Archive for May, 2019

Alabama bill to create medical marijuana study commission advances

May 31st, 2019

The Alabama Legislature might create a medical marijuana study commission that could recommend legislation for next year.

The proposal is a compromise after a Senate-passed bill to legalize medical marijuana hit opposition in the House of Representatives.

The House might vote Friday on the watered-down bill.

State Sen. Tim Melson, a Republican, said the measure would be a step toward allowing ailing patients to access medical marijuana.

Melson’s original bill would have allowed patients with certain medical conditions to purchase MMJ with a doctor’s approval.

The Alabama Senate approved the measure in a 17-6 vote, but the bill hit opposition in the House.

Previous efforts to allow medical marijuana have faltered in the conservative state.

– Associated Press

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New Jersey’s medical marijuana program expansion plan advances

May 31st, 2019

A bill to greatly expand New Jersey’s medical marijuana program cleared the state Senate Thursday. It now heads to the full Assembly for a vote.

The proposal would increase the maximum number of medical marijuana dispensaries, allow patients to buy larger quantities of the drug, and slowly phase out the sales tax on medical cannabis.

Although the bill passed easily, some lawmakers still raised doubts about the state’s medical marijuana program, which has been growing rapidly under Gov. Phil Murphy.

“How dare we use the term medical — when it is — and charge poor people and working people and families sales tax on something that helps them feel better? It is outrageous,” said Sen. Robert Singer, R-Ocean.

The measure would phase out the current 6.625% sales tax on medical marijuana by the year 2025.

The expansion of the state’s medical cannabis program comes after Gov. Murphy and top Democrats failed to rally enough support to legalize recreational marijuana in the Legislature.

Yet some lawmakers said simply expanding the state’s medical marijuana program instead falls short for many residents.

“So many of my constituents will not be able to avail themselves of this medical marijuana because it is cost prohibitive for so many of the lower-income people, the indigent, who have suffered with great pain too,” said Sen. Shirley Turner, D-Mercer.

State Sen. President Steve Sweeney, D-Gloucester, said it is possible that voters would decide the question of legalizing recreational marijuana in a 2020 ballot question.

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Ohio employers can fire employees who use medical marijuana

May 31st, 2019

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio employers can fire employees who use medical marijuana or refuse to hire applicants who use it, according to a report by News 5’s media partners at the

Columbus Dispatch


Although medical marijuana is legal in Ohio, it’s illegal at the federal level and employers are still testing for it.

Employees are unable to sue their employers if they are fired for using medical marijuana and are not eligible for unemployment if fired from a drug-free workplace.

An employee is not allowed to work on a federal contract if they test positive for any drug, including medical marijuana.

Medical marijuana was legalized in Ohio in September 2016.

Ohio’s first dispensary opened on January 16 in Wintersville, Ohio.


Ohio employers can fire workers who use medical marijuana


Ohio Marijuana Medical Card to give away 25 free evaluations per month

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New Jersey Senate Votes to Expand Medical Marijuana Program

May 31st, 2019

New Jersey’s Democrat-led Senate on Thursday passed a bill expanding medical marijuana services.

The Senate voted 33-4 on the bill that increases the number of cultivators, sets up a regulator commission and gets rid of sales tax on prescription cannabis by 2025.

The bill would have gone to Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy’s desk, but last-minute amendments were added so the measure is returning to the Democrat-controlled Assembly.

Senate President Steve Sweeney said the changes would require the state’s existing medical marijuana treatment centers, as well as the new ones slated to open under the legislation, to enter into agreements with labor unions to permit unionization.

The Senate on Thursday also scrapped a planned vote on legislation to make it easier for convicts to clear their records. The bill had drafting errors and will be revised, Sweeney said.

The effort comes amid stalled legislation to legalize recreational marijuana. Murphy this week declined to say whether he’d support the medical marijuana legislation.

Under the expansion, the number of cultivators’ licenses would increase to 23. Currently, there are six treatment centers, with six more planned.

The measure also sets up a five-person commission to oversee the program, taking over from the Health Department.

It also makes it easier for patients to access medical cannabis. Under current law, only doctors can authorize the drug, but the measure permits physician assistants and some nurses to authorize its use.

Among other changes, the legislation would

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NJ medical marijuana expansion moves forward, no expungement vote due to ‘error’

May 30th, 2019

TRENTON – After years of pushing from activists frustrated with New Jersey’s limited medical marijuana program, lawmakers agreed Thursday to make it easier for patients to register and to purchase and consume cannabis for medicinal purposes.

The Jake Honig Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act, which passed the Senate by a 33-4 vote, would raise the monthly limit to 3 ounces per patient and legalize the manufacture and purchase of edible forms of medical marijuana, including food and oils. 

The Assembly passed the bill last week by a 65-5 vote but will have to vote again due to a last-minute amendment on the Senate floor that would require cannabis businesses to allow workers to unionize.

If the Assembly approves that amendment, it will head to Gov. Phil Murphy’s desk. But he does not seem willing to wait around. 

Murphy is planning to take executive action within days to “drastically” expand the medical program, according to a person familiar with the administration’s plans. 

“There are things that I’d change about this bill, but this is a big breakthrough. We had to do these things legislatively. Increasing the amount of product people can get, increasing access points and the number of growers, will dramatically increase

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NJ medical marijuana, expungement changes get Senate vote today

May 30th, 2019

TRENTON — The state Senate on Thursday is expected to pass bills that would expand the New Jersey medical marijuana program and overhaul the process of expunging criminal records in the state. 

The Jake Honig Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act would make it easier for patients to register, purchase and consume cannabis for medicinal purposes. The bill would raise the monthly limit to 3 ounces per patient, and legalize the manufacture and purchase of edible forms of medical marijuana, including food and oils. 

“While the (medical marijuana) bill’s not perfect … this is still light years ahead of our present program, and it’s at a time when it’s exactly appropriate,” bill sponsor Sen. Declan O’Scanlon, R-Monmouth, said last week when the bill cleared the Senate health committee.

MORE: Everything you need to know about the big changes coming to NJ medical marijuana

The state Assembly last week passed the Honig Act last week by a 65-to-5 vote, with 6 abstentions. If the Senate passes the bill, it will head to Gov. Phil Murphy’s desk. 

The bill also removes the requirement for doctors to maintain a “bona fide” relationship with their patients before referring them to the medical marijuana program, allowing them

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Texas Lawmakers OK Medical Marijuana, Industrial Hemp: But goal of decriminalizing low-level possession unattained – News

May 30th, 2019

As was the case on many policy fronts this session, the 86th Texas Legislature failed to bring the state into the 21st century on cannabis regulation, but did make its largest strides in years toward the American mainstream. In a breakthrough that’s literally taken decades to achieve, HB 1325 legalizes the cultivation of industrial hemp, bringing Texas in line with 40 other states and federal law that already allow for production of crops and products (such as CBD oils) that contain less than 0.3% THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana. The freedom-to-farm bill by veteran Rep. Tracy King, D-Batesville, enjoyed backing from both prominent cannabis advocates (Willie Nelson) and conservatives, such as Agri­cul­ture Commissioner Sid Miller, who remain firmly opposed to legal recreational marijuana; if HB 1325 is signed into law by Gov. Abbott, Miller’s agency will make new rules governing hemp production in Texas.

In another example of conservative mellowing toward long-sought reforms, the use of cannabis in health care will (upon Abbott’s signature) be legalized for a new range of conditions, as HB 3703 by Rep. Stephanie Klick, R-North Richland Hills, builds on Texas’ highly restrictive 2015 Compassion­ate Use Act and creates a bona fide medical marijuana program for patients with epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, ALS, terminal cancer, autism, or other seizure disorders and neurodegenerative diseases. The measure still stops short of legalizing cannabis treatment for brain injuries and mental health conditions such as PTSD, as Klick (an R.N.) and Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels (an M.D.) steered the bill

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Medical Marijuana in Maine: Local, accessible, and simple

May 30th, 2019

Medical marijuana has been legal in Maine for many years and getting a medical marijuana card has never been easier.  Patients from every corner of the state are able to be seen in-person or via telemedicine for consideration of treatment. “Telemedicine” is the use of a computer or mobile device, such as a cell phone, to be seen online by a doctor; this allows patients to stay in the comfort and privacy of their own home while being evaluated for certification.

The popularity of medical marijuana has grown exponentially due to the positive benefits it brings to patients who use it. People who have suffered for many years with little or no response from routine medical treatments find considerable relief with the use of medical marijuana. Common diagnoses patients seek certification for include PTSD, chronic pain, neurological disease, or rheumatological conditions, amongst many others.

Image provided by Shutterstock.

New laws have removed “qualifying conditions” for medical marijuana cards. Essentially, if your doctor thinks medical cannabis might benefit you, he or she can certify you.

Obtaining a medical marijuana card in Maine can be done easily by your local company New England Medicine Counseling Associates (NEMCA). To schedule an appointment, people can call NEMCA toll-free at 877-NEMCA-01 (877-636-2201). Staff will work with each patient to determine the most convenient method for being seen, evaluated, and certified right away. The cost for certification is $175 and the process

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Medical marijuana bill now medical marijuana commission bill

May 29th, 2019


More than 60% of people who use medical marijuana want to relieve chronic pain.
Wochit, Montgomery Advertiser

It’s not medical marijuana. But it’s a start. 

An Alabama House committee Wednesday approved a bill that would establish a commission to develop legislation and regulations for medical cannabis – a step back from a much more ambitious Senate version, but one that is more likely to the pass the House. 

“It’s at a point where we can all work with it,” said Sen. Tim Melson, R-Florence, the sponsor of the bill. “It’s a big step and everybody is stepping out of their comfort zone.”

House Speaker Mac McCutcheon, R-Monrovia, said after the vote there was a “good possibility” the bill would be on the floor of the House on Thursday.

The bill originally would have allowed patients suffering from a dozen conditions – including opioid addiction; cancer and post-traumatic stress disorder – to use medical marijuana if they had the recommendation of two physicians and if other remedies failed to work. The patient would need a special card

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Maryland’s plan to diversify medical cannabis market attracts 160 applicants for 14 new licenses despite snags

May 29th, 2019

Maryland’s attempt to promote diverse ownership in its medical cannabis industry has attracted more than 160 applications from firms seeking to score one of the state’s 14 new licenses.

More than a year after state lawmakers and Gov. Larry Hogan passed a law to boost participation by minority- and women-owned businesses, the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission announced that competition will be fierce for four cannabis growing licenses and 10 for processing the plant into medical products.

Despite the healthy interest by companies, the new application process — like so many other milestones in Maryland’s medical marijuana market — has been marred by malfunction that regulators will work on fixing by Friday.

Many applicants faced technical issues with their submissions as the state’s online portal was inundated at last Friday’s 5 p.m. deadline, commission officials said. But they assured applicants that the technical issues should not prevent anyone from getting a fair shot at a stake in a fast-growing industry that generated $109 million in sales last year.