Medical Marijuana

Maine: Medical marijuana omnibus bill goes into effect today

LD 1539 improves Maine’s medical marijuana program for patients and industry

Today, the omnibus medical marijuana bill that was passed last spring goes into effect. The bill makes major improvements to Maine’s medical marijuana program. Among some of the changes, the legislation:

  • removes the qualifying condition list so that any Mainer can use medical marijuana so long as their doctor thinks it would be helpful for them;
  • eliminates the requirement that a patient must designate a caregiver or dispensary as their sole provider, allowing for more patient choice;
  • adds two more dispensaries to the existing eight dispensaries and removes the cap on the dispensaries after January 1, 2021; and
  • allows for caregivers to open storefront businesses.

More than two years since Maine voters legalized marijuana for adults, adult-use stores have still not opened, largely due to obstruction from departing Gov. Paul LePage. In the meantime, these changes will help improve and expand medical cannabis access, including by making it more affordable.

As for the adult-use program, the state has recently hired BOTEC, out of Washington State, to help write the rules governing commercial marijuana. A significant amount of “rulemaking” has been done at the committee level, and we hope this work is respected. We hope the new governor, Janet Mills, will work diligently to get Maine’s new program off the ground. Please send her team an email, asking for marijuana legalization to be a year one priority.

Adult-use sales are up and running in all three other states where voters legalized marijuana in 2016 — California, Nevada, and Massachusetts. In Nevada, sales began more than a year ago. Please ask Gov.-elect Mills to move forward promptly, and share this with friends and family in Maine.

 

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Alaska: Public hearing next week to discuss allowing on-site cannabis consumption

Public hearing scheduled for Dec. 19 before the Marijuana Control Board in Anchorage

The Marijuana Control Board will hear public testimony next Wednesday, December 19 from supporters and opponents of proposed rules allowing regulated, on-site cannabis consumption. While it is legal for adults 21 and over to purchase cannabis, it is illegal to consume it in most locations outside a private residence. This is a catch-22 for the state’s many tourists and some residents, and regulators are finally close to a solution. If you are a supporter, please consider attending!

What: Public hearing – on-site marijuana consumption endorsements

Where: State of Alaska Crime Lab, 4805 Dr. MLK Jr. Avenue, Anchorage

When: Wednesday, December 19, 2018 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.

A conference line is available for those who cannot attend in person at 1-800-315-6338, access code 69176. For a quick summary of the regulations, along with some talking points and tips, click here.

A copy of the proposed rules is available here, and official notice for the hearing is posted online here.

While there is strong support for the state’s legalization laws and a clear need for on-site options, not everyone supports the proposal. Anti-smoking groups have stepped up lobbying efforts in opposition, despite well-considered restrictions that would help maintain a safe environment for consumers and staff. Strong support for the sensible solutions under consideration must be clear. Don’t let a vocal minority undermine good policy.

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Medical Marijuana

Kentucky Senate President opposes medical cannabis, suggests patients should try bourbon instead

If you're a Kentucky resident, call Senator Robert Stivers’ office today and urge him to stop insulting patients who need safe, legal access to cannabis!

This year, there have been many encouraging signs that Kentucky is making progress towards allowing medical cannabis. Gov. Matt Bevin has clearly indicated his support for medical cannabis legislation, and several new legislative champions have emerged, led by Reps. Jason Nemes and Diane St. Onge. Unfortunately, Senate President Robert Stivers continues to claim that he hasn’t seen any evidence that medical cannabis is effective.

Sen. Stivers’ opposition has long been a source of frustration for patients and advocates, but his recent comments on the issue have been truly infuriating. Last week, while speaking to the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Sen. Stivers reportedly suggested that if patients want to “relax” or “feel better,” they should drink bourbon instead of trying medical cannabis.

Sen. Stivers is now facing heavy criticism for these comments in the Louisville Courier-Journal and elsewhere. Please take a moment to call Sen. Stivers’ office today and let him know how you feel about hearing such an uninformed and callous statement from the President of the Kentucky Senate. If you’re on Twitter, you can also voice your opinion in a tweet.

After you call Sen. Stivers’ office, please share this message with your family and friends!

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Prop 1 takes effect today, but it's under threat

If you're a Michigan resident, send a message to your legislators to stop SB 1243, which would gut Prop 1.

One month ago, Michigan made history. Through the power of the ballot box, the voters overwhelmingly rejected the failed status quo of marijuana prohibition and said YES to Proposal 1 to establish a more rational and humane marijuana policy in their state.

Today, the results of that vote become real and Proposal 1 is officially law, but unfortunately, some state lawmakers are trying to undermine the will of the voters. Please take a moment to contact your state legislators and urge them to stop the effort to repeal key components of Prop 1.

Sen. Meekhof’s bill, SB 1243, would eliminate funding for schools and roads, prevent the creation of marijuana micro-businesses, and remove Prop 1’s home cultivation provision. These proposed changes represent an effort to repeal what Michigan voters overwhelmingly approved.

As a result of our hard work and successful campaign, adults in Michigan are no longer considered criminals in the eyes of the state simply for possessing, consuming, or cultivating marijuana. But today, as we celebrate Prop 1’s victory and the progress it represents, we’re reminded that we must remain vigilant and engaged in the political process. Otherwise, we risk losing ground to opponents who wish to undo major pieces of Michigan’s legalization law.

Thank you for staying in the fight with us. Please forward this email to others who voted YES on Prop 1 so they can also take action.

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Medical Marijuana

Iowa: Medical marijuana sales begin; reforms still needed

On Saturday, December 1, Iowa’s first medical marijuana dispensary opened to the public. MedPharm opened in Windsor and will sell low-THC oil to qualifying patients. Unfortunately, MedPharm may only sell medical marijuana oil, and the oil may not contain more than three percent THC.

While this reform is an important victory for some patients, most seriously ill Iowans will be left behind. Many patients find greater amounts of THC are crucial to the relief they need from their medical conditions, and this severely limited program does not go far enough.

Iowa patients deserve better. Please email your lawmakers and ask them to support a comprehensive medical marijuana program.

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Medical Marijuana

Minn.: Alzheimer’s approved for medical cannabis, other conditions rejected

Yesterday, the Minnesota Department of Health approved adding Alzheimer’s disease as a qualifying condition for medical cannabis, but rejected opioid use disorder, hepatitis C, traumatic brain injury, and insomnia.

Many thanks to Sensible Minnesota and to all the advocates and health professionals who were involved in petitioning to expand the program! Their dedicated work (with an assist from MPP) also resulted in the addition of intractable pain, PTSD, autism, and sleep apnea.

Under state law, Alzheimer’s disease patients will be able to apply for medical cannabis starting next summer.

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Medical Marijuana

Lawmakers in Utah approve compromise medical cannabis bill

In a special session held yesterday, the Utah Legislature enacted a compromise medical cannabis law that will replace the ballot initiative approved by voters on Election Day.

As expected, legislators in Utah have enacted a medical cannabis law that will replace the law established by Prop 2. While it is inferior to Prop 2, the new law will ensure that patients who need medical cannabis can safely access it, and its passage represents a victory for patients and their allies who have worked tirelessly to create a compassionate program in Utah for several years.

While we would have preferred Prop 2 to remain the law in Utah, we feel strongly that the ballot initiative would very likely have been defeated without the compromise deal, which prevented an onslaught of opposition spending that might have resulted in defeat. MPP and other advocates made the responsible decision for patients by negotiating with opponents and thereby ensuring the establishment of a functional program.

The compromise bill makes a number of changes to Prop 2 including: no home cultivation for patients, a smaller number of dispensaries, and a requirement that dispensaries employ pharmacists to recommend dosage.

While this legislation is not ideal, it is a major step forward for Utah, and it will help patients and families across the state. The law will enable patients to safely and legally access medical cannabis, and the policy can be strengthened and improved upon in future legislative sessions.

This progress was only possible thanks to the work of MPP and the Utah Patients Coalition, which ran an excellent campaign in support of Proposition 2. Some will be dissatisfied by the shortcomings of the compromise, but today families in Utah can enjoy some relief knowing that medical cannabis will soon be available to patients who need it.

Thank you to everyone who donated to, or otherwise supported, the 2018 ballot initiative campaign. If we had not launched that campaign and qualified for the ballot, medical cannabis patients in Utah would still be treated as criminals. Thankfully, that is no longer the case in Utah.

 

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R.I.: Ask friends and family in Seekonk, Mass. to vote NO on proposal to ban marijuana facilities TOMORROW

local special election will determine the fate of marijuana facilities in Seekonk, Massachusetts tomorrow, Tuesday, December 4. Please help us spread the word and make sure your friends and family vote NO on the proposed ban! Polls open at 7:00 a.m. and close at 8:00 p.m. at Seekonk High School, 261 Arcade Avenue.

The vote is taking place despite the fact that a proposal to ban adult-use marijuana retail and cultivation facilities was rejected at a recent town meeting on November 19. Town officials, however, have insisted that a special election is still necessary.

Tonight, residents of Newburyport will also have an opportunity to voice their opinion on a possible ballot question to ban marijuana businesses at the town meeting, which starts at 7:00 p.m.

Please alert people you know who live in either of these towns and share the news on social media!

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Mass.: Seekonk to vote on proposal to ban marijuana facilities TOMORROW

A local special election will determine the fate of marijuana facilities in Seekonk, Massachusetts tomorrow, Tuesday, December 4. If you live in Seekonk, please make a plan to vote NO and reject the proposed ban. Polls open at 7:00 a.m. and close at 8:00 p.m. at Seekonk High School, 261 Arcade Avenue.

If you’re not a resident of Seekonk, help us spread the word and make sure your friends and family reject this proposal!

The vote is taking place despite the fact that a proposal to ban adult-use marijuana retail and cultivation facilities was rejected at a recent town meeting on November 19. Town officials, however, have insisted that a special election is still necessary.

Tonight, residents of Newburyport will also have an opportunity to voice their opinion on a possible ballot question to ban marijuana businesses at the town meeting, which starts at 7:00 p.m.

Please alert people you know who live in either of these towns and share the news on social media!

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Action alert: Michigan, help stop legislation to undermine Prop 1

Send a message to your state legislators and urge them to oppose SB 1243, which would undo key provisions of Prop 1.

Now that voters have weighed in on the future of marijuana policy in Michigan, members of the state legislature are introducing their own proposals — some good and some not.

Most concerning is a bill, SB 1243, submitted by Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof. His legislation would dismantle major pieces of the voter-approved legalization initiative, including eliminating funding for schools and roads, preventing the creation of marijuana micro-businesses, and removing the home cultivation provision.

Please take a minute to contact your state legislators and ask them to publicly oppose and vote against this deeply misguided bill.

Despite some lawmakers’ attempts to undermine the will of Michigan voters, other legislators are doing the right thing and building on Prop 1’s foundation. Members of the House have introduced a proposal to release people from prison if they were convicted of a marijuana violation that has subsequently been decriminalized thanks to passage of Prop 1. And in the Senate, lawmakers have put forward a bill that would allow people to submit an application to the courts to have previous marijuana offenses set aside.

Although Election Day has come and gone, it’s crucial that we remain vigilant and involved in the legislative process. Forward this email to other Prop 1 supporters and ask them to take action, too.

Thank you for your help — and stay tuned for more updates.

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