Medical Marijuana

Kentucky Senate President opposes medical cannabis, suggests patients should try bourbon instead

If you're a Kentucky resident, call Senator Robert Stivers’ office today and urge him to stop insulting patients who need safe, legal access to cannabis!

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!

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Medical Marijuana

Iowa: Medical marijuana sales begin; reforms still needed

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.

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Medical Marijuana

Iowa: Medical marijuana regulators vote to keep the THC cap, add autism

Urge your lawmakers to support a comprehensive medical marijuana program!

On Friday, November 2, the board that oversees Iowa’s medical marijuana program voted unanimously against recommending legislators to remove the current 3% THC limit on products.

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.

Please ask your legislators to ensure that as many patients as possible who could benefit from medical marijuana have access!

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.

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Medical Marijuana

Rhode Island: Dept. of Health approves medical marijuana for autism

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.

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Medical Marijuana

Arkansas Medical Marijuana Applications Now Open for Patients and Caregivers

Jul 07, 2017 Maggie Ellinger-Locke

AR, Arkansas, Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission, caregivers, ID, patients

Patients and caregivers can begin enrolling in Arkansas’ medical marijuana program now, although cards will not be available for some time.

If you are a qualifying patient, you can go to the Arkansas Department of Health website and enroll online, or you can mail in your application. Patients must submit a written certification form filled out by a physician, a photocopy of their Arkansas state-issued ID, and a nonrefundable $50 application fee. Caregivers must also undergo a $34 criminal history check. Note that due to an amendment to the program by the Legislature, members of the Arkansas National Guard and the U.S. military are not permitted to enroll in the program as either patients or caregivers.

While patients can apply for program enrollment now, their ID cards will not be issued until 30 days before medical cannabis actually becomes available from dispensaries for purchase. The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission estimates that dispensaries should be open by the end of the year or early 2018. You can learn more about the dispensary application process here.

For more information on the state’s program, please check out MPP’s full summary of the law. You can also access the Department of Health’s super-helpful FAQ here.

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Medical Marijuana

Pennsylvania Dept. Of Health Asking for Patient Input on Medical Marijuana Regulations

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has asked patients and caregivers to complete a brief survey to help gauge public interest in the medical marijuana program. The responses will be considered as part of the process of drafting medical marijuana regulations relating to patients and doctors.
The patient survey takes less than five minutes to complete and asks just 12 questions, including where you live in Pennsylvania,255px-flag_of_pennsylvania-svg what condition you seek to treat, and the types of treatments in which you are interested. You can also submit comments about the implementation process.
The Department of Health is also seeking public input from individuals interested in applying for a grower/ processor and/or dispensary permit — that survey is available here. The department is seeking to engage the community to determine both the level of interest in seeking these permits and where potential applicants intend to open these types of facilities.
Your answers to these surveys will be considered in the drafting of regulations related to doctors and patients.
MPP will continue to advocate for the strongest possible medical marijuana program for patients, but we need your help. Make sure Pennsylvania’s program includes you and your loved ones by completing the patient survey by December 14.

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Medical Marijuana

Majority of Montana Medical Marijuana Patients to Lose Access

Aug 31, 2016 Chris Lindsey

I-182, Montana, Montana Citizens for I-182, MT, patients

The state of Montana's nearly 12-year history with medical marijuana takes a turn for the worse on September 1, when most medical marijuana patients are expected lose legal access. After years of court challenges which delayed implementation, most of the state’s 2011 law will be in effect, severely limiting the number of people available to provide medical marijuana to patients.2000px-Montana-StateSeal.svg
Under the newly-enforced law, providers may only serve three patients — a change that state agency officials estimate could leave as many as 10,000 seriously ill patients without access. The only alternative is for patients to grow at home, which most are too ill or unable to do. It is not yet clear how many patients will be able to make the switch.
But hope is on the horizon. Voters on November 8 will have a chance to support I-182, a voter initiative that would restore access for patients and even improve the law in big ways. Among other improvements, businesses would receive state licenses to operate and critical legal protections, and medical marijuana could be tested for safety and potency. Polls indicate voters support these types of changes.
This measure comes at a critical time for patients across the state, and we applaud everyone at Montana Citizens for I-182 and those who support them for giving thousands of patients a chance.

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Medical Marijuana

Pennsylvania Patients, Advocates Hold Rally at Statehouse

Eight months after the Pennsylvania Senate last approved medical cannabis protections, patients are still waiting for the House to follow suit. On Monday, they held a rally at the State Capitol to urge lawmakers to make passing a comprehensive medical marijuana bill a priority.

The Patriot-News reports:

Several dozen supporters of a bill to permit use of certain cannabis-based products for medicinal purposes in Pennsylvania ramped up the pressure on hesitant state House leaders Monday.

The group of parent, patients and other caregivers - which has flooded the Capitol in support of their cause regularly over the past several years - staged an impromptu sit-in on the House side of the Rotunda Monday afternoon.

The point, said rally spokeswoman Latrisha Bentch, was to show House leaders in a very tangible way their patience is wearing thin as the 2015-16 legislative session enters its second half.

The group took seats on the Capitol's Mercer tile floor shortly before 3 p.m., all but blocking session day traffic and a few perplexed staffers, for 18 minutes: Two minutes for each month since the Senate sent the leading medicinal marijuana bill to the House with a 40-7 vote.

"I feel like our kindness has been mistaken for weakness, and we don't have to be kind to them (lawmakers). We don't," Bentch said as the rally was breaking up.

Last May, the Senate approved S.B. 3, which would allow patients with serious illnesses to obtain and use medical cannabis recommended by their doctors. Over the summer and fall, a House work group developed recommendations and the Rules committee moved the bill to the House floor. But it has yet to get a vote — and the most significant amendment includes troubling provisions such as a cap on the amount of THC.

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Medical Marijuana

Illinois Medical Marijuana Applications Now Available

The three departments that oversee the Illinois medical cannabis program posted several important documents online on Friday, including cannabis patient applications, which are available here.

Additional forms were also made available, including documents for physicians to use for recommendations, fingerprint consent forms, caregiver applications, frequently asked questions, and preliminary versions of applications for both dispensaries and cultivation centers. All those documents and other information are available here.

While they are available now, the department will not accept patient applications until later this year. Applicants whose last names begin with the letters A through L may apply between September 2 and October 31. Applicants with last names that start with M through Z may apply between November 1 and December 31. Beginning January 1, 2015, applications for registry identification cards will be accepted year-round.

The Department of Public HealthIDPH also announced town hall meetings to answer questions from those who want to apply for patient registry IDs. Meetings are schedule to take place in Collinsville on August 14, Peoria on August 18, and Chicago on August 20.

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New Hampshire House Approves Medical Marijuana Bill With Record 81% Support!

[caption id="attachment_6089" align="alignright" width="285"]MaggieHassan_officialphoto Gov. Maggie Hassan[/caption]

In a huge victory for patients, the New Hampshire House overwhelmingly approved the medical marijuana bill today by a record 286-64 margin. Similar bills in 2009, 2011, and 2012 also received more than two-thirds support from the House, but today’s vote of more than 81% in favor of HB 573 shows that the House is moving closer to achieving consensus on the issue!

Next, the bill will head to the Senate, which also passed similar bills in 2009 and 2012, but the Senate has always been more difficult to persuade on this issue than the House. Advocates will need to work even harder in the Senate to make sure HB 573 passes this year and creates the best law possible for patients.

Encouragingly, Gov. Maggie Hassan has expressed support for making medical marijuana legal in the Granite State. That means if the bill passes in the Senate, New Hampshire stands a good chance of becoming the 19th medical marijuana state!

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