governor

Ohio: Governor Kasich Signs Medical Marijuana Law

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Ohio Governor John Kasich on Wednesday signed House Bill 523 into law, making Ohio the 25th medical marijuana state.

Kasisch's communications team announced the signing without any comment, simply including in a list of other bills the governor also signed on Wednesday, reports Jackie Borchardt of Cleveland.com.

"This is a joyous day for the thousands of Ohioans who will finally be able to safely access much-needed medicine," said Ohioans for Medical Marijuana spokesman Aaron Marshall. "As we continue this movement to bring medical marijuana to all Buckeyes who need it, we will remember today as a huge step forward."

The new law goes into effect 90 days after the bill is officially filed with the Ohio Secretary of State, making medical marijuana legal sometime in early September. Patients will then have an "affirmative defense" against prosecution for marijuana possession charges if they have written authorization from their doctor to use marijuana in a form allowed under the law.

It could be a year or more until Ohioans can actually walk into a storefront dispensary and buy medical marijuana. The program must be operational within two years, according to the law, but lawmakers said it will probably be up and running sooner than that.

Illinois: Medical Marijuana Advocates Cheer Governor's About-Face On Expanding Program

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Medical marijuana advocates are applauding Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner's about-face on expanding the state's medicinal cannabis pilot program, saying it will allow time to show the program is working and help more suffering patients.

Democratic Rep. Lou Lang on Friday announced an agreement with the Republican governor to extend the state's four-year medical marijuana pilot program to 2020, reports the Associated Press.

The program had been set to expire in 2018, but advocates said more time is needed because medicinal cannabis sales only began in November 2015.

The agreement, which still must be approved by the Illinois Legislature, adds post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and terminal illness to the qualifying conditions for medical marijuana.

Governor Rauner had previously balked at adding any conditions, despite recommendations from the Illinois Medical Cannabis Advisory Board.

Chairwoman Dr. Leslie Mendoza Temple of the board said she's "thrilled" that more patients will now benefit from the program.

Photo of Gov. Bruce Rauner: Chicago Now

California: LA County Democrats Endorse AUMA Marijuana Legalization

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Largest Democratic County Committee in California says ballot measure will “protect children” and “provide critical funding for public health”

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The campaign in support of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) on Wednesday announced the official endorsement of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party (LACDP), the largest Democratic county committee in California and the largest local Democratic Party organization in the nation.

The LACDP represents more than 2.4 million registered Democrats and a population larger than 42 other states in the 88 cities and the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County.

“Los Angeles County Democrats support the Adult Use of Marijuana Act because it will end the failed policies of prohibition which have disproportionately harmed communities of color, it will protect California’s children and it will provide critical funding for public health and public safety programs,” said Los Angeles County Democratic Party Chair and California Democratic Party Vice Chair Eric C. Bauman.

Supporters of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act say the measure includes strong safeguards for children, businesses and local governments, strict anti-monopoly provisions and the toughest warning label and marketing-to-kids laws in the nation.

Alabama: Governor Signs Leni's Law, Increasing Access To Medical Cannabis Oil

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Patients in Alabama will have greater access to medical cannabis oil after Governor Robert Bentley on Wednesday signed HB 61, also know as Leni's Law, as passed by the Alabama Legislature.

Gov. Bentley's signature decriminalizes possession of medical marijuana CBD oil with THC content of up to 3 percent. The bill is named for a four-year-old girl whose family moved to Oregon to legally access cannabidiol cannabis oil to treat her severe epilepsy, and was hailed as a victory by Leni's mother, Amy Young, reports Paul Gattis at Al.com.

"We are incredibly grateful to the state of Alabama for giving families like ours the opportunity to find relief from life altering and debilitating conditions, and hope for a better quality of life," Young told Hemp News Wednesday afternoon. "Access to medical treatment shouldn't be determined by your zip code."

"I've got this smile glued to my face," said Young, who revealed she'd already received calls from lawmakers in Iowa, South Dakota and Tennessee since the Leni's Law was signed.

Pennsylvania: Governor Says Medical Marijuana Doesn't Mean Legalization

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Medical marijuana is now legal in Pennsylvania, but Governor Tom Wolf has rushed to say that doesn't mean full legalization, or even a pathway there.

"This is not a gateway to anything other than ... reinforcing what we've always done and that is allow doctors, encourage doctors, to do what they can do to make the lives of their patients more comfortable," Gov. Wolf told KDKA Morning News.

Implementing the newly legal medicinal cannabis programs is expected to take from 18 to 24 months, but Gov. Wolf said patients should get relief long before that.

"People should be able to start using these medicines quickly," Gov. Wolf said. "If someone were to go to another state and buy it legally and bring it back for medicinal purposes, I kind of doubt that most prosecutors would pursue a case."

States that have effective medical marijuana laws have a 24.8 percent lower opioid overdose death rate, according to a 2014 study done by researchers at the Philadelphia VA. While Gateway Medical Director Neil Capretto called that study "tentative," he said he hopes it's true.

Massachusetts: Campaign To Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Responds To New Opposition Committee

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The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol on Thursday issued a statement in response to Gov. Charlie Baker, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh’s announcement the same day, that they have formed a committee to oppose the campaign’s initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Massachusetts.

Earlier in the day, the Western New England University Polling Institute released the results of a statewide survey that found 57 percent of Massachusetts voters support the proposed initiative and just 35 percent are opposed.

“Our campaign will not allow our opponents to claim the high road on matters of public health and safety," said Jim Borghesani, communications director for the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. "The truth is that the greatest danger associated with marijuana is its illegal status. Our opponents seem to prefer that criminals control the marijuana market and sell untested, unlabeled products to people of any age.

“Gov. Baker and others need to understand that conflating the opioid epidemic with marijuana sends a very dangerous message to our youth," Borghesani said. "The blurring of lines between drugs in this country is a pattern that started with Richard Nixon more than four decades ago. And it has caused more harm than good.

Vermont: Governor Says Marijuana Legalization Is 'Enlightened' Thing To Do

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Vermont could make history this spring. As Governor Peter Shumlin nears the end of his term in office, he wants the state to become the first in the union to legalize marijuana through its Legislature.

In an interview with Katy Steinmetz of Time Magazine, Gov. Shumlin said "I think the more enlightened states are trying to get ahead of this one" when it comes to cannabis legalization.

"There is no question America is going to move to a more sensible policy, state by state," Shumlin said.

"We’re all spending huge amounts of energy focusing on the evils of pot smoking and we hardly talk about the fact that in 2010, we sold enough drugs legally through our pharmacies in the form of Oxycontin to keep every adult American high for a month," the Governor pointed out. "That has led to death, destruction, addiction to heroin that’s affecting every state in America. And then we flip out about the possibility that we could move to a more sensible approach to marijuana."

"Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has also talked openly about using marijuana," Steinmetz asked Gov. Shumlin. "Have you ever tried it?" "Yes," Shumlin replied. "I was in Vermont in the '70s... We inhaled."

"I'm hoping that Vermont will be the first state that does it legislatively because we have learned from the states that have made mistakes doing it by referendum," Gov. Shumlin said. "We are trying to pass the first cautious, sensible marijuana legalizing bill in the country."

Washington: Governor Vetoes Industrial Hemp Bill, 26 More In 'Fit of Childish Rage'

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

You have to love state Rep. Cary Condotta of Chelan, Washington. This straight-shooting libertarian-leaning Republican calls it as he sees it, and he's very unhappy with Gov. Jay Inslee.

Inslee, piqued with the Washington Senate for not agreeing to a House budget, vetoed 27 bills in a row, according to Condotta, including an industrial hemp bill.

"Apparently in a childish fit of rage our moron, yes that's what I said moron, governor has vetoed a number of really good bills including our hemp bill which was three years in the making," Condotta posted on Facebook late Thursday night. "I would hope that Democrats and Republicans alike would immediately start a recall campaign for this idiot who has never had any business holding this office to start with."

"I think we have grounds to find him unfit for office," Condotta posted. "He has accomplished absolutely nothing in his four years and now has unaccomplished a lot fo hard work because he's emotionally unstable.

"Enough," Condotta posted. The state deserves a competent governor, Democrat or Republican, that has the talent and maturity to lead."

Condotta went on to call Inslee a "The so called governor," and called his fit of pique the "Most outrageous action imaginable."

The representative, no fan of former Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire, even went so far as to post "She was very classy compared to this guy."

Florida: Poll Shows Strong Support For Asset Forfeiture Reform; Bill Heads To Gov's Desk

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An overwhelming majority of registered Florida voters support civil asset forfeiture reform, according to a new poll released by Drug Policy Action. Eighty-four percent of Florida registered voters, including 86 percent of all Republicans and 81 percent of independents, think police should not be able to seize and permanently take away property from people who have not been convicted of a crime.

Sixty-six percent of voters polled, including 65 percent of Republicans and 68 percent of Democrats, would be more likely to support a candidate for president who took the position that the government should not be able to take property from a person who has not been convicted of a crime.

“The notion that police officers can take cash or other property from people never charged with any criminal wrongdoing and keeping any profits from the sale of seized property doesn’t sit well with the public,” said Grant Smith, deputy director of national affairs for Drug Policy Action. “Voters want action on civil asset forfeiture.

"Governor Scott should sign the reform legislation on his desk, and presidential candidates would be wise to address the issue,” Smith said.

The Florida House of Representatives on Wednesday unanimously passed SB 1044, reforming Florida’s “Contraband Forfeiture Act,” sending the legislation to Gov. Scott’s desk for a signature. Last week the Florida Senate passed the legislation, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Brandes, in a 38–0 vote.

Washington: Legislature OKs Industrial Hemp Cultivation; Bill Heads To Governor's Desk

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Washington Legislature on Tuesday passed a bill that would allow licensed farmers to produce industrial hemp in the state as part of a research program.

Senate Bill 6206 unanimously passed the Washington House, 97-0, on Tuesday after passing the state Senate last month, reports the Associated Press. It now heads to Governor Jay Inslee's desk.

The measure would allow Washington State University to conduct a research program on the feasibility of industrial hemp production in the state. WSU would report to the Legislature in January 2017.

Industrial hemp can be made into a number of products such as food, fuel, fiber, clothing, cosmetics and medicines.

The Washington Department of Agriculture would supervise the program and license hemp farmers.

Graphic: Marijuana Venture

Georgia: Medical Marijuana Won't Be Grown Anytime Soon

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Medical marijuana won't be grown in Georgia anytime soon, according to sources close to the situation.

Macon lawmaker Rep. Allen Peake, who has pushed medicinal cannabis legislation, stripped in-state cultivation out of House Bill 722 on Monday, reports Christopher S. Hopper at 11Alive News.

Other lawmakers, law enforcement officials, religious groups, and even Governor Nathan Deal had joined in an increasingly shrill chorus of voices warning against growing medical marijuana in Georgia. These excitable folks apparently believe that -- uniquely among all medical marijuana states, which are now about half the Union -- Georgia would somehow be selected for persecution and prosecution by the federal government if it dares do something really crazy like protecting sick folks.

HB 722 was widely viewed as the next step after House Bill 1 passed last year, allowing patients to lawfully use and possess non-psychoactive cannabidiol (CBD) cannabis oil. Patients were counting on HB 722 to make it easier for them to obtain their medicine.

A gutted version of HB 722, with in-state cultivation language stripped away, was written up. The gutted version also takes away original language which would have given a greater number of patients access by expanding the allowed list of illnesses from eight 1o 17. PTSD and intractable pain were both removed from the list.

New Jersey: Christie Won't Apologize To Family Who Left State For Child's Medical Marijuana

VivianAndBrianWilson[NJ.com]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on Wednesday defended his state's strict medical marijuana program, shrugging off a suggestion that a family had no choice but to relocate to Colorado so their ailing daughter could access medicinal cannabis products.

"Vivian Wilson's family chose themselves to leave the state of New Jersey," an unapologetic Christie blustered, reports Susan K. Livio at NJ Advance Media. "The fact is we signed into law the ability for children to get medical marijuana under very strict guidelines."

"The folks who want edibles all the time for kids should go to Colorado," Christie said. "So you know, I'm sorry, I am an anti-marijuana guy. You are a pro-marijuana guy," he said to a spectator at Wednesday's town hall who asked about the Wilson family, and whether it was fair they were forced to leave the state for their daughter's health. "That's fine," Christie said. "I'll enforce the federal law."

"This is a medical program, not a recreational program," the incredibly insensitive Christie unnecessarily pointed out. (Is this loud-mouthed lard tub really suggesting that Vivian's parents want to get her stoned?)

Vivian, 4, suffers from Dravet syndrome, a severe, potentially life-threatening form of epilepsy that results in seizures that traditional pharmaceuticals have been unable to control.

Maryland: Legislature Overrides Veto Of Bill To Fix Marijuana Decrim Law

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53% of Maryland voters support regulating marijuana like alcohol, according to new Gonzales Research poll

The Maryland House and Senate voted 86-55 and 29-17, respectively, on Thursday to override Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of a bill intended to fix the state’s marijuana decriminalization law.

SB 517, introduced by Sen. Bobby Zirkin (D-Baltimore County), removes criminal penalties for possession of marijuana paraphernalia. The measure also imposes a new civil fine of up to $500 on public cannabis consumption.

Gov. Hogan vetoed the bill in May 2015, after it was approved 32-13 in the Senate and 83-53 in the House of Delegates.

Maryland adopted a law in 2014 that was intended to decriminalize simple marijuana possession, but it did not include marijuana paraphernalia.

A new poll released on Thursday shows that the majority of Maryland voters support broader cannabis policy reform. A statewide survey of 818 registered voters conducted by Gonzales Research and Marketing Strategies found 53 percent favor a change in Maryland law to allow marijuana to be regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol. Only 43 percent were opposed.

The poll was conducted Jan. 11-16 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent. The full results are available at www.mpp.org/Md2016poll.

Louisiana: Sentencing Reprieve Requested For Man Given 13 Years For 2 Joints

BeNobleFreeNoble[StopTheDrugWar.org]

The Drug Policy Alliance on Tuesday formally requested Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal to grant Bernard Noble a gubernatorial reprieve and release him from prison, where he has served more than four years behind bars having been sentenced to a term of 13.3 years of hard labor without the opportunity for parole for possessing the equivalent of two marijuana cigarettes.

Pursuant to Article IV, Section 5 of the Louisiana Constitution, the Governor has the absolute power to issue reprieves of persons convicted of crimes against the state. Drug Policy Alliance has written Governor Jindal asking him to exercise his power of office by staying Noble’s unjust sentence and setting him free.

Legislation signed into law by Governor Jindal earlier this year would make Noble a free man today had it been the law at the time of his offense. Because the new law is not retroactive in its application, a gubernatorial reprieve is required for Noble’s release. Noble has been a model prisoner during his incarceration.

Back in March, Gov. Jindal denied a clemency request from Noble; the reason given was that Noble hadn't yet served 10 years in prison.

New York: Gov. Cuomo Signs Medical Marijuana Emergency Access Bill

AndrewCuomoSmiling[Matzav.com]

Patients and Families Applaud Gov. Cuomo and Call on Health Department to Implement Law Quickly and Get Medicine to Critically Ill Patients

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

After months of pressure from patients and advocates, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday signed a bill that will expedite access to medical marijuana for critically ill patients.

In June, with overwhelming bipartisan support, both houses of the legislature passed A.7060 (Gottfried) / S.5086 (Griffo), directing the state to establish a program to help critically ill patients obtain emergency access to medical marijuana as soon as possible. The bill was delivered to Governor on October 30, and he had until Wednesday to either sign or veto the bill.

The bill instructs the state to issue patient cards to qualified, critically ill patients as soon as possible, making it clear that they are medical marijuana patients and affording them some protection from law enforcement and child protective services.

"Patients in New York have waited long enough for legal access to medical cannabis," said Roger Volodarsky, founder and CEO of local Brooklyn-based vaporizer technology company Puffco. "It's outrageous that they have been forced to go years without relief while politicians procrastinate, but this new law means that the day when those who need marijuana-based medicine will be able to safely obtain it from legal businesses will be here sooner rather than later."

New York: Day Before Deadline, Marijuana Patients and Families Rally At Governor's Office

AndrewCuomo[MikeGroll-AP]

Patients, Families Demand Gov. Cuomo Sign Emergency Access to Medical Marijuana Bill

Bill That Would Provide Faster Relief to Suffering Patients Passed NYS Legislature with Overwhelming Bipartisan Support But Needs Cuomo’s Signature to Become Law

One day before the deadline for Governor Cuomo to sign or veto a bill that would create emergency access to medical marijuana, patients and advocates rallied outside his office to demand action. Since the medical marijuana law passed a year ago, not one patient in New York has been able to access medical marijuana and at least four children, who could have likely benefited from it, have tragically died while waiting to obtain this much-needed medicine.

The emergency access bill was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support by the New York State legislature last June and delivered to Governor Cuomo on October 30th. He has ten days to sign or veto the bill, making the deadline for action November 11th.

Compassionate Care NY held a press conference urging Governor Cuomo to sign the emergency access bill.

Since last July, advocates have been pressuring the Cuomo Administration to create an interim emergency access program for patients who may not survive the eighteen months or longer that the Governor has said he needs to get the full medical marijuana program up and running. After the Governor’s Office failed to take action, advocates turned to the Legislature.

New York: Patients, Families Rally at Cuomo's Office to Demand Emergency Medical Marijuana

AndrewCuomo[MikeGroll-AP]

Bill That Would Provide Faster Relief to Suffering Patients Passed New York Legislature with Overwhelming Bipartisan Support But Needs Cuomo’s Signature to Become Law

One day before the deadline for Governor Cuomo to sign or veto a bill that would create emergency access to medical marijuana, patients and advocates will rally outside his office to demand action. Since the medical marijuana law passed a year ago, not one patient in New York has been able to access medical marijuana and at least four children, who could have likely benefited from it, have tragically died while waiting to obtain this much-needed medicine.

The emergency access bill was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support by the New York State legislature last June and delivered to Governor Cuomo on October 30th. He has ten days to sign or veto the bill, making the deadline for action November 11th.

Compassionate Care NY will hold a press conference urging Governor Cuomo to sign the emergency access bill.

What: Press conference and rally urging Cuomo to sign a bill to create emergency access to medical marijuana

Who:
• Representatives of the Drug Policy Alliance
• Missy Miller, mother of a child with a severe seizure disorder
• Reginald Brown, person living with HIV/AIDS
• Wanda Hernandez, person living with HIV/AIDS

When: Tuesday, November 10th, 10:00 AM

California: CCIA Thanks Gov. Brown For Signing Medical Marijuana Regulations

NateBradleyExecutiveDirectorCaliforniaCannabisIndustryAssociation[NCIA]

After almost 20 years without statewide regulations, California Governor Jerry Brown on Friday signed historic legislation creating a legal framework for medical cannabis.

"This is an important first step that will allow California's cannabis industry to come out of the shadows and into the light," said California Cannabis Industry Association (CCIA) executive director Nate Bradley. "California will now be able to take it’s rightful place as the center of investment and innovation in the cannabis economy.

"Governor Brown and his colleagues in the legislature have just given the green light to let California’s cannabis industry become the thriving, tax-paying, job-creating industry it was always destined to become," Bradley said.

California has is the largest legal cannabis market in the US. -- representing $1.3 billion in annual sales and nearly half the legal U.S. market, according to Bradley. "The signing of the Medical Marijuana Regulation & Safety Act (MMRSA) is an important milestone, nearly 20 years in the making," Bradley said.

"Today’s signing represents the most significant victory for the industry since Washington and Colorado legalized recreational use in 2012," Bradley said on Friday.

"That said, we believe parts of the bills need fixing," Bradley said. "We will pursue clean up legislation -- and take part in the rulemaking process -- to address these issues.

California: Gov. Brown Vetoes New Hash Crimes Bill

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

California Gov. Jerry Brown on Saturday vetoed a bill which would have created new penalties for making hash oil with flammable chemicals like butane. Brown said the state already has enough laws, and a prison overcrowding problem, and doesn't need to make the problem worse.

The Golden State has seen a rise in explosions and fires caused by the extraction of cannabis concentrates using volatile solvents like butane, reports David Downs at East Bay Express. But it's already against the law to make butane hash oil (BHO) in Cali. Arson and criminal negligence are also already crimes there.

Assembly Bill 849, from East Bay Assemblymember Susan Bonilla, would have created a new crime carrying prison sentences of up to six years for BHO blasters who hurt others. The bill passed the California Assembly -- unanimously! -- on August 31.

But Gov. Brown vetoed AB 849 and eight others for good measure, blasting reationary, "get tough" laws that result in prison overcrowding but don't do a damn thing to improve public safety.

"Each of this bills creates a new crime -- usually by finding a novel way to characterize and criminalize conduct that is already proscribed," Brown said. "This multiplication and particularization of criminal behavior creates increasing complexity without commensurate benefit.

Washington: Youth Possession of Marijuana Now A Felony

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Three teens in southeastern Washington state have been charged with felonies for simple marijuana possession, with the prosecutor saying a new law specifies the higher level of offense for those under 21.

The teens, aged 14, 15 and 17, were charged in Asotin County with felonies that could get them up to five years in prison apiece, reports The Lewiston Tribune.

Previous to the passage of Senate Bill 5052 in this year's session of the Washington Legislature, the same offense was just a misdemeanor with a maximum 90-day sentence.

SB 5052 contains the new language specifying youth possession of marijuana a felony offense, according to Asotin County Prosecutor Ben Nichols.

SB 5052 sponsor Ann Rivers (R-La Center), who many activists believe is personally responsible for the de facto elimination of access to medical marijuana in Washington state, claims the tougher penalty was designed to deter minors from trying "an adult drug."

But the specter of kids once again being charged with felonies for pot -- a bad flashback to the 1960s and 1970s, which is once again playing out in small Washington towns, thanks to the state's badly flawed, laughably weak "legalization" -- is so embarrassing that even the Governor's office felt it necessary to distance themselves from the destruction.

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