health and human services

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Georgia: Senate Passes Medical Marijuana 'Study' Bill


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Georgia Senate on Friday passed a medical marijuana bill that would establish a five-year study involving minors under 18 with seizure disorders.

The bill, by Sen. Lindsey Tippins (R-Marietta), was approved on a 54-1 vote after a debate lasting more than an hour, reports the Associated Press.

Senate Health and Human Services committee chairwoman Renee Unterman (R-Buford) said she plans to work with Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon) to add additional medical conditions listed in a House bill to the Senate's version of the legislation.

House members overwhelmingly approved Peake's bill in that chamber. That proposal would legalize cannabis oil for people with seizure disorders, cancer and seven other conditions.

Sen. Unterman praised the House bill and said a hearing will be held by March 19 to attempt merging the two bills into a combined measure.

Graphic: Herald Tribune

Nevada: Medical Marijuana Dispensaries, Grow Houses Now Officially Legal


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Effective immediately, it is now legal in Nevada to sell, grow, test and tax medical marijuana. The new medical marijuana law went into effect April 1, but it's no joke.

Government officials said it will be awhile before medical marijuana dispensaries are open for business; the same goes for indoor grow operations, or laboratories to test for potency and contaminants, reports Ray Hagar at the Reno Gazette-Journal. Patients in Washoe County who have a doctor's authorization will be able to buy medical marijuana in about months, according to local government representatives.

"There are so many what ifs," said spokesman Adam Mayberry of the city of Sparks. "The reports I have seen put it later this year or early 2015. It is possible you could see it by later this year -- and I want to emphasize late."

The newly legal industry is expected to be a job producer and a fresh source of tax revenue for state and local governments.

"Before, we were all talking about what to do but it wasn't yet legal," said state Senator Tick Segerblom (D-Las Vegas), who was the main sponsor of the 2013 bill which legalized dispensaries (medical marijuana was legalized by Nevada voters back in 2000, but patients have had no legal access to buy cannabis). "But as of (Tuesday), it will now be legal to have marijuana dispensaries, marijuana grow houses and marijuana cooking facilities for edibles in the state of Nevada."

Minnesota: Parents Slam Governor For Using Them To Block Medical Marijuana


In an effort to appease law enforcement, Gov. Mark Dayton proposed an unworkable alternative to an effective medical marijuana bill supported by parents of children with epilepsy; the Governor then blamed the parents — who told him his proposal would not help their kids — for obstructing the passage of medical marijuana legislation that 'would help hundreds of kids that are suffering from epilepsy'

Children suffering from seizure disorders will join their parents and advocates at a news conference WEDNESDAY (3/26) at 12:45 p.m. CT in the State Capitol

Parents and their children suffering from epilepsy will hold a news conference Wednesday at 12:45 p.m. CT in Room 125 of the Minnesota State Capitol, at which they will slam Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton for using them as political cover to block widely supported medical marijuana legislation.

In an effort to appease law enforcement interests, Gov. Dayton proposed an unworkable alternative to HF 1818, a bill that would effectively allow people with specific conditions, such as epilepsy, cancer, HIV/AIDS, and multiple sclerosis, to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it. The Governor's proposal would direct funding to research into the anti-epileptic properties of a specific strain of marijuana, but would not provide a mechanism for patients or their caregivers to obtain medical marijuana.

Minnesota: House Committee Approves Medical Marijuana Bill


HF 1818 would allow people with specific debilitating medical conditions to access and use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it

The Minnesota House Health and Human Services Policy Committee approved a bill in an overwhelming bipartisan vote on Tuesday that would allow people suffering from conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis (MS), PTSD, glaucoma, and HIV/AIDS to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it. The bill is now expected to go to the House Government Operations Committee for review.

“Seriously ill Minnesotans who could benefit from medical marijuana are one step closer to receiving the relief they deserve,” said Heather Azzi, political director for Minnesotans for Compassionate Care. “Medical marijuana has been proven to be an effective treatment for a variety of debilitating conditions.”

Minnesota: House Committee To Hold Public Hearing On Medical Marijuana Bill Tuesday


HF 1818 would allow people with specific debilitating medical conditions to access and use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it

The Minnesota House Health and Human Services Policy Committee is scheduled to hold a public hearing on Tuesday, March 4 at 2:15 p.m. CT on a bill that would allow people suffering from conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis (MS), PTSD, glaucoma, and HIV/AIDS to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it. Testimony on this bill should begin at 6 p.m. CT. The hearing will be held in Room 10 of the State Office Building in St. Paul.

Dr. Sue Sisley, a medical marijuana expert from Arizona, is scheduled to testify in support of the bill. Representatives from Minnesotans for Compassionate Care, as well as several seriously ill patients who would benefit from passage of the measure, also plan to testify.

HF 1818, introduced last year by Rep. Carly Melin (DFL-Hibbing), would allow patients suffering from specific debilitating conditions to access and use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it. The Department of Health would issue medical marijuana ID cards to patients and establish a tightly regulated system of non-profit medical marijuana dispensaries and quality control labs.

Licensed patients who do not reside within 15 miles of a dispensary would be allowed to grow a limited amount of marijuana in their homes.

Georgia: Medical Marijuana Bill Approved By Committee, Headed For House Floor


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A bill that would make CBD oil, a non-psychoactive form of medical marijuana, available in Georgia was approved in committee late on Wednesday.

House Bill 885, sponsored by Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon), was unanimously approved by the House Health and Human Services Committee after a two-hour debate, and is expected to reach the House floor on Monday, according to Peake, reports Aaron Gould Sheinin at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

A major change was made after the bill hit a snag. Peake's original plan was to important a type of high-CBD cannabis oil from Colorado that can be used to treat certain seizure disorders; he wrote the law after meeting pediatric epilepsy patient Haleigh Cox and her family. But federal law bans transporting any form of marijuana across state lines.

The version of Peake's bill approved on Wednesday would allow Georgia's five research universities to grow marijuana to extract the oil, which has proven helpful in quelling seizures.

Monday was the last day for bills to move from one chamber to another, so Monday's vote was crucial.

Nevada: Bill Would Remove Part of Marijuana DUI Tests

There is a truth that must be heard!By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

In a refreshing show of common sense, some Nevada lawmakers say that medical marijuana patients shouldn't be punished as if they were impaired when driving, just because they have small amounts of marijuana in their systems.

That idea inspired an intense debate in the Nevada Assembly when Majority Leader William Horne (D-Las Vegas) unveiled AB 351 to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, reports Matt Woolbright of The Associated Press.

"Marijuana is currently the only drug we have a limit where we say, 'You have this much, so you must be impaired,' " Horne told members of the committee. "I think that's unfair."

Drivers with traces of cannabis in their blood are considered impaired under current Nevada law, and are guilty of driving under the influence. The same concept applies to the blood alcohol content of drunken drivers.

But this bill would remove the per se power of marijuana metabolites for medical marijuana patients. Prosecutors would still be able to use the blood test to bolster their case, but more proof would be required to prove the driver was impaired.

"I don't have a problem with the per se limits being there for everybody else," Horne said. "What I am saying is, for a patient, those per se limits should not apply because we don't apply them to any other drug."

New Jersey: Lawmakers Want To Keep Marijuana Patients From Being Kicked Off Organ Transplant Lists

(Photo: Think Progress Health)By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A bill which would ensure that medical marijuana patients' use of cannabis would not prevent them from getting needed medical care such as organ transplants was approved Tuesday by a New Jersey state Senate committee.

The Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee took action to prevent patients from getting kicked off transplant lists due to their physician-authorized medicinal cannabis use, reports Sy Mukerjee at Think Progress.

The panel passed S-1220, sponsored by New Jersey state Senators Joseph F. Vitale and Nicholas P. Scutari. The legislation "would provide that a registered, qualifying patient's authorized use of medical marijuana would be considered equivalent to using other prescribed medication rather than an illicit substance and therefore would not qualify the person from needed medical care, such as an organ transplant."

"We are hearing of cases in other states of sick and dying patients being kicked off organ transplant waiting lists for their legal use of medical marijuana," said Sen. Vitale (D-Middlesex), who is chairman of the Senate Health Committee. "This practice is unconscionable as the patients have followed their doctors' orders and have taken a legal medication to reduce the pain and suffering associated with their illness.

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