MPP’s New Hampshire Voter Guide
Next New Hampshire Governor Will Support Decriminalization
MPP Endorses Maryland Delegate David Moon for State Senate
The Marijuana Policy Project announced Wednesday that it is endorsing Del. David Moon for the Maryland Senate in District 20. The Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee is expected to appoint a successor to Sen. Jamie Raskin, who is running for Congress.
As a member of the Judiciary Committee in the House of Delegates, David Moon has been an impassioned leader and a continuous advocate for marijuana policy reform, including acting as an important sponsor of legislation to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol. While some Democratic members of the House were joining their Republican counterparts in co-sponsoring bills to recriminalize smoking in public, which would have continued the racially disparate enforcement of the criminal law against people of color, Del. Moon was trying to move Maryland’s policy forward.
For example, he introduced a bill to help victims of prohibition expunge past convictions for marijuana possession. This is especially important because African Americans in Maryland have historically been 2.9 times more likely to be arrested for possession despite very similar usage rates. Thus, Black Marylanders are more likely to be burdened with a criminal record that can derail their ability to get a job and cause other collateral consequences — an issue that was not addressed in the decriminalization bill.
Delegate Moon is as impassioned about bridge-building as he is about policy solutions. He regularly crosses the aisle to discuss key civil liberties and decriminalization issues with conservative colleagues from across the state.
Texas GOP Supports Medical Marijuana
Over the weekend in Dallas, the Republican Party of Texas convened for their state convention where, among other business, delegates adopted a platform to express their position on various political issues.
With support from 78% of delegates, the following is now the official position of the Texas GOP: “We call upon the Texas Legislature to improve the 2015 Compassionate Use Act to allow doctors to determine the appropriate use of cannabis to prescribed patients.”
Thanks to the work of dedicated Republican delegates who support marijuana law reform, the Texas GOP is now officially in support of medical marijuana!
Of course, this confirms what we already knew: Marijuana law reform is not a partisan issue. Texans of all political persuasions acknowledge that cannabis is medicine and support the reform of outdated policies. This move by Republican delegates affirms the integrity of the doctor/patient relationship by declaring that patients should have safe and legal access to medical cannabis if their doctors recommend it, consistent with another section of the platform which states, “Health care decisions…should be between a patient and health care professional and should be protected from government intrusion.”
While this new position does not change current state law, it does demonstrate that even the most conservative Texans agree: Cannabis should be accessible to patients.
Urge Republican Presidential Candidates to Address Marijuana Policy at Nevada Caucus
On Tuesday, individuals across the Silver State will gather together to caucus with their friends and neighbors during the Republican presidential caucus. MPP encourages all of our supporters in Nevada to use this opportunity to caucus for sensible marijuana policy reform!
You can start by reviewing the responses of some of the Republican candidates to the following question:
“If elected, how would your administration address the current tension between state and federal marijuana laws?”
This question, which to date has not been specifically addressed by Sen. Ted Cruz (TX) or businessman Donald Trump, was asked as a direct result of our partnership with Change Politics. Please visit our page on their site and continue to “up-vote” all of our questions to be sure all the candidates’ views on marijuana policy reform are thoroughly addressed.
If you’d like more in-depth information, please see MPP’s presidential report card, which has information about both the Republican and Democratic candidates. Of those still in the race, Donald Trump leads the Republican pack having earned a C+; Sen. Ted Cruz is close behind with a C.
Presidential Candidates Respond to MPP’s Question on ChangePolitics
Last month, MPP partnered with ChangePolitics for the launch of its new platform, which is designed to ask questions of the presidential candidates and get them on the record about various policy issues.
One of MPP’s questions made it into the top 10 “Most Popular in New Hampshire,” and the Concord Monitor editorial team selected it as one of the final five to be answered by the candidates just ahead of the nation’s first primary election on February 9.
If elected, how would your administration address the current tension between state and federal marijuana laws?
You can check out the responses from the Democratic candidates and the responses from the Republican candidates at ChangePolitics.org. Also be sure to visit MPP’s profile page to view and vote for all of our questions so we can get more responses from the candidates.
New Hampshire Bill to Add PTSD as Qualifying Condition Introduced
Now that medical marijuana cards are finally being issued to qualifying patients in New Hampshire, one lawmaker is working to make sure others who could benefit are not left behind. On Thursday, Assemblyman Joe Lachance introduced a bill that would add post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to the list of qualifying conditions.
Al Jazeera America reports:
The proposed legislation comes as New Hampshire grapples with an opioid and heroin addiction and overdose crisis. Medical marijuana advocates argue that better access to cannabis would offer an alternative means of pain relief to people now using painkillers or heroin. In 2015 the state’s medical examiner attributed 385 deaths to opiates, almost double the 192 fatalities in 2013, according to New Hampshire Public Radio.
Also, adding PTSD to the list of illnesses approved for cannabis treatment could provide another option to people who’ve found no relief with standard anti-anxiety or antidepressant medication, advocates say.
Joe Lachance, a Republican state assemblyman who co-sponsored the PTSD measure, is one of the 62 medical marijuana cardholders in the state of 1.6 million people. A military veteran and former police officer, Lachance said he suffers from chronic pain and PTSD, ailments only marijuana has helped ease. He also said marijuana helped him kick an opiate habit.
Studies Show Marijuana Use Does Not Lower IQ
Last week, the Washington Post reported on a pair of studies released in January that further disprove an often-repeated theory that marijuana use is linked to lower intelligence.
You might have heard that smoking marijuana makes you stupid.
If you grew up in the ’80s or ’90s, that was more or less the take-home message of countless anti-drug PSAs. In more recent years, it’s a message we’ve heard — albeit in more nuanced form — from Republican candidates on the campaign trail and from marijuana opponents at the state-level.
The contemporary version of argument can be traced to a 2012 Duke University study, which found that persistent, heavy marijuana use through adolescence and young adulthood was associated with declines in IQ.
Other researchers have since criticized that study’s methods. A follow-up study in the same journal found that the original research failed to account for a number of confounding factors that could also affect cognitive development, such as cigarette and alcohol use, mental illness and socioeconomic status.
Two new reports this month tackle the relationship between marijuana use and intelligence from two very different angles: One examines the life trajectories of 2,235 British teenagers between ages 8 and 16, and the other looks at the differences between American identical twin pairs in which one twin uses marijuana and the other does not.
Despite vastly different methods, the studies reach the same conclusion: They found no evidence that adolescent marijuana use leads to a decline in intelligence.
The full article is available here.
Time Running Out for Pennsylvania House to Act on Medical Marijuana
With very few session days remaining this year, Republican leadership in Pennsylvania still has not introduced medical marijuana legislation in the House. Early reports about the contents of the draft still raise serious concerns — including a 10% THC cap, an explicit prohibition on dried flowers and plants, and no immediate legal protections for patients.
If you are a Pennsylvania resident, please call your representative today! Let him or her know it is critical that these problems are addressed and the bill is brought to the floor for a vote immediately. You can click here to find your representative’s contact information along with talking points to guide your call.
It has been almost six months since the Senate passed sensible medical cannabis legislation. Seriously ill patients have been suffering while waiting for the House to take action. They should not have to wait one more day. It is time for the House to vote on comprehensive and compassionate medical marijuana legislation. Let them know that Pennsylvanians are tired of waiting. They need to do it right! Do it now! Let them know that compassionate use legislation should be focused on the needs of patients and not politics as usual.
Urge them to tell leadership our concerns and to demand safe and affordable access for Pennsylvania’s most fragile citizens.
Kentucky Governor-Elect Supports Allowing Medical Marijuana
On Tuesday, Kentucky voters took to the polls and elected Matt Bevin governor. Bevin, a Republican and Tea Party favorite, has acknowledged what the vast majority of voters know: “There is unequivocal medical evidence” that medical marijuana is beneficial for certain conditions. He defeated prohibitionist Jack Conway (D) 52.5% to 43.8%.
With House Speaker Greg Stumbo (D) sponsoring medical marijuana legislation, next year holds great promise for the state taking a serious, bipartisan look at a more compassionate approach.
Americans living in 23 states and the nation’s capital can legally use and access medical cannabis, and upwards of 80% of Americans support allowing the seriously ill to use this beneficial medicine. Yet, some politicians — including defeated gubernatorial candidate Jack Conway — still haven’t gotten the message.
If you are a Kentucky resident, please make sure your lawmakers hear: Voters expect them to end the cruel status quo and to stop forcing patients to risk their freedom to improve their health.