The State of California is taking historic steps to protect watersheds amid the devastating ongoing drought, combined with an uptick in cannabis cultivation along remote, sensitive watersheds. The State Water Board has new outreach brochures encouraging folks to “Know Before They Grow” and warning contractors of the fines associated with unpermited roadbuilding and bulldozing of streams.
AUSTIN — Patients with cancer, seizures and PTSD are fighting to legalize medical marijuana in Texas — despite Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s stance against it. a news conference at the State Capitol Tuesday, Barbara Humphries was among those pushing for the legalization of medical marijuana. The 31-year-old has endured months of intense chemotherapy for stage three breast cancer. She says marijuana has helped her, and she buys it illegally.
“Before I started using it, I was extremely nauseated. I couldn’t eat,” said Humphries. “We should not be denied legal access when our doctors recommend it.” State Rep. Marisa Marquez (D-El Paso) filed legislation that gives patients access to the whole marijuana plant, to treat everything from seizures, cancer and PTSD.
“This piece of legislation is a comprehensive medical marijuana bill. Texans deserve a choice when it comes to their health care,” said Marquez.
If the legislation passes, Texas would join 23 states and the District of Columbia who already have legal plants. Marquez’s bill stipulates the Department of State Health Services would establish a regulated system of licensed marijuana growers, processors and dispensaries. The head of the House Public Health Committee, Rep. Myra Crownover, says the bill is likely dead in the House. The Texas Association of Sheriff’s says they oppose any substance with THC, citing concerns about its effect on children.
Medical marijuana bill introduced in Senate
By Shauna Johnson in News
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A bill that would legalize the use of marijuana in West Virginia for medical purposes was among the final bills introduced in the state Senate Monday, the deadline for bill introductions during this year’s Regular Legislative Session.
Chris Yeager, a Marine Corps veteran from Kanawha County, supports the proposed law change. “What we’re basically advocating for is the safe, legal access to an alternative to pharmaceuticals,” said Yeager.
He uses marijuana to treat PTSD, but said it has many other potential applications in healthcare – including in the treatment of drug addiction.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that this is something that we need to add to our arsenal whenever it comes to addressing this opiate and heroin addiction problem in this state,” said Yeager who lost his brother to an overdose of Suboxone in 2010. The Suboxone was being used to treat his brother’s opiate addiction.
In all, some form of medical marijuana is now legal in 23 other states.
“Every state that touches our borders has some type of medical marijuana law in place and I just find it ludicrous that we’re not using this as an opportunity to address the opiate and heroin problems,” Yeager said on Monday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
“I’m not saying that this is going to completely rid our state of the opiate and heroin problems, but we have to be able to use multiple tools in our toolbelt when we’re addressing this problem.”
As proposed, the “Creating Compassionate Use Act for Medical Cannabis” provides protections for the medical use of cannabis for debilitating medical conditions that are defined in the bill. It also requires qualifying patients and designated caregivers to be registered with the state.
The proposed bill, SB 546, was introduced in the state Senate Monday and referred to the Senate Health and Human Resources Committee.
Following Monday’s introduction deadline in the Senate, Tuesday is the final day bills can be introduced in the state House of Delegates.
The 2015 Regular Legislative Session ends on March 14.
Virginia Parents for Medical Marijuana won another legislative round in Richmond on Tuesday.
House Bill 1445 passed on Tuesday, February 10, with 98 “yes” votes, not one “no” vote, and one lawmaker abstaining.
Many of the parents lobbying for medical cannabis have children who suffer from uncontrollable seizures. One of the parents NewsChannel 3 has been following is Lisa Smith. Her daughter suffers from Dravet Syndrome.
Smith is still in Richmond on what she calls an education campaign, talking to lawmakers. A similar bill passed in the Senate last week that will allow cannabis oil to be dispensed in the state of Virginia for children who suffer from medical conditions that bring on life threatening seizures.
If both bills pass and become law …that could make it available to families as early as April of this year!
MASON CITY, Iowa – The discussion of medical marijuana was at the forefront of legislative sessions last year in Iowa. Within the state they have approved the usage of medical marijuana, but not a way to obtain the medicine.
On Saturday, State Rep. Sharon Steckman, (D) Mason City, and State Sen. Amanda Ragan (D) Mason City, hosted a legislative forum at the Mason City Public Library. One of the main topics covered during the morning was the discussion of making amendments to the medical marijuana bill that passed in 2014.
Three north Iowa women used the forum as a platform to educate the public about the need to amend and recreate a cannabis oil law in the Hawkeye state. “The laws we have now aren’t sufficient,” says Mason City resident Amber Lenius.
Amber tells us she suffers from a condition that causes her chronic and excruciating pain throughout her body. Claudia Tillman of Forest City was also present at the forum talking about her daughter who deals with symptoms and side effects from Ulcerative Colitis on a daily basis. Finally, Mason City resident Cassie Helland spoke about her young son who suffers from regular seizures because of his epilepsy.
“The law that passed last year said that we could legally have it,” explains Helland, “but there’s no way that we could legally get it.” She says this is just one of the many roadblocks for the bill, and that another issue is not including other types of conditions that could benefit from the plant.
Sen. Ragan says that because the legislation was so new for the state, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle aired on the side of caution and wrote the law in a very conservative manner. “When you make a first step you have to do it with a lot of restrictions on and you need to make sure that you’re not making bad choices,” she explains, “but, we heard from a lot of folks today that [the law] really didn’t make much of a difference to them, and they gave us some suggestions and encouraged us to more research.”
However, more research means more time that the bill won’t be ironed out in a way these women would like to see. Now, they’re left to think outside of the box, and even the state. “At this point, I mean, if something doesn’t happen, we may have to move,” says Helland.
“It would mean uprooting myself, my husband, and my six-year-old daughter, and my two-year-old daughter, from our entire family, to a place that we don’t know, just so that I could have a chance to try something that might help my quality-of-life,” explains Lenius.
Session reconvenes on Monday in Des Moines and as of right now, no changes have been made to the law.
SOURCE: NEWSMINER .COM
By Matt Buxton
JUNEAU — With legalized marijuana a month away, lawmakers are hoping to fast track legislation they hope will clear up legal gray areas.
On Friday, the Senate Judiciary Committee introduced Senate Bill 30 to address underage consumption, what constitutes a public place (because public consumption of marijuana will still be illegal) and addresses driving with marijuana.
Ballot Measure 2, which passed by wide margins in the Fairbanks and Juneau areas, makes marijuana possession, use and growing legal when the law officially goes into effect on Feb. 24, 2015. Commercial production and sales will follow next year.
North Pole Republican Sen. John Coghill, the vice-chair of the Judiciary Committee, said the bill is intended to give law enforcement clarity with how to enforce the changes. He said the goal is to get the bill passed before Feb. 24.
“This (bill) deals with what we are immediately implementing,” he said. “We have to at least give clarity to the people who will hold people accountable. We would like to get this to the governor as soon as possible.”
The bill creates laws against a person younger than 21 consuming or possessing marijuana, makes it a crime to give marijuana to a minor, and adds marijuana to the open container laws that already apply for transporting alcohol in a motor vehicle.
It also ties the laws against public consumption of marijuana to existing definition of a public place, which covers anywhere the general public has access. That definition would include a private business open to the public, like a bar.
But there are also a number of points — both big and small — supporters of legalized marijuana see with the bill.
“We’ve got a shopping list of concerns with that bill,” said Bruce Schulte, the spokesman of the Alaska-based Coalition for Responsible Cannabis Legislation. “I understand that they’re on a tremendous time crunch and I think (Judiciary Committee Chair) Sen. Lesil McGuire’s office has the right idea in mind. They want to get it into the queue to get things in place and that’s what’s driving this.”
His biggest complaint is instead of repealing existing laws against marijuana, the bill creates a number of criteria that would serve as a defense to those existing crimes. It would mean people could potentially be arrested and charged for possessing or using marijuana in situations Ballot Measure 2 makes legal, Schulte said.
“It’s guilty until proven innocent instead of innocent until proven guilty,” he said. “If Senate Bill 30 were to play out and go through exactly as written, then law enforcement could go to any marijuana business and arrest them on the spot and let it play out in court. That’s the antithesis of it of what Ballot Measure 2 was.”
But both Schulte and Coghill acknowledge the bill introduced on Friday is a starting point for the legislation, and it could change dramatically by the time it reaches the governor’s desk.
Coghill, along with many members of the Legislature, was an outspoken opponents of legalizing marijuana, but said he putting effort into the bill and hopes to get it right with voters.
“Why are we trying to work with this? Because we have a huge respect for the voters of Alaska,” he said. “We have voted it in and we’re addressing public safety.”
The bill is one of many introduced relating to marijuana this session.
A bill by Rep. Paul Seaton, R-Homer, would delay regulations for marijuana concentrates for one year. Another bill by the House Community and Regional Affairs committee would clean up language dealing with local control and regulation of marijuana.
The bill dealing with regulatory work for commercial marijuana growing and sales, including likely the formation of the Marijuana Control Board, will be introduced later this session, Coghill said.
The Judiciary Committee has scheduled meetings on Senate Bill 30 during each of its meetings next week, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Public testimony on the bill is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Jan. 30. People can testify by attending a local Legislative Information Office.
A judge has dismissed one of two charges against a Minnesota woman who gave her son cannabis oil for chronic pain.
Judge Thomas Van Hon tossed out a charge of child endangerment against Angela Brown of Madison.
Brown still faces a charge of contributing to the need for child protection or services.
Brown has said her 15-year-old son improved dramatically after being given the cannabis oil for pain that stems from a brain injury three years ago.
The family bought the oil legally in Colorado, but medical marijuana doesn’t become legal in Minnesota until this July.
Van Hon filed his omnibus order Thursday. Neither prosecutors nor Brown’s attorney immediately returned phone calls Friday.