New Hampshire Towns to Hold Medical Marijuana Forums


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It appears that New Hampshire is finally ready to move forward with its process of approving medical marijuana dispensary locations. The good news is that a DHHS spokesman has said “we do have several sites that are fairly well finalized.” However, the law requires that a public hearing be held in each town where dispensaries or cultivation facilities are being planned.

As part of this process, the Department of Health and Human Services is holding public meetings to consider local input. If you live in or near one of these towns, please attend and speak up in favor of allowing the proposed dispensary or cultivation facility to move forward!

Here are the details for each public hearing:

Peterborough: Tuesday, August 18 — 5:00 p.m. at Peterborough Town House, 1 Grove Street

(NOTE: This location has been proposed for a cultivation facility only, not a dispensary. It’s worth pointing out that patients and caregivers who live in or near Peterborough will have to drive all the way to Merrimack or Lebanon to obtain cannabis.)

Lebanon: Wednesday, August 19 — 7:00 p.m. at Lebanon City Hall, 51 North Park Street

Merrimack: Tuesday, August 25 — 7:00 p.m. at Merrimack Town Hall, Matthew Thornton Room, 8 Baboosic Lake Road

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First Medical Dispensary Opens in Nevada


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On Friday, Silver State Relief became the first medical dispensary to open in Nevada.

Silver State Relief dispensary 2

In the year 2000, voters overwhelmingly supported an initiative that made Nevada one of the earliest states to adopt a medical marijuana law. It took another 12 years for the legislature to create a law allowing regulated businesses to provide safe access to medical cannabis. A little over two years from the date the bill was signed into law, that system is finally rolling out.

Nevada’s medical marijuana program now serves over 9,300 patients across the state, and the opening of Nevada’s first regulated business represents an important milestone in the state’s system. For many patients, it has been a long two years. The agency created and then adopted rules, businesses applied to operate in a lengthy approval process, and legal battles followed in some parts of the state. Recently, the state continued rolling out the program by adopting testing standards to ensure medical marijuana is safe for consumption.

We congratulate Silver State Relief, thank Sen. Tick Segerblom for his effort to pass the regulatory bill in 2012 and for his support for businesses and patients since then, and we applaud the hard work and long hours so many in government and business dedicated to making Nevada’s regulatory system a reality.

 

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Montana Judge Protects Medical Marijuana Program, but More Work Needed


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Two and half years ago, the Montana legislature gutted the 2004 voter-approved medical marijuana law and replaced it with a law that got as close to repeal as possible. Since then, the state has been fighting in the courts to defend its ill-considered law. Victory was finally handed to Montana patients this month when the presiding judge ruled that caregivers can continue to operate under the state’s marginally functional system. This means they can continue serving an unlimited number of patients — not just the three that the 2011 law allowed, in addition to other important provisions.

While the ruling allows patients at least some access to their medicine, it falls short of the sensible medical marijuana dispensary system that patients deserve, and that almost every other medical marijuana state now has.

Don’t allow the Montana legislature to ignore its responsibility to protect its citizens.  Please pass this message to friends, family, and supporters and ask them to send a clear message to their state legislators!

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Many Illinois Medical Cannabis Patients May Begin Applying For Program


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The Illinois Department of Public Health began accepting patient applications today for the state’s medical cannabis pilot program. Applicants whose last names begin with the letters A through L may apply today through the end of October. Applicants with last names that start with M through Z may apply during the months of November and December. Beginning in January, applications for patient registry ID cards will be accepted for all applicants year-round.

Here are some useful links and information for patient applicants:

Applications for businesses are also now available. Final versions of the dispensary and cultivation center license applications, along with detailed instructions, are now available here. There is a narrow window to submit business applications. Both types of business applications must be received by their respective state agencies between September 8 and September 22.

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New Hampshire Begins Considering Dispensary Rules


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The delays in implementing New Hampshire’s medical marijuana program have been very frustrating for patients. Fortunately, the state finally appears to be making progress toward the adoption of alternative treatment center (dispensary) rules. The Concord Monitor reported some details of the rule-making process this morning.

You can read the first draft of the proposed rules here. The Department of Health and Human Services will accept comments as part of an “advance comment period,” which ends tomorrow. After that, the department will enter its formal rule-making phase, which will include a public hearing and additional opportunities for public comment. The department released a timeline indicating that it hopes to secure final approval of the dispensary rules by November 20.

You can read the comments being submitted by MPP here. While we have identified a number of issues with the rules, we think the most troubling provisions are the onerous application fee of $80,000 and the annual renewal fee of $80,000. We understand that the law requires the Department to set fees that cover the costs of administering the program, but it is unclear whether New Hampshire will have any qualified applicants who wish to enter this heavily restricted dispensary market with fees this high.

For information on how to submit comments, please visit the department’s website for the “therapeutic use of cannabis” program.

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Massachusetts Regulators Approve 11 Dispensary Applications


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The rollout of Massachusetts’ medical marijuana program has been proceeding more slowly than anticipated, but a major milestone was reached last week with the approval of 11 dispensary applications. The Department of Public Health granted eleven provisional certificates on Friday, and it’s possible that some of the approved dispensaries will be ready to serve patients before the end of this year.

The department had previously given preliminary approval to 20 applicants, but, after further review of the applications, nine were rejected. Massachusetts’ law authorizes up to 35 dispensaries, so these rejected applicants and others will be allowed to reapply in 2015.

Additionally, it’s disappointing that the state has not yet made it possible for patients to apply for ID cards. However, with dispensaries planning to open in only a matter of months, it seems likely that the ID card issue will soon be resolved.

 

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Pro Football Hall of Famer, Jonathan Ogden, Applies for Medical Marijuana Dispensary License


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Jonathan Ogden
Jonathan Ogden

Jonathan Ogden, retired Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle, has applied for a medical marijuana dispensary license in Nevada, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. There are a limited number of licenses available in Nevada, so it is still unclear whether or not Ogden will own a dispensary.

One hundred and nine other companies have filed applications, and only 66 will be licensed this year, 40 of which will reside in Las Vegas (Clark county) where Ogden has applied. Applicants must also show they have $250,000 in liquid assets and have a licensed physician as the medical director to apply.

Hopefully, the NFL will feel the pressure of having Hall of Fame leaders like Ogden publicly support medical marijuana. The NFL’s stance on medical marijuana hasn’t evolved to the same extent as that of the nation at large, and the organization still imposes strict laws on players via steep fines and suspensions. However, with the NBA and NCAA rethinking their marijuana-use policies, perhaps, the NFL will move in the direction of acceptance.

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Maryland Becomes 21st Medical Marijuana State, and 18th to Decriminalize


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Yesterday morning, Gov. Martin O’Malley signed into law both the medical marijuana bill and the decriminalization bill, making Maryland the 21st state with an effective medical marijuana program, and the 18th state to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.

The medical marijuana bill expands a program that, while established last year, was unable to get off the ground. The previous law relied on the participation of teaching hospitals, which understandably did not want to be involved with a substance that is still federally illegal. The law signed today will allow registered cultivators to grow medical marijuana and up to 15 licensed cultivators to provide the medicine to patients and dispensaries. This new law will finally provide real access to seriously ill Marylanders.

The decriminalization law removes the criminal penalties for possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana, and replaces them with a civil fine of up to $100 for a first offense, up to $250 for a second offense, and up to $500 for subsequent offenses. Third-time offenders and individuals under 21 years of age will be required to undergo a clinical assessment for substance abuse disorder and a drug education program. The measure will officially go into effect on October 1.

This is incredible progress, but our work is not done yet. A September 2013 poll found that 53% of Marylanders support legalizing marijuana for adults 21 and up, and taxing and regulating it like alcohol.

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Vermont Legislature Seeks to Expand Medical Marijuana Program


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Vermont’s medical marijuana program has come a long way since the law was first approved by the Legislature back in 2004. In 2011, MPP worked with Vermont legislators and our allies to secure approval for four state-regulated medical marijuana dispensaries. As a result of that law, which was signed by Governor Peter Shumlin, the fourth dispensary began serving patients in southern Vermont last Tuesday.

This is great progress, but we can’t stop here. The addition of four dispensaries has dramatically improved access for patients, and over 1,000 patients have now registered for Vermont’s program. But there are still a number of issues with Vermont’s medical marijuana law that need to be addressed, including an absurd restriction that only 1,000 Vermont patients may be served by dispensaries.

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Sen. Jeanette White

We are currently urging Vermont legislators to pass S. 247, which would eliminate the 1,000-patient cap and make other positive changes to Vermont’s medical marijuana law. Sponsored by Senator Jeanette White (D), S. 247 would authorize the Department of Public Safety to license two additional dispensaries. It would also allow dispensaries to deliver marijuana to patients, and it would allow naturopaths to certify patients for the program.

S. 247 has already been approved by two Senate committees, and a vote is expected soon by the full Senate.

If you are a Vermont resident, please email your senator and ask them to support his sensible bill.

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Delaware Finalizes Compassion Center Rules


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The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services has finalized regulations for a single medical marijuana compassion center. Unfortunately, the pilot center will be limited to cultivating 150 plants — far too few to meet patients’ needs. MPP has submitted comments urging the department to revise the regulations to ensure a workable program. While the governor and DHHS refused to lift the cap now, there is a possibility of doing so later if and when the current regulations prove too limited.

DHHS has also issued a compassion center request for proposal (RFP) for a single compassion center. It plans to license one center to begin growing medical marijuana by July of this year. Meanwhile, the department continues to accept applications for medical marijuana ID cards, which will be required for patients seeking to obtain their medicine from a compassion center. If you are interested in reading the RFP or applying for a medical marijuana ID card, please visit the medical marijuana program’s website to access the relevant application forms.

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