Medical Marijuana

Minn.: Alzheimer’s approved for medical cannabis, other conditions rejected

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.

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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

Georgia PTSD and intractable pain patients may now enroll in low-THC oil program

Georgians suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and those with intractable pain may begin signing up for the state’s low-THC oil program. A bill passed earlier this year, House Bill 65, went into effect on July 1, adding these two serious conditions.

Intractable pain is devastating and is often defined as constant and excruciating. Those who experience it sometimes turn to reliance on opioid medications. While low-THC oil may not replace opioids for these patients, many have found medical cannabis products can allow them to use fewer opioids by reducing pain levels, helping patients maintain appetite and serving as a sleep aid. It can be an important new tool in a treatment program.

Many who suffer from PTSD can also find relief through use of medical cannabis products. This debilitating disease can affect all aspects of a person’s life, and like intractable pain, pharmaceutical drugs used to treat the condition can themselves cause harm. Veterans and those experiencing PTSD deserve a safer alternative.

The state’s program has grown in recent years, but Georgia’s limited, low-THC approach remains flawed. While patients have some protections, there is no regulatory system behind production or sale, leaving access to cannabis in the shadows. We hope Georgia can improve its program when lawmakers reconvene in 2019.

While short of a complete solution, these changes are welcome.

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Medical Marijuana

Louisiana governor signs medical marijuana bills into law

Gov. John Bel Edwards has signed HB 579 and HB 627, which expand the qualifying conditions for medical marijuana! These two bills add a variety of new conditions including autism, PTSD, and intractable pain.

This is a great step towards Louisiana having a functional medical marijuana program. Next session, we are hopeful the legislature will allow the vaporization of medical marijuana so that patients can finally have real access to the medicine they need.

Congratulations to Sensible Marijuana Policy for Louisiana and all the activists that showed up to the statehouse and contacted their lawmakers in support of these reforms!

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Medical Marijuana

Georgia Governor Signs Bill Expanding Low-THC Cannabis Oil Program

Yesterday, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (R) signed a bill that will significantly expand the number of patients who qualify for the state's low-THC medical cannabis oils. Beginning on July 1, HB 65 will allow patients with intractable pain and adults with PTSD to qualify for the program, which allows registered patients to possess cannabis oils with no more than 5% THC content.

Georgia’s most passionate legislative champion of medical cannabis — Rep. Allen Peake (R) — sponsored both HB 65 and another bill — HB 645 — which would have allowed in-state production of cannabis oils. Currently, registered patients have nowhere to legally purchase cannabis oils in Georgia. Unfortunately, HB 645 didn’t receive a floor vote. However, HB 65 includes a study commission on in-state access to cannabis. Seriously ill patients who are already granted the ability to possess cannabis products clearly need a way to obtain them without sidestepping the law.

This is Rep. Peake’s last year in the legislature; he announced in February that he will not run for re-election. His leadership will be missed in the capital!

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Medical Marijuana

N.Y. Lawmakers Consider Expanding Medical Marijuana Program

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.

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Medical Marijuana

NY Governor Signs Bill Adding PTSD as Qualifying Condition for Medical Marijuana Program

A bipartisan bill to add post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a qualifying condition for New York’s medical marijuana program was signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo during Veterans Day weekend. The Senate passed S 5629 in June (50-13), and the Assembly version, A 7006, received overwhelming approval in May (131-8). New York is the 28th state to allow medical marijuana to be used to treat PTSD.

“Gov. Cuomo should be applauded for helping thousands of New York veterans find relief with medical marijuana,” said Bob Becker, Legislative Director for the New York State Council of Veterans Organizations. “PTSD is a serious problem facing our state, and now we have one more tool available to alleviate suffering.”

Thank you to all of our supporters who joined our efforts by contacting your elected officials. It is because of your dedication we were able to get the PTSD bill signed in New York.

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Medical Marijuana

South Dakota Medical Marijuana Petition Signatures Submitted

New Approach South Dakota submitted nearly 15,000 signatures to the Secretary of State with hopes of adding a medical marijuana measure to the 2018 ballot.

South Dakota Secretary of State Shantel Krebs said the review of the submitted measure would likely be finished within four months. Her office conducts a random sampling of the signatures to determine validity, with at least 5% of the collected signatures being reviewed.

The medical marijuana measure that was submitted for signature validation would allow patients with certain conditions like cancer, HIV/AIDS, chronic debilitating pain, and PTSD to obtain a registration card to possess up to three ounces of marijuana.

To read the full text of New Approach South Dakota’s proposed medial marijuana ballot initiative, check our their website. We are hopeful that the initiative will qualify for the 2018 ballot and that South Dakotans will have the opportunity to adopt a compassionate policy for medical marijuana patients.

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General

Virginia Governor-Elect Supports Decriminalization

On Tuesday, Virginia was faced with a  choice between three candidates for governor, all of whom supported some kind of sensible marijuana policy reform. At the end of the day, they decided to back Ralph Northam, who was clearly the best candidate on this issue.

Marijuana Moment reports:

Northam, a Democrat, made marijuana decriminalization a centerpiece of his gubernatorial campaign, often describing the issue in racial justice terms. He also spoke about the medical benefits of cannabis.

Here’s a look at his statements and pledges on marijuana:

“We need to change sentencing laws that disproportionately hurt people of color. One of the best ways to do this is to decriminalize marijuana,” he wrote in a blog post early this year. “African Americans are 2.8 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession in Virginia. The Commonwealth spends more than $67 million on marijuana enforcement — money that could be better spent on rehabilitation.”

As a physician, Northam is “increasingly convinced by the data showing potential health benefits of marijuana, such as pain relief, drug-resistant epilepsy, and treatment for PTSD,” his campaign website says. “By decriminalizing it, our researchers can better study the plant so doctors can more effectively prescribe drugs made from it.”

The lieutenant governor also sent a letter to the Virginia State Crime Commission, which is conducting a review of the effects of potential marijuana decriminalization. “Virginia spends $67 million on marijuana enforcement – enough to open up another 13,000 pre-K spots for children,” Northam wrote. “African Americans are nearly 3 times as likely to get arrested for simple possession of marijuana and sentencing guidelines that include jail time can all too often begin a dangerous cycle of recidivism.”

During a debate, Notham mentioned that his father is a judge while making a point about the cost of enforcing marijuana laws.

MPP is looking forward to working with Governor-elect Northam and the legislature to pass beneficial marijuana legislation in the upcoming session.

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Medical Marijuana

Delaware Adds PTSD to Medical Marijuana Qualifying Conditions

On Monday, Delaware Gov. John Carney signed the Bravery Bill into law, which allows PTSD patients to receive a medical marijuana recommendation from any properly licensed physician. Previously, patients suffering from PTSD could only get a medical marijuana recommendation from a licensed psychiatrist.

While this is a step in the right direction, there are many other patients in Delaware who do not have access to medical marijuana. Whether they have a condition that the state hasn’t approved or they simply cannot afford the cost of a recommendation, many would benefit from expanded access. The best way to expand access for suffering patients is by taxing and regulating marijuana for all adults.

As you may know, the Adult Use Cannabis Task Force had its first meeting this month. They are discussing how Delaware could make marijuana legal. The next meeting will cover consumer safety and local authority and control. Here are details:

When: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. on Wednesday, October 4
Where: House Chamber, 411 Legislative Avenue, Dover, DE 19901

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