Arkansas: Oppose The Legislation To Indefinitely Delay Medical Marijuana Implementation

Update: Senate Bill 238 has been tabled and will not receive further action this session.
Senate legislation is pending, SB 238, to indefinitely halt the enactment of the state’s voter-initiated medical marijuana law. 

Specifically, the measure states that Arkansas patients may not legally access medical marijuana until the substance has been federally legalized. 

This arrogant piece of legislation is a direct attempt to undermine an election outcome. Fifty-three percent of voters decided in November in favor of Issue 6, the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment. State lawmakers have responsibility to abide by the will of the people, to do so in a timely manner, and to not let patients needlessly suffer.

Please use the pre-written letter below to tell your lawmakers to reject SB 238 and other legislative efforts to undermine the will of the people.

Arkansas: Governor Signs Legislation Limiting Medical Cannabis Smoking

Update: A modified version of HB 1400 was signed into law. Act 740 prohibits the smoking of marijuana in any place where smoking tobacco is prohibited, in the presence of a child under age 14 or a pregnant woman, in a motor vehicle, and in a place where it could affect a person not authorized to use marijuana. It also bans anyone under age 21 from smoking medical marijuana. You can read the Act here.
Update: HB 1400 passed the House and Senate and is being transmitted to the Governor.
Update: Senate members voted 15 to 10 on March 6 to reject SB 357. Although the sponsor has indicated his intent to bring the issue up again, this Senate vote represents a significant victory for patients and voters.
Update: SB 357 was returned by the committee with recommendation that it Do Pass.
Update: House Bill 1400 has been filed and referred to committee.
Update: The Senate version of this bill, SB 357, has passed Committee and now awaits action on the Senate floor.
Legislative efforts are pending to amend the state’s voter-initiated medical marijuana law in a manner that would restrict qualified patients from smoking herbal preparations of the plant. Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson indicates that he favors the plan. 

NORML opposes this effort to fundamentally change the law for the following reasons.

The inhalation of herbal cannabis is associated with the rapid onset of drug effect while the oral consumption of other preparations, such as oils, extracts, or pills, is associated with significantly delayed onset. For patients seeking rapid relief from symptoms, such as those suffering from severe nausea, seizures, or spasms, inhaling herbal cannabis is the fastest and most effective route of administration. Inhaling cannabis also permits patients to better regulate their dose.

Further, the effects of orally ingested cannabis are far less predictable in comparison to inhaled cannabis. This is because there exists far greater variability in the ways that marijuana is metabolized when it is consumed orally — meaning that patients may experience disparate and even dysphoric effects from dose to dose, even in instances where the dose is standardized. 

Finally, many alternative forms of cannabis delivery, like lozenges and tinctures, have not been subject to clinical testing for safety and efficacy. By contrast, hundreds of controlled trials exist regarding subjects’ inhalation of cannabis. For instance, an exhaustive report released by the National Academies of Sciences in January determined  that there is “conclusive” evidence that the use of whole-plant cannabis is “effective for the treatment of chronic pain.”

Please use the pre-written letter below to inform lawmakers and the Governor that these proposed restrictions unnecessarily limit patients’ choices and deny them the ability to obtain rapid relief from whole-plant cannabis in a manner that has long proven to be relatively safe and effective.

New Hampshire: Legislators Approve Measures To Expand Patients’ Medical Marijuana Access

Update: Governor Sununu on June 28 signed legislation, HB 160, adding moderate to severe post-traumatic stress disorder and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome other as qualifying conditions. The new law takes effect August 27, 2017.
Update: Governor Chris Sununu signed HB 157 into law on June 16. The law adds “moderate to severe chronic pain” as a qualifying illness for medical cannabis. The new law takes effect in 60 days.
Update: Members of the House and Senate have approved a reconciled version of HB 160.
Update: HB 157 has been approved by both legislative chambers. 
Update: Members of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on May 4 passed HB 160 out of Committee.
Update: Members of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on April 20 passed HB 157 out of Committee.
Update: HB 157 and HB 160 were both referred to Senate committees.
Update: Bills to add chronic pain (HB 157) and PTSD (HB 160) to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana have passed the House. They will now be referred to the Senate.
Update: The Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee voted to pass bills that would add chronic pain and PTSD to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana. The bills passed by 12-6 and 9-8 margins respectively. 
Multiple bills are pending before lawmakers to expand the pool of patients eligible to qualify for medical marijuana therapy. 

In particular, these measures would permit patients with conditions like chronic pain and post-traumatic stress to obtain legal access to marijuana.

Most recently, an exhaustive report released by the National Academies of Sciences determined that there is “conclusive” evidence that cannabis is “effective for the treatment of chronic pain.” Authors concluded, “In adults with chronic pain, patients who were treated with cannabis or cannabinoids (constituents found organically in the marijuana plant) are more likely to experience a clinically significant reduction of pain symptoms.”

Data reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and elsewhere has also determined that rates of opioid-related abuse and mortality decline in jurisdictions where patients have medical cannabis access.

Please use the pre-written letter below to urge your lawmakers to expand New Hampshire’s medical cannabis program.

Washington: Support Legislation to End Workplace Discrimination Against Medical Marijuana Consumers

Update: HB 1094 did not pass before the legislative crossover and likely will not be passed this year. 
Update: A public hearing for HB 1094 was held in the House on January 26.
Legislation is pending before the House, HB 1094, to prohibit employers from discriminating against patients who legally consume marijuana during non-work hours.

The bill amends existing law so that: “An employer  may not refuse to hire a qualifying patient, discharge or bar a qualifying patient from employment, or discriminate against a qualifying patient in compensation or in other terms and conditions of employment because of the qualifying patient’s: (i) Status as a qualifying patient; or (ii) Positive drug test for marijuana components or metabolites.”

Passage of this act would not prohibit employers from sanctioning employees who are under the influence at work.

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 other 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 workplace discrimination against marijuana patients. 

Wyoming: Marijuana Decriminalization Measure Introduced

UPDATE: This bill has been defeated and a new bill has been introduced that is much narrower in scope. 

Wyoming State Rep. Mark Baker has introduced HB 157 to decriminalize the possession of up to 3 ounces of marijuana. 

Baker’s bill is more robust than previous year’s legislation and marks a shift in attitude among state lawmakers.

More than 70% of Wyoming residents support decriminalization. Currently under state law, first-time marijuana possession offenses are classified as a criminal misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Wyoming should change its archaic laws and join the majority of the country in decriminalizing marijuana possession.  

Enter your information below to contact your state elected officials and urge them to support this pending legislation. 

Contact the Buffalo Common Council to sponsor the BCA

The Buffalo Common Council has received and filed our legislation that WNY NORML has sponsored called the BCA or Buffalo Cannabis Act. This would make Buffalo police issue citations rather than make arrests for Cannabis Position. We have also requested that Buffalo be more included in the states Medical Cannabis Program.
Please enter your infomation below to email the Buffalo City Council to support this measure. 
To find out more, visit WNY NORML’s website and follow WNY NORML on Facebook. 

Kentucky: Legislation to Establish a Comprehensive Medical Marijuana Program

Update: SB 57 did not pass before the legislative crossover and likely will not be voted on this year. 
Legislation filed by Senator Perry Clark of Louisville, SB 57, seeks to establish a statewide, comprehensive medical marijuana program.

Senate Bill 57, The Cannabis Compassion Act, establishes regulations overseeing the establishment of state-licensed dispensaries to provide medical marijuana to qualified patients. It also permits patients to home cultivate their own supply of medical cannabis.

Senator Clark said: “Too many Kentuckians have had their lives stymied with criminal records as a result of nonviolent marijuana convictions. That is wrong. It is time to stop making criminals out of citizens due to outdated and ridiculous laws concerning cannabis.”

Under present state law, the possession of any amount of cannabis is classified as a criminal misdemeanor punishable by up to 45 days in jail, a fine, and a criminal record.

Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have enacted statewide provisions allowing patients access to cannabis therapy. Data from other states finds that the enactment of medical marijuana access is associated with lower rates of opioid abuse and mortality, and does not negatively impact workplace safety, teen use, or motor vehicle safety.

Kentucky patients deserve these same protections.

Enter your information below to contact your Senator and urge their support for this measure. 

New Mexico: Legislation Before Governor to Expand Medical Cannabis Program

Update: Governor Susana Martinez vetoed HB 527 on April 7.
Update: SB 177 was tabled in lieu of HB 527. An amended version of HB 527 is now before the Governor, having passed the House by a vote of 45 to 16 and the Senate by a vote of 28 to 9.
Update: SB 177 has passed the Senate by a vote of 29-11 and now is in the House for consideration. 
An amended version of House Bill 527 amends state law so that qualified patients may not be denied organ transplants. It also expands the pool of qualifying conditions for which a physician may legally recommend cannabis therapy, to include indications such as Crohn’s disease, chronic pain, hepatitis C, neuropathy, Parkinson’s disease, and post-traumatic stress, among other conditions. It also establishes reciprocity for non-residents.
An estimated 20,000 New Mexicans legally utilize medical marijuana under this state program.
Enter your information below below to contact Gov. Martinez and urge her to sign HB 527 into law. 

Nebraska: Lawmakers Move Medical Marijuana Bill

Update: The bill stalled on general file without reaching a formal vote of the Legislature.
Update: LB 622 has advanced out of committee by a vote of 6 – 1. 
LB622 will allow patients with conditions such as Crohn’s disease, epilepsy, opioid addictions and some types of cancer to obtain marijuana. Qualified patients would not be permitted to grow cannabis and would have to obtain non-smoked, cannabis-infused formulations from state-licensed providers. A version of this legislation debated last year was narrowly defeated by lawmakers.

Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have enacted statewide provisions allowing patients access to cannabis therapy. Nebraska patients deserve these same protections. 
For more information, visit Omaha NORML to learn how you can help in your area.

Please enter your information below to contact your state lawmakers and urge them to support LB622.

New York: Support Legislation To Expand State’s Medical Marijuana Law

Update: Members of the Senate Health Committee killed SB 1087 on April 25.
Update: Notice of committee consideration was requested on 3/13.

Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 1087, to expand the state’s medical marijuana law by removing the existing prohibition on herbal cannabis preparations.

Under existing law, qualified patients are forbidden from obtaining whole-plant cannabis. Instead, they are required to access only cannabis-infused oral products such as oils, pills, or extracts prepared from the plant. “Smoking” or inhaling herbal cannabis is not defined as a “certified medical use.”

These restrictions unnecessarily limit patients’ choices and deny them the ability to obtain rapid relief from whole-plant cannabis in a manner that has long proven to be relatively safe and effective.

Senate Bill 1087 amends the law so that the possession and inhalation of herbal cannabis is no longer illegal.

Please enter your information below to write your state elected officials and urge them to make this common sense change to New York’s medical marijuana law.

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