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 24 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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Medical Marijuana

Hawaii Governor Sign Medical Marijuana Improvements

June 23rd, 2017 No Comments Becky Dansky

On Thursday, Hawaii Gov. David Ige signed into law H.B. 1488, a bill to expand the existing medical marijuana dispensary program.

H.B. 1488 adds rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis to the list of qualifying conditions and allows patients and caregivers to access testing facilities. Patients and caregivers will be allowed to cultivate three additional plants of any maturity, for a total of 10 plants. The phasing out of caregivers’ ability to grow marijuana plants for patients has been pushed back five years, to the end of 2023.

The new law, which goes into effect on June 29, also authorizes the Department of Health to permit current licensees to open one additional dispensary — for a possible total of 24 statewide — and allows them to cultivate more plants at their production sites. It also amends certain deadlines and relaxes overly restrictive laboratory standards to accelerate implementation.

With the updated regulations, laboratories should find it easier to meet the requirements for certification. Several dispensaries are ready to start serving patients but cannot do so until they can submit their products for the required testing.

Congratulations and thank you to Gov. Ige, the Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii, and all of the advocates and lawmakers who made these improvements possible.

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Prohibition

Vermont House Votes to Delay Legalization Bill

June 22nd, 2017 No Comments Matt Simon

Yesterday, the Vermont Senate amended and passed H. 511, a bill that would make marijuana legal in Vermont. Unfortunately, the House rejected an effort to bring the bill up for consideration, and the veto session ended without further action. H. 511 will have to wait until the Legislature reconvenes — either later this year or in January — before it can pass the House and advance to the desk of Gov. Phil Scott.

A group of representatives led by Rep. Don Turner (R-Milton) delayed passage of H. 511 by opposing a vote to suspend rules and consider the bill. The vote to suspend rules — which required three-quarters of members to vote in favor — was 78-63, considerably short of the 107 votes that would have been needed to consider the bill.

If you are a Vermont resident, you can see how your representatives voted and send them a follow-up message.

The House voted to pass a similar bill earlier this year, so there is little question that H. 511 will pass when it is brought to a vote. Unfortunately, this may not be possible until the Legislature reconvenes in January. It’s also possible that the Legislature will hold a special session later this year, and the bill could be considered then.

On the bright side, H, 511 was not scheduled to take effect until July 1, 2018, so this delay may have no impact on the effective date of legalization.

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Medical Marijuana

Oklahoma to Vote on Medical Marijuana in 2018

June 22nd, 2017 2 Comments Marijuana Policy Project

Oklahoma will vote on medical marijuana in 2018! The Oklahoma Secretary of State has certified Question 788 for the ballot, meaning Oklahomans will finally have the opportunity to vote on medical marijuana in November of next year. After collecting enough signatures to qualify for the 2016 election, the group Oklahomans for Health faced legal difficulties when the state’s attorney general took issue with the ballot summary of the new law.

After a hard-fought legal battle, Oklahomans for Health has come out on top, ensuring that the question will appear on the ballot in next year’s election. Seventy-one percent of Oklahomans 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. Mark your calendar for November 6, 2018, then forward this message to let your friends and family know about this important development.

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Uncategorized

Vermont Senate Approves Legalization Compromise Bill

June 21st, 2017 No Comments Marijuana Policy Project

For the third time this year, the Vermont Senate has passed a marijuana legalization bill. This time, the bill has been revised to address Gov. Phil Scott’s concerns, and we have good reason to expect that he will sign it when it reaches his desk.

Unfortunately, it is not clear at all when the amended bill, H. 511, might receive a vote in the House. The House voted to pass a similar bill earlier this year, so there is little question that H. 511 will pass when it is brought to a vote. However, since the current veto session is scheduled to end tomorrow, the bill will not be considered unless three-quarters of House members vote to suspend the rules and allow consideration.

Republican House Leader Don Turner has said that his caucus will likely block the bill from being considered until 2018. Vermonters should not tolerate this attempt to obstruct a reform that has earned the support of the Senate, House, and governor.

“There is no good reason for the House to delay passage of this modest and sensible legislation,” MPP’s Matt Simon said in a press release. “Now that Gov. Scott has agreed with the House and Senate that marijuana should be legal for adult use, House Republicans should follow the governor’s lead and vote to advance this compromise. Failing to waive the rules will only mean the marijuana regulatory commission has less time to do its important work.”

If you are a Vermont resident, please call your representatives right now, and urge them to push for an up or down vote on H. 511.

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Tax and Regulate

Maine Regulation Bills Progressing

June 21st, 2017 No Comments Marijuana Policy Project

Since the formation of the Joint Select Committee on Marijuana Legalization Implementation in Maine, a few bills have been progressing steadily.

The first bill is LD 243, which would transfer the authority to oversee adult-use marijuana from the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to the Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations within the Department of Administrative and Financial Services (DAFS). The Bureau would be responsible for licensing adult-use marijuana businesses, in addition to creating and enforcing regulations. LD 243 also allocates $200,000 to the Joint Select Committee on Marijuana Legalization Implementation and $1.4 million to DAFS to implement Question 1. The bill is now sitting on the Appropriations table. Once appropriated, it will go to the governor’s desk for his signature.

The second bill they have been working on is LR 2391, which would create a framework for retail marijuana testing facilities. By setting up testing facilities first, Maine would hopefully avoid regulatory bottlenecks experienced in other states. Mandated marijuana testing means that enough laboratories are needed to test all the marijuana that will be sold in Maine. LR 2391 is on track to be passed before the Legislature adjourns today.

The Joint Select Committee will continue to meet in the summer and fall, after the Legislature adjourns. We will be working closely with the committee to make sure Maine’s adult-use marijuana program is set up swiftly and responsibly.

To receive updates directly from the committee, please sign up here.

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