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.
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.
Please consider voicing your support for expanding Minnesota’s medical marijuana program!
On Wednesday, a medical marijuana review panel will meet to discuss the petitions to add opioid use disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, panic disorder, and psoriasis as qualifying conditions to the state’s medical cannabis program.
What: Public meeting on adding conditions, including an opportunity for public comment
When: Wednesday, October 24, from 1:00-4:00 p.m.
Where: Room 300N, State Office Building, 100 Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155
You can check out MPP’s letter in support of adding opiate use disorder here, in case you want to make any of the same points.
If you are unable to attend, you may also submit written comments in support of adding one or more conditions.
Here’s a look at where gubernatorial candidates stand on marijuana policy reform: Tim Walz (D) is supportive of legalizing and regulating marijuana for adults’ use, while Jeff Johnson (R) opposes legalization but supports medical marijuana.
Don’t miss this opportunity to voice your support for marijuana policy reform, and be sure to get out and vote!
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.
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.
Yesterday, Gov. Phil Murphy held a press conference to announce numerous changes to the medical marijuana program in New Jersey that will greatly improve patient access. These include:
- Approving additional qualifying conditions under a process that was begun in 2016 — including chronic pain and opioid use disorder — which will help reduce opioid dependence and overdose.
- Setting up a process to add additional businesses and remove the vertical integration requirement, which will increase competition and therefore reduce prices for patients.
- Eliminating the physician registry, so that all doctors who wish to do so can recommend medical cannabis to their patients without jumping through hoops.
- Removing the 10% THC cap imposed by regulation, because some patients need products with more THC for the most effective treatment.
In addition, the Department of Health’s report recommended additional changes, which would have to be made by the legislature. These include increasing the amount of cannabis that patients can purchase each month and allowing patients of all ages to purchase edibles if that’s their preferred delivery method.
You can read the Department of Health's full report here. MPP will continue to work with the administration as it implements these changes,
Last week, the Louisiana Legislature convened, and bills to reform the medical program and decriminalize small amounts of marijuana have been filed! These bills are important steps towards patient access and sane marijuana policy in the Bayou State.
Under the current laws, if you are caught with marijuana in Louisiana, you could be facing jail time. HB 611 would change this by instituting a $100 fine for those caught with up to one ounce of marijuana. HB 579 would expand patient access to medical marijuana by allowing more conditions to qualify, such as intractable pain, PTSD, and other conditions that could be treated with medical marijuana.
If you are a Louisiana resident, please contact your lawmakers and ask them to support these sensible reforms.
Starting in July 2018, Minnesotans diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea and autism spectrum disorders will qualify for medical marijuana. Congratulations to all the patients, families, and health care providers whose personal stories and expertise convinced regulators to expand the program.
Here's the complete list of conditions that currently qualify for medical marijuana in Minnesota:
- Cancer associated with severe/chronic pain, nausea or severe vomiting, or cachexia or severe wasting
- Tourette's syndrome
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy
- Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of
- multiple sclerosis
- Inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn's disease
- Terminal illness, with a probable life expectancy of less than one year
- Intractable pain
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
H.B. 1488 adds rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis to the list of qualifying conditions and allows patients and caregivers to access testing facilities. Patients and caregivers will be allowed to cultivate three additional plants of any maturity, for a total of 10 plants. The phasing out of caregivers’ ability to grow marijuana plants for patients has been pushed back five years, to the end of 2023.
The new law, which goes into effect on June 29, also authorizes the Department of Health to permit current licensees to open one additional dispensary — for a possible total of 24 statewide — and allows them to cultivate more plants at their production sites. It also amends certain deadlines and relaxes overly restrictive laboratory standards to accelerate implementation.
With the updated regulations, laboratories should find it easier to meet the requirements for certification. Several dispensaries are ready to start serving patients but cannot do so until they can submit their products for the required testing.
Congratulations and thank you to Gov. Ige, the Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii, and all of the advocates and lawmakers who made these improvements possible.
Two moderate marijuana policy improvement bills passed the Oklahoma House this week, and will now move on to the Senate. One, HB 2479, would reduce Oklahoma’s draconian penalties for marijuana possession. It would cut, from two years to one year, the mandatory minimum sentence for a second or subsequent marijuana possession conviction within 10 years of the first. It would also reduce the maximum sentence for such a conviction from 10 years to five years.
The second bill, HB 2835, which has been improved by amendment, would add people with numerous additional medical conditions to the list of patients given limited protections for possession of CBD cannabis oil. Although the bill still limits such oil to 0.3% THC and fails to provide in-state access, it is an acknowledgement by the legislature that cannabis can help patients with many different conditions, including chronic pain.
While both of these bills are limited in scope, this is a rare opportunity to see the Oklahoma Legislature reform the state’s marijuana policy.
If you are an Oklahoma resident, please urge your senator to support both of these common sense reforms.