notsofasteddie

Medical Marijuana Update

340 posts in this topic

Medical Marijuana Update

by psmith,

February 10, 2016

MMJ%20leaf%20and%20stethoscope%20KY%20OD

Medical marijuana bills are moving in Florida and Utah, and new bills are popping up as state legislatures get down to business.

Alabama

Last Thursday, a bill to expand access to CBD cannabis oil was introduced. Rep. Mike Ball (R-Madison County) has introducedHouse Bill 61, which would expand access to CBD beyond a limited study program at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. The new bill would allow parents with a valid recommendation for CBD cannabis oil to possess it in the state.

Delaware

Last Thursday, a bill to allow CBD cannabinoid oil use by kids in school was introduced. Sen. Ernie Lopez (R-Lewes) has filed Senate Bill 181, which would allow authorized caregivers to possess and administer CBD cannabis oil to pupils in school as needed.

Florida

On Tuesday, a medical marijuana bill reemerged. A bill that would allow terminally ill patients to use medical marijuana has come out of hibernation in the House. After months on the sidelines, the bill, House Bill 307, was approved by the House Appropriations Subcommittee on a 9-2 vote. It now needs one more committee vote before heading for the House floor.

Iowa

On Tuesday, a medical marijuana bill was filed. State Rep. Peter Cownie (R-West Des Moines) filed a bill that would make it legal to grow medical marijuana, produce CBD cannabis oil, and create dispensaries. The bill is not yet on the legislative website. Republican lawmakers last year killed similar legislation.

South Dakota

Last Wednesday, a medical marijuana initiative failed to make the ballot. A proposed initiative from New Approach South Dakota has come up short on signatures and will not qualify for the November ballot. The group needed nearly 14,000 valid voter signatures to qualify, but, based on a sampling of 5% of the 16,000 signatures handed it, state officials said only slightly more than half were valid, leaving the group with only 9,000 valid signatures. New Approach South Dakota has 30 days to challenge the findings.

Last Friday, a marijuana bill was filed. State Sen. Angie Buhl O'Donnell has filed Senate Bill 167, which would legalize the use of marijuana for medical reasons. The bill was filed one day after the deadline for filing new bills, but lawmakers agreed to waive the rules after state officials rejected a medical marijuana initiative for lack of valid signatures.

Utah

Last Friday, marijuana and CBD cannabis oil bills were on the move. Two medical marijuana-related bills are headed for the Senate floor after winning committee votes. Senate Bill 73, filed by Rep. Mark Madsen (R-Saratoga Springs), would allow whole plant medical marijuana, while Senate Bill 89, sponsored by Sen. Evan Vickers (R-Cedar City), would expand on CBD cannabis legislation passed last year.

[For extensive information about the medical marijuana debate, presented in a neutral format, visit MedicalMarijuana.ProCon.org.]

stopthedrugwar

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nevada Health Official Predicts Medical Marijuana Patient Numbers Will Quadruple Soon

Posted by Johnny Green

February 13, 2016

nevadamarijuana1.jpg

Nevada

Nevada has had a medical marijuana program for awhile now, but it wasn’t until recently that there were state licensed dispensaries. There have been some dispensaries operating in the shadows for years, but now dispensaries are fully regulated and operating with the full permission of the State of Nevada. With safe access points opening up all over Nevada, more and more Nevada residents are becoming medical marijuana patients, with exponential growth predicted for the near future. Per Marijuana Business Daily:

Some good news for Nevada’s medical cannabis businesses: the number of MMJ patients in the state may more than quadruple in coming years, according to a state health official.

Nevada is receiving about 300 medical marijuana card applications per month. If that pace keeps up, the number of registered patients will increase from the current number of about 14,000, to 60,000, a deputy administrator of the state Division of Public and Behavioral Health told the state’s Legislative Interim Finance Committee this week, the Las Vegas Sun reported.

Through Feb. 10, there were 18 dispensaries that had received their final certificates, while 12 of them are open, according to state medical marijuana program numbers.

This is great news. More patients gaining safe access to medical marijuana is always a good thing. In addition to serving Nevada patients, Nevada medical marijuana dispensaries can also sell medical marijuana to out of state patients under certain circumstances. Full recreational marijuana legalization is expected to pass in November in Nevada. All of that is adding up to quite the business potential, and could result in Nevada becoming one of the largest state marijuana industries in the nation.

theweedblog

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Medical Marijuana Update

by psmith,

February 17, 2016

MMJ%20leaf%20and%20stethoscope%20KY%20OD

It's busy, busy, busy in legislatures across the land.

Arizona

On Tuesday, state GOP lawmaker seeks to bar use of welfare EBT cards in dispensaries. Rep. Kate Brophy (R-Phoenix) has filed a bill, House Bill 2261, that would add dispensaries to the list of locations where EBT cards that deliver cash cannot be used. Other banned locations include liquor stores, race tracks, casinos, and strip clubs. The bill got a hearing in the House Rules Committee, but was criticized by Rep. Randall Friese (D-Tucson), a physician. "I have a little trouble just saying you can get your prescription medications but not your medical marijuana," said Friese. "Medical marijuana is used for a variety of things that help people with chronic pain, glaucoma, anorexia, intractable nausea."

Hawaii

On Monday, state lawmakers were pondering a bill to allow outdoor and greenhouse grows. Under the state's medical marijuana law, the Department of Health has decided that all cultivation must take place in an enclosed structure, but lawmakers say that wasn't their intent, and they are preparing a bill that would clarify that medical marijuana could be grown in the open air, in greenhouses, or in shade houses.

Massachusetts

Last Friday, the state doubled the amount of medical marijuana patients can purchase. The Department of Public Health last Friday more than doubled the amount of medicine patients can possess after regulators said laboratories can ensure the safety of the drug. Now, patients will be able to buy up to 10 ounces of medical marijuana every two months.

Missouri

On Monday, a medical marijuana bill got a House committee hearing. The House Emerging Issues Committee heard testimony Monday night on the Compassionate Care Act (House Bill 2213), which would allow up to 30 dispensaries and 30 cultivation operations statewide. The committee took no action and no further hearings are currently scheduled.

Oregon

On Tuesday, a bill to let pot shops sell tax-fee medical marijuana advanced. A joint legislative committee approved the bill that would allow recreational marijuana businesses to produce, process, and sell medical marijuana products. Senate Bill 1511 now heads for a Senate floor vote.

Utah

On Tuesday, frustrated patients said they would resort to a ballot initiative to get medical marijuana. Last week, the LDS Church came out against Senate Bill 73, a full-fledged medical marijuana bill, severely damaging its prospects in the legislature. That has prompted patient advocates to announce today that they plan to pursue a medical marijuana initiative. They will face a ticking clock: They have less than 60 days to gather 101,744 valid voter signatures to qualify for the November ballot.

On Wednesday,a new poll found nearly two-thirds support medical marijuana. Some 64% of Utahns support medical marijuana, up from 61% just two months ago, according to a new Utah Policy poll. The poll comes as progress on a full-blown medical marijuana bill in the legislature appears blocked and as patient activists say they are about to embark on an initiative campaign to get around legislative inaction.

Virginia

On Monday, a CBD cannabis oil bill advanced. In a last-minute reprieve, the Senate Courts of Justice Committee Monday night approved a bill that would allow state residents to more easily obtain CBD cannabis oils to treat epilepsy. The state last year approved a CBD cannabis oil bill, but it has no provisions for legally obtaining the medicine. The bill still awaits floor votes in both the House and the Senate.

[For extensive information about the medical marijuana debate, presented in a neutral format, visit MedicalMarijuana.ProCon.org.]

stopthedrugwar

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Medical Marijuana Update

by psmith,

February 24, 2016

MMJ%20leaf%20and%20stethoscope%20KY%20OD

The former attorney general speaks out on rescheduling, Ohio polling looks good for a medical marijuana initiative this year, and medical marijuana is before several state legislatures, too.

National

On Tuesday, former Attorney General Eric Holder said he now supports rescheduling marijuana. In an interview with PBS, Holder signaled newfound support for rescheduling and decriminalizing marijuana. It's not something he acted on while in office, but he now says: "I certainly think it ought to be rescheduled. You know, we treat marijuana in the same way we treat heroin now, and that clearly is not appropriate."

Arkansas

Last Wednesday, the attorney general approved a medical marijuana initiative. Attorney General Leslie Rutledge ® has certified the popular name and title of the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment of 2016. Now, initiative backers can begin the process of gathering some 85,000 valid voter signatures to qualify for the November ballot.

Connecticut

On Tuesday, legislators expanded qualifying conditions for the medical marijuana program. The legislature's regulation review committee Tuesday approved expanding the state's program by adding six new qualifying conditions: ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease; ulcerative colitis; sickle cell disease; severe psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis; complex regional pain syndrome; and post-laminectomy syndrome with chronic radiculopathy, which is recurring back pain after surgery. No other approval is required since these were regulatory, not legislative, changes. The changes will go into effect in 30 days.

Georgia

On Monday, a CBD cannabis oil bill key cultivation provision was gutted. The House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee voted to cut a provision allowing for the in-state cultivation of marijuana for CBD cannabis oil production from House Bill 722, which was filed to allow for in-state cultivation. "I can’t come before you today without saying how disappointed I am that we’re not moving forward with cultivation in this bill," said bill sponsor Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon). "That was the heart of the bill." Although the state approved CBD cannabis oil last year, there is no way for Georgia patients to legally procure their medicine.

Michigan

Last Thursday, Detroit's dispensary boom was facing a looming crackdown. The Motor City is now home to more than 200 dispensaries, but an ordinance that goes into effect March 1 is likely to put some of them out of business. The new ordinance insists that dispensaries must be at least a thousand feet from schools, parks, churches, libraries, and other dispensaries, and an unknown number are not going to be in compliance. Don't expect immediate raids, though; dispensary owners will have a chance to apply for licenses, and police said they would give dispensaries some time to comply before moving against them.

Ohio

On Monday, a new poll had a strong majority supporting a medical marijuana initiative. A new Public Policy Polling survey commissioned by the Marijuana Policy Project, which plans to put a medical marijuana constitutional amendment on the November ballot, has support for the notion at 74%, with only 22% opposed. This was not a generic question. The poll asked specifically if voters favored or opposed "making it a constitutional right for patients with terminal or debilitating medical conditions to possess and consume marijuana if their doctors recommend it."

South Dakota

Last Friday, a medical marijuana bill was amended into a CBD cannabis oil bill. A bill that would have allowed full-plant access for medical marijuana patients was passed by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, but only after it was amended to only allow for the use of CBD cannabis oil. The measure is Senate Bill 171. The bill is expected to be heard on the Senate floor this week.

Utah

Last Friday, a CBD cannabis oil bill passed the Senate, and a medical marijuana bill remained alive. The Senate approved Senate Bill 89, which would allow for the use of CBD cannabis oil, but which patient advocates say does not go far enough. Meanwhile, Senate Bill 73, a full-fledged medical marijuana bill, that appeared doomed after the Mormon Church came out in opposition, remained alive and was picking up support. Patient advocates have threatened an initiative campaign if the bill does not pass.

On Monday, the Senate approved a the medical marijuana bill. The Senate Monday narrowly approved Senate Bill 73, which would allow patients to use marijuana in edible, extract, and oil form. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Mark Madsen (R-Saratoga Springs), overcome opposition from the Mormon Church.

West Virginia

On Tuesday, a medical marijuana bill was filed. A bipartisan group of Senate leaders has introduced a bill that would make medical marijuana legal. The bill, Senate Bill 640, is sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Jeffrey Kessler (D-Glen Dale), Senate Majority Leader Mitch Carmichael (R-Ripley), and three other senators. It has been referred to the Senate Committee on Health and Human Resources. The bill would allow qualifying patients to cultivate up to 12 mature plants and possess up to six ounces. It would also allow state-regulated dispensaries that would supply patients with medical marijuana.

[For extensive information about the medical marijuana debate, presented in a neutral format, visit MedicalMarijuana.ProCon.org.]

stopthedrugwar

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Medical Marijuana Update

by psmith,

March 02, 2016

MMJ%20leaf%20and%20stethoscope%20KY%20OD

Medical marijuana continues its painful progress through statehouses across the land, Montana sees medical marijuana sales curtailed, New Mexico posts info on growers and sellers, and more.

Georgia

Last Wednesday, a House panel approved expanding qualifying conditions. The House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee Wednesday approved adding seven medical conditions to the state's CBD cannabis oil program. Included are autism, post-traumatic stress disorder, and HIV or AIDS, among others. The bill, House Bill 722, now goes to the House Rules Committee. But bill sponsor Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon) isn't so pleased -- the bill was designed to allow cultivation of CBD cannabis oil in the state, but that provision was gutted in committee.

Last Thursday, a new poll found strong support for allowing cultivation for CBD cannabis oil. An 11Alive News/Survey USA poll has support for growing marijuana for medical purposes at 66%, with only 23% opposed. The poll comes as the legislature is advancing a bill that would have allowed that, but had that provision stripped out in committee. The bill in question is House Bill 722.

On Monday, the House approved CBD cannabis oil expansion, but still no legal source. Lawmakers approved House Bill 722, adding seven new conditions to the list of those qualifying to use CBD cannabis oil. But much to the dismay of bill sponsor Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon), the bill does not allow for cannabis cultivation in the state. To obtain their medicine, patients must thus resort to violating federal law by importing the medicine. The bill now goes to the Senate.

Maryland

Last Friday, the House approved a medical marijuana expansion bill. Lawmakers approved House Bill 104, filed by Del. Dan Morhaim (D-Baltimore County). The bill would allow midwives, nurses, podiatrists, and dentists to certify patients for medical marijuana. The bill has no immediate practical implications because there are not yet any dispensaries open in the state. The bill now heads to the Senate.

Montana

Last Thursday, the state Supreme Court radically limited medical marijuana sales. In its decision, the state's high court ruled that medical marijuana providers could be paid for their services, but limited each provider to no more than three patients, banned medical marijuana advertising, and upheld automatic reviews of physicians who recommend it to more than 25 patients. In the decision, the court largely upheld a 2011 law passed by the GOP-dominated legislature aimed at gutting the state's then free-wheeling medical marijuana program.

New Mexico

On Monday, the state posted the names and addresses of medical marijuana growers and sellers. The state Health Department posted on its website the names and addresses of non-profits licensed to grow and sell medical marijuana in the state. The move is in response to a Freedom of Information Act request in a lawsuit brought by a reporter and a public interest group.

Ohio

On Tuesday, MPP rolled out its medical marijuana initiative. The Marijuana Policy Project-backed Ohioans for Medical Marijuana has debuted its proposed constitutional amendment to allow for medical marijuana. The proposal calls for 15 large-scale grow operations and an unlimited number of smaller grows, with five types of business licenses for growers, manufacturers, and retailers. Personal medical marijuana grows would not need to be licensed.

Pennsylvania

Last Thursday, a key legislator agreed to let a medical marijuana bill move forward. A long stalled medical marijuana bill will get a House vote after House Majority Leader Dave Reed (R-Indiana County) agreed to quit holding up the measure. The move prompted a supportive statement from Gov. Bill Wolf (D), who said, "I support the legalization of medical marijuana and I believe it is long past time to provide this important medical relief to patients and families across the commonwealth… It is time to legalize medical marijuana because we should not deny doctor-recommended treatment that could help people suffering from seizures or cancer patients affected by chemotherapy. I urge quick action by the legislature to legalize medical marijuana."

Texas

On Tuesday, a new poll showed strong support for medical marijuana. A new Texas Tegna poll suggests Texans are ready to move beyond the limited legalization of CBD cannabis oil and go for full-blown medical marijuana. The survey found that 71% supported expanding the program, with only 19% opposed.

Utah

Last Thursday, the medical marijuana bill passed the Senate. The Senate voted 17-12 to approve Senate Bill 73, sponsored by Sen. Mark Madsen (R-Saratoga Springs), which would allow a medical marijuana program in the state, but now allow patients access to raw buds. The vote to approve came despite the opposition of the Mormon Church. The measure now goes to the House, where its prospects are uncertain.

[For extensive information about the medical marijuana debate, presented in a neutral format, visit MedicalMarijuana.ProCon.org.]

stopthedrugwar

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Medical Marijuana Update

by psmith,

March 08, 2016

MMJ%20leaf%20and%20stethoscope%20KY%20OD

Florida

Last Thursday, the House approved a medical marijuana bill. The House approved House Bill 307, which allows terminal patients to use nonsmokable marijuana and adds regulations for dispensing groups, patients, and doctors under the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act. Similar legislation is moving in the Senate.

On Monday, the Senate approved the bill. The Senate Monday approved House Bill 307, which would allow terminally ill patients to use medical marijuana. The bill now goes to the desk of Gov. Rick Scott ®.

Idaho

Last Thursday, activists halted their initiative campaign in the wake of misstated petition language. New Approach Idaho has stopped its petition campaign after the American Academy of Pediatrics objected to being identified on the front page of the petition as medical marijuana supporters. New Approach Idaho said the misrepresentation of the academy's position—it has called for rescheduling marijuana—was unintentional.

Rhode Island

Last Thursday, a bill to double dispensaries was filed. Rep. Scott Slater (D-Providence) has filed House Bill 7808, which would increase the number of dispensaries in the state from three to six.

South Dakota

Last Friday, the medical marijuana initiative got a second chance. State officials will recheck the validity of signatures on the New Approach South Dakota medical marijuana initiative after proponents officially challenged an earlier count that found they came up short on signatures. Last month, state officials disqualified the initiative after a 5% random sample found that nearly half of them were invalid. Secretary of State Shantel Krebs said that her office will conduct a new 5% random sampling "in order to maintain confidence in the petition process." It's still a long shot—the group gathered 16,543 raw signatures and needs 13,871 to qualify for the ballot. That means if even 20% of the raw signatures get thrown out—not an at all unusual event—the initiative effort will fail.

Utah

Last Wednesday, lawmakers approved a resolution calling for marijuana rescheduling. Both houses of the legislature have now unanimously approved a resolution, SCR11, which calls on the federal government to reschedule marijuana after the House approved it yesterday. The resolution now goes to the governor. On Monday, a House committee killed a broad medical marijuana and tried to merge it with another one. The House Health and Human Services Committee effectively killed Senate Bill 73, backed by medical marijuana supporters, then tried to blend in some of its provisions into Senate Bill 89, which would allow doctors to recommend medical marijuana products, but would also impose stricter regulations on its use. Sen. Mark Madsen (R-Saratoga Springs), sponsor of SB 73, said the compromise wasn't good enough. "It's like trying to put live organs in a cadaver and expect some kind of good outcome. It is fundamentally, functionally constructed to fail," Madsen said. "It's entirely possible they wanted it to fail all along. I don't think it's going to come close to meeting any of the needs for the people. It was a placebo bill from the beginning and was intended to torpedo my bill." Medical marijuana activists will now most likely move forward with a threatened initiative.

Virginia

On Monday, lawmakers approved a CBD cannabis oil bill. The House passed Senate Bill 701, which would allow the cultivation and use of two cannabinoids—CBD and THC-A—for patients suffering from severe epilepsy. The measure has already passed the Senate and now heads the desk of Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D).

[For extensive information about the medical marijuana debate, presented in a neutral format, visit MedicalMarijuana.ProCon.org.]

stopthedrugwar

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ASA Activist Newsletter - Mar 2016

William Dolphin

March 06, 2016

In this issue

•Unity 2016 to Bring Leading Experts and Advocates to DC

•Advocates Bring Patient Issues to United Nations

•Australia Passes Historic Medical Cannabis Law

•PFC Persuades Local Officials to Drop Cultivation Ban

•Pennsylvania Assembly Finally Set to Vote

•Virginia Senate Passes Bill to Allow CBD, THC-A Production

•Georgia House Approves Expanding Qualifying Conditions

•Action Alert: Join Us March 18-22 to Learn and Lobby

ASA Conference to Bring Leading Experts and Advocates to DC

icon_federaladvocacy.jpg

Beginning Friday, March 18, medical cannabis advocates from across the country will gather in Washington, DC for ASA’s Unity Conference 2016: Patient Advocacy Harmonizing Medical Cannabis Policy and Reality.

Those attending the conference at the Lowes Madison Hotel will have an opportunity to network with other patients, providers, activists, and medical and legal professionals from around the country. Following the conference on Tuesday, March 22, conference participants and other advocates will head to Capitol Hill for ASA’s annual Lobby Day to share with Congress what they learned at Unity 2016.

“This will go down in history as one of the most significant years ever for medical cannabis policy,” said ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer. “We have an incredible opportunity to set in motion policies and laws that will result in safe access globally. No advocate should miss this chance to be a part of history!” Unity_ASA_Website_Homepage_Image_copy.pn

The goals of this year’s conference include preparing for the coming change in federal administration, bringing patients to DC to meet with their elected representatives about passing comprehensive federal legislation, and finalizing recommendations that will be submitted to the upcoming United Nation meetings on drug policy.

Following a welcome reception Friday evening, ASA’s annual conference kicks off Saturday morning with a keynote address from a leading authority in the field of cannabis research, Dr. Lumír Ondřej Hanuš. Dr. Hanuš, the Czech chemist who with William Devane first identified a key element of the endogenous cannabinoid system, has been awarded multiple honorary degrees and received many awards for his work on the chemistry of plants and animals.

Following the keynote, conference attendees have a wealth of expert panels to pick from Saturday.

The session on “What Happens When Medical Cannabis is Rescheduled?” will cover the history of how cannabis has been classified, the mechanisms to reschedule cannabis and the national and international impacts of that change.

The panel on “Status of Control of Legal Production of Cannabis for Medical & Scientific Purposes” will look at the how regulations for medical access and hemp cultivation and manufacturing are being implemented around the world, including in North and South America, Europe, Israel, and Australia.

In “Extracting Flowers, Stalks, Seeds, and DNA: Cannabis Extracts and their Uses,” attendees will learn methods of extraction, scientifically accurate names for cannabis varieties, how to use various extracts and preparations.

During the sessions on “Utilizing ASA Tools for Advocacy and Activism” and “Advocacy & Activism in Scientific Societies & Trade Associations,” attendees will gain new tools and resources for communicating their message.

18335_206_b.jpgOn Sunday, March 20, the informative panels begin with “Next Generation Research and Innovations in Cannabis Patient Care.” Then, in “Reality-based Cannabis Risk Considerations,” attendees will learn how to critically interpret controversial drug abuse studies that have a big impact on shaping public policy.

Standards for producing safe and reliable cannabis products are the focus of the panel “Overview of Quality Assurance of Medicinal Cannabis,” including the 11 states that have adopted regulations based on tools such as Patient Focused Certification (PFC), ISO17025, the American Herbal Products Association Recommendations for Regulators, and the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia Cannabis monograph.

On Monday, conference participants will break out in four successive sets of Workshops and Extended Learning sessions to gain new skills and information, including strategic messaging, meeting facilitation, citizen lobbying, influencing legislation and regulations, working with officials, and various state laws.

After those breakout sessions will be a panel discussion, “Federal Legislation 2016: What is at Stake?” Monday will also be when medical professionals can gain CME credits in a course covering Cannabis Care Certification, the endocannabinoid system and cannabinoids in pain management. Monday night features ASA’s annual Awards Dinner honoring leading champions and advocates with the ASA Excellence Awards.

ASA’s Unity 2016 conference concludes Tuesday with breakfast and short closing remarks. Then everyone will travel to Capitol Hill for a press conference and group photo, before fanning out to lobby their respective elected officials.

_____________________

Advocates Bring Patient Issues to United Nations

Advocates for medical cannabis patients met last month in New York to prepare for the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS 2016) on drug policy to be held April 19-21. ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer and Michael Krawitz, Executive Director of Veterans For Medical Cannabis Access, joined organizations from across the globe at the UN Headquarters to urge that medical cannabis be included in the global policies document to be presented at UNGASS 2016.

On the agenda for UNGASS 2016 is a review of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961, the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971, and the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 1988. The last UN special session in 1999 focused on eliminating illegal drugs and drug trafficking, but many international leaders and drug policy reform groups are encouraging the UN to abandon what has proven to be an ineffective approach to drug policy.

The current international classification of cannabis as having no medical use dates to 1972 and is based on a report created by the Health Committee of the League of Nations in 1935. Today, medical use of cannabis is legal in Canada, Israel, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Croatia, Mexico, Chile, Uruguay, Romania, Germany, Jamaica, Australia, Italy, Columbia, and Switzerland, and over two-thirds of the US population lives where medical cannabis laws have been enacted.

“International policies on cannabis are outdated and detrimental to patients in the United States and worldwide,” said Sherer. “The UN should take into account new clinical research, product safety protocols for cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, and distribution, and global patient needs.”

The UN Single Convention treaty has been used to derail attempts to reform national medical cannabis laws and research in the US and elsewhere. At an international conference in Prague last March, representatives of organizations of medical cannabis patients from 13 countries established the International Medical Cannabis Patient Coalition (IMCPC) and drafted a Declaration for UNGASS 2016 that calls for rescheduling cannabis, along with other actions.

More Information:

UNGASS 2016

International Medical Cannabis Patient Coalition (IMCPC)’s UNGASS 2016 Declaration delivered to the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna March 2015.

_____________________

Australia Passes Historic Medical Cannabis Law

Australia has joined the club of countries that allow medical cannabis. In a legislative push that took just eight weeks, the Australian Parliament last month amended the Narcotic Drugs Act to allow medical cannabis to be legally cultivated and distributed through pharmacies.

"This is an historic day for Australia and the many advocates who have fought long and hard to challenge the stigma around medicinal cannabis products so genuine patients are no longer treated as criminals," Minister for Health Sussan Ley said in a statement.

Lawmakers noted that the law was changed on the first anniversary of the death of 25-year-old Daniel Haslam, who used medical cannabis to manage the symptoms of bowel cancer. Haslam’s mother, Lucy, had petitioned the government to make his medicine legal and formed the advocacy group United in Compassion.

article-2662015-1EE767AC00000578-502_634

"It is incredibly fitting that today we are passing this bill which is one step towards making medicinal cannabis accessible to people like Dan," Sen. Richard Di Natale said on the floor of Parliament. "Thank you to Lucy for everything you have done. Please know that your family's grief, pain and suffering has not been in vain and this is a legacy that Dan will leave here in Parliament."

Australian officials must still devise regulations and issue licenses before patients get access, a process that is expected to take at least six months. How those licenses will be defined remains unknown, but separate licenses for research cultivation and medical cultivation and distribution are likely.

The amendment calls for “a medicinal formulation of cannabis” to be identified, which is underway at the University of Sydney, thanks to a $24 million donation for studies on treating severe epilepsy, palliative pain, and nausea associated with chemotherapy.

_____________________

Patient Focused Certification Persuades Officials to Stop Cultivation Ban

icon_california.jpgLast month, efforts by ASA and its Patient Focused Certification program persuaded San Luis Obispo Board of Supervisors to abandon a planned ban on commercial cannabis cultivation. The ban would have been one of a spate of such measures passed by cities and counties trying to avoid the consequences of a “drafting error” in California’s recently passed state law for regulating commercial medical cannabis activities.

ASA simultaneously lobbied the county supervisors to adopt robust regulations and the state legislature to fix the error.

The Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (AB 243), originally said if localities had not enacted regulations for medical cannabis operations by March 1, 2016, the rules would be set by the state of California. Dozens of cities and counties quickly banned all cultivation and distribution as a result.

On December 15, the San Luis Obispo Board of Supervisors had directed county staff to prepare an emergency ordinance to prohibit commercial cannabis cultivation and allow for only a limited amount of personal cultivation.

ASA lobbying helped enact AB21, which removed the March 1 deadline, early last month. A week later, with the pressure of the deadline removed, the San Luis Obispo Supervisors dropped the planned ban in favor of developing a comprehensive commercial cultivation ordinance. One of the supervisors had praise for ASA’s efforts.

“I want to thank the folks that gave me this Patient Focused Certification booklet yesterday,” said Supervisor Frank Mecham. “I read it last night and there is a lot of good information in there that I would think that we can incorporate into whatever ordinance we put into place.”

ASA’s Patient Focused Certification program is based on the comprehensive regulatory guidelines issued by the American Herbal Products Association, which cover all aspects of commercial cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, distribution and testing.

More information:

Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act

Patient Focused Certification

AHPA Recommendations for Regulators

_____________________

Pennsylvania Assembly Finally Set to Vote

icon_pennsylvania.jpgFor the past few years, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives is where medical cannabis bills go to die. But nine months after the commonwealth’s Senate once again overwhelmingly approved a bipartisan medical cannabis bill, the House is poised to finally bring SB 3 to a vote when they return from recess this month.

Gov. Tom Wolf has been supportive of efforts to get a medical cannabis law passed, and when the vote was announced in February, state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale released a statement urging lawmaker to “swiftly pass SB 3” because “t is the correct and compassionate thing to do.”

“For the sake of thousands of Pennsylvania children and adults, the time is long past for the General Assembly to pass legislation to allow for the medical use of marijuana,” DePasquale’s statement says. “For many people suffering from debilitating seizures, uncontrollable pain, nausea from chemotherapy and a host of other ailments, medical marijuana could be life-changing, if not life-saving.”

_____________________

Virginia Senate Passes Bill to Allow CBD, THC-A Production

State lawmakers are starting to grapple with the limitations of medical cannabis laws that provide no mechanism for producing or distributing the therapeutic products now legal for some patients to use.

On a vote of 37 to 2 last month, the Virginia Senate passed SB701, which would allow production of cannabidiol (CBD) oil and THC-A extracts in the state, if it becomes law. State lawmakers last year enacted SB1235 and HB1445, which gives intractable epilepsy patients and their caregivers an affirmative defense for possession of the extracts but provides no way to legally obtain the substances.

Senator Dave Marsden from Fairfax introduced SB701, and patients, parents and advocates from across Virginia worked for weeks to persuade members of the Senate to vote for it. The bill is currently working its way through House committees.

“The stress of dealing with seizure disorders is bad enough without having to break the law to obtain treatment,” said Beth Collins, ASA director of communications and outreach. “The Virginia House should remove that stress from struggling families by passing SB701 to allow better access to low-THC extracts within the state.”

Virginia is one of 40 states with some type of medical cannabis law, as detailed in ASA’s latest report on Medical Cannabis Access in the U.S. Seventeen of those states, including Virginia, recognize only a small number of qualifying conditions and limit legal use to CBD or THCa extracts.

More Information:

Fact Sheet on SB701

Virginia Medical Marijuana Laws

State of the States Report: Medical Marijuana Access in the U.S.

_____________________

Georgia House Approves Expanding Qualifying Conditions

Georgia has moved closer to allowing more patients to participate in its limited state program, even if lawmakers failed to create the robust program advocates sought.

Members of the state House voted 152-8 last month to approve HB 722, which expands the list of ailments that qualify for the state’s limited medical marijuana program. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Allen Peake (R, Macon), originally included in it provisions to produce medical cannabis in Georgia, but law enforcement opposition eliminated them.

Qualifying patients in Georgia currently have to obtain their medication out of state. The bill would allow for CBD cannabis extracts to be shipped into the state, though federal law forbids it.

_____________________

ACTION ALERT: Join Us March 18-22 to Learn and Lobby

Register today to join us in Washington, D.C. for the 2016 National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference and lobby Congress on the CARERS Act, the most comprehensive federal legislation on medical cannabis ever introduced.Register_Now_Graphic.jpg

The Lobby Day follows three days of informative panels on best practices and other developments in the medical cannabis industry, as well as fun networking events with other patients, providers, activists, and medical and legal professionals from around the country. Register Now!

_____________________

Get the PDF Version to Print and Distribute

Download a printable copy of this Newsletter

ASA

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Medical Marijuana Update

by psmith,

March 16, 2016

MMJ%20leaf%20and%20stethoscope%20KY%20OD

Michigan dispensaries get raided, a CBD cannabis oil bill comes back to life in Georgia, a CBD cannabis oil bill dies in Utah, Pennsylvania is just a couple of votes away from medical marijuana, and more.

California

On Monday, an appeals court upheld LA's ban on medical marijuana deliveries A three-judge appellate court panel upheld a lower court's decision to temporarily ban Nestdrop, an app that allowed people in the city to have marijuana delivered to their door. But the decision will have an impact beyond Nestdrop; the justices held that under the city's zoning law, Proposition D, all delivery services are barred from operating in the city.

Georgia

On Monday, the CBD cannabis oil bill was revived. Supporters of House Bill 722, which would expand access to CBD cannabis oil, have resurrected the measure by attaching its language to an old Senate bill. It could go to a House vote as early as today. The bill would expand conditions that qualify for CBD cannabis oil and allow companies outside the state to ship it in. Language that would have allowed in-state marijuana cultivation to produce the oil was stripped out earlier in the House.

Michigan

On Sunday, dispensary raids sparked protests. Nearly a hundred people took to the streets outside the Michigan State Police Gaylord Post Sunday to protest raids against 12 Oswego County dispensaries two days earlier. The Straits Area Narcotic Enforcement (SANE) team led the raids, which were the second such law enforcement assault on patient access in the area in the past year.

On Tuesday, more raids were revealed. The West Michigan Enforcement Team (WEMET) has raided four dispensaries for allegedly selling medical marijuana to cardholders who were not their registered patients. Two were in Saugatuck, one in Allegan City, and one in Pullman. Twelve other Northern Michigan dispensaries were raided last week.

Nebraska

On Monday, a state medical marijuana political party was formed. Cornhusker activists tired of waiting for the legislature to act have formed a political party, Legal Marijuana Now Nebraska, and are preparing a signature drive to put medical marijuana to the voters. The will need to gather 6,500 valid voter signatures by August 1 to qualify for the November ballot.

Ohio

On Tuesday, the medical marijuana initiative campaign resubmitted initiative language. That didn't take long. Last Friday, Attorney General Mike DeWine ® rejected the Ohioans for Medical Marijuana initiative because of deficiencies in its summary. On Tuesday, the campaign submitted revised language. After 20 days of review by state officials, the campaign will then have until July to gather 306,000 valid voter signatures to qualify for the November ballot.

Pennsylvania

Last Thursday, a key House member said he would allow a vote on the medical marijuana bill this week. Ten months after the Senate approved Sen. Mike Folmer's Senate Bill 3, the House will finally vote on it this week. On Monday, the bill began to move. The House Monday night passed an amended version of Sen. Mike Folmer's Senate Bill 3. The vote comes 10 months after the bill passed the Senate. The bill still faces a final House vote and then must return to the Senate for its approval of the amended version.

South Dakota

Last Wednesday, the House killed a CBD cannabis oil bill. A bill that would have allowed for the use of CBD cannabis oil was killed in the House Wednesday on a 25-43 vote, with one "no" voter suggesting parents who lobbied for it should move to another state. The measure, Senate Bill 171, had already passed the Senate, and Republican Gov. Dennis Daugard had suggested he would sign it. Rep. Kristin Conzet (R-Rapid City) told people suffering seizure disorders they should move elsewhere. "I don’t like the road that we’re going down at this time," she said. "This is not a bill for South Dakota."

Utah

Last Thursday, the legislature killed a CBD cannabis oil bill. First, lawmakers killed an actual medical marijuana, Senate Bill 73, and then, a watered-down substitute, Senate Bill 89 died as lawmakers could not come to agreement on late amendments on the last day of the session. The stage is now set for a medical marijuana initiative drive by patients and supporters frustrated with the legislature's inaction.

[For extensive information about the medical marijuana debate, presented in a neutral format, visit MedicalMarijuana.ProCon.org.]

stopthedrugwar

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Medical Marijuana Update

by psmith,

March 23, 2016

MMJ%20leaf%20and%20stethoscope%20KY%20OD

A medical marijuana bill is promised in Ohio, bills to expand medical marijuana get filed in New York, patients and supporters rally to demand action in Iowa, and more.

Georgia

On Wednesday, a CBD expansion bill had only one day left to get through the legislature. The legislative session ends at midnight tomorrow, and lawmakers will have a chance to take up a bill that would expand qualifying conditions for the state's CBD medical marijuana registry. The measure, House Bill 722, was defeated earlier in the session, but lead sponsor Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon) has added it as an amendment to another bill to try to get it through tomorrow.

Iowa

On Sunday, patients and supporters rallied in Des Moines. Hundreds of people gathered on the steps of the state capitol Tuesday to urge lawmakers to approve a comprehensive medical marijuana program. "This is not a partisan issue. This is something for the health and safety of our citizens," said Windsor Heights Mayor DianaWillits. "It truly is heartbreaking that legislators are not paying attention to their citizens and their constituents. It's time for everybody to put their political obstacles aside and do what's right in a nonpartisan way." The state passed a 2014 law allowing patients with epilepsy to use CBC cannabis oil, but that law did not provide for manufacturing or distributing the medicine in the state. A bill this year, House File 2384, would establish two grow facilities in the state and allow use of CBDs by patients who suffer from epilepsy, multiple sclerosis or terminal cancer. It is still being debated at the committee level. A recent poll had support for medical marijuana at 78%.

New York

Last Wednesday, a state senator unveiled a medical marijuana expansion package. State Sen. Diane Savino (D-Staten Island) has introduced a package of bills—Senate Bills 6998, 6999, and 7000—designed to expand the state's constricted medical marijuana program. One bill would allow nurse practitioners to recommend medical marijuana, another would allow the five organizations licensed to grow and sell medical marijuana to double the amount of dispensaries they can open from four to eight, while another would expand the conditions for which marijuana could be recommended.

Ohio

On Monday, the Ohio attorney general rejected two more initiatiives. It's back to the drawing board for two more medical marijuana initiatives after Attorney General Mike DeWine found problems with their ballot language. The Medical Cannabis and Industrial Hemp Amendment, submitted by a group led by attorney and veteran marijuana activist Don Wirstshafter, had inconsistencies between its text and its summary, DeWine said. Last Friday, he rejected a fourth petition for the Ohio Medical Cannabis Amendment for similar reasons. The groups behind the initiatives will now have to gather an additional 1,000 signatures and then resubmit their initiatives. On Tuesday, a state senator said a medical marijuana bill is coming soon. Sen. Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights) said Tuesday he plans to introduce a medical marijuana bill shortly. Yuko said the legislature needs to act on medical marijuana this spring or see the decision possibly taken out of its hands by the voters. There are at least three medical marijuana initiative campaigns brewing.

[For extensive information about the medical marijuana debate, presented in a neutral format, visit MedicalMarijuana.ProCon.org.]

stopthedrugwar

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Medical Marijuana Update

by psmith,

April 14, 2016

MMJ%20leaf%20and%20stethoscope%20KY%20OD

Medical marijuana for veterans advances in the Senate, Pennsylvania is set to become the 24th medical marijuana state, things are busy in Ohio, and more.

National

On Thursday, a Senate committee approved veterans' access to medical marijuana. The Senate Appropriations Committee passed a bipartisan amendment Thursday, 20 to 10, allowing Veterans Administration (VA) doctors to recommend medical marijuana to their patients in states where medical marijuana is legal. The vote is the second time the U.S. Senate has advanced this issue. The amendment did not make the final appropriations bill last year after narrowly losing in the House.

Colorado

On Monday, a bill to allow medical marijuana at schools advanced. A bill that would require schools to allow students to use medical marijuana on campus has passed its legislative hurdle. House Bill 1373 was approved 10-3 by the House Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources Committee and now heads for a House floor vote. State law already gives school districts the power to allow the use of medical marijuana under certain circumstances, but no district has done so.

Louisiana

Last Friday, a medical marijuana bill was introduced. State Rep. Ted James (D-Baton Rouge) has filed House Bill 1112, which would expand the scope of medical marijuana in the state. The state passed a restrictive medical marijuana bill last, but there has been little progress made on producing medical marijuana in the state. James' s bill would allow for the commercial production of medical marijuana and allow patients to petition state agencies to expand qualifying conditions for use of the medicine. The bill also seeks to ease the regulatory burden on marijuana by cutting state agencies out of some of the regulatory process.

New York

On Monday, a pair of bills aimed at fixing the state's medical marijuana law advanced. The Assembly Health Committee approved two bills aimed at improving the state's medical marijuana system. The bills, authored by Assemblyman Dick Gottfried (D-Manhattan), chair of the committee and one of the architects of the state's medical marijuana law, would double the number of companies allowed to grow and distribute medical marijuana from four to eight and would end the requirement that they be vertically integrated. The bills now head for an Assembly floor vote.

On Tuesday, patients and families rallied in Albany to demand a fix for the state's medical marijuana law. Dozens of advocates to urge legislators to support a slate of bills that would amend the Compassionate Care Act, New York’s medical marijuana law. The law, which was passed in June of 2014, took eighteen months to implement and has been criticized for being one of the most restrictive and burdensome programs in the country. Launched in January of this year, to date, only 494 of the state’s 79,000 physicians have agreed to participate and only 2,390 patients have been certified by their doctors to enroll in the program. This lackluster start is likely due to a number of barriers and restrictions in the program that make it both difficult and unappealing for physicians and patients to participate.

Ohio

Last Friday,the attorney general okayed a 2nd medical marijuana initiative. Attorney General Mike DeWine has certified the petition summary for a medical marijuana and industrial hemp initiative from Legalize Ohio 2016. Now, the initiative goes to the Ohio Ballot Board to determine whether it is one issue or two. Another initiative, backed by the Marijuana Policy Project, has already been approved for signature gathering. Initiatives will need 305,000 valid voter signatures by early July to qualify for the November ballot.

On Tuesday, the legislature was crafting its own medical marijuana plan. Faced with two separate medical marijuana initiative campaigns, legislators are working to craft their own medical marijuana proposal. The bill, which is set to be announced this week, would create a medical marijuana commission to create rules within a year to regulate medical marijuana in the state. Patients with a doctor's recommendation could access raw marijuana, edibles, patches, and oils, but would not be allowed to grow their own.

Pennsylvania

On Tuesday,the Senate passed the medical marijuana bill. For the second time in less than a year, the Senate has approved Senate Bill 3, which would create a medical marijuana system in the state. The House sat on the bill for months after original Senate passage, then approved an amended version of the bill. The Senate then passed that bill, but only after amending the amendments to bring it make closer to the version originally passed by the Senate. Now, it's up to the House to agree to those changes and send the bill to Gov. Tom Wolf (D).

On Wednesday, the bill passed out of the legislature. After months of delay in the House, Senate Bill 3 has finally been approved by the legislature and is headed for the desk of Gov. Tom Wolf (D), who supports it. The Keystone State is now set to become the 24th medical marijuana state.

Utah

On Wednesday, patient advocates said they were giving up on an initiative this year. A group calling itself Truce that had called for a medical marijuana initiative this year after the legislature killed medical marijuana bills earlier this year has given up on 2016. The group says it would have had an extremely difficult time of gathering the 102,000 valid voter signatures required to get on the ballot. The group says it is now concentrating on getting a good bill through the legislature next year.

stopthedrugwar

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ASA Activist Newsletter - Apr 2016

William Dolphin

April 22, 2016 

In this issue:

•Unity Conference Energizes Advocates

•ASA Celebrates 14th Anniversary

•UN Hears Calls for Reform from Patients

•Senate Panel Approves Two Medical Cannabis Amendments

•CARERS Act Gets More Co-Sponsors

•Pennsylvania Enacts Medical Cannabis Law, Finally

•Lawmakers in Three States Modify Programs

•ANNIVERSARY ALERT: 50% Off Unity 2017 Registration

________________________

ASA Unity Conference Energizes Advocates

unity2016_room.jpg

Unity Conference 2016

ASA’s National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference brought over 200 patients, doctors, researchers and advocates to Washington, DC in March. The fourth annual conference featured three days of talks, trainings and networking, followed by a lobby day that saw advocates hold more than 300 meetings on Capitol Hill with their elected representatives and staffs.

The conference began with a keynote address from a leading authority in the field of cannabis research, Dr. Lumír Ondřej Hanuš. Dr. Hanuš, the Czech chemist who with William Devane first identified a key element of the endogenous cannabinoid system. He received a lifetime achievement award ASA's annual Excellence Awards dinner (pictured below accepting the award from Dr. Ethan Russo and Steph Sherer).Dr. Hanus receiving his award from Dr Ethan Russo and Steph Sherer

LumirAward.jpg

Panels examined a host of issues affecting patients, including what happens when medical cannabis is rescheduled, how regulations are being implemented internationally, methods for creating cannabis extracts and their uses, and the latest developments in medical research and quality assurance standards. Tools for improving advocacy skills were the focus of several panels and workshops, and medical professionals earned CME credits in a course covering Cannabis Care Certification, the endocannabinoid system and cannabinoids in pain management.

rohrabacher_2016.jpg

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R, CA) at the press conference

Among the many highlights of the conference was the chance to peer-review a report on medical cannabis for the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND). The report, Cannabis and Cannabis Resin: A Critical Review Preparation Document, cites more than 300 scientific studies about medical uses and outlines needed international reforms to support research and patient care. It was delivered to the CND on the third day of ASA’s conference.

The day after the conference, ASA held a press conference in front of the Capitol with Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (pictured at left) and others to urge passage of the bi-partisan CARERS Act before advocates fanned out to lobby their Senators and Representatives.

________________________

ASA Celebrates 14th Anniversary

Americans for Safe Access is marking its 14th anniversary with a push to change international drug policy at the United Nations and to pass comprehensive federal legislation in the US.

Founded as a response to the Bush administration’s raids on medical cannabis providers in California, ASA began as a coalition of drug policy and HIV/AIDS organizations with a campaign targeting Asa Hutchinson, then head of the Drug Enforcement Administration. National organizing soon led to coordinated protests in 55 cities demanding the DEA “Cease and Desist.”

The California Campaign for Safe Access was launched that year to implement the state’s voter initiative, “raid-preparedness” trainings for medical cannabis providers were held nationally, and the Patients Rights’ Project was created to educate and defend patients. ASA organizing and legal work helped protect patients in California from illegal confiscation of medicine, secured the right to have medicine returned, and established criminal protection for providers. ASA has now trained tens of thousands of Americans nationwide on their rights and how to handle law enforcement encounters.

Patient advocates preparing to lobby CongressBy 2006, ASA had over 20,000 members and a national office in Washington, D.C. to lobby on Capitol Hill and within the Administration. In 2010, ASA’s Executive Director traveled the country hosting strategy meetings with patients and other stakeholders to identify needs and craft proposals. The result was a citizen-advocate’s guide for developing policies and the online Advocates Training Center to build skills in media relations, community organizing, coalition building, and more.

In 2013, ASA launched the Peace For Patient Campaign and published “What’s the Cost,” a report on the fiscal impact of the federal war on medical cannabis. Each of the past two years, ASA has produced "Medical Marijuana Access in the US," a report analyzing each of the various state medical cannabis laws from a patient's perspective. Over the past 14 years, ASA has distributed more than one million pieces of educational literature about medical cannabis and helped bring thousands of citizens face-to-face with lawmakers at all levels of government to talk about medical cannabis.

ASA has also worked directly with state and federal lawmakers to adopt and improve medical cannabis legislation, resulting in new laws such as California’s measure to prevent medical cannabis patients from being denied organ transplants and the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment to the Justice Department budget to prevent federal interference with state programs.

The small ASA coalition that began in 2002 has now expanded to include powerful new allies such as the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. ASA collaborated with AHPA in the creation of their comprehensive Recommendations for Regulators, and with the American Herbal Pharmacopeia in producing their Cannabis monograph, the definitive expert description of the plant’s botany and medical uses.

Today, ASA is helping provide education for physicians in a partnership with the Answer Page, training regulators and certifying cannabis businesses through the Patient Focused Certification program, and working with an international coalition of patients to reform global policy through the United Nations. With the support of more than 50,000 members, ASA is making a difference for patients everywhere.

More Information:

Join ASA today

________________________

UN Hears Calls for Reform from Patients

The United Nation’s General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on drug policy ended yesterday, April 21, with representatives and world leaders making strong statements urging member countries to move beyond prohibition and into effective regulations for medical cannabis. The session opened with a discussion of the conflict between medical cannabis laws and the UN treaties prohibiting marijuana, with the UNGASS president noting “access to drugs for medical use is a human right to protect.”

Steph Sherer addressing a UN meetingAlong with other members of the International Medical Cannabis Patients Coalition (IMCPC), ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer (pictured at right addressing a UN meeting) was in attendance and met with UN officials. The UN classification of cannabis is based on a report created by the League of Nations in 1935.

“The current international policies on cannabis are outdated and having a detrimental impact on patients worldwide,” said Sherer. “New policies should take into account new clinical research, product safety protocols for cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, and distribution, and global patient needs.”

steph_UN.jpg

Patient advocates preparing to lobby Congress

UNGASS.jpg

Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto, in his address to UNGASS, emphasized the “importance of allowing cannabis for medical and scientific uses under the United Nations standards” [translated]. World Health Organization’s (WHO) Director General Dr. Margaret Chan also noted that “[m]any controlled substances play a critical role in medical care for the relief of pain.” A report for UNGASS from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and the leading British medical journal, The Lancet, also faulted the global war on drugs for creating many public health problems.

To help educate UN member states, ASA and IMCPC created a one-page document, Moving Global Cannabis Policy Forward, that ties cannabis into the UN’s stated priorities for drug policy, explaining why “cannabis must be rescheduled in order to meet the objective of ensuring the availability of and access to controlled substances exclusively for medical and scientific purposes.” ASA also distributed to UNGASS its groundbreaking report, Cannabis and Cannabis Resin: Critical Review Preparation Document. That 94-page document reflects the consensus of more than a dozen expert authors and was refined and peer-reviewed by more than 200 patients, doctors and advocates as part of ASA’s 2016 Unity Conference.

More Information:

UNGASS 2016

1 Page Document - Moving Global Cannabis Policy Forward

International Medical Cannabis Patient Coalition (IMCPC)’s UNGASS 2016 Declaration

UNGASS Photos

________________________

Senate Panel Approves Two Medical Cannabis Amendments

Appropriations Committee Votes to Shield State Programs, Allow Veterans Access

In a sign of growing support in Congress, the Senate Appropriations Committee has approved two medical cannabis measures in recent weeks. Both actions were budget amendments that provide policy direction, one that broadens safe access for veterans and one that would continue the ban on federal interference with state programs.

The first to pass would allow Veterans Health Administration physicians to provide the documentation veterans need to participate in state medical cannabis programs. The right of doctors to recommend cannabis is protected by the First Amendment, but federal policy explicit forbids VA physicians from doing so. The bipartisan Veterans Equal Access Amendment (VEAA) to the FY2017 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill blocks the VA from spending money on enforcing that policy. Reintroduced by Senators Steve Daines (R-MT) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR), it passed on a vote of 20-10 with Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) joining as new supporters.

This week, the committee also acted on a vote of 21-8 to extend the restrictions placed on the Department of Justice (DOJ) by an historic budget amendment last year. Again sponsored by Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), the Senate amendment to the FY2017 Commerce, Justice, Science & Related Agencies Appropriations Act (CJS) prohibits the DOJ from spending funds to interfere with state medical cannabis programs.

"Medical marijuana patients obeying state law should not have to worry about federal arrest or losing their state-regulated source of medicine,” said Sen. Mikulski. "This amendment is designed to make sure that federal government does not use its limited resources on prosecuting individuals who are obeying their state medical marijuana laws."

Known as the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment after its House sponsors Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Sam Farr (D-CA), the measure has been part of the previous two CJS budget bills. The House of Representatives has not had a budget vote this year, but since the amendment was in last year’s appropriations bill, the provision will likely remain in effect if this year’s budget is again set by a continuing resolution.

While the DOJ argued that the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment only prevents it from directly challenging state medical cannabis programs, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer ruled against the DOJ last October, ending a federal injunction that had prevented a California dispensary from distributing medical cannabis. Last week the DOJ conceded and abandoned its appeal of his ruling, which has implications for other federal cases.

________________________

CARERS Act Gets More Co-Sponsors

icon_federaladvocacy.jpgAnother sign of growing support for safe access on Capitol Hill is the expanding list of cosponsors for the the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) Act, with a former candidate for the Republican Presidential nomination throwing his support behind it in the Senate.

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), a retired Air Force veteran and member of Congress for 21 years, signed on to S. 683 as a co-sponsor on the anniversary of the bipartisan bill’s introduction by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NY), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Rand Paul (R-KY). Four days after Sen Graham’s announcement, Sen. Chris Murphy (D) of Connecticut also became a cosponsor

“As a respected senior member of the Senate, Graham’s support of the CARERS Act should help convince his fellow Republican, Chuck Grassley, to allow hearings and a vote in the Judiciary Committee,” said ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer. “This

This comprehensive legislation to resolve the conflicts between state programs and federal law also picked up another three members of the House, with Reps. Thomas Massie (R-KY), Gerry Connolly (D-VA) and Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM) all signing on. That brings the House version of the bill to 36 cosponsors, while the Senate version has 17 cosponsors.

Senate Judiciary Chair Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee Chair Joe Pitts (R-PA) have refused to grant the bill a hearing.

More Information:

CARERS Act fact sheet.

ASA analysis of the CARERS Act.

________________________

Pennsylvania Enacts Medical Cannabis Law, Finally

icon_pennsylvania.jpg

On Sunday, April 17, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed SB 3 in a ceremony with patients and advocates, making Pennsylvania the 24th state with a robust medical cannabis program. His signature marked the end of a multi-year political struggle that saw bills pass the state Senate by overwhelming margins only to die in the House. This year, another strong Senate bill went to the House early in the session, only to languish before being returned in March transformed by amendments that sharply limited the program. Senate sponsors took the risk of re-amending the legislation to make it more workable and sent it back to the House, where the new version passed.

Among the House changes that survived is a requirement that doctors who wish to recommend cannabis will be required to register with the state in advance and complete a four-hour training. Patients with serious medical conditions may qualify to obtain up to a 30-day supply of limited types of cannabis products, such as oils, pills and topical lotions. The state will collect a 5% excise tax. The law will take effect next month, though state officials say it may be as much as two years before any medicine is distributed to patients. For now, the law includes a two-year ‘safe harbor’ provision that protects parents of minor children who can lawfully obtain medical cannabis for those children outside Pennsylvania.

More Information:

Text of SB3

________________________

Lawmakers in Three States Modify Programs

Lawmakers and regulators in three states acted last month to expand or implement their state’s medical cannabis program.

In Virginia, SB701, a bill that will allow for the production and distribution of limited cannabis extracts, cleared both houses of the state legislature on unanimous votes and was signed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe on March 29. The new law allows the Board of Pharmacy to issue production regulations this year, but the law does not go into effect unless it is reenacted by the Virginia legislature in 2017. Last year’s passage of SB1235 and HB1445 gave intractable epilepsy patients and their caregivers an affirmative defense for possession of cannabis extracts containing just cannabidiol (CBD) and THCa, a form of THC that is not psychoactive. However, that law provided no legal way for anyone to produce the oils or for patients to obtain them.

In Connecticut, state officials expanded their medical cannabis program to protect more patients. Regulators added six conditions to the list for which doctors may recommend medical cannabis, including ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), ulcerative colitis, sickle cell disease, and three pain conditions.

In Florida, Gov. Rick Scott signed House Bill 307 to allow terminally ill patients to use medical cannabis immediately. The bill expands the state’s ‘Right to Try Act’ that permits the use of non-FDA approved medicines by the dying. The bill also attempts to resolve implementation problems with the state’s limited 2014 medical cannabis law that has yet to make any medicine available to Floridians. In November, the state’s voters will again get a chance to pass their own constitutional amendment that would institute a robust medical cannabis program; a similar voter initiative fell just short in 2014 of the needed super-majority of 60 percent.

________________________

ANNIVERSARY ALERT: 50% Off Unity 2017 Registration

Unity2017.jpg

In celebration of ASA's turning 14 years old this week, you can register for UNITY 2017 at a discount of 50% off! ASA's annual national conference and lobby day will be from April 7-11, 2017 at the Lowes Madison hotel in Washington, D.C.

This offer is only good until the end of April, so act today to get your spot at the table.

Make your plans now to join the world's leading experts and advocates for four informative and fun days of workshops, panels, and networking, followed by the Lobby Day on Capitol Hill, when you'll get your chance to tell your elected national representatives why they should support safe access for all Americans.

www.nationalmedicalcannabisunityconference.org/unity_2017_registration

________________________

Get a printable version of this newsletter to distribute

Download a PDF of this Newsletter

ASA

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Medical Marijuana Update

by psmith,

April 27, 2016

MMJ%20leaf%20and%20stethoscope%20KY%20OD

The DEA approves a PTSD medical marijuana study, a Senate committee votes to rein in the DEA on medical marijuana, a Utah poll has very strong support for medical marijuana, and more.

National

Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted to prevent the DEA from undermining state medical marijuana laws. The committee voted 21-8 to approve an amendment offered by Senator Mikulski (D-MD) to protect state medical marijuana laws from federal interference by the Department of Justice and Drug Enforcement Administration. After decades of inactivity on marijuana reform, Congress has moved at lightning pace to advance marijuana reform in recent years. Last week the Senate Appropriations Committee voted to allow Veterans Administration doctors to recommend marijuana. The Committee approved similar amendments last year as well as an amendment to allow state-legalized marijuana businesses to access banks and other financial services. The Mikulski amendment is expected to pass the full Senate as well as the House. Similar amendments were passed by Congress last year and the year before.

Last week, DEA approved a Colorado-funded study on marijuana and PTSD. It's the first time the agency has given permission to use raw marijuana in a controlled clinical trial for PTSD. Enrollment in the study could begin as early as next month. The study is one of nine funded by historic grants from the Colorado Health Department, which are in turn funded by medical and legal marijuana fees and tax revenues.

Connecticut

Last week, the House approved medical marijuana for kids. The House voted overwhelmingly last week to expand the state's four-year-old medical marijuana program to include children. The bill also includes a provision to create a Board of Physicians to review requests for new ailments to be added the list of qualifying conditions, which currently lists 17 diseases or syndromes. The bill now goes to the state Senate.

Iowa

On Monday, a CBD medical marijuana expansion bill was killed. A Republican-backed bill to expand the number of ailments for which Iowans could use CBD cannabis oil was defeated in the House Monday. Democrats said the proposal did not go far enough, while some Republicans objected to any effort to legalize marijuana, medicinal or otherwise. The bill was defeated 61-36.

Montana

On Monday, the state Supreme Court delayed enforcement of its medical marijuana rollback. The state high court said it will delay enforcement of its February ruling dramatically rolling back the state's medical marijuana program. The court said its ruling would now not go into effect until August 31. Montana activists and medical marijuana industry spokesman have said the rollback would force the closure of dispensaries and leave patients in the lurch. Supporters are also working on an initiative campaign to put a revamped medical marijuana system before the voters in November.

Utah

On Wednesday, a new poll found strong support for medical marijuana. A new Utah Policy poll has two out of three (66%) of Utahns in favor of medical marijuana, with only 28% opposed. The poll comes after the legislature failed to pass a medical marijuana bill this year. If the legislators are listening to their constituents, they will pass it next year.

stopthedrugwar

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Did Walgreens just flip the script on a pharmacy's medical marijuana stance?

Submitted by Marijuana News on

Fri, 04/29/2016

walgreens-800x533%5B1%5D.jpg

Even though medical marijuana is legal in 24 states and recreational cannabis initiatives are gaining traction throughout the U.S., weed is still a touchy topic for most in the medical profession.

Sure, some trusted doctors will talk openly about marijuana’s legitimacy as medicine — and many more are coming on board — but journalists’ interview requests to major hospitals and medical schools (even in Colorado) are still met with a nervous, “Uh, we can’t talk about that on the record.”

Which is why Walgreens’ latest Tumblr post is so remarkable.

Walgreens, the largest drug retailing chain in the U.S. with more than 8,000 stores in all 50 states, is now tackling the subject of medical marijuana. Right above a recipe for “all natural fruit roll-ups” on Walgreens’ Tumblr is the headline: “What is medical marijuana?” And its tone is surprisingly sane and straightforward, especially for one of the largest pharmacies in the world.

“The healing properties of marijuana are due to its high cannabidiol (CBD) content (the non-psychoactive component of cannabis that may be beneficial in treating pain, epileptic seizures and possibly psychoses),” the Walgreens blog post reads. “Marijuana also contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a molecule that can stimulate appetite, decrease nausea, reduce pain and produce a psychoactive effect.”

The post, written by Dahlia Sultan — a resident at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s College of Pharmacy — talks plainly about cannabis’ dangers: “Research has indicated it may impair your lungs, memory and judgment.” But it also addresses (via sourced footnotes linking to the National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute, the U.S. National Library of Medicine and top medical journals) the medical conditions marijuana has been proven to successfully treat.

“Research has also shown marijuana provides pain relief in ways traditional pain medicines don’t. Medical marijuana can improve appetite and relieve nausea in those who have cancer and it may help relieve symptoms such as muscle stiffness in people who have multiple sclerosis.”

If you read this site regularly, you know all of this to be true. We’ve written about many of these studies (and others), and we also covered the Journal of the American Medical Association’s 2015 analysis that showed cannabis as a legitimate treatment for some ailments — including severe pain, nausea and vomiting related to chemotherapy and spasticity from multiple sclerosis — while its efficacy regarding most conditions is unproven in part because of research blockades.

But for America’s largest retailer of pharmaceuticals to speak this straightforwardly about cannabis certainly signals a sea change. The Walgreens blog encourages readers, “If you’d like more information about the use of medical marijuana, talk with your doctor.”

As cannabis financial analyst Alan Brochstein points out in New Cannabis Ventures, “I can’t recall any S&P 500 company ever sharing such a supportive view, especially one that is involved in the lives of so many people who count on it for advice on health and wellness.”

The last line of the Walgreens blog points out an interesting if obvious fact: “Disclaimer: Walgreens is not a licensed medical marijuana provider.” Perhaps the company recognizes that — as cannabis-derived prescription drugs continue their march toward possible FDA approval — that won’t always be the case?

Authored By:

Ricardo Baca

420intel.com

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Medical Marijuana Update

by psmith,

May 04, 2016

MMJ%20leaf%20and%20stethoscope%20KY%20OD

National

State Department Says NIDA Monopoly on Research Marijuana Unnecessary. The Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement at the State Department has gone on record stating that the United States could issue multiple licenses for the cultivation of cannabis for medical and scientific purposes without violating the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs treaty. The statement came in response to a direct request from Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) regarding whether issuing multiple licenses to grow medical marijuana was a violation of the Single Convention. The State Department's interpretation is at odds with that of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) which has always maintained that the treaty only allows a single license, which is granted to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). This has created what is referred to as the "NIDA monopoly on cannabis," which has stalled medical cannabis research for years.

Alabama

Alabama Governor Signs CBD Medical Marijuana Bill. Gov. Robert Bentley ® Wednesday signed into law "Leni's Law," House Bill 61, which will allow the use of CBD cannabis oil to treat people suffering from debilitating seizures. The bill is named for Leni Young, a child whose family had to move to Oregon because her CBD treatment was illegal in Alabama. The family reports a dramatic reduction in seizures since using cannabis oil.

California

On Tuesday, the feds ended their attempt to shut down Harborside Health Centers. Federal prosecutors have reached a "historic agreement" with Harborside to end their efforts to seize the Oakland and San Jose dispensaries for violating federal drug laws. In return, Harborside agrees not to pursue further legal action against the federal government. "We are gratified that the government has finally seen fit to lay down its arms against Harborside in this case," said Harborside attorney Henry Wykowski. "The will of the people is for medical cannabis dispensaries to operate free from federal threats of closure. We hope we are on the cusp of a policy change and that the Department of Justice will no longer target state-legal dispensaries for forfeiture."

Oakland Approves Medical Marijuana Expansion. The city has given its okay for a plan to license up to eight more dispensaries a year, as well as creating the city's first-ever licenses for farms, kitchens, and labs. The move came on a pair of unanimous city council votes after 16 months of laying the political groundwork. The council must come back later and approve the changes one more time before they're final.

Colorado

Colorado Legislature Approves Bill to Help Young Medical Marijuana Patients. The legislature has approved House Bill 1373, which orders school districts to come up with policies to accommodate students who are medical marijuana patients. The measure does not allow smokable marijuana at school, nor does it require school employees to administer marijuana-based medicines. That will be left to parents or primary caregivers. Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) is expected to sign the bill into law.

Connecticut

Connecticut Medical Marijuana Expansion Bill Passes Legislature. A bill that would allow children with certain debilitating medical conditions to use medical marijuana has passed out of the legislature after a final Senate vote last Friday. Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) is expected to sign House Bill 5450 into law.

Illinois

Illinois Medical Marijuana Board Okays New Health Conditions. The board voted Monday to add ten qualifying conditions for medical marijuana use. Among them were PTSD and chronic pain, which were rejected earlier this year by Gov. Bruce Rauner ®. The board members also said they doubted the conditions would be approved and complained that Rauner's standards for approving new conditions are too strict.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire's First Dispensary Opens. The Sanctuary Alternative Treatment Center opened in Plymouth last Saturday. It's the first dispensary in the state to open for business. It only took nearly three years after the state's medical marijuana law was approved for this to happen.

Ohio

Ohio Medical Marijuana Bill Won't Allow Smoking. Vaping is okay, but toking is not under House Bill 523, the bill being considered by the legislature. The bill would also bar home cultivation. Proposed ballot initiatives, however, would allow both smoking and home cultivation, so the legislature's effort to undercut initiatives by passing its own bill may still not be enough to blunt the popular measures.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma Legislature Approves CBD Cannabis Oil Bill. The House Wednesday voted 69-14 to approve a bill expanding the medicinal use of CBD cannabis oils. Last year, the state approved CBD cannabis oil, but only for people under 18. This bill, which now awaits the governor's signature, removes that age restriction.

[For extensive information about the medical marijuana debate, presented in a neutral format, visit MedicalMarijuana.ProCon.org.]

stopthedrugwar

Edited by notsofasteddie
1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Medical Marijuana Update

by psmith,

May 11, 2016

MMJ%20leaf%20and%20stethoscope%20KY%20OD

Missouri looks poised to vote on medical marijuana this fall, Florida looks poised to pass it this fall, an Ohio medical marijuana bill advances, and more.

California

As of Monday, there will be medical marijuana issues on the June ballot in several localities. Two northern California counties and two northern California cities will be voting on medical marijuana-related issues in the June 7 election. In Nevada County, Measure W would prohibit all outdoor marijuana grows and limit indoor grows to 12 plants; in Yuba County, Measure A would allow limited outdoor marijuana cultivation and Measure B would authorize one dispensary for every 20,000 residents; in Sacramento, Measure Y would impose a 5% gross receipts tax on cultivation and manufacturing businesses (requires two-thirds majority); and in Davis, Measure C would allow the city to impose a tax of up to 10% on businesses selling marijuana, although it doesn't currently allow them.

Florida

On Tuesday, a new poll had overwhelming support for medical marijuana and majority support for legalization. A new Quinnipiac University poll has support for pot legalization at 56% and support for medical marijuana at 80%. Legalization isn't on the immediate horizon in the Sunshine State, but a medical marijuana initiative will be on the November ballot. A similar initiative was defeated in 2012 with 58% of the vote; it needed 60% to win because it was a constitutional amendment.

Missouri

On Sunday, New Approach Missouri handed in signatures for a medical marijuana initiative. Supporters of the group's medical marijuana initiative handed in some 260,000 raw signatures. They only need 167,000 valid voter signatures to qualify for the November ballot. Even if 30% of the signatures are disqualified, campaigners would still have enough to qualify.

Ohio

On Tuesday, the House approved a medical marijuana bill. The House voted 71-26 approve House Bill 523. Patients under a doctor's supervision could use marijuana oils, tinctures, edibles, and vapors, but could not smoke it, nor could they grow their own. The bill specifies 18 conditions for which medical marijuana could be used and now goes to the Senate. Meanwhile, activists are working to get a more patient-friendly medical marijuana initiative on the November ballot.

[For extensive information about the medical marijuana debate, presented in a neutral format, visit MedicalMarijuana.ProCon.org.]

stopthedrugwar

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Medical Marijuana Update

by psmith,

May 18, 2016

MMJ%20leaf%20and%20stethoscope%20KY%20OD

In Oklahoma and Ohio, medical marijuana half-measures are being challenged by initiative campaigns, Oakland tries to create some racial equity in the industry, Maryland medical marijuana hits another delay, and more.

California

On Tuesday, Oakland passed an ordinance designed to encourage minority participation in the industry. The city council unanimously approved a medical marijuana ordinance with an "equity program" that would reserve half of the city's new cannabis permits for people who live in a designated high-crime police beat in East Oakland or were imprisoned for marijuana-related crimes in Oakland in the past 10 years. But the plan is coming under fire from industry leaders who say it may actually be counterproductive to encouraging minority participation and could undercut a pot economy expected to boom if and when the state legalizes marijuana.

Louisiana

Last Wednesday, the House passed a CBD cannabis oil expansion bill. The House approved Senate Bill 271, but because it amended it, the bill must now go back to the Senate for a final vote. Last year, legislators legalized CBD cannabis oil, but only for a handful of conditions. This bill expands those conditions to include seizure disorders. No one can currently use CBD cannabis oils because the legislature is still figuring out how to regulate them.

Maryland

On Tuesday, the Medical Cannabis Commission announced continuing delays in implementing the program. The state approved commission, which was created in April 2014 and is charged with establishing the state's medical marijuana program, says patients probably won't have access to medical marijuana until the late summer of 2017.

Missouri

Last Wednesday, the House rejected a medical marijuana bill. The House killed the bill on a 71-85 vote. That leaves an open path for a medical marijuana initiative whose supporters have handed in signatures and are awaiting confirmation that the initiative has qualified for the November ballot.

Montana

Last Thursday, medical marijuana supporters appealed to the US Supreme Court. The Montana Cannabis Industry Association filed a petition with the US Supreme Court seeking to reverse a state Supreme Court decision that guts the state's once-thriving medical marijuana industry. Petitioners argue that the state Supreme Court mistakenly held that marijuana is universally illegal under federal law and point to the Obama administration's decisions to allow states to implement their own marijuana laws.

Oklahoma

Last Friday, the governor signed a CBD cannabis bill into law. Gov. Mary Fallin ® has signed into law a CBD cannabis oil expansion bill. Last year, the state approved the use of the oil, but only for people under 18. This bill removes that age restriction.

Last Saturday, medical marijuana advocates began an initiative signature gathering drive. CBD cannabis oil isn't enough for Oklahomans for Health, which began gathering signatures over the weekend for a full-blown medical marijuana initiative. The group has 90 days to gather 66,000 valid voter signatures to get the measure on the November ballot.

Ohio

Last Wednesday, a new poll had overwhelming support for medical marijuana. A new Quinnipiac University poll has support for medical marijuana at very high 90%. The poll comes as a restrictive medical marijuana bill is working its way through the legislature and as a medical marijuana initiative is in the signature-gathering phase. The poll also asked about support for legalization, which came in at 52%.

[For extensive information about the medical marijuana debate, presented in a neutral format, visit MedicalMarijuana.ProCon.org.]

stopthedrugwar

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Congress Moves to Allow VA Physicians to Recommend Medical Marijuana to Veterans

by psmith,

May 19, 2016

medical%20marijuana%204%20strain%20313%2

This article was produced in collaboration with AlterNet and first appeared here.

The House and Senate on Thursday approved amendments to the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations bill that should ease access to medical marijuana for veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), serious wounds, and other debilitating conditions.

Sponsored in the House by Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Joe Heck (R-NV), and in the Senate by Steve Daines (R-MT) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR), the measure would bar the spending of federal funds to enforce a Veterans Health Administration policy that prohibits VA physicians from recommending medical marijuana, even in states where it is legal. Once the measure becomes law, VA docs would no longer face penalties for discussing medical marijuana with patients or for providing recommendations for patients to participate in state-legal medical marijuana programs.

The House and Senate versions of the appropriations bill have to be reconciled by a conference committee and passed again by both chambers. The medical marijuana amendments passed 233-189 in the House and 89-8 in the Senate.

With the ban in place, even in states with medical marijuana laws, veterans must go outside the VA system to get a recommendation or even discuss medical marijuana with their doctors. That VA policy actually expired at the beginning of this year, but would remain in force without congressional action. And Congress has acted.

"Today is a monumental day for us vets," said TJ Thompson, a disabled U.S. Navy Veteran who lives in Virginia. "Congress has recognized our right to heal, allowing us access to medical cannabis within the VA.

Marijuana policy reformers, who have long fought to remove obstacles to veterans' use of medical marijuana, were pleased, too.

"Prohibiting VA doctors from recommending medical marijuana does nothing to help our veterans," said Robert Capecchi, director of federal policies for the Marijuana Policy Project. "Current VA policy is preventing physicians from thoroughly monitoring patients' medication decisions and engaging in frank conversations about available treatment options. It dramatically undermines the doctor-patient relationship."

"It's looking like this could finally be the year the federal government stops making veterans jump through costly, time-consuming hoops just to get legal access to medical marijuana," said Tom Angell, head of Marijuana Majority. "Cannabis has shown great promise in helping veterans deal with PTSD and treat chronic pain, and it's an increasingly attractive alternative to opioids. There's absolutely no reason the VA should be preventing its doctors from helping veterans who served our country find relief with medical marijuana."

"We are delighted to lift this outdated, discriminatory policy, which has negatively impacted the lives of so many veterans." said Michael Collins, deputy director for the Drug Policy Alliance's Office of National Affairs. "We need all options on the table to treat veterans, and finally Congress has seen sense and will allow veterans to be on an equal footing to other residents of medical marijuana states."

After today's votes, the two chambers will take up reconciling and differences between the two versions of the appropriations bills before sending them to the president.

stopthedrugwar

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ASA Activist Newsletter - May 2016

William Dolphin

May 07, 2016 

In The May Issue

•New ASA Partnership to Support Patients’ Rights

•Federal Government Drops Dispensary Cases

•State Dept. Says DEA Can License More to Grow Cannabis

•Patient Groups Urge DEA to Reschedule Cannabis

•State Medical Cannabis Program Developments

•California Citizen Lobby Day May 23

•ASA Activist Profile: Georgia Action Group

_____________________

New ASA Partnership to Support Patients’ Rights

Americans for Safe Access and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, a global legal powerhouse based in San Francisco, announced last month a new partnership to provide no-cost legal support to medical cannabis patients through ASA’s Patients’ Rights Project.

For more than a decade, ASA’s Patients’ Rights Project has helped medical cannabis stakeholders navigate the often confusing legal landscape, providing educational materials, advocating for better legislation, and working through the courts.

The partnership project will include new legal manuals for patients and guides for public defenders who represent them in court. In the fall, Orrick will begin coordinating attorneys to support ASA’s legal hotline for individual patients and monitor implementation of state medical cannabis programs.

Each of the dozens of state medical cannabis laws is unique, as are those in the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico. What counts as compliance with those laws is often decided by court cases, and confusion over what is allowed often leaves patients and providers vulnerable to arrest, prosecution, and incarceration.

“Partnering with Orrick on this important project will allow us to keep up with demand,” said Steph Sherer, ASA’s Executive Director. “With over two million medical cannabis patients and rapidly evolving laws, the services the Patient's Rights Project provides have never been more important.”

Rene Kathawala, pro bono counsel at OrrickOrrick, founded in San Francisco a century and a half ago, today has global reach through 25 offices and a reputation for dedicated pro bono work on diverse causes, including immigration, civil rights, systemic problems and grassroots global development.

0fd69ead13c20257c2a368b300a19836.jpg

“We are very excited to start a pro bono relationship with such a dynamic nonprofit, as Americans for Safe Access,” said Rene Kathawala, Orrick’s pro bono counsel. ”They offer first-rate advocacy in ensuring that low-income patients with a medical need for cannabis have the legal and other necessary support.”

Over the last 14 years, ASA has helped thousands of patients with legal support through their toll-free patient hotline, online interactive FAQ, and one-on-one visits with patients and other stakeholders. Changing laws have reduced, but not eliminated, criminal sanctions and prosecutions of legal medical cannabis patients and others. However, patients still face pervasive discrimination in employment, access to health care, housing, and parental rights. They also face inappropriate harassment and prosecution.

“ASA anticipates that the support provided by Orrick will be increasingly significant as medical cannabis laws continue to be adopted, amended, and implemented nationwide” continued Sherer. “This type of professional help and capacity is needed to protect patients and providers, identify opportunities to expand their rights, and inform policymakers about the challenges that remain.”

More information:

ASA's Patient Rights Project

Orrick website

_____________________

Federal Government Drops Dispensary Cases

The Department of Justice (DOJ) may finally be accepting the restrictions Congress placed on medical cannabis enforcement in 2014. Last month, prosecutors abandoned two civil cases targeting California dispensaries, following a federal court ruling last October that the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment to the DOJ budget blocks such cases.

Early in April, the DOJ dropped their appeal of that ruling on the 14-year-old injunction that eventually shut the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana (MAMM), and later in the month they also dropped their asset forfeiture suit against Harborside Health Center in Oakland.

harborside.jpg

Harborside Health CenterThe case against Harborside, the largest dispensary in the nation, was brought by the DOJ back in 2011 as part of a broad federal strategy of using asset forfeiture threats against landlords who rented to licensed medical cannabis businesses. The strategy was successful in closing hundreds of dispensaries in California and elsewhere.

The Harborside case was different from most in that the operators and landlord contested the action and were joined in the court battle by the City of Oakland, which argued it had a right to regulate and tax the business without interference from federal authorities.

"We celebrate the release from federal prosecution," said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf at a press conference announcing the deal. "We believe in compassion; we believe in health."

The government’s decision was reportedly, at least in part, a direct result of the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment to the 2016 budget, which says the DOJ cannot spend any money on interfering with state medical cannabis programs. The DOJ has argued that the amendment does not restrict civil suits and criminal prosecutions of individuals or businesses. ASA was among those who demonstrated the amendment's intent and proper application prevents just such enforcement actions, which US District Judge Charles Breyer ultimately affirmed.

“We congratulate Harborside and their lawyer, Henry Wykowski, for their perseverance in getting the feds to drop this case,” said ASA Government Affairs Director Mike Liszewski. “The Harborside and MAMM victories are proof that the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment was not merely symbolic.”

ASA worked for more than a decade through six House votes before getting it passed the first time in 2014, and again in 2015. As a budget rider, the amendment must be renewed each year. A durable solution to the federal crackdown on state medical cannabis programs will most likely come through direct legislation, such as the CARERS Act.

More information:

ASA analysis of the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment

ASA's CARERS Act petition

_____________________

State Dept. Says DEA Can License More to Grow Cannabis

icon_federaladvocacy.jpg

The US State Department has gone on record that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) may issue more licenses to cultivate research cannabis. The DEA has long maintained that the monopoly on research cannabis production held by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) was the only way to comply with international treaties.

Legal analysis by the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement at the State Department concluded otherwise, finding that the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs does not prohibit multiple licenses for the cultivation of cannabis for medical and scientific purposes. The State Department finding came in response to an inquiry from Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).

“For years, the DEA has cited this international treaty as the reason for limiting medical research,” said Sen. Gillibrand in a statement. “Now that the State Department has confirmed this treaty should not be a barrier to expanding research, the DEA should issue new licenses to supply medical researchers and stop letting antiquated ideology stand in the way of modern medical science.”

NIDA cannabis cultivation facility at the University of MississippiCurrently, the only licensed cultivation facility is at the University of Mississippi. Researchers have complained for years that the facility does not provide sufficient amounts or appropriate types for research. In 2013 a DEA administrative law judge issued a ruling that allowing more licenses was in the public interest, and NIDA itself went on record before Congress last year recommending their monopoly be discontinued.

news_cover_feature1-2.jpg

“Marijuana is the only schedule I drug that requires a single government enforced monopoly for access to study it,” said Dr. Sue Sisley, a PTSD researcher who has been unable to obtain research cannabis for her approved study. “This monopoly has proven over and over again that they are incompetent and incapable of providing the various strains that are requested by scientists in a timely manner.”

Several other countries have issued multiple licenses to grow cannabis for medical and scientific purposes, and none have faced UN sanctions. Canada and Holland have issued multiple licenses for not only research studies but also producing medicine for patients.

“President Obama should direct the DEA to immediately begin the process of issuing additional licenses,” said Mike Liszewski, ASA’s Director of Government Affairs. “Breaking up the DEA-mandated NIDA monopoly would benefit researchers and patients alike, and would not offend treaty obligations.”

More information:

Answers to Senator Gillibrand’s questions to DEA

Ending DEA NIDA Monopoly

_____________________

Patient Groups Urge DEA to Reschedule Cannabis

icon_federaladvocacy.jpg

The Epilepsy Foundation is urging the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to remove barriers to medical cannabis in a group letter signed by a coalition of patient organizations, including Americans for Safe Access.

The April 28 letter came in response to an announcement from three federal agencies that the government would issue a determination this year on how cannabis is classified. The DEA, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) issued the joint announcement in response to an inquiry from seven US Senators, including two of the original sponsors of the CARERS Act, Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand.

The letter from the Epilepsy Foundation, ASA, and other patient organizations to DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg notes that “[m]oving cannabis from Schedule I in the Controlled Substances Act would lift federal barriers to research on cannabis, which would ultimately lead to new treatments as well as much needed information that can help families make informed choices about medical cannabis.”

In addition to the Epilepsy Foundation and ASA, some of the organizations that signed the letter are:

•Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE)

•Danny Did Foundation Finding a Cure Against Epilepsy

•Langone Medical Center

•Hope for Harper Hope for Hypothalamic Hamartomas

•International Foundation for CDKL5

•Lennox Gastaut Syndrome (LGS) Foundation

•National Multiple Sclerosis Society

•Parkinson’s Action Network

•Phelan-McDermid Syndrome Foundation

•Ring14 USA Outreach

•The AIDS Alliance

•The Brain Recovery Project

•Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance

More information:

Text of the Epilepsy Foundation’s group letter

_____________________

State Medical Cannabis Program Developments

The Connecticut legislature late last month passed a bill that will allow patients under the age of 18 to have access to medical cannabis products. HB 5450 will allow pediatric patients access to medical cannabis edibles and extracts with a recommendation from two physicians. The bill also authorizes the Department of Consumer Protection to regulate laboratory testing of cannabis and approve research studies. Governor Dan Malloy is expected to sign the bill.

In New Hampshire, the first medical cannabis dispensary began serving patients last month, nearly three years since the state’s medical cannabis law went into effect. The Sanctuary Alternative Treatment Center in Plymouth is expecting nearly 1,000 patients, and four other licensed dispensaries are planning to open later this year.

In Hawaii, the Department of Health has chosen eight companies to cultivate and distribute medical cannabis. Each selected company will be allowed two cultivation and two dispensing locations, which may open in July. One of the firms that was selected, Manoa Botanicals, is currently pre-certified for ASA's Patient Focused Certification (PFC) program. PFC will work with Manoa to help ensure patients in Hawaii are able to obtain the highest quality medicine available.

_____________________

California Citizen Lobby Day May 23

icon_california.jpg

ASA’s fifth annual California Citizen Lobby Day will be held in Sacramento on Monday, May 23. Advocates have a chance to join 300 other patients and advocates to talk face-to-face with lawmakers and regulators about medical cannabis in California. ASA will provide lobbying materials and arrange meetings with the elected representatives in the Senate and Assembly for all who register. At the end of the day, ASA will host a VIP Reception with lawmakers and other citizen lobbyists.

CA_Lobby_Day_Website_Cover_2016.jpg

Lobby Day begins with a continental breakfast and citizen lobbyist training at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on L Street, right across the street from the state Capitol Building. Lobby day participants will also receive a special legislative briefing from the new chief of the state’s Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation, Lori Ajax, and the bureau’s Senior Policy Advisor, An-Chi Tsou. The two officials will discuss the implementation of the new Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA).

Among the legislation to be lobbied for is an ASA proposal for a 2017 bill that would protect medical cannabis patients from discrimination in employment, parental rights, housing, and access to health care. ASA is opposing two bills this year that would impose excessive taxation on medical cannabis consumption and cultivation. Other pending bills would make changes in the way that commercial medical cannabis businesses and organizations are licensed and regulated.

The suggested donation for the lobby day is $40, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. Click here to register for the California Citizen Lobby Day on Monday, May 23, and ASA will make an appointment for you at your State Assembly and Senate offices.

_____________________

ASA Activist Profile: Georgia Action Group

Among those honored at ASA’s annual Awards Dinner at the 2016 Unity Conference was the ASA Action Group of the Year, Georgia’s Hope. The group was recognized for playing an instrumental part in advancing safe access in their state, with new legislation passed last year to protect qualified patients with eight medical conditions.

GA2014HouseVote.jpg

Georgia’s Hope came together in late 2013 when two parent groups, one for children with seizures and one for kids with mitochondrial disorder, separately approached ASA for support after seeing Sanjay Gupta’s medical cannabis documentary on CNN. Once ASA put the two groups in touch with each other, they committed to working together and established themselves as an ASA Action Group in early 2014.

The first step was reaching out to their state legislators and the media, but they didn’t expect to get much attention. Yet immediately that work resulted in the Atlanta ABC station airing a segment with local families of children with intractable seizures that might be helped by medical cannabis, followed a few days later by an on-air interview with Janea Cox and her four-year-old daughter Haleigh, who would become the namesake of the state’s medical cannabis law.

After State Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon) met Haleigh Cox in the hospital, he reached out to the ASA group asking to meet. Within just a few weeks, Rep. Peake had introduced with five co-sponsors a limited medical cannabis bill. HB 885, also called Haleigh’s Hope Act, passed the House 171 to 4 but was denied a vote in the Senate by political maneuvering. As a result, many families, including Janea and Haleigh Cox, moved to other states to access cannabis treatment.

GA2015families_web.jpg

In 2015, Rep. Peake tried again, introducing HB 1 to allow cannabis oil with up to 5% THC for eight qualifying conditions. The bill passed and was signed by Gov. Nathan Deal in April, but with no mechanism in the law to produce or acquire medicine, Georgia’s Hope was committed to passing a more comprehensive medical cannabis program.

“We will work until we get something,” said Sebastien Cotte, one of the leaders of Georgia’s Hope whose son Jagger has mitochondrial disease. “It is not just for our kids, but for all patients.”

In 2016, the Georgia’s Hope, Facebook page grew to more than 16,000 followers. They teamed up with another group, Hope United, to get support from more people representing other conditions.

A new bill introduced by Peake this year, HB 722, would have established an in-state cultivation and distribution program, added more qualifying conditions, and removed the THC limit. The bill had support in the House, but opposition from Gov. Deal forced Peale to scale it back to an expansion of qualifying conditions. The stripped-down bill passed the House with overwhelming support but did not get a committee hearing in the Senate, despite patient lobbying into the final minutes of the session (pictured at left).

“We thought we had a good but still very conservative bill with a lot of support from our legislators,” said Shannon Cloud, another active member of Georgia’s Hope “It was very discouraging to find out that it didn’t have a chance once the governor said before session even started he would not support it. We will not give up until all patients have access.”

More Information:

Georgia’s Hope Facebook page

_____________________

ACTION ALERT: Demand Action on CARERS from Sen. Grassley

The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States Act (CARERS) keeps gathering Senate co-sponsors but remains stuck in committee. Urge Sen. Chuck Grassley to give the CARERS Act a hearing in the Judiciary Committee so your Senators can vote on the most comprehensive federal medical cannabis legislation ever introduced. Call his office today at (202) 224-3744.

_____________________

Get the PDF Version to Print and Distribute

Download a printable copy of this Newsletter

ASA

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Medical Marijuana Update

by psmith,

May 25, 2016

MMJ%20leaf%20and%20stethoscope%20KY%20OD

US Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) becomes the first member of Congress to admit using medical marijuana, an Ohio medical marijuana bill is moving, and more.

National

On Tuesday,a GOP congressman came out of the closet on his medical marijuana use. Longtime medical marijuana supporter Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) has told marijuana reformers lobbying on Capitol Hill that he uses medical marijuana for arthritis pain. "I went to one of those hemp fests in San Bernardino," he explained, adding that a vendor showed him a topical preparation he could rub on his sore shoulder. "And you know what? I tried it about two weeks ago, and it's the first time in a year-and-a-half that I've had a decent night's sleep, because the arthritis pain was gone."

Nebraska

On Sunday, news came that there will be no medical marijuana initiative this year. Cornhusker medical marijuana advocates have decided to delay a petition drive to get the issue on the ballot until 2018. They cited the late start this year and the expense involved.

Ohio

On Tuesday, the medical marijuana bill was amended to remove a pharmacist requirement. The Senate has changed House Bill 523 to remove language added by a committee that required dispensaries to be run by a licensed pharmacist. The Senate also expanded the definition of pain to qualify for medical marijuana. Patient advocates cheered both moves. The bill is expected to head for a full floor vote as early as today.

Rhode Island

Last Friday, the Senate approved adding PTSD to the list of qualifying conditions. The Senate last Friday unanimously approved a bill that will add PTSD to the list of debilitating medical conditions that qualify a patient for medical marijuana. The bill now heads to the House.

stopthedrugwar

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Medical Marijuana Update

by psmith,

June 01, 2016

MMJ%20leaf%20and%20stethoscope%20KY%20OD

Illinois' medical marijuana program is set to be extended and expanded, the Ohio legislature passes a medical marijuana bill, the Ohio medical marijuana initiative is now dead, and more.

Illinois

Last Friday, the House approved an extension and an expansion of the state's medical marijuana program. The House voted to approve a plan to expand the state's medical marijuana program by adding PTSD and terminal illness to the program's list of qualifying conditions and by extending the program for an additional 2 ½ years. Gov. Bruce Rauner ® has now come around and says he supports the bill, which still needs a final Senate vote. The measure is Senate Bill 10.

Massachusetts

Last Tuesday, the Senate voted to waive medical marijuana fees for veterans. The Senate approved a rider to the FY 2017 budget bill that would waive registration fees for veterans for qualify for the state's medical marijuana program. Other patients would still have to pay the $50 registration fee and an annual $50 renewal fee.

Ohio

Last Wednesday, the medical marijuana bill was approved by the legislature.Both houses of the legislature gave final approval to the measure, House Bill 523. The bill barely cleared the Senate on an 18-15 vote and won final approval from the House on a 67-28 vote. Gov. John Kasich ® has said he will review the bill when it gets to his desk.

Last Saturday, the backers of a medical marijuana initiative called it quits. Faced with a medical marijuana bill approved by the legislature and awaiting the governor's signature, Ohioans for Medical Marijuana announced Saturday that they were ending their campaign to put an initiative on the November ballot. The Marijuana Policy Project-backed effort decided to call it quits because "the reality is that raising funds for medical marijuana policy changes is incredibly difficult, especially given the improvements made to the proposed program by the Ohio General Assembly and the fact that the Governor is expected to sign the bill." The bill passed by the legislature will allow people with about 20 different diseases and conditions to use marijuana, but not to smoke it.

[For extensive information about the medical marijuana debate, presented in a neutral format, visit MedicalMarijuana.ProCon.org.]

stopthedrugwar

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Medical Marijuana Update

by psmith,

June 08, 2016

MMJ%20leaf%20and%20stethoscope%20KY%20OD

The California legislature gets down to business, medical marijuana expansion bills become law in Colorado and Vermont, a "poison pill" California initiative fails to make the ballot, and more.

California

Last Wednesday, the Senate approved a medical marijuana sales tax. The Senate Wednesday approved a bill imposing a 15% sales tax on medical marijuana on a 27-9 vote. The measure, Senate bill 987, now goes to the Assembly. Critics have charged it will hurt poor patients, but bill sponsor Sen. Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg) says he will amend the bill in the Assembly to ensure that low income people don't have to pay the tax.

Also last Wednesday, the Assembly approved medical marijuana research. The Assembly Wednesday approved Assembly Bill 1575, an omnibus medical marijuana bill that includes provisions easing the way for research on the plant's medicinal properties. The bill specifies that it is "not a violation of state law or local ordinance or regulation for a business or research institution with state authorization to engage in the research of medical cannabis used for the medical purposes." The bill now heads for the Senate.

Also last Wednesday, the Assembly approved "cottage" medical marijuana farms. The Assembly Wednesday approved Assembly Bill 2516, which would create a new category of cultivator license for outdoor grows under 2,500 square feet and indoor grows under 500 square feet. "We are trying to ensure small medical cannabis growers on the North Coast can continue to do business as this industry moves forward," said sponsor Assemblyman Jim Wood (D-North Coast). "It is not fair to require the small farmers to adhere to the same standards as larger operations." The bill now heads for the Senate.

On Tuesday, an initiative to create a state medical marijuana monopoly failed to qualify for the ballot. An initiative filed by a leading state anti-medical marijuana activist that would have banned all private cultivation sites and dispensaries has failed to qualify for the ballot. The California Safe and Drug-Free Community Act was filed by Roger Morgan, with the Take Back American campaign, which brandishes a #stoppot hashtag.

Colorado

On Tuesday, the governor signed a medical marijuana in schools bill. Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) Tuesday signed into law "Jack's Law," which allows for the use of medical marijuana in schools under strict conditions. The measure is House Bill 1373.

Montana

On Monday, a medical marijuana initiative reported having 30,000 raw signatures. Backers of Initiative 182, which seeks to restore the state's medical marijuana program demolished by the legislature in 2011, say they have some 30,000 raw signatures as a June 17 deadline draws near. They need 24,000 valid signatures to qualify. Initiative watchers generally assume as many as 30% of gathered signatures could be invalidated. If that were the case right now in Montana, the initiative would not make the ballot.

New Jersey

Last Wednesday, a bill to add PTSD to the list of qualifying conditions won a committee vote. A bill that would add PTSD to the list of qualifying medical marijuana conditions advanced out of the Assembly Oversight Committee on a 3-0 vote Wednesday. The measure now heads for an Assembly floor vote. A similar bill was approved by the Assembly last year, but died in Senate committee.

Vermont

On Tuesday, the governor signed a medical marijuana expansion bill. Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) Tuesday signed into law Senate Bill 14, which will expand the state's medical marijuana system. Shumlin used the occasion to emphasize medical marijuana as an alternative to opioid pain relievers: "At a time when opiate addiction is ravaging our state and drug companies continue to urge our doctors to pass out painkillers like candy, we need to find a more practical solution to pain management. This bill ensures that Vermonters who are suffering will have access to medicine that is high quality, laboratory tested, and most importantly non-addictive," he said.

[For extensive information about the medical marijuana debate, presented in a neutral format, visit MedicalMarijuana.ProCon.org.]

stopthedrugwar

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Medical Marijuana Update

by psmith,

June 15, 2016

MMJ%20leaf%20and%20stethoscope%20KY%20OD

Ohio becomes the newest medical marijuana state, but you can't smoke it; a pair of contending Arkansas initiatives are coming up on a signature turn-in deadline; DPA identifies problems with New York's medical marijuana program, and more.

Arkansas

As of Wednesday, a pair of medical marijuana initiative campaigns are facing a ticking clock. Two separate medical marijuana initiative campaigns have until July 8 to get enough voter signatures to qualify for the November ballot. The Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act of 2016 campaign says it has gathered some 70,000 signatures so far. It needs 67,000 valid ones to qualify. The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment of 2016 says it has 40,000 signatures; because it is a constitutional amendment, it needs 85,000 valid signatures to qualify.

Ohio

Last Wednesday, Ohio became the newest medical marijuana state. Gov. John Kasich ® last Wednesday signed into law a medical marijuana bill that allows use of full plant material, but not in smokeable form. Under the new law, it should take up to two years for Ohioans to see the first medical marijuana dispensaries.

New York

On Tuesday, the Drug Policy Alliance scorched the state's medical marijuana program. In a new report, Assessing New York's Medical Marijuana Program: Problems of Patient Access and Affordability, the Drug Policy Alliance finds severe problems with patient and caregiver access under the program. The report, which relied on patient surveys, finds that more than half of patients and caregivers had not yet found a doctor to certify them and 60% of those had been looking for three to four months for a physicians. Also, more than three-quarters (77%) said they could not afford their medicine. DPA recommends further legislation to improve the program and urges the Health Department to provide more information about the implementation and performance of the program.

Washington

On Tuesday, a lawsuit challenging the state's folding of medical marijuana into the recreational sales system was filed. Seattle attorney and marijuana activist Douglas Hiatt has filed a lawsuit seeking an injunction to block the July1 implementation of the Cannabis Patient Protection Act, arguing that the law's folding of medical marijuana into the recreational marijuana market will cause harm to patients.

[For extensive information about the medical marijuana debate, presented in a neutral format, visit MedicalMarijuana.ProCon.org.]

stopthedrugwar

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Medical Marijuana Update

by psmith,

June 22, 2016

MMJ%20leaf%20and%20stethoscope%20KY%20OD

A bipartisan federal effort to open up research on medical marijuana is underway, it looks likely that Arkansas will be voting on medical marijuana in November, a New Jersey PTSD bill advances, and more.

National

On Monday, congressional marijuana reform fans and foes said they were working together on a new research bill. Legalization opponent Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) is joining forces with Congress's "top legal pot advocate," Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) to file a bill to overhaul federal policies on marijuana research. The bill would make it easier for scientists to conduct research on the medical use of marijuana. It hasn't been filed yet, but is expected this week.

On Wednesday, versions of the research bill were filed in the House and Senate. The bills announced earlier this week have been filed and given bill numbers. The House version, sponsored by Reps. Andy Harris (R-MD) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) is HR 5549, while the Senate version, sponsored by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) is S 3077.

Arkansas

On Monday, a medical marijuana initiative campaign handed in signatures. Supporters of the Arkansans for Compassionate Care medical marijuana initiative handed in more than 110,000 raw signatures to state officials in Little Rock Monday. The initiative only needs some 67,000 valid voter signatures to qualify for the November ballot. If as many as 30% of the signatures are found invalid, organizers would still have enough signatures to qualify.

California

As of Tuesday, a Northern California cannabis oil company was back in business after a misbegotten raid. Sonoma County's Care By Design (CBD) is already back in business after a massive raid including a hundred police officers and DEA agents last week. Business operator Dennis Franklin Hunter was released without charges after initially being held on a $5 million bond. Police raided the business thinking it was using a dangerous and illegal butane extraction process to make cannabis oil, but it was actually using a non-flammable CO2 extraction process. CBD is blaming the botched raid on a disgruntled former employee involved in a competing business.

New Jersey

Last Thursday, the Assembly passed a PTSD bill. The Assembly approved the bill, and a Senate committee approved a similar measure the same day. The bills would allow patients suffering from PTSD to use medical marijuana with a doctor's recommendation.

[For extensive information about the medical marijuana debate, presented in a neutral format, visit MedicalMarijuana.ProCon.org.

stopthedrugwar

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Medical Marijuana Update

by psmith,

June 29, 2016

MMJ%20leaf%20and%20stethoscope%20KY%20OD

The fight over veterans' access to medical marijuana continues, an Illinois judge tells the state to quit messing around and recognize PTSD, a fired Oregon medical marijuana users wins his job back, and more.

National

On Tuesday, eleven lawmakers asked the House and Senate leadership to restore medical marijuana language in the VA bill. The move came after language allowing VA docs to recommend medical marijuana passed both the House and Senate only to be mysteriously dropped in conference committee. "We feel the failure of the Conferees to include either provision is a drastic misfortune for veterans and is contrary to the will of both chambers as demonstrated by the strong bipartisan support for these provisions," the supporters wrote to congressional leaders on Tuesday. Among the signatories were Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Sens. Steve Daines (R-MT) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR). Other signatories to the letter, all Democrats, include Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Barbara Boxer of California, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Ron Wyden of Oregon, and Reps. Jared Polis of Colorado, Dina Titus of Nevada and Ruben Gallego of Arizona.

California

On Tuesday, Los Angeles County extended its ban on medical marijuana in unincorporated areas. County supervisors voted to extend by a year a temporary ban on medical marijuana cultivation and distribution in unincorporated areas. The county enacted a 45-day ban earlier this year and then extended it by another month before now extending it for another year. County planning officials said the ban was needed as they study how to regulate medical marijuana, but advocates retorted that the supervisors should concentrate on actually regulating the industry, not on extending bans.

Illinois

On Tuesday, a judge ordered the state to add PTSD to the medical marijuana list. A Cook County judge has ordered the state Department of Public Health to add post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to the list of diseases eligible to be treated with medical marijuana. The sternly worded ruling also said the department's director, Niray Shah, an appointee of Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, had engaged in a "constitutionally inappropriate private investigation" before deciding to rule against adding PTSD after the medical marijuana advisory board had recommended adding it. The court accused Shah of applying his own standard of medical evidence that "appears nowhere in the Act or the department's rules" and "was contrary to the plain language of the department's rules."

Montana

On Monday, the US Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from medical marijuana supporters. The nation's high court refused to hear a challenge to a state law that limits medical marijuana providers to selling it to no more than three patients. In refusing to hear the case, the high court let stand a Montana Supreme Court decision upholding most of a state law that effectively overturned a 2004 voter-approved medical marijuana initiative. New restrictions are now set to go into effect on August 31.

New Mexico

Last Wednesday, the state auditor bemoaned delays in processing ID cards. The state auditor and the attorney general are investigating a backlog of medical marijuana ID card applications as requests for the cards surge. The state has 30 days to issue the issue the cards, but the Department of Health said it is taking 45-50 days, and the auditor's office said it had complaints of wait times of up to 90 days.

Oregon

Last Wednesday, a worker fired for medical marijuana use won his job back. An arbitrator has ordered Lane County to reinstate a worker it fired because he used medical marijuana to deal with the side effects of cancer treatment and it has ordered the county to give him nearly $22,000 in back pay. Michael Hirsh had been employed as a senior programmer for the county before he was fired in December after two employees reported smelling pot smoke on his clothing.

Pennsylvania

Last Friday, state official finished drafting temporary medical marijuana regulations. State health officials announced last Friday that they had completed drafting temporary regs that will allow child patients to use medical marijuana products from outside the state while the state's program is being set up. Applications should be available at the health department's website sometime next month.

[For extensive information about the medical marijuana debate, presented in a neutral format, visit MedicalMarijuana.ProCon.org.]

stopthedrugwar

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ASA Activist Newsletter - June 2016

William Dolphin

June 03, 2016 

In This Issue:

•Ohio Set to Become the 26th Medical Cannabis State

•New Cannabis Laboratory Accreditation Program Announced

•House Votes to Lift Gag on VA Doctors

•California Citizen Lobby Day Yields Results

•Activist Profile: Erin Miller, Iowa

•ACTION ALERT: Keep the Pressure on CARERS

_________________

Ohio Set to Become the 26th Medical Cannabis State

icon_ohio.jpg

On May 25, the Ohio Legislature sent a medical cannabis bill that would create a system of retail distribution in the state to Governor John Kasich ®, who has said he will sign it. HB 523, which passed the state Senate by a vote of 18-15 and the House by a 67-28 vote, will make Ohio the 26th state with a medical cannabis access program and the 42nd state with either a medical cannabis or a more limited cannabidiol (CBD) law. Once Ohio’s law is enacted, 300 million Americans will be living where cannabis or its derivatives can be legally used in medical treatment.

Under Ohio’s new law, qualifying patients will be able to purchase medical cannabis from dispensaries which will be licensed and regulated by the Ohio Department of Commerce. The law lists 22 qualifying conditions, including chronic pain and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and new conditions can be added by the state medical board.

brenenman.jpg

“The passing of HB 523 is something to celebrate, as so many patients will now have safe access to medical cannabis,” said Janet Breneman, a candidate for the state House who is also a nurse. “It was a very long road to get us here, and I am proud to have played a role in this history-making event. I want to thank Americans for Safe Access for their support and resources to help get this done."

ASA unsuccessfully sought amendments to HB 523, including the removal of language that could make it easier for employers to fire employees who are qualified patients and prevents patients from claiming wrongful termination.

“Overall, we are happy that Ohio has passed legislation that will create a system for safe and legal access to medical cannabis, but we have serious concerns about the employment provisions,” said Michael Liszewski, ASA Government Affairs Director. “Patients should not have to choose between the medicine and their job, but unfortunately, HB 523 will create these types of scenarios. We look forward to working with the legislature to amend the provision so patients won’t have to make this choice.”

Less than 72 hours after lawmakers passed the bill, a group collecting signatures to put a medical cannabis initiative on the ballot announced it was suspending the campaign, though the measure was broader than the law passed, including allowing personal cultivation and more ways of using medical cannabis.

More information:

Ohio HB 523

2016 Report on Medical Marijuana Access in the U.S.

_________________

New Cannabis Laboratory Accreditation Program Announced

PFC_logo.jpg

A new cannabis-specific laboratory accreditation program will assure patients and regulators that testing facilities are meeting established standards for accurately assessing cannabis products. The collaborative program between Americans for Safe Access and the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA) is based on the international standard for testing and calibration laboratories, known as ISO/IEC 17025, and ASA’s Patient Focused Certification (PFC) requirements. The new program will be recognized by the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation, which for 40 years has promoted universal standards for test and calibration results.

Brauninger.jpg

“A2LA is pleased to partner with ASA to offer a cannabis testing laboratory accreditation program to ISO/IEC 17025 that also includes the additional laboratory requirements from ASA’s Patient Focused Certification Program,” said Roger M. Brauninger, Biosafety Program Manager for A2LA. “We believe that, by meeting these combined criteria, laboratories will be able to provide confidence to patients as well as regulators that their test results on these products are consistent, accurate, reliable and legally defensible.”

The new ASA/A2LA program will confirm that participating laboratory operations are compliant with state and local regulations and the guidelines issued by the American Herbal Products Association, as well as the scientific standards required by regulatory agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

“We are very excited to see the PFC program join the ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation efforts to help fully establish a robust and reliable cannabis testing foundation,” said Jeffrey Raber, CEO of The Werc Shop, a PFC-certified cannabis testing laboratory. “It is a great testament to ASA’s commitment to quality in their PFC program that they are partnering with a world-renowned accrediting body to set a new standard for cannabis testing labs.”

The first training course for the new laboratory accreditation program will be held at A2LA headquarters in Maryland July 11-15. During the course, participants will receive training on ISO/IEC 17025 compliance and PFC’s national standards for cannabis and cannabis products.

“This joint accreditation program builds on the solid foundation of the PFC certification standards and will provide assurance that all regulatory requirements are being met by the laboratory, and that third-party inspectors, auditors and assessors are receiving proper training,” said Kristin Nevedal, ASA’s PFC Program Director.

More information:

A2LA Cannabis Accreditation Program

Patient Focused Certification

_________________

House Votes to Lift Gag on VA Doctors

icon_federaladvocacy.jpg

On May 19, the House of Representatives approved a budget amendment that clears the way for Veterans Health Administration physicians to provide veterans with the recommendations they need to participate in state medical cannabis programs. Current federal policy prohibits VA doctors from providing such documentation or even discussing medical cannabis with their patients, though physicians are protected by the First Amendment.

The bipartisan Veterans Equal Access Amendment (VEAA) to the FY2017 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs (MilConVA) Appropriations bill passed by a vote of 233-189, with 57 Republicans and 176 Democrats supporting it. A similar bill lost last year by just three votes.

The just-passed VEAA would forbid the VA from using any funds to punish physicians who write recommendations or discuss benefits of medical cannabis therapy with their patients. A 2011 VHA directive allows veterans who are medical cannabis patients to continue to receive medical care through their VA doctors and hospitals but imposes a gag order on physicians.

“I can tell you for certain, with every ounce of my integrity, that without the benefits of medical cannabis, I would not be standing here before you all today,“ said former US Army Captain Eric Gudz (pictured at right), who lobbied members of the House as part of ASA’s effort to pass the amendment.

Many veterans use medical cannabis to treat a host of ailments associated with military service, including chronic pain, PTSD, traumatic brain injury, phantom limb syndrome, cancer, and depression.

If signed by the President, the VEAA will have to be renewed next year. The CARERS Act, currently awaiting a hearing in both houses, would make this provision permanent.

“We are pleased that both the House and Senate have made it clear that the Veterans Administration should not punish doctors for recommending medical cannabis to their veteran patients,” said Michael Liszewski, ASA Government Affairs Director. “We anticipate this amendment will reach the President, and once signed, it will give VA physicians another tool in their toolbox to treat the healthcare needs of America’s veterans.”

The amendment was introduced by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and cosponsored by Reps. Farr (D-CA), Gallego (D-AZ), Heck (R-NV), Lee (D-CA), Polis (D-CO), Reed (R-NY), Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Titus (D-CA).

More information:

Americans for Safe Access Analysis of Veterans Equal Access Amendment

Floor Debate on the House Veterans Equal Access Amendment

Text of the CARERS Act

_________________

California Citizen Lobby Day Yields Results

icon_california.jpg

Citizen lobbying made a difference in Sacramento again this year. Four days after ASA’s fifth annual California Citizen Lobby Day brought more than 150 patients and caregivers to the state capitol, the Appropriations Committees in the Assembly and Senate decided important bills related to medical cannabis licensing, taxation, and patients’ rights.

The Assembly committee moved forward AB 1575, a clean-up bill for the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA), and AB 2516, a “cottage cultivator” license bill that would allow smaller-scale cultivators to operate under the MMRSA. Both bills have now passed the Assembly and been sent to the Senate.

ca_lobbyday_2016.JPG

The Assembly committee killed AB 2740, a bill ASA opposed that would have made it a crime for legal medical cannabis patients to drive with even a tiny amount of THC in their blood.

Despite ASA opposition, both committees advanced taxation bills that may place an unreasonable burden on patients. The Assembly will consider AB 2243, which would tax licensed medical cannabis distributors at $9.25 per ounce of dried cannabis flowers, $2.75 per ounce of cannabis leaves, and $1.75 per plant cutting. The Senate will consider SB 987, which would impose an additional 15% excise tax on medical cannabis statewide. ASA opposes both bills.

In more than 200 face-to-face meetings, the citizen lobbyists also spoke with lawmakers about ASA’s proposed bill for 2017 to end pervasive discrimination against patients in employment, housing, parental rights, and access to health care.

Before those meetings, participants received a special briefing from Lori Ajax, the director of the new Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation, and the bureau’s Senior Policy Advisor, An-Chi Tsou.

The fiscal committees’ actions were part of suspense hearings held twice during each annual legislative session to decide whether or not bills that have a financial impact of $150,000 or more will proceed to a vote on the floor. Bills held in committee are dead for the year.

_________________

Activist Profile: Erin Miller, Iowa

Erin Miller never imagined herself an activist, working the halls of the Iowa state capitol and lobbying her influential United States senator, Chuck Grassley (pictured at right with the Miller family). But parenthood put her in the position of advocating for her young son’s healthcare, and cannabis oil has been dramatically proven to be the best medicine for Abram’s complicated condition.

2428884.jpg?346

The Miller family meeting with Sen. Chuck Grassley (R, IA)When he reaches his fourth birthday in July, Abram will have been seizure-free for just over a year. In the 11 months since his parents decided to follow a neurologist’s advice to try cannabis oil extracts, Abram’s pharmaceutical medications have been drastically reduced, as have their debilitating side effects. A year ago, those side effects had gotten so severe that he could no longer walk or talk. Now, the highly addictive Klonopin has been tapered down by three-quarters, and if he remains seizure-free the next six months, it will be eliminated completely.

Grappling with the constraints of Iowa’s medical cannabis law transformed Abram’s mother, Erin, into an activist. At the time the neurologist recommended they try treating Abram with cannabis, their state’s law had only recently gone into effect. That 2014 law only provides an affirmative defense for the possession and use of CBD extracts, and only for patients with intractable epilepsy and their caregivers. Abram’s initial diagnoses did not meet the state’s requirements to qualify his parents for legal protections, so Erin reached out to her elected representatives and other state lawmakers for help. In lieu of help, she got advice: leave the state.

Many American families in their position have become medical cannabis refugees, but Abram’s family went the route of civil disobedience, consciously breaking the law to provide for his welfare. Now, Abram’s mother and father are both legal caregivers in Iowa, as is the grandmother with whom they all live. But those legal protections did not come easily. The seven-month process entailed consultations with three different specialists at three different hospitals, as well as direct lobbying of state officials to recognize his condition as qualifying under the law.

As arduous as that process was, it pales in comparison to the challenges the family has met since bringing Abram home from the hospital after an unexpected stay in the neonatal intensive care unit. Developmental issues were immediately apparent, sending Abram to a series of specialists who provided a succession of diagnoses.

Not long after birth doctors determined he has a chromosome disorder so rare only 35 cases have been reported in the last 30 years. Then a pineal cyst was discovered in the center of his brain. A traumatic seizure that took them to the emergency room led to an epilepsy diagnosis at age two. Abram’s seizures worsened in January 2015, and by April he was no longer able to speak or walk. The family sought treatment at a specialty epilepsy unit in Minnesota, where he was prescribed yet another anti-epilepsy drug, Kleptra, that made his symptoms even worse.

At the Mayo Clinic, tests revealed he also has cortical dysplasia, a condition in which parts of the brain do not migrate to their normal position as it develops, creating misfires in the brain’s signaling that impede learning. Then, finally, just this past Christmas, Abram was conclusively diagnosed with UBE2A X-Linked Mental Retardation, a genetic disorder even more rare than his chromosome problem. Only eight cases of this genetic mutation exist in the medical literature, so it is not a condition any state lists as qualifying for medical cannabis.

“I just hope Abram’s story can make a difference for other patients and parents,” Erin says. To make sure it does, Erin blogs about Abram, publishes OpEds about medical cannabis, fields questions from other parents who see her in the media, and lobbies state lawmakers for a better medical cannabis program. Erin has even managed to get Abram and another a child with a seizure disorder in to see Sen. Chuck Grassley, the powerful chair of the U.S Senate’s Judiciary Committee where the bipartisan Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States Act (CARERS) of 2015 has been stuck since it was introduced, waiting for a hearing. When confronted with the before-and-after photos of Abram at the meeting, Sen. Grassley conceded that “you really can see the difference” cannabis makes.

With continuing pressure on Sen. Grassley from activists such as Erin, Congress may yet get a chance to vote on the CARERS Act and make a difference for patients in the 42 states that allow for varying types of medical cannabis use.

_________________

ACTION ALERT: Keep the Pressure on CARERS

Keep the pressure on Sen. Chuck Grassley to give the bipartisan CARERS Act a hearing in the Judiciary Committee. As chair of the committee, he has blocked consideration of The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States Act, the most comprehensive medical cannabis legislation ever introduced, despite the bill’s long list of distinguished Senate co-sponsors.

Click here to sign the petition asking Sen. Grassley to give your senators a chance to vote on your behalf.

_________________

Get a PDF of this newsletter to print and distribute

Download a printable copy of this Newsletter

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now