Medical Marijuana

California Gov. Brown vetoes several key bills, signs others; medical patients hit the hardest

October 3rd, 2018 No Comments Kate Zawidzki

If you live in California, click here to support access on school grounds and tax breaks for donated cannabis. 

Gov. Jerry Brown recently acted on a raft of cannabis bills that passed this year. Here is a quick breakdown of what was signed and what was vetoed.

Among the bills signed into law:
  • AB 1793 allows adults convicted of cannabis-related offenses that are no longer considered illegal to have them automatically removed from their records.
  • SB 1294 creates equity provisions that will allow cannabis business licensees who qualify to get access to low- or no-interest loans and grants.
  • AB 2215 requires the Veterinary Medical Board to establish guidelines for licensed veterinarians to discuss the use of cannabis on animals.
  • AB 2020 allows cannabis to be sold and consumed at special events.
Unfortunately, Gov. Brown vetoed several important bills:
  • SB 1127 would allow medical cannabis to be administered on school property for registered patients.
  • SB 829 would exempt cannabis from taxes when donated free of charge to dispensaries for their low-income patients.
  • SB 1863 would allow licensed cannabis companies to deduct standard business expenses under the state’s personal income tax.
Lawmakers are now considering whether they have the two-thirds votes to override the vetoes. Click here to send a message to your lawmakers in support of tax breaks for cannabis donated to needy patients and protections for medical cannabis patients at schools. Cannabis policy made big strides this year, but there is more to do.

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Medical Marijuana

NY: Medical marijuana program adds acute pain management as qualifying condition

September 26th, 2018 1 Comment Kate Zawidzki

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.

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Medical Marijuana, Tax and Regulate

MPP endorses North Dakota’s legalization ballot measure

September 19th, 2018 No Comments Kate Zawidzki

Learn more about the campaign and make a donation here.

Last month, a team of grassroots activists beat the odds and succeeded in qualifying a ballot initiative to legalize marijuana for adults in North Dakota. With just a few weeks left until Election Day, they need our help. Today, MPP is endorsing their effort and urging allies to support Measure 3. Click here to read the full text of the measure.

There’s a real chance North Dakotans could approve Measure 3, which would end prohibition and create a process to seal criminal records for nonviolent marijuana convictions, but polling suggests the vote is going to be very close. Every dollar the campaign receives goes towards voter outreach and education. North Dakota has a small population, so your contribution could make all the difference.

Will you make a donation to support the grassroots campaign to legalize marijuana in North Dakota?

A victory for Measure 3 would be huge. It would show that adult-use legalization can win anywhere, even in more rural and conservative states. It would also send a strong message to Congress that federal laws on marijuana are deeply unpopular throughout the country.

2018 is shaping up to be a big year for our movement. There are four marijuana-related state ballot questions in play, and each of them needs your help. Click the logos below to check out the campaigns. Please follow them on social media, spread the word to voters in those states, and donate what you can.

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Medical Marijuana

Utah campaign fundraiser on September 17 in Denver

September 11th, 2018 No Comments Kate Zawidzki

Join us in Denver on September 17 for a fundraiser in support of the Utah medical cannabis campaign!

This November, Utah will vote on a medical cannabis ballot initiative (Prop 2). While most polls suggest that the initiative will pass, a strong opposition campaign has recently emerged. The Utah Patients Coalition — the campaign working to pass Prop 2 — needs your support. We anticipate a misleading opposition ad campaign over the next two months, and the Utah Patients Coalition needs resources in order to present voters with the facts.

So please join MPP’s Deputy Director Matt Schweich for a fundraiser in Denver on Monday, September 17 from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. MT. Law firm Vicente Sederberg is kindly hosting an event at its office. I will provide a briefing on the campaign and answer your questions. Attendees are encouraged to make a $50 donation to the campaign. Contributions will be accepted at the door, or you can make them online.

WHAT: Briefing on the 2018 Utah medical cannabis ballot initiative

WHEN: Monday, September 17, 5:30-7:00 p.m.

WHERE: Vicente Sederberg, 455 Sherman Street, Suite 390, Denver

We look forward to seeing you in Denver!

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Medical Marijuana

Illinois governor signs opioid alternative bill, making huge improvements to medical cannabis program

August 28th, 2018 No Comments Kate Zawidzki

Sweeping changes include medical cannabis access for opioid patients, streamlined process, and others

Illinois’s medical cannabis program took a major step forward today as Gov. Bruce Rauner signed bill SB 336, the Alternatives to Opioids Act, into law.

This historic change makes several key improvements:

Opioid patients now qualify. Patients who are — or could be — prescribed opioid drugs will be able to register to obtain medical cannabis as an alternative.

Shorter wait times. Patients will get provisional authorization to access medical cannabis as soon as their paperwork is submitted for registration — saving weeks of wait time.

No more fingerprint requirement! Patients and caregivers will no longer be required to submit fingerprints to register for the program, and those with felony convictions in their past will no longer be denied access to the program.

Many thanks go to bill sponsors Sen. Don Harmon and Rep. Kelly Cassidy, and the many medical cannabis patients and supporters who worked to pass this major improvement to state law. The full text of the measure is here.

In other news, if you are in the neighborhood, the public is invited to tonight’s town hall on cannabis legalization for adults in La Grange, Illinois.

When: Tuesday, August 28 7:00 p.m.

Where: La Grange Village Hall Auditorium, 53 S. La Grange Road, La Grange, Illinois

Who: Bill sponsor Sen. Heather Steans, Rep. Jim Durkin, and several other panelists

Another big win for medical cannabis patients today — please spread the word! And if you can, come to tonight’s town hall and support a sensible legalization law in Illinois!

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Medical Marijuana

Oklahoma medical cannabis applications can be submitted starting on Saturday

August 23rd, 2018 No Comments Kate Zawidzki

The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) will begin accepting medical cannabis applications from patients and prospective businesses on Saturday at 10:00 a.m.! This will make it one of the quickest states to implement a medical marijuana law.

Application materials and FAQs are already available on the OMMA’s site, including for:

Adult patients and caregivers
Minor patients and their caregivers
• Visiting patients registered in other states (temporary applications); and
Businesses

OMMA has also opened a call center, which is open Monday through Friday, 8.30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. The number is 405-522-6662.

In other news, as you may have seen, the Board of Health and Gov. Mary Fallin signed off on revised final regulations. The revised regs fix the major problems — including by nixing a THC cap and the ban on sales of flower and edible marijuana.

Meanwhile, a legislative working group is continuing to meet on the issue, and the Food Safety Standards Board has issued recommendations.

Unfortunately, some governmental bodies are moving to restrict patients’ rights: Oklahoma State and the University of Oklahoma are prohibiting medical cannabis on their campuses. And the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation updated the state’s Self-Defense Act license application to warn individuals who use medical marijuana that they should answer “yes” when asked if they unlawfully use a controlled substance, which may prevent them from being licensed.

Please spread the word, so that Oklahoma patients can get the protections and safe access they deserve!

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Medical Marijuana

Illinois students get relief, but opioid patients still waiting on governor

August 21st, 2018 No Comments Kate Zawidzki

Students in Illinois who require access to medical cannabis during school hours were granted relief earlier in August, when Gov. Bruce Rauner signed Ashley’s Law into law. This marked a major step forward for patients, including the new law’s namesake, Ashley Surin, who sought access to help manage her seizure condition. Another bill, which would allow those prescribed opioids to qualify for the state program, is still awaiting the governor’s signature.

The governor only has until August 28 to sign, amend, or reject the bill.

The Opioid Alternative Pilot Program Act, which passed on May 31, not only allows those who could be prescribed opioid drugs to qualify for the medical cannabis program, it also dramatically improves current law by streamlining wait times and removing fingerprint requirements for patients. For a summary written by bill supporters — including key changes to background checks and shortened approval process — click here. The final bill draft language is here.

Gov. Rauner needs to hear from those who support this important change. If you are an Illinois resident, please click here to send an email message to his office.

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Medical Marijuana, Tax and Regulate

California Bureau of Cannabis Control accepting public comments on proposed rules

August 14th, 2018 No Comments Kate Zawidzki

Members of the public are invited to provide comments on California’s proposed rules for cannabis businesses. The Bureau of Cannabis Control and other agencies seek public comments as they consider a permanent set of rules — replacing those temporarily in place.

For background, including the text of the proposed rules, summaries, and the agencies’ reasoning for seeking changes, visit the state’s website. Comments must be received by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, August 27.

For the most part, permanent rules would mirror those currently in place – but there are some key differences. A big improvement is a clarifying statement that adults 21 and older could receive cannabis deliveries at their own homes, statewide. This is a much-needed solution for those who live in parts of the state that have banned retail sales.

Unfortunately, the transition from illicit to legal sales has not gone as quickly as many had predicted in California, due in large part to rural communities that have refused to allow legal sales. By ensuring that deliveries are available for adults everywhere, consumers are given an option for safe, discreet, and legal sales.

Not all proposed rule changes are positive. One change would limit medical cannabis dispensaries to the sale of cannabis products and branded merchandise, preventing them from offering holistic health services such as counseling and support.

If you are a California resident, take a look at the proposed rules and be sure to send comments so they can be received before the deadline on the 27.

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Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana initiative filed in Mississippi

July 31st, 2018 No Comments Kate Zawidzki

Yesterday, Mississippians for Compassionate Care filed an initiative with the Secretary of State’s office that would make medical marijuana legal in Mississippi. The group is aiming to bring an amendment to the state constitution to voters in 2020. The first step to getting it on the ballot is to collect over 100,000 signatures from all over the state. You can read the proposed amendment here.

The signature collection is a huge undertaking and the campaign will need lots of volunteers to circulate petitions in their area. If you are a Mississippi resident who is willing to help collect signatures, please email the signature collection coordinator: JB Brown.

For more information on the campaign or to get involved, please go to www.medicalmarijuana2020.com. It’s time for patients suffering in Mississippi to have access to medical marijuana.

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Medical Marijuana

Oklahoma medical cannabis law takes effect; revisions to problematic regs proposed

July 27th, 2018 1 Comment Kate Zawidzki

Yesterday, the penalty-reduction piece of Oklahoma’s medical marijuana initiative became operational. Individuals possessing up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis face a reduced penalty — a misdemeanor fine of up to $400 — if they “can state a medical condition.”

Meanwhile, regulators made application materials available online for patients and caregivers, along with information for businesses and physicians. It will begin accepting applications on August 25.

In another encouraging development, regulators released proposed revisions to many of the problematic final regulations. The Board of Health will meet on August 1 at 3:00 p.m. to consider them.

Draft revisions (summarized here) would make several welcome changes, including:

• Removing the ban on selling smokeable cannabis and edibles;
• Removing the THC cap;
• Removing the requirement that pharmacists dispense cannabis;
• Making the physician registration optional;
• Removing the requirement that doctors subject all “females of childbearing age” to a pregnancy test before recommending cannabis; and
• Removing the limitation on hours of operation, which banned Sunday sales.

However, we still have some concerns, including that:

• Patients who are tenants must obtain their landlords’ written permission to cultivate. Given federal law, even landlords who are open to cultivation may be unwilling to assent in writing.
• Physicians must to “ascertain” if a female is pregnant or likely to become pregnant before recommending cannabis. This strong language may essentially require pregnancy tests for many women, which is patronizing and invasive and drives up costs.
• Physicians must provide an in-person medical exam within 30 days of the certification. Oklahoma allows telemedicine for most medications.

Comments can be submitted to omma@ok.gov.

These proposed revisions follow a lawsuit filed by the Oklahoma ACLU on behalf of advocates, and advice from Attorney General Mike Hunter that some regulations exceeded the department’s authority.

If you live in Oklahoma, please speak out and spread the word. Congratulations again to everyone who worked to pass SQ 788!

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