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Illinois: Medical Marijuana Panel Suggests 12 Health Conditions; Criticizes Governor

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Doctors, nurses and patients on a state panel that recommends whether to expand Illinois' medical marijuana test program on Monday suggested 12 additional health conditions for inclusion, and complained that their suggestions are routinely ignored by Republican Governor Bruce Rauner.

A doctor who leads the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board said she isn't optimistic about the chances of expanding the program based on previous decisions by the Rauner Administration, reports Celeste Bott at the Chicago Tribune.

Board Chair Dr. Leslie Mendoza Temple said the advisory board is moving forward anyway. The board met on Monday in Springfield, and suggested that 10 previously recommended ailments receive approval, as well as two new ones, Type 1 diabetes and panic disorder.

Currently, 39 conditions and diseases can qualify patients to use medicinal cannabis in Illinois. The state's medical marijuana law allows people to suggest new diseses for the program twice a year.

Some at the hearing celebrated the diabetes recommendation, but board member and pediatrician Dr. Nestor Ramirez cautioned them to "wait for what the governor says."

Massachusetts: Attorney General Asks Voters To 'Wait' On Legalizing Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is asking state voters to "wait" to legalize marijuana.

Voters could be faced with a ballot question in November to legalize cannabis for recreational adult use. Atty. Gen. Healey is asking residents to vote no, reports Ashley Afonso at WWLP.

"Not now, not at this time," Healey said. "We're in the midst of his opioid crisis." (Evidently, the Attorney General doesn't know that cannabis is an exit drug out of opiate addiction.)

"I think it's really important that we talk about the public health aspects which haven't really been talked about," Healey said. "Legalizing recreational marijuana I think is a really bad idea for many reasons, but to me most important is the health and well-being of young people."

Massachusetts already has legalized medicinal cannabis, and has decriminalized the possession of less than an ounce for adults. The new measure would legalize recreational weed for adults 21 and older. It would also add taxes on cannabis sales and a commission that would oversee the regulation of the industry.

The Massachusetts Hospital Association wrong-headedly opposes legalization, claiming "safety concerns" including "greater youth accessibility." What they don't seem to realize is that black market dealers don't ask for ID, and legal marijuana stores do.

Oregon: Cannabis Lobby Day and Rally at the Capitol

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Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (CRRH), along with several other cannabis organizations, will be participating in Cannabis Lobby Day at the Oregon State Capitol on Monday, February 8, 2016. A press conference is scheduled for noon, 12 pm. The free speech event, will feature speakers, music and vendors until 5 pm.

On February 2, the Joint Committee for Marijuana Legalization held a Public Hearing to discuss HB 4014 and SB 1511. Hundreds attended, but only a fraction where allowed to testify due to time restrictions.

HB 4014 makes changes to laws regulating production, processing, sale, use and governance of cannabis. As citizens, we must protect the OMMP and continue the fight for patient rights and access to medicine.

SB 1511 directs the Oregon Liquor Control Commission to register qualified marijuana producers, marijuana processors, marijuana wholesalers and marijuana retailers for purposes of producing, processing and selling marijuana and usable marijuana and medical grade cannabinoid products, cannabinoid concentrates and cannabinoid extracts. "We will be rallying to prevent over-regulation of marijuana under M91 by the OHA, OLCC, OAC and ONI that could hinder, rather than aid, the creation, regulation and stabilization of legal marijuana related businesses," said press liaison Michael Bachara of CRRH.

Illinois: First Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Open

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Illinois’ first medical marijuana dispensaries have opened across the state, with five opening on Monday, including locations in Addison, Canton, Marion, Mundelein, and Quincy.

So far, a total of eight shops are approved by the Illinois Department of Public Health with seven more dispensaries expected to open later this month, bringing the total number of medical marijuana dispensaries operating in Illinois to 15. In order to be protected under state law, Illinois patients must obtain their medical marijuana from one of these licensed dispensaries.

“This is a great day for suffering patients who have been waiting to have access to this medicine,” said Chris Lindsey, a legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). “We are grateful they will no longer have to put themselves at risk by purchasing it in an underground market.” Under the Illinois Medical Cannabis Pilot Program (MCPP), patients must register and select one designated dispensary as their source of medicine. According to the Department of Public Health, 3,300 patients have registered for the medical cannabis identification cards.

“The dispensary openings mark the most significant milestone since the pilot program began nearly two and half years ago,” said Lindsey. “A limited number of patients with certain conditions will now be able to legally access medical marijuana. We hope the state can see that a program like this works and we can finally relieve the suffering of Illinois’ most vulnerable citizens.”

Illinois: Governor's Amendatory Veto Sends Pot Decrim Bill Back To Assembly For Final Approval

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Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner on Friday issued an amendatory veto of a bill that would remove criminal penalties for possession of small amount of marijuana, sending it back to the General Assembly for final approval.

The General Assembly has 15 days from the next session date to approve the amended version of HB 218, which needs to receive a simple majority vote in the House and then the Senate to officially become law. The original version, introduced by Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago), was approved in the Senate (37-19) on May 21 and in the House (62-53) on April 23.

Gov. Rauner’s amended version of HB 218 would make possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana a civil law violation punishable by a fine of up to $200 with no possibility of jail time, and the civil offense would be automatically expunged in order to prevent a permanent criminal record. The original version applied to possession of up to 15 grams of marijuana and set the amount of the fine at up to $125.

Under current Illinois law, possession of up to 2.5 grams of marijuana is a class C misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,500, and possession of more than 2.5 grams and up to 10 grams is a class B misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,500. More than 100 localities in Illinois have adopted measures that reduce penalties for simple marijuana possession.

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