Medical Marijuana

New Jersey Medical Marijuana Expansion Moving Forward

August 3rd, 2017 1 Comment » Kate Bell

The New Jersey Medical Marijuana Review Panel has issued initial recommendations to add several new qualifying conditions to the state’s medical marijuana program: chronic pain related to musculoskeletal disorders or of visceral origin, migraine, anxiety, and Tourette’s Syndrome. There will now be a 60-day public comment period, after which the Panel will consider the comments and hold another meeting before making its final recommendations.

If you are a New Jersey resident suffering from one of these conditions who could benefit from access to medical cannabis, we encourage you to submit public comments via email or mail. Mailed comments must be postmarked by Monday, September 25, 2017, and sent to:

NJ Department of Health, Medicinal Marijuana Program
Attn: Medicinal Marijuana Review Panel
PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

In other good news, the sixth Alternative Treatment Center permitted under New Jersey law has finally been issued a permit to begin cultivating medical cannabis! It will be located in Secaucus.

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Medical Marijuana

PTSD Patients Can Now Access Medical Marijuana in Minnesota

August 1st, 2017 2 Comments » Maggie Ellinger-Locke

Last year, MPP helped local advocates at Sensible Minnesota with their successful petition to add post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to the state’s medical cannabis program. Patients suffering from this condition were able to enroll in the program last month, and starting August 1 they will be allowed to access medical cannabis.

Every year, the Minnesota Office of Medical Cannabis accepts petitions to add new conditions, and this year was no exception. This year’s petitions were due this week, and MPP and Sensible Minnesota again submitted paperwork — including for nausea, Alzheimer’s, and autism. Thanks to everyone who shared their story with us to help build the case. Before deciding whether to add the condition, a review panel will hold a public hearing.

While Minnesota has a comprehensive medical marijuana program, it remains one of the most limited — and costly — in the country. One of the most significant remaining flaws is that patients are not permitted to consume whole plant (flower) cannabis.

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Medical Marijuana

Utah Patients Coalition Launches Public Hearings

July 31st, 2017 1 Comment » Marijuana Policy Project

As required by state election law, Utah Patients Coalition (UPC) is holding eight hearings throughout the state of Utah to collect public comment on the proposed citizens’ initiative petition, the Utah Medical Cannabis Act. On Wednesday, UPC held the first set of these public meetings in Salt Lake City, Lehi, and St. George.

Sharing powerful personal stories about how medical cannabis has significantly improved their quality of life, several patients made their case to a roomful of interested voters and took questions. Read more about the public forum that took place in Salt Lake City here. A complete list of these public hearings can be found here.

 

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Medical Marijuana, Prohibition

Senate Appropriations Committee Votes to Renew Protections for Medical Marijuana

July 27th, 2017 12 Comments » Marijuana Policy Project

On Thursday, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) approved an amendment in a voice vote that would continue to protect state medical marijuana programs from federal interference.

The amendment, introduced by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), would add a clause to the CJS budget for Fiscal Year 2018 that prevents the Dept. of Justice from using resources to prosecute medical marijuana patients and providers that are in compliance with state law. A similar amendment was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR).

In 2014, Congress added a similar amendment to an omnibus spending bill that prevented the Dept. of Justice from spending any resources to target state-legal medical marijuana businesses. This amendment was subsequently renewed, but now stands to expire.

If the CJS budget is approved in the Senate, the amendment will go to a special conference committee to reach a compromise with the House. If no budget is approved by September 30, the previous amendment will be automatically renewed for another year.

MPP’s Don Murphy made the following statement:

“More than half the states have taken a stand and said they want their seriously ill residents to have safe and reliable access to medical marijuana, and today the Senate Appropriations Committee listened. What was expected to be a very successful vote passed on an overwhelming voice vote, while opposition to the Leahy amendment was literally a whimper. That sound we heard in the Senate was the sound of a waving white flag as the federal war on medical marijuana patients and providers winds down.”

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Medical Marijuana

Pennsylvania Launches Practitioner Registration

July 27th, 2017 1 Comment » Becky Dansky

On Wednesday, Acting Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine announced important steps forward for Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program — practitioners can now register online, and the department approved two options for physician training.

Under Act 16, a doctor can only issue a certification for medical marijuana after registering with the Department of Health. The law also requires the physician complete a four-hour training course. The department has approved the first two providers of training courses, The Answer Page Inc. and Extra Step Assurance LLC.

For medical marijuana programs to work, doctors need to participate. If you are a Pennsylvania resident, talk to your doctor, and take a copy of Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Law: A Guide for Doctors and Patients with you for the conversation. Other materials are also available on MPP’s Pennsylvania page and our medical marijuana page.

It is unclear at this time when the department will begin accepting applications and issuing identification cards for patients and caregivers. Earlier in the summer, the department announced the first round of business permits, including 12 grower/processor permits and 27 dispensary permits, which may each have up to three locations. It will take some time for the businesses to open and begin dispensing cannabis, but registered patients may have access as soon as early 2018.

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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 1 Comment » 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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