Marijuana Policy Project

warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/hemporg/public_html/news/modules/taxonomy/taxonomy.pages.inc on line 34.

U.S.: House To Vote Again On Amendment To Defund Marijuana Raids

CaliforniaRepDanaRohrabacher(

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher and Democratic Rep. Sam Farr, both of California, are once again offering a bipartisan amendment on the House floor to protect states' rights when it comes to marijuana.

Rohrabacher and Farr have brought up the amendment several times, most recently in 2012, when it was defeated 162-262, reports Emily Ethridge at Roll Call. Since that vote, four more staters -- Illinois, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maryland -- have allowed medical marijuana, bringing the total to 21 states and the District of Columbia.

Advocates expect the strongest vote yet when the fiscal 2015 Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations measure, HR 4660, comes to the House floor in a few weeks.

The chief provision of the amendment which will be offered to the appropriations bill would prohibit the federal government from prosecuting medical marijuana patients and providers who are in compliance with their state laws.

The House has already voted on similar amendments six times since 2003, with about 150 to 160 votes in support each time. An unusual coalition of social liberals, who see it as a civil rights issue, and conservatives, who see it as a states' rights issue, back the amendment.

Minnesota Becoming 22nd Medical Marijuana State

MinnesotaMedicalMarijuana

New law will allow some people with debilitating conditions to access medical marijuana, but will leave many behind

The Minnesota House of Representatives and Senate gave final approval Friday to legislation that will allow some people with debilitating conditions to access medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it. The measure will now be sent to Gov. Mark Dayton, who said he plans to sign it into law.

The final version of the legislation will not allow individuals suffering from intractable pain, nausea, wasting, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to access medical marijuana.

“We applaud the Minnesota Legislature for taking action on this important issue,” said Robert Capecchi, deputy director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), which began lobbying in support of medical marijuana legislation in Minnesota in 2005. “It reflects the strong and growing public support for safe and legal access to medical marijuana."

“The vast majority of Americans agree seriously ill people should have legal access to medical marijuana,” Capecchi said. “Twenty-two states and our nation's capital now have workable medical marijuana laws on the books. We expect to see that number continue to grow.”

D.C.: Congress To Review District of Columbia Marijuana Decriminalization

DecriminalizingMarijuana(DC)

House Oversight Committee’s Government Operations Subcommittee to hold hearing on bill approved by D.C. Council that replaces criminal penalties for simple marijuana possession with a civil fine

The U.S. House Oversight Committee's Government Operations subcommittee will hold a hearing on Friday to review the marijuana decriminalization measure approved by the D.C. Council and signed by Mayor Vincent Gray in March.

The new law, which is scheduled to go into effect on July 18, removes criminal penalties for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana for individuals 18 years of age and older and replaces them with a civil fine of $25. Currently, possession of any amount of marijuana is a criminal offense punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

The measure also removes penalties for possession of paraphernalia in conjunction with small amounts of marijuana, and it specifies that individuals cannot be searched or detained based solely on an officer’s suspicion of marijuana possession. Public use of marijuana would remain a criminal offense punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.

"This one is a no-brainer," said Robert Capecchi, deputy director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). "We hope Congress will respect the decision made by the D.C. Council on behalf of its citizens."

"Voters in the District and around the nation overwhelmingly support the removal of criminal penalties for marijuana possession," Capecchi said.

New Hampshire: Report Details Collateral Consequences Associated With a Marijuana Conviction

MarkedForLife

Advocates call on members of the House of Representatives to add House-approved decriminalization measure to one or more Senate bills; HB 1625 would have eliminated criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana

The Marijuana Policy Project on Tuesday released a report detailing the collateral consequences associated with a marijuana conviction in New Hampshire. The organization urged members of the State House of Representatives to revive a measure that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.

The report, “Marked for Life: Collateral Sanctions in New Hampshire,” was released in an email to legislators, and copies were presented to House leaders, Senate leaders, and Gov. Hassan’s office. A PDF of the report is available at mpp.org/NHMarkedForLife.

“A misdemeanor conviction can absolutely follow a person for the rest of his or her life,” said Mark Sisti, a Concord-based criminal defense attorney. “All five other New England states have eliminated criminal penalties for simple marijuana possession and replaced them with a civil fine. New Hampshire should do the same.”

Advocates are calling on members of the House to attach the language of a widely supported marijuana decriminalization bill to one or more bills that have been approved by the Senate. The House passed HB 1625 with more than a two-thirds majority (215-92), but the Senate refused to accept the bill from the House.

U.S.: Nearly 200 Members of Congress Tell V.A. To Let Doctors Recommend Medical Marijuana

VetsMarijuanaPTSD

Amendment would have prohibited VA from spending federal funds to prevent its doctors from recommending medical marijuana to veterans suffering from debilitating conditions

Nearly 200 members of Congress, including 22 Republicans, on Wednesday voted in favor of an amendment intended to allow physicians within the Veterans Affairs system to recommend medical marijuana to veterans in states that allow it. The bipartisan-sponsored amendment failed 195-222.

H.R. 4486, the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, would have prohibited the VA from spending federal funds implementing a directive that prevents doctors from recommending medical marijuana to veterans suffering from debilitating conditions, such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

A Veterans Health Administration directive issued in 2011 forbids VA medical providers from signing forms that would allow veterans to obtain marijuana in accordance with state medical marijuana programs.

The amendment, sponsored by Congressmen Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Sam Farr (D-CA), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), and Jared Polis (D-CO), was the first of its kind to be introduced on the House floor.

Vermont: Senate Approves Marijuana Dispensary Improvement Bill; Measure Going To Governor's Desk

56815b.jpg

S. 247 will expand access to medical marijuana for qualified patients and initiate a study on the potential impact of making marijuana legal for adults and regulating it similarly to alcohol

The Vermont Senate on Wednesday gave final approval to a bill that will expand access to medical marijuana for qualified patients. It will now be sent to Gov. Peter Shumlin, who has expressed support for the measure.

S. 247, sponsored by Sen. Jeanette White (D-Windham), will eliminate the cap on the number of patients who are allowed to access medical marijuana dispensaries. Currently, only 1,000 total patients in the state are able to access dispensaries.

The measure will also increase possession limits for dispensaries, allow them to deliver medical marijuana to patients, and permit naturopaths to certify patients for the program. The bill was amended by the House to initiate two studies: one to explore the possibility of adding post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a qualifying condition for the state's medical marijuana program, and one to evaluate the potential impact of making marijuana legal for adults and regulating it similarly to alcohol.

"The House and Senate should be commended for taking action to ensure seriously ill Vermonters have legal access to medical marijuana," said Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP).

Massachusetts: Lawmakers To Hold Hearing On Bill To Regulate And Tax Marijuana Like Alcohol

MassachusettsMarijuana

Joint Committee on the Judiciary to consider H. 1632, which would establish a legal market for businesses to sell marijuana to adults 21 and older

The Massachusetts Joint Committee on the Judiciary will hold a hearing Thursday on a bill that would make possession of limited amounts of marijuana legal for adults and establish a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol. The hearing is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. ET in Room A-2 of the Massachusetts State House.

H. 1632 would eliminate criminal penalties for adults 21 years of age and older if they possess or cultivate marijuana for personal use. It would also create a Cannabis Control Authority, which would establish licenses, collect taxes, and regulate the production, processing, and sale of marijuana to adults.

"Marijuana prohibition has been just as colossal a failure as alcohol prohibition," said Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), who is scheduled to testify during the hearing. "Marijuana is less toxic than alcohol, less addictive, and less likely to contribute to violent or reckless behavior.

"Most voters think it's time to stop punishing adults who make the safer choice, and we hope their elected officials will agree," Simon said.

A majority of Massachusetts voters likely to vote in the November 2014 midterm election (53 percent) support making marijuana legal, according to a Suffolk University/Boston Herald poll released in February. Just 37 percent were opposed.

New Hampshire: Senate Committee Votes To Deny Patients Legal Access To Medical Marijuana

NewHampshireMedicalMarijuana

Senate Health, Education, and Human Services Committee fails to pass bill that would allow limited home cultivation until patients have state-legal access through dispensaries

The New Hampshire Senate Health, Education, and Human Services Committee on Tuesday morning failed to take decisive action on a bill that would provide licensed patients with legal access to medical marijuana while the state develops a system of regulated cultivation and distribution. Instead, the committee voted 3-1 to refer the bill for "interim study."

Sponsored by Rep. Donald “Ted” Wright (R-Tuftonboro), HB 1622 would allow licensed medical marijuana patients or their designated caregivers to possess up to two mature marijuana plants and 12 immature plants or seedlings. Patients and caregivers would be required to report their cultivation locations to the Department of Health and Human Services, and they would lose their ability to cultivate once an alternative treatment center opens within 30 miles of their residence.

HB 1622 passed the House in a 227-73 vote March 6. If the Senate upholds the committee recommendation of interim study, patients will likely continue to have no legal protection until alternative treatment centers open, which could take another year and a half or more.

An amendment proposed by Rep. Wright would have added a sunset provision, repealing the home-grow option when the fourth alternative treatment center opened. Senators decided against this option in a 3-1 vote, with Sen. John Reagan (R-Deerfield) the lone dissenting vote.

New Hampshire: Senate Committee To Vote Tuesday On Bill To Provide Legal Access To Medical Marijuana

NewHampshireLiveFreeOrDie

Senate Health, Education, and Human Services Committee will vote on bill that would allow limited home cultivation until alternative treatment centers open

The New Hampshire Senate Health, Education, and Human Services Committee will vote Tuesday morning on a bill that would provide licensed patients with legal access to medical marijuana while the state develops a system of regulated alternative treatment centers. The vote is scheduled to take place at 9 a.m. in Room 103 of the Legislative Office Building in Concord.

Sponsored by Rep. Donald “Ted” Wright (R-Tuftonboro), HB 1622 would allow licensed medical marijuana patients or their designated caregivers to possess up to two mature marijuana plants and 12 immature plants or seedlings. Patients and caregivers would be required to report their cultivation locations to the Department of Health and Human Services, and they would lose their ability to cultivate once an alternative treatment center opens within 30 miles of their residence.

"If this bill passes, New Hampshire will continue to have one of the most tightly controlled medical marijuana systems in the nation," said Matt Simon, the Goffstown-based New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. "It will help desperately ill patients who cannot wait any longer for legal access to medical marijuana."

Rhode Island: Lawmakers, Former Cops Voice Support For Marijuana Legalization Bill

RhodeIslandRepEdithAjello

Legislators, Former Police Officers, and Health and Legal Experts Voice Support for Bill That Would Regulate and Tax Marijuana Like Alcohol

State legislators, former police officers, and health and legal experts joined representatives of several organizations at a Wednesday news conference to voice their support for a bill that would legalize, regulate and tax marijuana similarly to alcohol in Rhode Island. The House Committee on Judiciary was scheduled to hold a hearing on the measure later Wednesday.

Speakers at the event included the bill's sponsor, Rep. Edith Ajello (D-Providence); Dr. David Lewis, founder of the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies at Brown University; Professor Andy Horwitz, director of the Criminal Defense Clinic at Roger Williams University School of Law; and Beth Comery, a former Providence police officer.

A bipartisan group of 29 sponsors, including House Minority Leader Rep. Brian Newberry (R-North Smithfield), is supporting H 7506, the Marijuana Regulation, Control, and Taxation Act. The bill would allow adults 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow one mature marijuana plant in an enclosed, locked space.

Maryland: 2 In 1 Day - 21st State To Allow Medical Marijuana, 18th State To Decriminalize Possession

MarylandGovernorMartinO'Malley

Gov. Martin O’Malley signs SB 923/HB 881, which would allow patients with serious illnesses to access medical marijuana; he will also sign SB 364 Monday, making possession of small amounts of marijuana a civil offense

Gov. Martin O'Malley signed a bill into law Monday making Maryland the 21st state in the nation to allow medical marijuana. He will also sign a bill Monday making Maryland the 18th state to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.

“We applaud Gov. O’Malley for signing these important bills into law,” said Rachelle Yeung, a legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). “The progress we’re seeing in Maryland is emblematic of what is taking place nationwide. Most Marylanders, like most Americans, are fed up with outdated marijuana prohibition policies and ready to start taking a more sensible approach.”

Senate Bill 923 and House Bill 881 are identical bills that allow state residents suffering from certain qualifying conditions to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it. Possession limits and regulations governing cultivation and dispensary facilities will be determined by a state-sanctioned commission prior to implementation. The measure will officially go into effect on June 1.

New Hampshire: Majority Of Granite State Adults Support Legalizing Marijuana, Regulating It Like Alcohol

NewHampshireMarijuanaLeafStateSeal

New Granite State Poll Shows Growing Majority of New Hampshire Adults Support Making Marijuana Legal and Regulating It Like Alcohol; Three Out of Five Support the Decriminalization Bill Currently Moving Through the State Legislature

UNH-WMUR survey finds 55% think marijuana possession should be legal — up from 53% in 2013 — and 61% support HB 1625, which would reduce the penalty for possession of limited amounts of marijuana to a $100 civil fine

The annual WMUR Granite State Poll released Wednesday by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center shows a growing majority of New Hampshire adults support making marijuana legal and regulating it like alcohol.

The survey found 55 percent percent support making possession of small amounts of marijuana legal in New Hampshire — up from 53 percent in 2013 — and 67 percent approve of marijuana being sold in licensed retail outlets and taxed at levels similar to alcohol if marijuana possession becomes legal.

"Marijuana prohibition has been an ineffective and wasteful policy," said Matt Simon, the Goffstown-based New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). "Voters are increasingly becoming fed up with it, and they're ready to replace it with a more sensible system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol."

D.C.: Proposal To Expand Access To Medical Marijuana Introduced In DC Council

I(PotLeaf)DC

Bill would permit physicians to recommend medical marijuana to patients suffering from any condition for which it provides medical benefits

A proposal is expected to be introduced in the Washington, D.C. Council on Tuesday that would expand access to medical marijuana in the nation's capital.

The measure, to be introduced by Councilwoman Yvette Alexander (who chairs the D.C. Department of Health), and by Councilman David Grosso, would permit doctors to recommend medical marijuana to patients suffering from any condition for which it provides medical benefits. Patients would then be allowed to apply to the Department of Health for acceptance in the District’s medical marijuana program.

"This is a sensible measure that would provide relief to countless District residents who are suffering from debilitating medical conditions,” said Robert Capecchi, deputy director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). “We have one of the most well-regulated systems in the country, but currently it is not meeting the needs of the community. The community supports improving the law, and that's what this bill would do."

Under current law, only patients with cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, or glaucoma are eligible for the program. The proposed legislation would allow doctors to recommend medical marijuana to patients suffering from epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other debilitating conditions for which medical marijuana has been found to be an effective treatment.

New Hampshire: Senate Committee To Hold Tuesday Hearing On Medical Marijuana Access Bill

NewHampshireMedicalMarijuana

HB 1622 sponsor Rep. Donald ‘Ted’ Wright will join medical marijuana patients and advocates for a pre-hearing news conference at 10:30 a.m. ET in the lobby of the Legislative Office Building

The New Hampshire Senate Health, Education, and Human Services Committee will hold a public hearing Tuesday regarding a bill that would provide licensed patients with legal access to medical marijuana through growing their own, while the state develops a system of regulated cultivation and distribution.

Rep. Donald “Ted” Wright (R-Tuftonboro), who is sponsoring HB 1622, will join medical marijuana patients and advocates at a pre-hearing news conference at 10:30 a.m. ET in the lobby of the Legislative Office Building. The committee hearing is scheduled for 11 a.m. ET in Room 103.

"My weight is down to around 60 pounds, and I have no appetite without cannabis," said Clayton Holton, a Dover-based medical marijuana advocate suffering from muscular dystrophy, who will not be attending the hearing because he is no longer able to travel. "Where is the compassion for patients like me who are literally wasting away because of these delays?"

HB 1622 would allow licensed medical marijuana patients or their designated caregivers to possess up to two mature marijuana plants and twelve immature plants or seedlings. Patients and caregivers would be required to report their cultivation locations to the Department of Health and Human Services, and they would lose their ability to cultivate once an alternative treatment center opens within 30 miles of their residence.

U.S.: Attorney General Holder Expected to Answer Questions About Federal Marijuana Policy at Tuesday Hearing

EricHolderPointsFromBehindMicrophone

Attorney General Eric Holder is expected to answer questions about federal marijuana policy during a Tuesday hearing of the House Judiciary Committee regarding Oversight of the U.S. Department of Justice. Holder will be providing testimony regarding various Obama administration enforcement policies.

The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. ET in Room 2141 of the Rayburn House Office Building. Dan Riffle, director of federal policies for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), will be available for comment immediately following the hearing.

In an August 2013 memo, Deputy Attorney General James Cole announced that federal law enforcement organizations would refrain from interfering in the implementation of state laws regulating the cultivation and sale of marijuana for medical or adult use, as long as states adopt and enforce adequate regulations that address specific federal priorities.

WHAT: House Judiciary Committee hearing on Oversight of the U.S. Department of Justice, at which Attorney General Eric Holder is expected to answer questions about marijuana policy during his testimony regarding Obama administration enforcement policies

WHEN: Tuesday, April 8, 10 a.m. ET

WHERE: Room 2141 of the Rayburn House Office Building, 45 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, D.C.

WHO: House Judiciary Committee
Attorney General Eric Holder

Maryland: House of Delegates Passes Marijuana Decrim Bill; Headed To Governor's Desk

MarylandMarijuanaLeaf

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Maryland's House of Delegates on Saturday night passed a bill decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana. The bill, already approved by the Maryland Senate, is now headed for Governor Martin O'Malley's desk for his signature or veto.

If the Governor signs the bill, HB 1453, getting busted for 10 grams or less of cannabis won't mean going to jail, reports Alex DeMetrick at WJZ. Under current Maryland law, any amount of marijuana is a criminal offense.

"The key is there will be civil penalties instead of criminal penalties for small amounts of marijuana," said Del. Kioeffer Mitchell Jr. (D-Baltimore). Possession of 10 grams or less would result in a citation and a possible fine, but no arrest and no criminal record. Seventeen other states have similar laws.

The House voted 78-55 to impose civil fines, rather than criminal penalties, for less than 10 grams of pot, reports Elizabeth LaForgia at Jurist. Those favoring the move pointed to racial disparities, with African Americans much more likely to both be arrested, and to receive a prison sentence for possession.

Illinois: Poll Shows More Than 60% Support Removing Criminal Penalties for Marijuana Possession

IllinoisHeadlines

Supporters call on members of the House of Representatives to pass bills approved last week by the House Restorative Justice Committee that would replace criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana in Illinois with a non-criminal fine

Panel discussion on collateral sanctions of marijuana arrests to take place Friday at Roosevelt University

Supporters of a bill that would remove criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana in Illinois on Thursday released the results of a statewide poll showing strong support for such legislation. The Illinois House Restorative Justice Committee approved the bill last week, and supporters are now calling on members of the House to approve the proposal.

The Public Policy Polling survey shows 63 percent of Illinois voters support making possession of an ounce of marijuana a non-criminal offense punishable by a fine of up to $100. Only 27 percent oppose the proposal.

The poll found majority support across all reported genders, races, and political party affiliations. The survey, which polled 769 Illinois voters from March 28-30, is available at http://www.mpp.org/ILpoll.

Illinois: Marijuana Decrim Bill Advocates To Release Poll Showing Strong Support

ILMedicalCannabis(HT)

Group Will Also Release New Report Detailing Collateral Consequences of Being Arrested for Marijuana in Illinois

Central Illinois man who was denied public housing assistance 13 years after being arrested for possessing 2.5 grams of marijuana will join Illinois religious leader and others at a news conference Thursday at 11 a.m. CT in the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago

Supporters of a bill that would remove criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana in Illinois will on Thursday release the results of a statewide poll that show strong support for such legislation. The Illinois House Restorative Justice Committee approved the bill last week, and supporters are now calling on members of the House to approve the proposal.

A new report, “Marked for Life: Collateral Sanctions in Illinois,” which details the impact of being arrested for a marijuana-related offense in Illinois, will also be released. Collateral consequences of marijuana arrests in Illinois will also be the subject of a panel discussion at the Fourth Annual Forum on Drug Policy, which will be held Friday at Roosevelt University. For details, visit http://bit.ly/1jlWPe8.

Arizona: State Senator Blocks Funding for Long-Sought Medical Marijuana Research

ArizonaStateSenatorKimberlyYee

Clinical Trial for Veterans with PTSD Has Already Obtained Approval from U.S. Food and Drug Administration, U. Arizona Institutional Review Board, and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Wednesday, April 2: Veterans, Military Family Members and Supporters to Rally at Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza

After 22 years of hard-fought efforts, the nonprofit pharmaceutical company MAPS has finally obtained approval from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for a FDA clinical trial to examine the medical safety and efficacy of marijuana. The trial would study military veterans suffering from treatment-resistant post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Yet the study’s ability to receive Arizona state funding is in jeopardy due to State Senator Kimberly Yee.

Arizona has collected millions of dollars from its medical marijuana program. Under Arizona’s medical marijuana law, that money is reserved for furthering the provisions of the law and should include research and education – but none of it has been spent.

A bill being considered by lawmakers would give the Arizona Department of Health Services discretion to use some of this surplus funding to study the medical benefits of marijuana. On March 10, the bill HB 2333, sponsored by State Representative Ethan Orr of Tucson, passed the Arizona House 52-5, with strong bi-partisan support.

Maryland: Senate Approves Effective Medical Marijuana Bill

MarylandMedicalMarijuana

Legislation would allow patients with certain serious conditions to use medical marijuana; regulations to be established by existing medical marijuana commission

The Maryland Senate on Thursday approved a bill 45-1 after its third reading that would allow seriously ill Marylanders to use medical marijuana with recommendations from their doctors. The amended bill will now go to the House for consideration, where a similar bill has already been approved.

SB 923, introduced by Sen. Jamie Raskin and co-sponsored by 12 other senators, would allow seriously ill residents suffering from certain qualifying conditions to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it. Possession limits and regulations governing cultivation and dispensary facilities would be determined by the state prior to implementation.

A companion bill, HB 881, was co-sponsored by 80 delegates and approved overwhelmingly by the House earlier this year and is waiting for consideration by the Senate.

Syndicate content