Georgia: Legislation To Expand CBD Medical Program Becomes Law

Update: Gov. Nathan Deal signed into law Tuesday a measure that expands the state’s medical marijuana program.
Update: SB 16 has passed both legislative chambers and now awaits the signature or veto of Georgia Governor Nathan Deal. Should he fail to take action regarding the bill, SB 16 will become law absent his signature.
SB 16, a bill to expand Georgia’s CBD-exemption law is awaiting action from Gov. Nathan Deal.
The bill expands the qualifying pool of patients eligible to possess CBD extracts to include those with autism, epidermolysis bullosa, AIDS, Tourette’s Syndrome, severe peripheral neuropathy, or who are in hospice care. The law also exempts qualified patients registered to use CBD in other states. 
The measure does not provide a regulated, in state supply source where patients may legally obtain CBD-oil formulations.

Federal: House Bill Introduced to Expand Veterans’ Access to Medical Marijuana

Update: HR 1820 has been referred to committee.
Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), along with five co-sponsors, has reintroduced H.R. 1820, the Veterans Equal Access Act, which expands medical cannabis access to eligible military veterans.

Presently, V.A. doctors are forbidden from providing the paperwork necessary to complete a recommendation, thus forcing military veterans to seek the advice of a private, out-of-network physician. Passage of H.R. 1820 lifts this prohibition.

Last year, majorities in both the US House and Senate voted to include similar language as part of the Fiscal Year 2017 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. However, Republicans sitting on the House Appropriations Committee elected to remove the language from the bill during a concurrence vote. Lawmakers must stop playing politics with veterans’ health and pass H.R. 1820.

Veterans are increasingly turning to medical cannabis as an effective alternative to opioids and other conventional medications. A retrospective review of patients’ symptoms published in 2014 in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs reported a greater than 75 percent reduction CAPS (Clinician Administered Posttraumatic Scale) symptom scores following cannabis therapy.

Our veterans deserve the option to legally access a botanical product that is objectively safer than the litany of pharmaceutical drugs it could replace.

Enter your information below to urge your lawmakers to support H.R. 1820, the Veterans Equal Access Act.

Federal: End The Federal Government’s Enforcement of Marijuana Prohibition

Update: All 3 bills have been referred to committee in their respective chamber.
Senator Ron Wyden and Representatives Earl Blumenauer and Jared Polis have introduced legislation in the House and Senate — The Marijuana Revenue and Regulation Act / Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act  — (SB 776 and HB 1841 / HB 1823) to permit states to establish their own marijuana regulatory policies free from federal interference. In addition to removing marijuana from the United States Controlled Substances Act, this legislation also removes enforcement power from the US Drug Enforcement Administration in matter concerning marijuana possession, production, and sales — thus permitting state governments to regulate these activities as they see fit. An additional excise tax would be levied on the sale of marijuana.  

Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for qualified patients, while eight states now regulate the production and sale of marijuana to all adults. An estimated 63 million Americans now reside in jurisdictions where anyone over the age of 21 may possess cannabis legally. Voters support these policy changes. According to a 2017 Quinnipiac University poll, 59 percent of Americans support full marijuana legalization and 71 percent believe that states, not the federal government, should set marijuana policy. 

These statewide regulatory schemes are operating largely as voters and politicians intended. The enactment of these policies have not negatively impacted workplace safety, crime rates, traffic safety, or youth use patterns. They have stimulated economic development and tax revenue. Specifically, a 2017 report estimates that 123,000 Americans are now working full-time in the cannabis industry. Tax revenues from states like Colorado, Oregon, and Washington now exceed initial projections. Further, numerous studies have identified an association between cannabis access and lower rates of opioid use, abuse, hospitalizations, and mortality.

The ongoing enforcement of cannabis prohibition financially burdens taxpayers, encroaches upon civil liberties, engenders disrespect for the law, impedes legitimate scientific research into the plant’s medicinal properties, and disproportionately impacts communities of color.

By contrast, regulating the adult use of marijuana stimulates economic growth, saves lives, and has the support of the majority of the majority of Americans. 

Enter your information below to send a message to your members of Congress to support this effort. 

Colorado: Bill To Thwart The Federal Government Signed By Governor

Update: SB 192 was signed into law June 2. 
Update: S. 192 passed the Senate on May 9 and was transmitted to Governor Hickenlooper on May 18. The bill now awaits his signature or veto.
Update: House members approved SB 192 on May 3 by a vote of 58 to 5. Because of House amendments, the bill returns to the Senate, which must either re-approve the measure or seek reconciliation.
Update: Members of the House Finance Committee have referred SB 192 to the Appropriations Committee.
Update: SB 192 passed the Senate on April 12 and now awaits action from the House.
Update: The bill passed 4-1 committee in the Republican Senate

State officials in Colorado are considering legislation, SB 192, to protect the state’s adult use marijuana industry in case of a potential federal crackdown. 

The bill would permit adult use growers and sellers to instantly reclassify their recreational marijuana inventory as medical marijuana “based on a business need due to a change in local, state, or federal law or enforcement policy.” In recent weeks, officials from the Trump administration have indicated that they may consider taking action against recreational marijuana providers, but that they will not likely move against state-licensed medical marijuana providers.
You can contact your local officials in support of SB 192 by using the pre-written letter below.

Federal: Demand That The New US Attorney’s Respect State Marijuana Laws

On March 10, Attorney General Jeff Sessions called for the resignation of the 46 remaining US Attorneys who had been previously appointed under the Obama administration.

Members of the Senate will now be asked to consider new appointments. Please contact your Senator and urge him/her to consider those US Attorneys who will respect statewide marijuana laws. 

With 29 states having established medical marijuana programs and eight states having enacted adult-use regulatory laws, it is vital that those appointed to this prestigious position respect the will of the electorate.

US Attorneys possess broad authority when both interpreting the laws and prioritizing their enforcement. Under the past administration, US Attorneys largely took a ‘hands off’ approach in jurisdictions that had legalized the use of marijuana, as directed by the 2013 “Cole Memo.” Incoming US Attorneys ought to take a similar approach. 

Tell your Senator to defend the majority of voters who reside in legal cannabis states and to reject those nominees who will not support state marijuana laws. 

Maine: Require Insurance to Cover Medical Marijuana Expenses

Update: LD 1064 was voted down on June 12 and will no longer recieve consideration this year. 
Update: LD 1064 was heard in committee on 4/4 at 1:00 PM.
Legislation is pending, LD 1064, to require health insurance policies to cover expenses related to the physician authorized use of medical cannabis.

The measure states, “A carrier offering a health plan in this State shall provide coverage for marijuana for  medical use for an enrollee who has received certification for the medical use of marijuana from a medical provider.”

The purchase of medical cannabis is a significant expense for many patients, particularly those dealing with chronic conditions for which cannabis-related products provide relief. Just as health insurance provide financial assistance to offset other medical and health-related expenditures, these policies should also address the medical use of marijuana.
Please enter your zip code below to urge lawmakers to support this legislation.

West Virginia: Legislation Introduced to Legalize Marijuana

Legislation by Delegate Hornbuckle of Cabell, House Bill 3035, to legalize and regulate the adult use, production, and sale of marijuana is before members of the House Health and human Resources Committee.
House Bill 3035, allows adults to possess up to one ounce of cannabis and to cultivate up to six cannabis plants for their own personal use. It also regulates the commercial marijuana market and allows for the production of industrial hemp.
The West Virginia Center for Budget and Policy projects that the state could generate between $45 to $194 million dollars a year in tax revenue by regulating the commercial cannabis market. 
Eight states, encompassing some 20 percent of the US population, have enacted similar adult use regulations. 
Enter your information below to contact your elected officials and urge their support for this important measure. 

Massachusetts: Support Legislation to End Discrimination Against Medical Marijuana Consumers

Update: A hearing for H 113 is scheduled for 07/31/2017 from 01:00 PM-05:00 PM in B-1.
Update: H.2385 was incorporated into H. 3776, which is the House bill to rewrite the implementation of Question 4. You can follow that legislation by clicking HERE
Update: A joint hearing for H 2385 was held on 4/3.
Legislation is pending before the House, H 113, to prohibit employers from discriminating against patients who legally consume marijuana during non-work hours. Additional legislation, H 2385, would expand protections for medical marijuana patients so that they may not be discriminated against with regard to housing, higher education, and child custody issues. 

Changes in the legal status of marijuana has not been associated with any adverse changes in workplace safety. In fact, a pair of studies from 2016 find that legalization is associated with greater workforce participation and with fewer workplace absences. Most recently, the National Academies of Sciences just-released marijuana and health report found “insufficient evidence” to support an association between cannabis use and occupational accidents or injuries.

It is time to end this discriminatory policy.

Those who consume conventional medications legally and responsibly while off the job do not suffer sanctions from their employers unless their work performance is adversely affected. Employers should treat those patients who consume cannabis legally while away from the workplace in a similar manner.

Please use the pre-written letter below to urge your elected officials to end discrimination against marijuana patients. 

Montana: Oppose The Proposed Tax on Medical Marijuana

Update: HB 529 was tabled in the House Taxation Committee on 3/31. However, separate legislation imposing new taxes on gross sales of medical cannabis, SB 333 awaits action from the Governor and is expected to be signed into law.
Update: HB 529 was tabled in the House Taxation Committee.
Update: Members of the House Taxation Committee heard testimony on the bill on March 15. Most witnesses testified against the bill.
House Bill 529 imposes a special six percent statewide tax upon medical marijuana sales. This tax would be in addition to the imposition of existing state and local taxes.

While NORML generally does not oppose the imposition of fair and reasonable sales taxes on the commercial sales of cannabis for recreational purposes, we do not support such excessive taxation on medical sales. Most other states that regulate medical cannabis sales do not impose such taxes and Montana patients should not be forced to pay these excessive costs.

Enter your information below to contact your elected officials and urge them to oppose this measure.

Federal: Demand That The New US Attorney’s Respect State Marijuana Laws

On March 10, Attorney General Jeff Sessions called for the resignation of the 46 remaining US Attorneys who had been previously appointed under the Obama administration.

Members of the Senate will now be asked to consider new appointments. Please contact your Senator and urge him/her to consider those US Attorneys who will respect statewide marijuana laws. 

With 29 states having established medical marijuana programs and eight states having enacted adult-use regulatory laws, it is vital that those appointed to this prestigious position respect the will of the electorate.

US Attorneys possess broad authority when both interpreting the laws and prioritizing their enforcement. Under the past administration, US Attorneys largely took a ‘hands off’ approach in jurisdictions that had legalized the use of marijuana, as directed by the 2013 “Cole Memo.” Incoming US Attorneys ought to take a similar approach. 

Tell your Senator to defend the majority of voters who reside in legal cannabis states and to reject those nominees who will not support state marijuana laws. 

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