Archive for the ‘Dispensaries’ category

Mississippi Medical Marijuana Bill Introduced

January 29th, 2015
djdawkins
Sen. Deborah Dawkins

As marijuana policy reforms advance nationwide, Mississippi Sen. Deborah Dawkins has vowed to keep fighting for medical marijuana legislation. Last week, Sen. Dawkins introduced SB 2318, a bill that would allow seriously ill patients to possess and cultivate a limited amount of marijuana. Although SB 2318 would not allow for dispensaries to provide medical marijuana to patients, it would be an important step in ensuring that patients have safe and reliable access to the medicine they need.

Sen. Dawkins introduced a medical marijuana bill in the last session as well, and grassroots support for changing Mississippi marijuana laws continues to grow.

If you are a Mississippi resident, please ask your legislators your support for this important legislation.

Illinois Medical Marijuana Patients In Limbo

January 13th, 2015

606 days. That’s how long it’s been since the Illinois General Assembly passed the medical cannabis law. Today, after all that time, nobody can say when seriously ill patients will be able to access medical cannabis.

Rauner
Gov. Bruce Rauner

If you are an Illinois resident, please take a moment to tell the governor the wait is inexcusable. Click here for instructions on how to call Gov. Rauner’s office and demand he use his authority to advance this program. Or, click here to send an email.

On May 17, 2013, a coalition of seriously ill patients, doctors, legislators, community leaders, and MPP’s lobbying team saw passage of a compassionate law that was 10 years in the making. Sadly, the best-case scenario is that it will take two years from that date for Illinois to provide relief to those patients.

Since then, the state has developed rules in a system that is one of the most regulated — and some say one of the most over-regulated — systems in the country. Businesses applied four months ago and press reports indicated licenses would be issued by the end of 2014. Yet they still have not been selected, meaning patients are at least four more months from access (the amount of time it takes for a plant to produce harvestable cannabis).

Down to the Wire in Michigan Legislature

December 17th, 2014

We are down to the final two days of the 2014 legislative session in Michigan, and this is the last opportunity to pass two critically important bills. HB 5104 would protect patients who consume non-smoked forms of marijuana, while HB 4271 would create clear legal protections for medical marijuana provisioning centers (dispensaries) to ensure patients have safe and regular access to medical marijuana.

Both bills must pass out of the Senate committee and receive a vote on the floor before time runs out on Thursday. Law enforcement has been lobbying hard against these compassionate measures, and it’s crucial your senator hears from you. If you are a Michigan resident, please ask your senator to support these bills and demand that the Senate take up both measures today.

Then, please ask the governor to support these critical measures for the good of all Michiganders!

Currently, non-smoked forms of marijuana are not considered “usable marijuana,” and therefore can’t be legally consumed by those who prefer not to smoke –- sometimes leading to tragic consequences. At the same time, provisioning centers do not have clear protections under Michigan law, which harms patients who should have safe, regulated access to medicine. These bills both make huge improvements for patients. Both passed by wide margins in the House, and now we are down to the final steps in the Senate.

Help spread the word by passing this message to friends, relatives and supporters in Michigan.

 

Illinois Medical Marijuana Applications Now Available

August 11th, 2014

The three departments that oversee the Illinois medical cannabis program posted several important documents online on Friday, including cannabis patient applications, which are available here.

Additional forms were also made available, including documents for physicians to use for recommendations, fingerprint consent forms, caregiver applications, frequently asked questions, and preliminary versions of applications for both dispensaries and cultivation centers. All those documents and other information are available here.

While they are available now, the department will not accept patient applications until later this year. Applicants whose last names begin with the letters A through L may apply between September 2 and October 31. Applicants with last names that start with M through Z may apply between November 1 and December 31. Beginning January 1, 2015, applications for registry identification cards will be accepted year-round.

The Department of Public HealthIDPH also announced town hall meetings to answer questions from those who want to apply for patient registry IDs. Meetings are schedule to take place in Collinsville on August 14, Peoria on August 18, and Chicago on August 20.

Vermont’s Medical Marijuana Improvement Bill Takes Effect

July 1st, 2014

The provisions of SB 247 took effect today, moving Vermont’s marijuana policies yet another step forward. This new law eliminates the cap of 1,000 patients who may access dispensaries, allows naturopaths to certify patients, and allows dispensaries to deliver marijuana to patients.

But that’s not all: Legislators also authorized a study of whether post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) should be added as a qualifying condition, along with a study of how marijuana legalization and regulation would impact Vermont.

It’s great to see that legislators are responding to the will of voters, who strongly support ending marijuana prohibition. A recent Castleton poll commissioned by MPP found that 57% of Vermonters support regulating marijuana similarly to alcohol. Only 34% said they were opposed.

But it will take more than a majority to get this passed into law in the next session. MPP is preparing to embark on a statewide organizing and coalition-building effort that will maximize our chances.

 

Two Important California Bills See Positive Change

May 16th, 2014
Lou Correa
Sen. Lou Correa

In California this week, SB 1262, introduced by Sen. Lou Correa, would create a long-overdue regulatory structure for medical cannabis cultivators and dispensaries, including collectives and cooperatives. The original bill draft contained many offensive provisions, including unreasonable and possibly unlawful requirements on physicians. Fortunately, Sen. Correa removed nearly all the troubling provisions and we now have a largely workable solution.

While medical marijuana patients have protections under state law, the citizens who serve them lack a regulatory framework. This leaves them vulnerable to aggressive federal law enforcement efforts to undermine the state program. In addition, regulation can help protect the environment, avoid unauthorized access, and reduce incidents of crime and violence. After the amendments were made, the bill passed out of committee with a unanimous vote, and will be heard next by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Another bill died in committee. AB 2500 would have made everyone driving with 2 or more ng/mL of active THC in his or her system guilty of DUI. This unscientific and discriminatory bill failed to get sufficient votes to advance any further.

Both of these developments benefit medical cannabis patients in California!

 

Bill to Improve Medical Marijuana Access in Vermont Gets Final Approval

April 30th, 2014

On Wednesday, the Vermont Senate gave final approval to a bill that will improve access to medical marijuana and remove the arbitrary cap of 1,000 patients who may benefit from dispensaries. S. 247 was approved by the House last week, and the bill will now move forward to Governor Peter Shumlin’s desk where it will receive his signature.

Sponsored by Sen. Jeanette White (D-Windham), this bill will increase possession limits for dispensaries, allow them to deliver medical marijuana to patients, and permit naturopaths to certify patients for the program. Additionally, the bill was amended by the House to initiate two studies: One will explore the possibility of adding post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a qualifying condition for the state’s medical marijuana program, and one will evaluate the potential impact of making marijuana legal for adults and regulating it similarly to alcohol.

jeanette-white
Sen. Jeanette White

That’s right — not only did Vermont legislators improve the medical marijuana law this year, but they are already gathering the information they will need to consider sensible marijuana policy reforms during next year’s legislative session.

 

Study: Enactment Of Medical Cannabis Laws Not Associated With Higher Crime Rates

April 8th, 2014

The enactment of medicinal cannabis laws is not associated with any rise in statewide criminal activity and may even be related to reductions in incidences of violent crime, according to data published online in the journal PLoS ONE.

Researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas tracked crime rates across all 50 states between the years between 1990 and 2006, a time period during which 11 states legalized marijuana for medical use. Authors reviewed FBI data to determine whether there existed any association between the passage of medicinal cannabis laws and varying rates of statewide criminal activity, specifically reported crimes of homicide, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, larceny, and auto theft.

Investigators reported that the passage of medical marijuana laws was not associated with an increase in any of the seven crime types assessed, but that liberalized laws were associated with decreases in certain types of violent crime.

“The central finding gleaned from the present study was that MML (medical marijuana legalization) is not predictive of higher crime rates and may be related to reductions in rates of homicide and assault,” authors reported. “Interestingly, robbery and burglary rates were unaffected by medicinal marijuana legislation, which runs counter to the claim that dispensaries and grow houses lead to an increase in victimization due to the opportunity structures linked to the amount of drugs and cash that are present. Although, this is in line with prior research suggesting that medical marijuana dispensaries may actually reduce crime in the immediate vicinity.”

Researchers concluded: “Medical marijuana laws were not found to have a crime exacerbating effect on any of the seven crime types. On the contrary, our findings indicated that MML precedes a reduction in homicide and assault. … In sum, these findings run counter to arguments suggesting the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes poses a danger to public health in terms of exposure to violent crime and property crimes.”

Full text of the study, “The Effect of Medical Marijuana Laws on Crime: Evidence from State Panel Data, 1990-2006,” appears online here.

Oregon Considering Bill That Would Permit Dispensary Bans

February 26th, 2014

Last week, the Oregon Senate unanimously approved legislation to allow local governments to enact reasonable restrictions on medical marijuana dispensaries. As passed by the Senate, SB 1531 would allow municipalities to develop rules about where, when, and how dispensaries can operate. Unfortunately, the bill was amended to allow municipalities to completely ban medical marijuana dispensaries. 

The Oregon legislature passed a bill creating a regulated medical marijuana dispensary program last year. The legislation required the state health authority to create thorough regulations dispensaries must adhere to. These regulations ensure the dispensaries are run responsibly. There is no reason to deny patients access to their medicine simply because of where they happen to live. If you are an Oregon residentplease ask your representative to oppose this unnecessary proposal.

Regulated medical marijuana dispensaries are no more harmful to a neighborhood than a coffee shop. It makes little sense to allow cities to ban them completely when they provide a necessary service to some of the most vulnerable members of our community.

Hawaii: 66 Percent Of Voters Back Legalizing Cannabis

February 3rd, 2014

Hawaii voters overwhelmingly support legalizing and regulating the adult use of cannabis, according to just-released statewide survey data by QMark Research and commissioned by the Hawaii Drug Policy Action Group.

Sixty-six percent of respondents said they endorsed legalizing cannabis, an increase of nine points since pollsters last posed the question in 2012.

Seventy-seven percent of respondents separately said that jail time is an inappropriate sanction for those found to be in violation of the state’s existing marijuana possession laws. Under present law, possessing any amount of cannabis for non-medical purposes in Hawaii is a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Eight-five percent of those polled also backed the establishment of licensed medical cannabis dispensaries. Hawaii lawmakers legalized the possession and cultivation of medicinal cannabis by state-qualified patients in 2000, but did not provide for dispensaries.

Arizona, Colorado, New Jersey, Maine, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, DC now have licensed medical cannabis dispensaries up and running. (California dispensaries are not licensed by the state.) Similar dispensary outlets are in the process of opening in Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Oregon.

Summaries of various pending bills to liberalize Hawaii’s marijuana policies are available online here and here.

The QMark poll possesses a margin of error of +/- 4.9 percentage points.

For those keeping score, recent statewide polls in Arizona, California, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Hampshire, Oregon, and Texas all show majority support for legalizing the adult consumption of cannabis.