Arkansas Update! Get ready residents !

 

By TAFI MUKUNYADZI, Associated Press

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas’ medical marijuana industry will ramp up in the next week, with the state poised to accept applications from potential patients, growers and distributors.

Beginning Friday, the state Medical Marijuana Commission will accept applications from those hoping to grow or supply marijuana, while the Health Department will take applications from those hoping to benefit from the first marijuana-as-medicine program in the Bible Belt. The application periods will run until Sept. 18.

State officials expect anywhere from 20,000 to 40,000 people to seek permission to use the drug for a number of health problems. It will cost $50 to apply and permits must be renewed yearly.

Potential patients must submit written certification from a physician to obtain a registration card, demonstrating that the doctor has fully assessed the patient’s medical history. The application must show that there’s an established physician-patient relationship and that the patient has a certain qualifying medical condition.

All applicants must have a driver’s license or state-issued ID card, and those under age 18 need the consent of a parent or guardian to apply.

Family Council president Jerry Cox, who opposed the medical marijuana plan, fears that some may try to “game” the system and obtain marijuana even if they don’t have one of the 18 medical conditions listed in the law. The health issues include intractable pain, cancer, glaucoma, a positive HIV/AIDS status, hepatitis C, Tourette’s syndrome, Crohn’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder and severe nausea.

Cox said intractable pain and severe nausea are conditions that are difficult to medically prove and that doctors have to take patients at their word when recommending them for medical marijuana. He said that state lawmakers could’ve placed more restrictions on medical marijuana, like blanket bans on edibles and smoking.

Delaware House panel approves marijuana legalization bill

DOVER, Del. – (AP) – A bill legalizing the recreational use of marijuana in Delaware has cleared its first legislative hurdle.

The legislation, which was released Wednesday by a House committee and now goes to the full House for a vote, regulates and taxes marijuana in the same manner as alcohol.

The bill doesn’t allow people to grow their own marijuana but allows adults over age 21 to legally possess less than an ounce of marijuana for personal use.

The legislation would create a commission to regulate, license and tax the marijuana industry, allowing licenses for up to 40 retail stores.

Consumers would pay an excise tax of $50 an ounce, while businesses would pay an application fee of $5,000 and a $10,000 licensing fee every two years.

Vermont legislature approves recreational marijuana use

A measure legalizing marijuana use in Vermont cleared the state’s legislature on Wednesday.

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) has said the legislation is not “a priority for Vermont” and has not made a final decision as to whether he will sign it. The measure makes Vermont the ninth state to legalize recreational marijuana use among adults and the first to legalize through a legislative process. Other states have approved recreational marijuana use through ballot initiatives.

“Vermont lawmakers made history today,” said Matt Simon, the New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project, a marijuana policy group. “The legislature has taken a crucial step toward ending the failed policy of marijuana prohibition.” Eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized the possession and use of marijuana, though each state has its own rules and regulations. For example, in Washington — one of the first states to legalize pot — only individuals using the drug for medical purposes can grow it, though any adult is allowed to possess and use it.

In Washington, D.C., marijuana can be used and “gifted,” but not bought, sold or exchanged for other goods or services.

Marijuana use is illegal according to federal policy, and President Trump’s opposition to legalization has created uncertainty for some states seeking to regulate the industry.

If signed by the governor, the Vermont measure would remove civil penalties for possessing one ounce of marijuana or less and would allow adults to keep up to two mature pot plants. It would also create a commission to develop a plan for taxing and regulating the drug.

NJ Marijuana-oil bill for schools passed by legislature

A bill that would allow children with certain debilitating conditions to take marijuana oil while attending school has been passed by the New Jersey legislature and is headed to the desk of Gov. Christie. Only children who had been issued marijuana identification cards by the state Health Department would be eligible for the treatment. The Senate granted final approval Monday after the Assembly voted in favor of an identical bill. “We’re talking about some of the state’s most severely disabled students, some of whom suffer life-threatening seizures, and medical marijuana is the only thing that has helped ease their condition,” said Assembly Majority Leader Louis D. Greenwald (D., Camden), who sponsored the bill with Pamela Lampitt (D., Camden). In recent months, parents of students who suffer from seizure disorders have appealed school policies that prohibit the use of marijuana on school grounds even by children with marijuana IDs, according to a statement released by the bill sponsors. In one case, a Maple Shade student is now attending school part-time so that she can get the midday dose of cannabis that her parents say control her seizures. 

Roger and Lora Barbour sued their town’s school district and the Larc School for the developmentally disabled in Bellmawr, saying Genny, 16, was being deprived of her medical needs, according to a NJ Advance Media report. An administrative law judge found in favor of the schools, citing the federal prohibition against marijuana, but the parents are appealing.
“Eliminating ambiguities in our current law will help ease the concerns of school districts who might fear liability,” Lampitt said in a statement. “This simple change in the law will help parents ensure that their children do not suffer throughout the day when relief is so near at hand.” The bill would authorize parents, guardians, or primary caregivers to administer medical marijuana on school grounds, on a school bus, and at a school-sponsored activity, in a location the school designates. The drug must be in a non-smokable form. The bill also calls for the chief administrator of a private facility that provides services to students with developmental disabilities to create a similar policy to accommodate children who need cannabis treatment.

– Jan Hefler

Salt Lake City, Utah- Senate Kills Bill 

SALT LAKE CITY – Legislation that would have legalized medicinal marijuana in the state was killed in the state Senate by a single vote Monday night. Senate Bill 259, which passed a second substitute version of the bill in the Senate last week in a 16-13 vote, was defeated in its fourth substituted version’s third reading Monday night in a 15-14 vote. “Obviously I’m disappointed,” said Sen. Mark Madsen, R-Saratoga Springs, following the Monday nights vote. 


Madsen said he was disappointed in the Senate and some fellow senators who he thought supported the bill. As well, he said he felt disappointed in himself for letting down the people the bill is meant to aid. SB 259 would have allowed individuals with qualifying illnesses to be able to register with a state database in order to possess medical cannabis and related devices for ingestion. State-licensed individuals could also grow and sell medical cannabis.


Among the qualifying illnesses the bill list includes: AIDS, Alzheimer’s Disease, Chron’s Disease, glaucoma, post traumatic stress disorder, cancer, multiple sclerosis and other ailments.


Sen. Evan Vickers, R-Cedar City, a pharmacist by profession, said in an email Friday that he felt the bill didn’t give the state enough oversight in the matter.


“It does not allow for the state to have any oversight for important things like money transactions, inspections of its manufacturing facilities, the testing and labeling of the product, patient counseling, verification that the prescription from the physician is valid, etc.,” Vickers wrote.


Vickers voted against the second version of SB 259 last week, and did so again Monday night when a fourth version was put forward. However, he said he wasn’t completely against the idea of medicinal cannabis.


A no vote doesn’t mean you aren’t intrigued with the idea, because many of us are, me included,” Vickers said.


Some lawmakers, such as Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, said they worried the bill could open the door to policy abuse. Gov. Gary Herbert has also said he worried that approving medicinal marijuana would open the door to recreational use.


“If the Legislature won’t do it, let’s have the people do it themselves,” Madsen said, suggesting the possibility of the public seeking medical marijuana legalization through a public initiative if their elected officials keep refusing to advance it on their end.


Maryland – Update!

In a year when budget cuts dominate debate in Annapolis, advocates for legalizing marijuana are mounting a renewed effort to get Maryland to follow the lead of Colorado and Washington state – if not now, then in a year or two.

A Colorado state legislator and an elected official from Seattle joined legalization supporters at a press conference in Annapolis Friday to say that voter-passed initiatives in their states are proceeding more or less smoothly to treat recreational use of cannabis much like another legal but regulated substance, alcohol.

“The sky hasn’t fallen. Things are working,” said Jonathan Singer, a Colorado state representative. He said he was one of only two lawmakers in his state to publicly endorse the 2012 voter initiative there to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana.

Peter S. Holmes, Seattle’s elected city attorney, said he ran on a promise to stop prosecuting marijuana possession cases, because he believed they were undermining law enforcement and public respect for the law.

Washington state is gradually proceeding to establish a regulated marijuana industry, Holmes said, with only about a third of the authorized retail outlets open so far.

Legalization efforts have fallen short twice before in Annapolis, and sponsors of this year’s bill acknowledge it’s a long shot this session, too. But they point to a recent poll indicating 53 percent of Marylanders support legalization.

Del. Curt Anderson, a Baltimore Democrat who’s sponsored the previous efforts, said he believes lawmakers will eventually come around to legalizing marijuana.

Anderson said Maryland’s move last year to decriminalize possession of small amounts wasn’t enough. Although police and prosecutors in Baltimore city and a few other big counties are pursuing fewer pot cases, he said that’s not the case everywhere around the state.

“Marijuana isn’t the the drug people think it is,” he said.

Marijuana is still illegal under federal law.. That casts a significant shadow on states’ efforts to legalize it, particularly in restricting marijuana producers and retailers’ access to the federally regualted banking system.

But with Congress unable or unwilling to change that, states are acting, said state Sen. Jamie Raskin, a Montgomery County Democrat who’s chief sponsor in that chamber.

“Federal drug policy has been a total failure for decades now,” he said, “and states are moving ahead.”

Anderson, Raskin and other supporters say they hope lawmakers will warm to the idea of legalization after hearing how other states are managing it and avoiding pitfalls.

According to Singer, there’s been no increase in teen marijuana use in Coloradio since it was legalized, no increase in driving-while-impaired offenses and no jump in violent crime related to drug dealing. What’s more, he said, it’s brought $60 million in tax revenue to the state.

Even so, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller said he does not believe legislators were ready to approve legalization.

“We’re going to move forward with medical marijuana, try to solve people’s aches and ills,” Miller said. “If it’s a valuable resource for people with cancer, we’re going to make it available to them.

“But in terms of making it available to the general public,” the Calvert County Democrat added, “I don’t anticipate that happening any time soon.” Lawmakers still have questions about keeping marijuana away from children and teens and how to end the black market in illegal pot sales, he said.

Iowa – Medical marijuana at the forefront of legislative sessions

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.