Medical Marijuana

Texas Special Legislative Session Begins, Med. Marijuana Bill Introduced

July 18th, 2017 2 Comments Heather Fazio

Texas legislators are back in Austin for another round of policy considerations, and Rep. Eddie Lucio III has introduced HB 85, a medical cannabis improvement bill. This proposal would allow some patients to access whole plant cannabis, including those with terminal cancer, multiple sclerosis, autism, or Parkinson’s Disease.

This bill is more restrictive than the bill introduced during the regular session, but it would still be a major step forward for many seriously ill patients. Currently, the Compassionate Use Program only allows those with intractable epilepsy access to low-THC cannabis. Texas cannabis businesses are expected to be operational by the end of the year.

This will be a very politically charged special session, established to address a specific list of issues that Gov. Greg Abbott and other Texas conservatives consider priorities.

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Medical Marijuana

Delaware Governor Signs Medical Marijuana Improvement Bill

July 13th, 2017 No Comments Maggie Ellinger-Locke

On Wednesday, Delaware Gov. John Carney signed SB 24 into law. Now, patients in the First State suffering from PTSD will no longer need to visit a psychiatrist in order to obtain a certification for medical cannabis. They can instead get their certifications signed by any physician. The change to the program takes effect immediately.

The bill — known as the Bravery Bill — was sponsored by Sen. Margaret Rose Henry, who is also sponsoring Delaware’s adult use cannabis bill, HB 110. An earlier version of SB 24 would have also added anxiety disorders to the program, but that language was removed from the final bill.

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Medical Marijuana

West Virginia Medical Marijuana Bill Takes Effect, but No Access for Most Patients Until 2019

July 7th, 2017 No Comments Matt Simon

The West Virginia medical cannabis bill officially took effect on Wednesday. Unfortunately, however, most or all patients will not be able to benefit from the law until July 1, 2019, unless something changes.

The law would allow the regulatory agency to make agreements with other states to allow terminally ill cancer patients to buy medical cannabis in another state, but it is not clear yet if that will happen.

For details on how the law will work, including who can qualify for the program, check out our summary.

On a positive note, the members of the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board were announced last week, and the first meetings are expected to be scheduled soon. The Advisory Board is important because it will provide an opportunity to discuss improvements to the policy.

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Medical Marijuana

Minnesota Accepting Petitions to Add Qualifying Conditions

July 7th, 2017 No Comments Marijuana Policy Project

The Minnesota medical cannabis program is now accepting petitions to add qualifying conditions. Once again, MPP is teaming up with local advocate group Sensible Minnesota to petition to expand the program.

Post-traumatic stress disorder — which was added as a result of last year’s petition process — qualifies starting on Aug. 1, and the year before we were successful in efforts to add intractable pain. This year we are looking at adding several new conditions. They are: nausea, autism, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, liver disease, and chronic pain.

If you suffer from one of these conditions, are the guardian of someone who does, or if you are a health care professional who treats one of these conditions, we want to hear from you! Please fill out this form to let us know who you are, what condition is relevant to you, and to share your story. Sensible Minnesota or MPP Foundation will be submitting letters of support along with the petitions.

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Medical Marijuana

Arkansas Medical Marijuana Applications Now Open for Patients and Caregivers

July 7th, 2017 No Comments Maggie Ellinger-Locke

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

New Hampshire Governor Signs Medical Marijuana Expansion Bill

June 29th, 2017 No Comments Matt Simon

On Wednesday, Gov. Chris Sununu signed an important bill into law that will expand the number of seriously ill patients who qualify for New Hampshire’s medical cannabis law.

Beginning on August 27, HB 160 will add PTSD to the medical cannabis law and make other improvements to the program. You can read a summary of the new law here.

In other news, the governor’s office informed us this morning that they have not yet received the decriminalization bill, HB 640. This is not cause for concern, since there are often delays this time of year as the Legislature’s work concludes. Gov. Sununu has clearly indicated that he “looks forward” to signing that bill when it reaches his desk.

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Medical Marijuana

Missouri Medical Marijuana Campaign Raising Funds and Gathering Signatures

June 29th, 2017 No Comments Marijuana Policy Project

New Approach Missouri is closing in on its second quarter finance reporting. Having a strong financial report translates to having continued success in the campaign to create a medical marijuana program in Missouri.

Additionally, New Approach Missouri has been promised $200,000 in matching funds once the organization meets its own fundraising goal of $250,000 – and NAMO is well on their way with $185,000 to be banked by Friday.

Signature collection is steadily progressing with 40,000 signatures collected and with a plan to increase signature production with paid collectors later this summer.

New Approach Missouri has until May 6, 2018 to submit signatures, but from now until then, it’s all hands on deck. For information about upcoming events, news and answers to frequently asked questions, please visit New Approach Missouri’s website.

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Medical Marijuana

Utah Patients Coalition Launches 2018 Medical Cannabis Initiative Campaign

June 29th, 2017 1 Comment Marijuana Policy Project

This week, the Utah Patients Coalition (UPC) launched a 2018 medical cannabis ballot initiative campaign. The Marijuana Policy Project will help to lead this effort to victory next year, and we are excited for the historic campaign ahead.

The goal of the ballot initiative is simple: to establish a medical cannabis program that allows Utah patients to legally and safely access medicine without breaking the law. You can read a summary of the initiative here.

After several years of inaction in the Legislature, medical cannabis advocates are taking the issue directly to the voters. Christine Stenquist, UPC spokesperson and leader of TRUCE (Together for Responsible Use and Cannabis Education) told reporters, “This is our opportunity to finally do something.”

Once the initiative is reviewed and approved by the lieutenant governor, our coalition will hold seven public hearings throughout the state and collect the 113,143 signatures needed to put the initiative on the ballot in November of 2018.

A February poll of 402 Utahns found that 73% of voters support a medical cannabis ballot initiative, with only 20% opposed and 7% undecided.

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Medical Marijuana

Louisiana Governor Signs Medical Marijuana Worker Protections Into Law

June 29th, 2017 No Comments Maggie Ellinger-Locke

Last Thursday, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards signed into law SB 35 — Sen. Yvonne Colomb’s bill to prevent workers employed in the medical cannabis sector from facing felony criminal charges simply for going to work. This important victory marks a critical improvement to legislation first enacted in 1978.

With the governor’s signature, seriously ill Louisianans are one step closer to having access to medical cannabis treatment, but a few more problems remain. Specifically, the state continues to disallow the vaporization of cannabis — which MPP considers an essential element of a comprehensive medical cannabis program — and state regulations actively require doctors to put their DEA licenses at risk in order to recommend patients for the program.

Nevertheless, the program is moving ahead: the two universities granted licenses to operate marijuana cultivation centers continue to move forward; Louisiana State University has indicated it expects medical cannabis to be available for patients before the end of the year.

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Medical Marijuana

Florida Medical Marijuana Regulations Bill Signed

June 23rd, 2017 19 Comments Marijuana Policy Project

On Friday, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed medical marijuana regulation legislation into law. The legislature passed SB 8A in a special session after the regular session ended without a bill to implement Amendment 2, which legalized medical marijuana and was supported by 71% of voters last year.

The new law outlines licensing for 10 new companies as growers by October, which would increase the statewide total to 17. The law also allows patients, with a doctor’s recommendation, to use medical marijuana in the form of pills, oils, and edibles. Patients may engage in vaping, but unfortunately, the law does ban smoking.

Additionally, the Department of Health is simultaneously working to regulate the amendment. Spokeswoman Mara Gambineri says the department is crafting rules to comply with SB 8A, “which provides a framework for patients to access marijuana safely.”

Amendment 2 gives health officials until July 3 to craft rules to regulate the amendment and until October 3 to implement those rules.

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