Two-thirds of Americans now live in states with compassionate laws that allow the medical use of marijuana. Meanwhile, Tennessee patients are stuck with the cruel choice of forgoing a medicine that could bring them relief, uprooting from their home state, or breaking the law to ease their suffering.
Last week, Republican lawmakers introduced twin bills that would finally allow medical cannabis in the Volunteer State. Sen. Janice Bowling and Rep. Ron Travis' Tennessee Medical Cannabis Act would provide relief to patients with around 20 medical conditions, including cancer, chronic pain, seizures, spasms, opioid addiction, and PTSD.
Unfortunately, Gov. Bill Lee (R) said he wants to "explore alternatives before we go there."
You can call Gov. Lee at 615-741-2001 or send him a tweet to respectfully let him know that patients have explored alternatives, but that medical cannabis simply works for some patients where other medicines do not. You can let him know cannabis is far safer than prescription painkillers. While 16,000 Americans die each year from opiates, none have died of a cannabis overdose.
Let your governor know Tennessee patients deserve the same medical freedom patients have in 32 other states.
And don't forget to write your lawmakers. Finally, please spread the word to other Tennesseans, so that they, too, can raise their voices for sensible and humane cannabis policies.
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!
Sen. Tom Davis introduced a new bill today that would establish a medical cannabis program for seriously ill patients in South Carolina. The text of Senate bill 366 is available here. Sen. Davis' office sent out a summary of the bill, and we have our own as well. Rep. Peter McCoy is expected to file his own version in the House soon.
You lawmakers need to hear from you. Click here to forward a message asking for support.
Sen. Davis and Rep. McCoy sponsored medical cannabis bills in 2018, and in many respects this year's effort will pick up where last year's left off. Measures in both chambers passed out of committee last year, but time ran out before floor votes could be taken. Given the groundwork laid since then, we hope to see a bill pass and be presented to the governor for his signature in 2019.
At the same time, there are signs of increasing support among members of the GOP. Members of the Charleston County GOP voted yesterday in support of a resolution asking the state legislature to adopt a medical cannabis measure for patients in South Carolina. Based on recent polling, 63% of Republicans in the state support such a program.
2019 could be the year patients finally get a program they deserve! Make sure your lawmakers hear from you, and please forward this message to friends, family, and supporters in South Carolina.
Yesterday, newly elected and returning lawmakers convened for the first day of Tennessee's 2019 legislative session. Since the legislature adjourned last year, voters in Utah, Oklahoma, and Missouri enacted medical cannabis laws, bringing the number of medical cannabis states to 32.
But even though 81% of Tennessee voters support medical cannabis, patients either needlessly suffer or risk arrest to find relief from cannabis. Let your lawmakers know you want them to change that.
After your use our automated system to send a quick note to your elected officials, please share this message with other compassionate Tennesseans.
Yesterday, newly elected and returning lawmakers convened for the first day of Wisconsin's new legislative session. Since the legislature adjourned last year, voters in Utah, Oklahoma, and Missouri enacted medical cannabis laws, bringing the number of medical cannabis states to 32.
And, on Election Day, more than a million Wisconsinites cast non-binding votes in support of medical marijuana or adult-use programs. In all 11 counties and two cities — both red and blue — where it was on the ballot, medical cannabis measures passed overwhelmingly. Support ranged from 67% to 89%.
Despite that massive show of support, Wisconsin patients either needlessly suffer or risk arrest to find relief from cannabis. Let your lawmakers know you want them to change that this year.
Wisconsin's new governor, Tony Evers (D), supports medical cannabis, but he can only sign a bill if one makes it to his desk. Wisconsin doesn't have a binding, statewide ballot initiative process. As was the case in Illinois and Minnesota, the only way to enact a medical cannabis law in the state is through the legislature.
So please, send a quick note to your elected officials, and share this message with other compassionate Wisconsinites.
Earlier today, newly elected and returning lawmakers convened for the first day of North Carolina's 2019 legislative session. Since mid-June, voters in Utah, Oklahoma, and Missouri enacted medical cannabis laws, bringing the number of medical cannabis states to 32.
But even though 80% of North Carolina voters support medical cannabis, patients in North Carolina either needlessly suffer or risk arrest to find relief from cannabis. Let your lawmakers know you want them to change that.
After your use our automated system to send a quick note to your elected officials, please share this message with other compassionate North Carolinians.
This year, there have been many encouraging signs that Kentucky is making progress towards allowing medical cannabis. Gov. Matt Bevin has clearly indicated his support for medical cannabis legislation, and several new legislative champions have emerged, led by Reps. Jason Nemes and Diane St. Onge. Unfortunately, Senate President Robert Stivers continues to claim that he hasn’t seen any evidence that medical cannabis is effective.
Sen. Stivers’ opposition has long been a source of frustration for patients and advocates, but his recent comments on the issue have been truly infuriating. Last week, while speaking to the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Sen. Stivers reportedly suggested that if patients want to “relax” or “feel better,” they should drink bourbon instead of trying medical cannabis.
Sen. Stivers is now facing heavy criticism for these comments in the Louisville Courier-Journal and elsewhere. Please take a moment to call Sen. Stivers’ office today and let him know how you feel about hearing such an uninformed and callous statement from the President of the Kentucky Senate. If you’re on Twitter, you can also voice your opinion in a tweet.
After you call Sen. Stivers’ office, please share this message with your family and friends!
On Saturday, December 1, Iowa’s first medical marijuana dispensary opened to the public. MedPharm opened in Windsor and will sell low-THC oil to qualifying patients. Unfortunately, MedPharm may only sell medical marijuana oil, and the oil may not contain more than three percent THC.
While this reform is an important victory for some patients, most seriously ill Iowans will be left behind. Many patients find greater amounts of THC are crucial to the relief they need from their medical conditions, and this severely limited program does not go far enough.
Iowa patients deserve better. Please email your lawmakers and ask them to support a comprehensive medical marijuana program.
Additionally, the board voted to recommend that the state add autism to the list of qualifying conditions, but rejected expanding the program to add ADHD, PTSD, bipolar disorder, and ganglioglioma.
Unfortunately, Iowa’s low-THC approach leaves behind thousands of patients who could benefit from medical marijuana.
Check out our full summary of Iowa’ low-THC program here. Five dispensaries across the state will be open to registered patients on December 1. You can also find a wealth of information on medical marijuana here.
Great news! The Department of of Health has announced that Rhode Island families can now access medical marijuana to treat autism. The decision was issued this week after a petition was filed in April to add autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana.
The announcement imposes some stipulations for physicians interested in recommending medical marijuana for patients with ASD, including that they first try FDA-approved medications and CBD products. The statement can be read in full here.
The Health Department held a public hearing on ASD and medical marijuana in August. At the hearing, Nicole Cervantes, a mother of a son with ASD, testified that CBD had significantly improved her child’s condition. “He has been able to focus more,” she said. “He no longer bangs his head.”
In recent years, families across the country have spoken out about how medical marijuana has helped minimize the worst symptoms of ASD. Rhode Island now joins seven other states that make some allowance for medical marijuana in the treatment of autism.
This is a great step forward for Rhode Island’s medical marijuana program. Let’s keep working to make further improvements to the state’s marijuana policies.