Medical Marijuana

Medical Marijuana Bill Introduced in Kansas

February 16th, 2017 No Comments Kate Bell

A proposal to make Kansas the 29th medical marijuana state has been introduced by Senator David Haley (D-Kansas City), and it’s supported by local advocacy group Bleeding Kansas. SB 155, the Kansas Safe Access Act, would allow seriously ill Kansas residents with certain qualifying conditions to access medical marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation.

Sixty-eight percent of Kansans believe that marijuana should be legal for medical purposes. There are a multitude of studies that show that medical marijuana can help patients suffering from cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, and other devastating conditions. These patients should not have to wait any longer or risk jail time to access treatments that may help them.

If you are a Kansas resident, please contact your lawmakers and urge them to support this sensible legislation.

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Medical Marijuana, Prohibition

Marijuana Bills Moving Through the Virginia Legislature

January 27th, 2017 1 Comment Maggie Ellinger-Locke

The Virginia General Assembly is in full swing, and lawmakers have already considered several marijuana policy reform bills. Sen. Adam Ebbin’s SB 1091 — which would end the automatic six-month driver’s license suspension for first offense possession of marijuana — was approved by the Senate on Friday.

Last year, the General Assembly approved a bill to allow in-state production of cannabidiol oil for patients with intractable epilepsy. However, to become law, that bill — Sen. Dave Marsden’s SB 1027 — needs to pass again this year. It passed the Senate on Jan. 26.

Companion legislation for both bills are now being considered in the House.

Unfortunately, the committee defeated two other bills, which would have decriminalized possession of marijuana — replacing possible jail time with a civil penalty.

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Medical Marijuana, Tax and Regulate

Update: Kentucky Bills Introduced

January 24th, 2017 1 Comment Matt Simon

Sen. Perry Clark has introduced two bills that would overhaul marijuana policies in Kentucky. SB 57 would make medical marijuana legal for seriously ill Kentuckians, and SB 72 would legalize marijuana for adult use and create a regulated and taxed system.

SB 57 would protect qualifying patients from arrest and allow them to cultivate marijuana plants. It would also allow them to obtain medical marijuana from dispensaries, which would be regulated by the state.

SB 72 would take Kentucky in the direction of the eight states that have voted to legalize and regulate marijuana for adult use. This would divert millions of dollars away from the illicit drug market and into the hands of Kentucky businesses that would be regulated and taxed by the state. Unfortunately, legislators are not likely to take this bill as seriously in 2017, so we believe it may be best to focus email advocacy in support of the medical marijuana bill until the political landscape changes.

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Medical Marijuana

Proposed Florida Medical Marijuana Rules Spell Disaster for Patients

January 18th, 2017 9 Comments Kate Bell

Tuesday morning, the Florida Health Department released draft rules that are supposed to implement the medical marijuana law approved by 71% of Florida voters. It doesn’t appear regulators actually read Amendment 2, however. Instead, they tried to simply slightly expand the existing, and ineffective, low-THC program.

These rules would be a disaster for patients:

  • They require doctors to “order” specific quantities of cannabis, which is too much like an unlawful prescription and puts them at risk under federal law. If doctors don’t participate, patients won’t be able to enroll.
  • They give the Health Department — not the patient’s doctor — the ability to determine whether the patient’s condition is “substantially similar” to those listed in the amendment.
  • They continue the oligopoly of only seven businesses for an expected patient population of over 162,000 — far fewer businesses per patient than any other state! This will drive up prices and result in less variety of strains and products for different patients’ needs.
  • Even if additional businesses were eventually allowed, they would be subject to unfair and onerous requirements.

Thankfully, these rules are not final and the public has an opportunity to comment. There will be a series of public meetings around the state, and members of the public can provide comments on the Department of Health website.

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Medical Marijuana

North Dakota Senate Unanimously Votes to Delay Medical Marijuana Law

January 18th, 2017 No Comments Maggie Ellinger-Locke

The North Dakota Senate unanimously passed S.B. 2154 on Tuesday, which blocks the implementation of Measure 5 until either July or until a new replacement medical marijuana law goes into effect. Now, the bill heads to the House.

Unless representatives hear their constituents oppose this delay, S.B. 2154 is likely to pass. Lawmakers need to heed the will of the voters, 64% of whom passed Measure 5 last November. Many patients can’t afford to wait. Perhaps more alarming still is the bill’s implication that the Legislature may replace voters’ medical marijuana bill. All signs show that any substitution would limit patients’ rights or possibly even be unworkable.

If you are a North Dakota resident, please ask your representative to stand up for patients and to vote NO on S.B. 2154!

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Medical Marijuana

South Carolina Medical Marijuana Bill Introduced

January 10th, 2017 No Comments Becky Dansky

Today, South Carolina Sen. Tom Davis and Rep. Peter McCoy introduced comprehensive medical cannabis legislation — the South Carolina Medical Cannabis Act. The bill would allow seriously ill patients to safely access medical cannabis from regulated dispensaries. At a press conference in the capitol today, lawmakers, patients, and advocates discussed the legislation.

While 28 states and Washington, D.C. now have effective medical marijuana laws, South Carolina’s seriously ill patients remain criminals if they use a treatment option that is safer than many prescriptions.

Under the proposed law, the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) would license and regulate a limited number of qualified medical cannabis cultivation centers, processing facilities, independent testing laboratories, and dispensaries. It would issue registration cards to patients with qualifying medical conditions who have received written recommendations from their physicians, allowing them to purchase a limited amount of medical cannabis from a licensed dispensary.

If you’re interested in getting involved locally, visit the SC Compassion website, and please ask your lawmakers to support compassionate medical marijuana legislation.

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Medical Marijuana, Tax and Regulate

Medical and Legalization Bills Pre-Filed in Kentucky

January 10th, 2017 1 Comment Matt Simon

The Kentucky Legislature reconvened last week for the 2017-18 session, and Sen. Perry Clark has already prefiled two bills that would reform marijuana laws in the Commonwealth. One bill would end Kentucky’s criminalization of adult marijuana consumers, instead taxing and regulating marijuana similarly to alcohol. Another bill would permit seriously ill Kentuckians — both adults and minors — to access medical marijuana.

Effective medical marijuana programs have been created in 28 states, and Kentucky patients should have the same access. Meanwhile, legalizing marijuana for adult use would allow the state to generate tax revenue from adult marijuana sales while providing the tools needed to adequately regulate the production and sale of marijuana.

Under current laws, possession of less than eight ounces of marijuana is punishable by 45 days in jail and a $250 fine. There is a narrow medical exception for patients with intractable seizures, but the marijuana must be provided by a physician, which would be a violation of federal law.

If you are a Kentucky resident, please contact your lawmakers today and urge them to support compassionate medical and adult-use marijuana policy reforms.

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Medical Marijuana, Prohibition

Texas Legislative Sessions Begins With Efforts to Fix Medical Marijuana Law and Decriminalize Possession

January 10th, 2017 No Comments Heather Fazio

The Texas Legislature convened for the 2017 session today. Rep. Joe Moody reintroduced legislation that would replace Texas’ harsh criminal penalties for marijuana possession with a simple citation. His proposal would eliminate the threat of arrest, jail time, and — most importantly — the lifelong consequences of a criminal conviction.

Meanwhile, Sen. Jose Menendez is leading the charge to fix Texas’ inadequate medical marijuana law. Effective medical marijuana programs have been created in 28 states, but Texas instead has an unreasonably restrictive law that leaves most patients behind and includes a fatal flaw.

If you are a Texas resident, please let your lawmakers know you want the state to fix the broken Compassionate Use Act Gov. Abbott signed into law in 2015, and to reduce the penalties for possession.

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Medical Marijuana

Tennessee Medical Marijuana Legislation to Be Introduced

December 20th, 2016 3 Comments Kate Bell
Last week, Tennessee State Rep. Jeremy Faison (R-11) and Sen. Steve Dickerson (R-20) announced that they are introducing a medical marijuana bill to bring meaningful access to many patients in Tennessee.1280px-flag_of_tennessee-svg
While the full text of the bill is not yet publicly available, the legislators’ plan allows patients with a doctor’s recommendation and a $35 ID card to purchase medicine at one of 150 dispensaries across the state. They also noted that their proposed program could help address the opioid epidemic; studies have shown a 25% drop in opioid overdoses in states with effective medical marijuana programs.
If you are a Tennessee resident, please request that your legislators support the plan, and stay tuned for more information about this bill.

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Medical Marijuana

Proposed Ohio Medical Marijuana Regulations Released

December 16th, 2016 No Comments Chris Lindsey
flag_of_ohio-svgProposed rules were published yesterday governing both dispensaries and physicians operating in the emerging medical marijuana program in Ohio. Both sets of proposed rules are available online. Members of the public are invited to review and comment on them before January 13, 2017.
Most of the proposed rules are sensible, but there is room for improvement. One area of concern is the state’s initial proposal to limit the total number of dispensaries to 40. Given the state’s population and the likely size of the program, such a low number could create significant access problems for patients.
In addition to the newly proposed rules, the state also published a revision to its cultivation rules, available here. While still short of ideal, the state made several major improvements, including doubling the number of smaller, Level II licenses, increasing the square footage limits for all cultivators, and lowering the financial burden.
If the dispensary or physician rules could affect you, please take a moment to review and comment. The rules and instructions for commenting are available here. A more detailed analysis of the rules and how the program could be impacted will be published on our website in the coming weeks.

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