Medical Marijuana

New Jersey Announces Major Expansion of Medical Marijuana Program

March 28th, 2018 2 Comments Marijuana Policy Project

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,

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Medical Marijuana, Tax and Regulate

Deadline Looming for Maryland Cannabis Bills

March 16th, 2018 2 Comments Marijuana Policy Project

Monday is a crucial deadline for marijuana policy reform bills in Maryland. HB 1264, which would let Marylanders vote on regulating marijuana for adults, needs to move out of the House Judiciary Committee by then to stay alive this year. HB 602, a bill that would protect the rights of Maryland’s medical cannabis patients, must be voted on by the Senate in order to “cross over” to the House of Delegates and move forward during this session.

If approved by 60% of both chambers of the Maryland Legislature, HB 1264 would place a constitutional amendment on the November 2018 ballot that would make possession and home cultivation of limited amounts of cannabis legal for adults 21 years of age and older and require the state to establish regulations and taxation for a legal cannabis market, as well as to ensure diversity in the cannabis industry.

HB 602 would ensure that patients don’t lose their Second Amendment rights under state law simply because medical cannabis helps them with their serious illness. Regardless of what you think about Maryland’s gun laws, no patient should have to lose any of their legal rights because of their status as a patient. This is of particular concern to veterans, who may be dissuaded from trying medical cannabis — a much safer alternative to the opioids they are frequently prescribed for pain or PTSD — because they don’t want to lose these rights.

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Medical Marijuana

Virginia Governor Signs Medical Marijuana Expansion Bill

March 12th, 2018 6 Comments Marijuana Policy Project

Last Friday, Gov. Ralph Northam signed a bill into law expanding access for medical marijuana in Virginia. The law allows for practitioners to recommend CBD or THC-A oil for any condition they think would be beneficial to patients. Previously, only those suffering from intractable epilepsy could qualify for CBD or THC-A oil.

Additionally, the law allows any physician to recommend oil to his or her patients. Under the previous law, only neurologists and epilepsy specialists could give a recommendation for medical marijuana. HB 1251 is also considered emergency legislation and went into effect immediately.

We are excited about the many Virginia patients whose lives will be improved by this law.

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Medical Marijuana

Support Growing for Medical Marijuana in Kentucky

March 6th, 2018 1 Comment Marijuana Policy Project

There has been a tremendous groundswell of support for medical cannabis in Kentucky this year, and the legislature is finally beginning to listen. Yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee began considering testimony in support of HB 166, a bill that would make Kentucky the 30th state to pass an effective medical cannabis law. A similar bill, SB 118, has already generated quite a bit of discussion in the Senate.

Patients who are struggling with serious medical conditions in Kentucky have already waited far too long for legal protections and safe, legal access to cannabis. The current legislative session is scheduled to end in mid-April, so it’s time for representatives and senators to demonstrate strong leadership on the issue.

If you are a Kentucky resident, please email your representatives and senators right now and urge them to support medical cannabis legislation in 2018.

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Medical Marijuana

Medical Marijuana On the Move in South Carolina

February 28th, 2018 1 Comment Marijuana Policy Project

MPP, our allies, and supportive lawmakers have made tremendous strides this year gaining support for a sensible and compassionate medical marijuana program in South Carolina. However, while the vast majority of South Carolinians support allowing medical marijuana, and despite strong support in the House, it’s not clear if Speaker of the House Jay Lucas will attempt to prevent a floor vote.

H3521 was assigned to committee last year, and that group of lawmakers is now ready to advance the bill to the House floor for a key vote. But insiders tell us that Speaker Lucas might delay passage by sending the bill to another committee. If that happens, it is extremely unlikely the bill will advance further before time runs out.

If you are a South Carolina resident, please urge your representative to call for a floor vote on H3521 when it is returned to the full House, and to support passage.

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Medical Marijuana

W. Va. House Passes Limited Bill to Improve Medical Cannabis Law

February 28th, 2018 2 Comments Marijuana Policy Project

Today, the West Virginia House of Delegates passed a bill making limited improvements to the medical cannabis program. HB 4345 would increase the number of licenses available for growers and dispensaries, and it would allow patients to pre-register for the program. Unfortunately, the bill would also add onerous restrictions on physicians that would discourage them from certifying patients. You can read a summary of the bill here.

If you are a resident of West Virginia, please call your state senators today and urge them to amend and pass HB 4345.

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Medical Marijuana

N.Y. Lawmakers Consider Expanding Medical Marijuana Program

February 28th, 2018 1 Comment Marijuana Policy Project

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

Medical Marijuana Sales Begin in Pennsylvania

February 15th, 2018 5 Comments Marijuana Policy Project

Today marks an historic day in the Keystone State. Less than two years after the governor signed Act 16 into law, six dispensaries have begun selling medical marijuana to patients and caregivers. Pennsylvania is expected to be one of the largest medical marijuana markets in the country, and those involved in implementation should be applauded for reaching this point ahead of schedule.

To date, 10 dispensaries and 10 grower/processors have been approved to operate. Over the next few months, we expect up to 81 dispensary locations to open across the state. More than 17,000 patients have registered to participate in the medical marijuana program, with nearly 4,000 certified by a physician. As of this week, 708 physicians have registered with the department and 376 have competed the training to become certified practitioners.

However, the implementation process is not yet complete. The Medical Marijuana Advisory Board is still working on its recommendations for changes to the program. This week, they met to discuss one of the most important issues — allowing patient access to medical cannabis flower. This is a vital expansion of the program that will improve patient access and lower costs. Only two states have attempted a medical program without flower, which led to disastrous results for patients. You can learn more about the importance of patient access to flower here.

If you want to learn more about becoming a registered patient, visit the DOH website.

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Medical Marijuana

West Virginia to Consider Medical Marijuana Improvements

February 14th, 2018 No Comments Marijuana Policy Project

West Virginia State Senator Richard Ojeda, who championed last year’s medical cannabis legislation, has put forward a new bill for 2018 seeking to make the medical cannabis program more accessible for patients.

SB 487 would make several positive changes to the law, including allowing patients and caregivers to grow their own limited supply of cannabis. It would also eliminate onerous restrictions on doctors and make it easier for patients to qualify. You can read a summary of the bill here.

The West Virginia Medical Cannabis Board is also expected to consider changes to the current law later this month.

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Medical Marijuana

Illinois Bill Would Allow Patients to Substitute Medical Marijuana for Opiates

February 6th, 2018 4 Comments Marijuana Policy Project

Illinois State Sen. Dan Harmon is championing a bill that would allow individuals who are prescribed opioids to qualify for access to medical cannabis. His bill, SB 336, is expected to receive a hearing tomorrow in the Senate Executive Committee.

Hundreds of thousands of people are prescribed opioids in Illinois. These drugs carry a very high risk of dependency, and they can cause significant long-term harm including the risk of overdose death. Medical cannabis is now providing relief around the country and reducing incidents of drug ovedose deaths where it is available. But Illinois is one of only three medical marijuana states where pain patients don’t qualify, unless they have a specifically listed disease.

This bill would also take the sensible step of removing the requirement that medical cannabis patients submit fingerprints, provided they qualify under the new provisions. It is a huge first step for the many Illinoisans suffering unbearable pain every day.

If you are an Illinois resident, please tell your senator to support SB 336 and vote “yes” if it is placed before the senator for a vote.

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