The Maryland General Assembly wrapped up its 2019 legislative session on Monday, April 8. It was a somber end to the legislative session with the passing of House Speaker Michael Busch, who was Speaker of the House of Delegates for 16 years.
A number of cannabis reform bills were introduced this session, including legislation to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for adults' use. Unfortunately, neither those bills nor the bill that would legalize cannabis following voter approval in 2020 passed this session.
But, the state is positioned to seriously consider legalizing and regulating cannabis in 2020. A work group will be convening during the interim to study how to best implement the legalization of marijuana in Maryland. The work group will report its findings by December 31, 2019, just in time for the 2020 session. Stay tuned for updates from the work group and opportunities to weigh in on meetings!
In the meantime, be sure to keep up the momentum and let your delegate(s) and senator know you want them to support legislation to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for adults 21 and older.
In other news, several bills to improve Maryland's medical marijuana program were also introduced this session. A bill that will allow edible cannabis products to be an option for patients was passed on Monday. It will be effective upon signature by Gov. Larry Hogan or 30 days after presentment by the General Assembly.
A bill to add opioid use disorder as a qualifying condition and a bill to ensure medical marijuana patients do not lose their gun rights were also introduced this session. Unfortunately, these bills did not advance.
There is increasing momentum for marijuana policy reform in Maryland. Keep the pressure up by contacting your lawmakers today and sharing this message with your family and friends in Maryland. Together, we can end prohibition!
Yesterday, the Minnesota Department of Health approved adding Alzheimer’s disease as a qualifying condition for medical cannabis, but rejected opioid use disorder, hepatitis C, traumatic brain injury, and insomnia.
Many thanks to Sensible Minnesota and to all the advocates and health professionals who were involved in petitioning to expand the program! Their dedicated work (with an assist from MPP) also resulted in the addition of intractable pain, PTSD, autism, and sleep apnea.
Under state law, Alzheimer’s disease patients will be able to apply for medical cannabis starting next summer.
On Monday, September 24, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill that adds acute pain management to the list of approved conditions eligible for treatment with medical marijuana as an alternative to opioid use. This new law formalizes regulations the New York State Department of Health issued in July, which added opioid replacement and opioid use disorder to the list.
This is great news for patients! Access to medical marijuana is no longer limited to those suffering from chronic pain. This bill and regulations allow more patients who could benefit from medical marijuana a safe and effective alternative to highly addictive opioids.
Find more information on New York’s medical marijuana program, including the list of qualifying conditions and how to register, here.
Earlier this year, the Hawaii Legislature overwhelmingly approved SB 2407, which would allow opioid and substance use disorders, and their symptoms, to be treated with medical cannabis if a physician recommends it. But last week, Gov. David Ige announced he intends to veto this compassionate bill.
Medical cannabis can ease the devastating symptoms of opiate withdrawal and make it easier for individuals to stay on treatment regimens. For some, this is an issue of life or death.
The governor has until July 10 to act on the bill. If you are a resident of Hawaii, please call Gov. Ige at 808-586-0034 or send him an email to urge him to reconsider. We’ve provided some talking points and a draft email message to make the process easy.
New York has recently been making significant progress on expanding its overly restrictive medical marijuana program, but many patients are still left out due to the state’s limited list of qualifying conditions. Please ask your state lawmakers to support bills that would address this problem. These bills are:
A08904 / S07755 — eliminates the list of qualifying conditions and instead allows a medical professional to recommend medical cannabis for any “severe debilitating or life-threatening condition, or symptom or complication or its treatment”
A09016 / S07564 — adds opioid use disorder as a qualifying condition
A00582 — adds dysmenorrhea (pain related to menstrual cramps) as a qualifying condition
A09869 — adds autism as a qualifying condition
While adding qualifying conditions is certainly helpful (which is why MPP led an effort last year that resulted in the addition of PTSD), eliminating the list and allowing medical professionals to recommend cannabis for any serious condition is even better. If you are a New York resident, please ask your lawmakers to respect the practitioner/patient relationship.