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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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California E-Cigarette Bill Would Restrict Use of Medical Marijuana Vaporizers

July 20th

SACRAMENTO, CA – The California Assembly is considering a bill that would ban the use of e-cigarettes and similar smokeless vaporizers in areas where tobacco smoking is banned.

Though the bill, Senate Bill 648, was approved by the Senate in May as a bill against tobacco e-cigarettes, it would adversely impact use of vaporizers by medical marijuana patents.

Current state law defines e-cigarettes as “device[s] that can provide an inhalable dose of nicotine by delivering a vaporized solution.”  This includes a wide range of vaporization devices now widely used for medical marijuana and other herbs, as well as tobacco and nicotine.

California NORML is urging the Assembly to reject SB 648 on the grounds that vaporizers offer a proven, beneficial “harm reduction” substitute for medical marijuana users by reducing exposure to harmful smoke toxins while at the same time posing no second-hand smoke hazard to the public.

Vaporizers are designed to eliminate the respiratory hazards of smoking by eliminating the combustion that produces the smoke. Regular pipes and cigarettes produce carcinogenic tars, particulates and other smoke toxins that are a byproduct of burning leaves.

Vaporizers don’t produce these toxins because they don’t burn anything, bu. . . . . READ MORE

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Federal Bill Would Up Penalties for Marijuana ‘Trespass Grows’

July 20th

WASHINGTON, DC — A bill introduced Thursday by Congressman Jared Huffman (D-CA) and bipartisan cosponsors from California and Colorado would create new penalties for marijuana growers who grow on federal lands or who trespass on other people’s property to grow and who cause environmental damages.

“Trespass grows” are a tempting alternative for growers who seek to avoid having their own properties seized under federal drug asset forfeiture laws.

Growing marijuana on federal lands — or anywhere else, for that matter — is already against federal law, but the cutely-acronymed Protecting Lands Against Narcotics Trafficking (PLANT) Act would instruct the US Sentencing Commission to establish new penalties for “trespass grows.”

The bill identified three environmental concerns: the illegal use of pesticides, rodenticides, or high-grade fertilizers; the “substantial” pilfering of water from local aquifers, and “significant” removal of timber or other vegetation.

Pressed by law enforcement, marijuana growers have increasingly moved onto federal parks and forests, as well as private properties. Last year, in the national forests alone, eradicators cut down nearly a million plants.

Officials and landowners accuse growers of leveling hilltops, starting landslides on erosion-prone hillsides, diverting and damming creeks and streams, and using large amounts of pesticides to protect their crops.

“Throughout my district an. . . . . 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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Michigan House Approves Welfare Drug Test Bill

July 16th

LANSING, MI — The Republican-controlled Michigan House Friday approved a bill that would allow for the suspicion-based drug testing of welfare recipients. The bill, House Bill 4118, now heads to the state Senate.

The bill would set up a pilot program in three counties, to be evaluated after one year. The Department of Human Services would report results to the legislature.

It would require new welfare applicants to undergo a screening for drug use using an “empirically validated substance abuse screening tool,” and if the screening indicates the likelihood of drug use, “the applicant is required to take a substance abuse test.” The same procedure would apply to existing welfare recipients, who would be required to be screened annually.

Drug testing would be paid for by the state, unless the applicant or recipient tested positive. In that case, he or she would have to pay for the test.

People who tested positive on a drug test could continue to receive benefits if they enter drug treatment, while those refusing or failing to follow treatment would lose their benefits.

The Michigan legislature is following in the footsteps of a handful of other states that have passed public benefits drug testing bills. This despite evidence in recent weeks that such programs have few tangible benefits.

In Utah, for e. . . . . READ MORE

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Maine: Portland Voters to Decide on Marijuana Legalization in November

July 16th

PORTLAND, ME — Voters in Portland will decide in November if they want to legalize marijuana possession by adults in Maine’s largest city following a public hearing held Monday evening in response  to a citizen-proposed ordinance that would allow those 21 or older to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana.

Citizens for a Safer Portland, a coalition of organizations that include the Portland Green Independent Committee, the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine, the Libertarian Party of Maine and the Marijuana Policy Project, collected nearly double the 1,500 signatures that were required to place the matter before the City Council.

Following Monday’s hearing, the City Council had three choices: adopt the ordinance as written, send the referendum to the voters, or offer an alternative proposal alongside the ordinance proposed by residents.

The city council voted 5-1 to send the proposed ordinance to the citywide ballot on November 5 to be decided by the voters.  City Councilor David Marshal, a proponent of marijuana legalization, was the lone vote in favor of adopting the ordinance immediately.

If approved by voters, the initiative would allow adults aged 21 and over to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana with city limits.  Currently, possession of the same amount of marijuana in the state of Maine is a fine-only offense.

The proposal would prohibit smoking of marijuana in public spaces, such as schools and on public transp. . . . . READ MORE

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Maine: Public Hearing on Marijuana Legalization Tonight in Portland

July 15th

PORTLAND, ME — A public hearing will be held Monday night by the Portland City Council to discuss legalizing the possession of marijuana by adults within the city.

The hearing is in response  to a citizen-proposed ordinance that would allow adults to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana.

After the hearing is held, the city council will have to either decide whether to adopt the ordinance as written, send the referendum to the voters, or offer an alternative proposal alongside the ordinance proposed by residents.

If the council elects to send the proposal to voters, a vote would have to be scheduled on the referendum within 90 days.

If approved by voters, the initiative would allow adults aged 21 and over to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana with city limits.  Currently, possession of the same amount of marijuana in the state of Maine is a fine-only offense.

The proposal would prohibit smoking of marijuana in public spaces, such as schools and on public transportation,and allow landlords to prohibit it in their apartments.

Proponents of the ordinance gathered over 3,200 signatures to place the proposal on the ballot this year, far more than the 1,500 signatures that were required.

It’s unclear what effect the ordinance would have as it would contradict both s. . . . . READ MORE

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