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New Hampshire Becomes 19th Medical Marijuana State

July 24th

NASHUA, NH – All of New England is now medical marijuana territory, as New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) Tuesday afternoon signed into law a bill allowing it in the Granite State.

“Allowing doctors to provide relief to patients through the use of appropriately regulated and dispensed medical marijuana is the compassionate and right policy for the state of New Hampshire, and this legislation ensures that we approach this policy in the right way with measures to prevent abuse,” Hassan said in a signing statement.

“By providing strong regulatory oversight and clear dispensing guidelines, this bill addresses many of the concerns that were expressed throughout the legislative process,” she continued. “House Bill 573 legalizes the use of medical marijuana in a way that makes sense for the State of New Hampshire and gives health providers another option to help New Hampshire’s seriously ill patients.”

Gov. Hassan

Gov. Hassan

“This legislation is long overdue and comes as a relief to the ma. . . . . READ MORE

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Gov. Hassan Signs New Hampshire Medical Marijuana Bill

July 23rd

CONCORD, NH – Gov. Maggie Hassan signed a bill into law Tuesday making New Hampshire the 19th state to allow residents with serious illnesses to access and use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it.

“This legislation is long overdue and comes as a relief to the many seriously ill patients throughout New Hampshire who will benefit from safe access to medical marijuana,” said Matt Simon, a New Hampshire-based legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Those suffering from debilitating conditions like cancer and multiple sclerosis deserve legal, safe, and reliable access to medical marijuana.”

Gov. Hassan

Gov. Hassan

House Bill 573, sponsored by state Rep. Donna Schlachman (D-Exeter), will allow residents with certain debilitating illnesses, such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, and HIV/AIDS, to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it.

Patients will be able to obtain marijuana through one of four non-profit, state-licensed alternative treatment centers.

The bill READ MORE

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Kentucky Lawmakers to Hold Public Hearings on Medical Marijuana

July 22nd

LOUISVILLE, KY — Kentucky Senator Perry Clark plans to pre-file a bill for the 2014 legislative session to legalize medical marijuana in the state, and members of the Health and Welfare committee will hold a public hearing on the measure August 21.

The bill is expected to be formally introduced in January when the full legislature reconvenes for the 60-day 2014 legislative session.

Senator Clark (D-Louisville) filed similar legislation in 2012 and 2013,  but the bills failed died in committees without ever receiving a hearing.

Kentucky Senator Perry Clark (D-Louisville)

Kentucky Senator Perry Clark (D-Louisville)

The bills were both titled the “Gatewood Galbraith Memorial Medical Marijuana Act,” named after the late marijuana advocate Gatewood Galbraith.

The two previous bills  would have reclassify cannabis as a Schedule II substance available for medical treatment under a doctor’s direction, and would have allowed patients to possess up to 5 ounces of marijuana or cultivate up to five plants for their own medicinal use.

The bills also stipulated that any plants a patient is growing can not be taxed under state law.

Senator Clark . . . . . READ MORE

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Illinois Medical Marijuana Patients Continue to Wait for Gov. Quinn’s Signature on HB 1

July 22nd

SPRINGFIELD, IL — When the Illinois legislature passed the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act in May, it capped a decade-long push for medical marijuana in the state, and even though it creates only a temporary medical marijuana pilot program, medical marijuana advocates called the bill a “great first step.”

Illinois patients needed only the signature of Democrat Governor Pat Quinn on the pages of House Bill 1 for medical marijuana to begin moving towards reality, making Illinois the 19th medical marijuana state, even if it is only for four years.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D)

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D)

But medical marijuana patients are still waiting, nearly three months later, for Gov. Quinn’s signature, despite indications that the Governor supports the bill.<. . . . . READ MORE

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New Hampshire Patients Still Waiting for Gov. to Sign Medical Marijuana Bill

July 18th

CONCORD, NH — New Hampshire residents anxiously awaiting the legalization of medical marijuana in the Granite State will have to keep waiting, at least for a little while longer.

The New Hampshire Legislature passed House Bill 573 in June, which will allow state residents with serious illnesses obtain up to two ounces of  medical marijuana from state licensed dispensaries, but the bill — and about three dozen others — have yet to reach the desk of Governor Maggie Hassan.

According to reports by the Associated Press, House Speaker Terie Norelli has the bill on her desk and is expected to sign it sometime this week before sending it to Senate President Peter Bragdon for his signature.  Only then will it be sent to the desk of Gov. Hassan, who has expressed support for medical marijuana in New Hampshire and is expected to sign the bill.

Gov. Maggie Hassan

Once received by the Governor, Hassan will have five days to act on the bill.  The House Speaker and Senate President, however, ar. . . . . READ MORE

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Oregon Medical Marijuana Dispensary Regulation Bill Heads to Governor

July 7th

SALEM, OR —  A bill that would expand the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program to include licencing and regulating medical marijuana dispensaries is heading to the desk of Governor John Kitzhaber (D) after House members concurred Saturday with Senate amendments to the bill.

The Oregon Senate voted Wednesday to approve House Bill 3460, which was approved by the House in June.  Because of some changes made to the bill by a Senate committee, the House met Saturday to approve those changes.

The bill will now be sent to Gov. Kitzhaber, who is expected to sign the legislation into law.  Earlier last week, Gov. Kitzhaber gave final approval to two bills that reduce marijuana penalties for in the state.

Medical marijuana dispensaries already exist in Oregon, but are operating in a legal grey area.  The Oregon Medical Marijuana Act (OMMA) allows patients to grow their own medicine or have someone else to i. . . . . READ MORE

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Oregon Senate Approves Medical Marijuana Dispensary Bill

July 4th

SALEM, OR — The Oregon Senate voted Wednesday to approve a bill that a House-approved bill that would expand the state’s medical marijuana program to license and regulate medical marijuana dispensaries statewide.

The bill, House Bill 3460, was approved without debate by an 18-12 bi-partisan, and now heads back to the House to approve some changes made by a Senate committee last week.  The House is expected to vote on the changes this weekend.

Medical marijuana dispensaries already exist in Oregon, but are operating in a legal grey area.  The Oregon Medical Marijuana Act (OMMA) allows patients to grow their own medicine or have someone else to it for them, but does not provide for — or prohibit — medical marijuana dispensaries from operating.

This has led to varied differences in toleration of the dispensaries based on the attitudes of local officials.  In some areas of the state, such as Multnomah County, which includes the city of Portland, dispensaries have been largely tolerated.  But providers have been raided in less tolerant areas of the state, with operators  fa. . . . . READ MORE

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Oregon Senate Committee Tweaks Medical Marijuana Dispensary Bill

June 30th

SALEM, OR — A committee in the Oregon Senate has amended a House-approved bill that would expand the state’s medical marijuana program to license and regulate medical marijuana dispensaries statewide.

Two significant changes were made to the bill Saturday by the Senate Committee on Rules following concerns voiced from the Oregon District Attorneys Association, who changed their position on the bill from “opposed” to “neutral” after the changes were made.

In the original bill, anyone with two or more prior convictions for distribution or manufacturing a controlled substance in the state of Oregon would be prohibited from operating a dispensary. Under the changes made Saturday, the restrictions were expanded to apply to anyone with one prior conviction, regardless of where that conviction took place.

The other significant change was the elimination of a provision included in the original bill that limited the criminal liability of existing medical marijuana dispensaries in the state if they are prosecuted before the new law takes effect.

Medical marijuana dispensaries already exist in Oregon, but are operating in a legal grey area.  The O. . . . . READ MORE

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New Hampshire Medical Marijuana Bill Gets Final Legislative Approval, Governor Will Sign Bill Soon

June 27th

CONCORD, NH – New Hampshire state lawmakers gave final approval to a bill Wednesday that will allow state residents with serious illnesses obtain and use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it. The bill will now be transmitted to Gov. Maggie Hassan, who announced last week that she will sign it into law.

“This legislation has been a long time coming and is a much-needed victory for those with serious illnesses who find significant relief in medical marijuana,” said Matt Simon, a New Hampshire-based legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project, which lobbied in support of the bill.

“The vast majority of Americans believe people suffering from debilitating conditions should be able to use medical marijuana, and it is time for other states to follow suit,” Simon said. “People suffering from cancer and HIV/AIDS in New York and other states are just as deserving of sensible and compassionate laws as those here in New Hampshire.”

House Bill 573, sponsored by State Rep. Donna Schlachman (D-Exeter), will allow residents with certain debilitating illnesses, such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, and HIV/. . . . . READ MORE

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Hawaii Governor Signs Medical Marijuana Program Improvement Bills

June 27th

HONOLULU, HI —  Democratic Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie signed two separate measures into law Tuesday to amend and improve the state’s 13-year-old medical marijuana program.

House Bill 668 transfers the administration of the state’s medicinal cannabis program from the Department of Public Safety to the Department of Public Health. It also establishes a special fund for the program within the state treasury.

House Bill 642 increases the quantity of medical cannabis that may be possessed by qualified patients from three ounces to four ounces. The measure also increases the total number of mature plants that may be legally grown by qualified patients at any one time from three to seven.

A separate provision added to SB 642 in conference committee places potential limits on which physicians may be eligible to recommend cannabis, though this provision is expected to be further debated in the 2014 legislative session.

Stated Vanessa Chong, Executive Director of the ACLU of Hawaii, which was a primary advocate for the bills: “In 2000, Hawaii led the nation as the . . . . . READ MORE

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