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.
Delaware Gov. Carney signs expungement bill, two additional marijuana policy reforms sent to his desk!
Delaware's legislature adjourned on June 30, after making some modest but important improvements to marijuana policies. Since the General Assembly holds a two-year session, bills that did not get votes will roll over and pick up where they left off in January 2020.
The legalization bill, HB 110, was approved (8-3) by the House Revenue and Finance committee on June 5 and is now pending in the House Appropriations Committee. To pass HB 110 in 2020, it is very important to keep pressure on the General Assembly and continue our organizing efforts in the interim.
To go the extra mile, let us know if you're up for volunteering to phone bank to generate phone calls in key districts. You can make calls on your own schedule, from home.
Yesterday, Gov. John Carney signed SB 37 into law, which provides for the expungement of certain misdemeanor and felony convictions. This bill will allow for a single cannabis misdemeanor conviction to be expunged after five years and a single cannabis felony conviction to be expunged after seven years.
Additionally, two important bills passed the legislature and are headed to Gov. Carney:
- SB 45, a bill to expand decriminalization to those under 21; and
- SB 24, which would allow patients with any severe and debilitating medical condition to qualify for medical cannabis if they have exhausted other treatments, and the treatments have been ineffective or had prohibitive side effects.
Meanwhile, HB 243, a bill to allow medical patients to grow their own cannabis, was introduced on June 20 and is pending in the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee.
It is past time Delaware end cannabis prohibition and replace it with a system in which cannabis is taxed and regulated similarly to alcohol. After you contact your rep, please forward this message to your family and friends in Delaware.
Together, we can end prohibition in 2020!
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.
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.
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.
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!
Action has been delayed on legalization, but we're still doing everything we can to pass the medical cannabis home cultivation bill — please call Gov. Chris Sununu today and urge him to sign HB 364 into law!
The New Hampshire Senate has delayed action on the legalization bill, but several cannabis-related bills have been approved by both chambers of the legislature, and they will soon land on the desk of Gov. Chris Sununu.
Most of these bills passed with strong support in both chambers, but the fate of one critical bill remains uncertain. HB 364, which would allow registered patients and caregivers to cultivate a limited supply of cannabis at home, passed the House today in a final voice vote. Unfortunately, the margin of support in the Senate was only 14-10, so we would have to gain two votes in the Senate in order to override a potential veto.
Here are the other cannabis-related bills that appear to be on track to become law:
- HB 399 would allow people who received misdemeanor possession convictions prior to decriminalization to apply to have their records annulled. It passed both chambers in a voice vote. We are very grateful to our allies at ACLU-NH and Americans for Prosperity for their work to help get this bill passed.
- HB 350 would allow physician's assistants to certify patients. It passed both chambers in a voice vote.
- SB 88 would eliminate the three-month waiting period for provider-patient relationships. It has already passed the House (263-90) and the Senate (17-7) and awaits a final vote in the Senate.
- SB 145 would allow alternative treatment centers to reorganize as for-profit businesses. It passed both chambers in a voice vote.
After you call Gov. Sununu and urge him to sign HB 364, please share this important update with your friends and family!
On Wednesday, the Louisiana Legislature passed HB 358, a bill that would allow patients to inhale (but not smoke) medical marijuana. Louisiana is the only one of the 33 medical marijuana states that does not allow this important method of administration. The bill is now on the desk of Gov. John Bel Edwards awaiting his signature.
After you've asked the governor to sign the bill, please spread the word to others in Louisiana.
During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing this week on combating the opioid epidemic, Illinois Senator Dick Durbin made a comment that is a perfect example of the kind of entrenched ignorance that MPP has been battling for nearly 25 years. Referring to his home state of Illinois, which only days ago passed a landmark, MPP-backed bill to legalize cannabis for adult use, Sen. Durbin remarked that:
"We've had medical marijuana. I've been to one of those clinics. It was almost a laughing matter."
Really, Senator? Ready access to life-changing medical treatments is basically a joke to you?
- It's not a joke for parents who have to drive across state lines, risking their livelihood and their freedom, in order to procure the only medicine available that can successfully treat their child's multiple sclerosis symptoms — just because their state is run by people who share your outdated perspective on medical marijuana.
- It's not a joke to the veterans suffering from severe PTSD who can't get a prescription at their local VA hospital because the federal government inserts its prohibitionist restrictions between them and their physicians.
- And it's certainly no joke to the greater than 10 million people located in prohibition states who are suffering from cancer, HIV/AIDS, debilitating arthritis, anorexia, cerebral palsy, chronic pain, or the numerous other afflictions for which medical marijuana is an effective treatment.
To them, and to us, medical marijuana is no laughing matter at all. With your contribution today, we can continue to fight for life-saving access for medical cannabis patients.
Please help us send Senator Durbin a clear message that it's past time for attitudes like his to evolve, that the harm caused by failed prohibitionist policies is both ongoing and urgent, and that he should use his national profile to shine a light on the problem — not to belittle the issue.
Thank you for standing up for medical cannabis patients. Together we can overcome the ignorance and misinformation — and ensure a brighter future for those who are still being denied safe access to the medicine they need.
We must continue building support for legalization, but first, we need to make sure chronic pain is approved as a qualifying condition for medical cannabis.
A new poll just came out, and it confirms (yet again) that Connecticut residents strongly support legalizing cannabis and expunging criminal records for low-level offenses. Sadly, the legislature ended its regular session yesterday without voting on any of the bills that would have ended cannabis prohibition.
It's disappointing that our opponents were able to create enough uncertainty and confusion to delay our progress. However, we've come a long way — three committees advanced bills to legalize, regulate, and tax cannabis this year. If we can ramp up our efforts, we are optimistic we can get past the finish line in 2020. Please help us continue to build our coalition by making a contribution today. Please also "like" our coalition on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!
Unfortunately, your help appears to be needed on another issue. You might think it would be a no-brainer for Connecticut to approve chronic pain as a qualifying condition for the medical cannabis program, but the discussion about whether to do so has been "tabled for a future meeting" by the Board of Physicians.
Finally, please share this message with your family and friends!
Volunteers needed — email firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved!
The Nebraska Legislature has adjourned for the year, and once again, prohibitionist lawmakers have prevented the passage of medical marijuana legislation. But the fight is far from over. The vast majority of Nebraskans support medical marijuana, and if a medical marijuana measure appears on the ballot in 2020, there's an excellent chance it will pass.
Nebraskans for Sensible Marijuana Laws is leading the charge, and they need your help. Last weekend, they collected an impressive 1,400 signatures in just two days, but there's still a long road ahead. They need as many volunteers as possible to meet their goal by the end of the summer.
Below are several volunteer opportunities coming up this weekend. Please contact the campaign field coordinators by emailing email@example.com to let them know which events you can attend.
LINCOLN - Haymarket Farmers Market
Saturday 8 a.m. - 12 p.m.
OMAHA - Old Market Farmers Market
Saturday 8 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
LINCOLN - New Kids on the Block concert - Pinnacle Bank Arena
Saturday 6 - 8 p.m.
OMAHA - Aksarben Village Farmers Market
Sunday 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
LINCOLN - College View Farmers Market
Sunday 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
The campaign cannot qualify for the 2020 ballot without supporters like you. If you can, please get involved and volunteer today.
Yesterday, a bill was barely defeated that would allow for inhalation of medical marijuana. Right now, patients are severely limited on how they can use medical marijuana.
But there's still hope! The legislature is back in session this weekend, and there is a chance to reconsider the bill and have another vote as soon as TODAY. Please write your senator right now in favor of allowing patients to use medical marijuana through inhalation.
Many patients with severe pain, spasms, and nausea need the immediate relief inhaled cannabis provides. Louisiana is the only one of the 33 medical cannabis states that fails to allow this important mode of administration.
It's so important to contact your elected officials, so please do so NOW. Then, spread the word to others in Louisiana, so that they, too, can speak up for a workable medical cannabis program.