the likely size of the program, such a low number could create significant access problems for patients.
In addition to the newly proposed rules, the state also published a revision to its cultivation rules, available here. While still short of ideal, the state made several major improvements, including doubling the number of smaller, Level II licenses, increasing the square footage limits for all cultivators, and lowering the financial burden.
If the dispensary or physician rules could affect you, please take a moment to review and comment. The rules and instructions for commenting are available here. A more detailed analysis of the rules and how the program could be impacted will be published on our website in the coming weeks.

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Prohibition

Ohio Localities Decriminalize Marijuana Possession

Voters in four Ohio towns adopted sensible measures on Election Day by removing all penalties for the possession of 200 grams or less of marijuana under local ordinance. Bellaire, Logan, Newark, and Roseville each adopted similar ballot measures. Voters in Byesville did not adopt their proposal.OH seal
The results are welcome news and a step forward in the four communities. Unfortunately, law enforcement officers have the option of charging a person under either local or state law, meaning that individuals are not fully protected even when local laws change. Law enforcement should follow the will of the voters in those communities that have adopted these improvements.

MPP applauds the hard work that went into giving local residents the chance to have a say, and congratulates Bellaire, Logan, Newark, and Roseville for moving marijuana policy forward. Great work!

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Research

National Poll Shows Increasing Majority Support for Legal Marijuana

A new poll by the Pew Research Center shows that a majority of Americans think that marijuana should be legal, and support is increasing.

[caption id="attachment_10109" align="alignright" width="225"]screen-shot-2016-10-12-at-11-41-48-am (Pew Research Center)[/caption]

Today, 57% of U.S. adults say the use of marijuana should be made legal, while 37% say it should be illegal. A decade ago, opinion on legalizing marijuana was nearly the reverse – just 32% favored legalization, while 60% were opposed.

The shift in public opinion on the legalization of marijuana has occurred during a time when many U.S. states are relaxing their restrictions on the drug or legalizing it altogether. In June, Ohio became the 25th state (plus Washington, D.C., Guam and Puerto Rico) to legalize marijuana in some form after Gov. John Kasich signed a medical marijuana program into law. This November, Americans in nine states will vote on measures to establish or expand legal marijuana use.

The same report released last year showed 53% support for legalization nationally.

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Medical Marijuana

Ohio Medical Marijuana Law Takes Effect

September 8 marks the first day Ohio’s medical marijuana law will be in effect, bringing new protections for qualified medical marijuana patients. Under the law’s “affirmative defense,” patients will no longer be subject to criminal conviction for possessing marijuana if they meet certain requirements. However, protections are limited, and they fall short of providing access to medical cannabis in Ohio, not expected for at least a year.MPP_OMM_horizontal green
The affirmative defense provides limited, temporary protections for patients while the formal program rolls out. Among other things, it requires a signed letter from a licensed physician, including information about the patient and the medical condition treated. Importantly, the protections do not apply to cultivation or sale of marijuana. It also does not prevent patients from being cited, it only prevents a conviction. For a closer look at what an affirmative defense is and how patients can get the protections it offers, click here.
September 8 also marks the official start date for agencies to begin writing and adopting rules for medical cannabis businesses. We are watching the process carefully to ensure the system is as workable as possible for patients.

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Prohibition

Top Legislative Victories of 2016

Now that most state legislative sessions are over for the year, MPP's Rob Kampia has published a list of the biggest victories in what is already the biggest year on record for marijuana policy reformers!Rating_Badge_JO

On July 29, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) signed a bill removing the threat of arrest for small amounts of marijuana, capping a record year of legislative and administrative marijuana policy reforms throughout the country.

Two states, Pennsylvania and Ohio, enacted effective medical marijuana laws via their legislatures, making them the 24th and 25th states to do so, respectively. As a result, more than half of the U.S. population now lives in states that have opted to legalize medical marijuana.

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In addition to Illinois, a number of other states enacted laws to reduce marijuana possession penalties. Kansas lowered the maximum jail sentence for first-time possession and reduced second offenses from felonies to misdemeanors. Louisiana and Maryland removed criminal penalties for possession of paraphernalia, with the Maryland Legislature overriding Gov. Larry Hogan’s (R) veto. Oklahoma cut the penalties for second marijuana possession offenses in half, and Tennessee reduced a third possession offense from a felony to a misdemeanor, making the maximum penalty less than a year in jail. At the local level, New Orleans and a number of Florida counties passed ordinances that give police the option to issue summons or citations instead of arresting people for low-level possession.

You can read the full article in the Huffington Post.

 

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