Idaho Senate Revises Cannabis Oil Bill 

    A bill fronted by Boise Republican Sen. Chuck Winder, which would legalize the use of medication derived from cannabis in the treatment of some forms of epilepsy, is advancing to the full Senate. 

    Other versions of the measure had stalled at the Idaho Statehouse, but the latest rewrite passed through the Senate State Affairs Committee on Friday by a unanimous vote. 

    Winder’s bill would require the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare to issue registration cards for users, and joins another bill from Boise Republican Sen. Curt McKenzie that would also open the way for use of cannabis-derived medicine to treat seizure disorders.

    McKenzie’s bill, which would provide patients and caregivers with a legal defense if prosecuted for using or possessing cannabidiol, narrowly passed the State Affairs Committee on March 13. 

    Texas Update 

    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.


    Michigan Update

    LANSING, Mich. (AP) – The state Senate has approved a bill that would prohibit the smoking of medical marijuana on rental properties where a landlord has prohibited it. 

    The bill, approved 34-3 on Tuesday, would amend Michigan’s medical marijuana act, approved by voters in 2008. The bill passed with more than the three-fourths vote needed to amend a voter-approved initiative.

    Under the bill, landlords also would not be required to lease property to someone who smoked or grew marijuana on a property where those actions were prohibited according to a lease agreement.

    The bill will now to go the House for consideration.

    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.


    Michigan – Several proposals to clarify marijuana law

    LANSING, MI — The legal status of medical marijuana dispensaries and edible products could be clarified under re-introduced legislation that stalled out last year in the Michigan Legislature.

    The proposals would help local communities, patients and caregivers, according to state Rep. Mike Callton, R-Nashville, while allowing “law enforcement to responsibly regulate Michigan’s medical marijuana law in a common-sense fashion.”

    Callton, in a Thursday morning press conference, announced a new bill that would provide a regulatory framework for “provisioning centers,” which could sell extra medical marijuana grown by caregivers after the product was tested for quality and contaminants.

    Local governments could choose to ban provisioning centers or limit the number of storefronts that can operate under Callton’s proposal.

    Separate legislation sponsored by Rep. Lisa Lyons, R-Alto, would allow certified medical marijuana patients to use non-smokable forms for the drug, including liquids, edibles and topical creams.

    “The issue we’re talking about today isn’t whether you support medicinal marijuana or not. The fact is voters do, and they did so overwhelmingly,” said Lyons.

    “The question today is how do we make sure patients have safe access to medicinal marijuana and, very importantly, how can we ensure parents and patients have alternative measures to using marijuana besides smoking?”

    Ida Chinonis of Grand Blanc, whose 6-year-old daughter with a congenital genetic disorder, said she turned to medical marijuana after Bella suffered a seizure that lasted an entire weekend.

    She obtained marijuana oil from a dispensary in the Detroit area and provides it to her daughter via oral injection three times a day.

    “Our last resort was to try medical marijuana, and so far it’s working,” Chinonis said, noting she had previously given her daughter prescription pharmaceuticals.

    Michigan’s 2008 medical marijuana law does not directly address dispensaries or edible products, and a series of court cases have clouded the legal status of both.

    The Michigan Supreme Court, in an early 2013 ruling, empowered county prosecutors to shut down medical marijuana dispensaries as a “public nuisance” but similar businesses have continued to operate in many communities.

    Similarly, the Michigan Court of Appeals has ruled that “pot brownies” are not a usable form of marijuana allowable under the medical law, raising questions about various “medible” products.

    Lansing Police Chief Michael Yankowski said that uncertainty over the status medical marijuana dispensaries makes enforcement and prosecution challenging. He welcomed legislation to clarify the legal status.

    “If I have a choice between a shooting and a medical marijuana dispensary, I’m going to investigate the shooting, because we’re clear on what the rules and regulation are,” Yankowski said.

    Detroit City Councilman James Tate also offered support for the legislation, as did Sens. Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, David Knezek, D-Dearborn Heights and Coleman Young II, D-Detroit.

    Notably absent from the press conference was the Michigan Sheriffs’ Association, which raised concerns about similar legislation late last year and effectively helped kill the bills in the Senate.

    The association has not yet responded to a request for comment on the reintroduced bills.

    “I don’t think we’ll be able to do this if they’re against us,” said Callton, saying he hoped to engage the sheriffs’ group in the process as the legislation moves forward. “But I do think everyone is starting to recognize we need a rational approach to medical marijuana.”

    Iowa – update (KCCDI.Com)

    Iowa’s medical marijuana law is barely a year old and some legislators are already looking to change it.

    Under a proposed piece of legislation, certain Iowa businesses would be allowed to produce and distribute medical marijuana.

    Senate Democrats said they are doing this to expand the availability of the drug for Iowans who need it. They announced Monday that they will introduce the legislation this session.

    This comes after a day when two Senate committees heard from a number of residents at the Statehouse who described their difficulties in trying to obtain medical marijuana in order to treat personal or family illnesses.

    Last year, Gov. Terry Branstad signed a bill into law that allows for the possession and use of cannabis oil to treat chronic epilepsy.

    But the law does not provide any way for residents to make or distribute the oil in Iowa. It also prohibits other forms of medical marijuana, which is a huge problem for Iowans who suffer from other illnesses.

    The proposed legislation would create a program that monitors the production and distribution or medical marijuana in Iowa.

    FULL ARTICLE HERE

    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.