States That Have Legalized Medical Marijuana

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is in the news for two reasons today: he’s testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee on his possible links to Russia and a letter he wrote to Congress indicating his disapproval of the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment has surfaced.

Last month we reported that Congress extended the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment.  No sooner was this extension passed,  but Sessions wrote to Congress seeking its repeal.   As many readers know, the Amendment prohibits the Justice Department from using federal funds to prevent states from implementing their own medical marijuana laws.  It is, in essence, a victory for states’ rights, in the sense that they can decide whether to make medical marijuana legal, without fear of federal government interference.

Yesterday massroots.com, and today The Washington Post reported that in May, Sessions wrote to Congress stating that “it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department [of Justice] to fund particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long term uptick in violent crime.”

Of course, the “historic drug epidemic” to which Sessions refers has nothing to do with cannabis, but involves opiates, and, according to the Washington Post, a growing body of research shows that opiate overdoses decrease in states in which medical marijuana is legal.  Sessions also wrote that “[t]he Department must be in a position to use all laws available to combat the transnational drug organizations and dangerous traffickers who threaten American lives.”  It is difficult to understand how Rohrabacher-Farr prevents the federal government from enforcing the Controlled Substances Act against those engaged in trafficking in drugs across state lines.

Sessions’ position is contrary to that of the President who expressed support for medical marijuana laws during his campaign.  However, over the past several months there have been a number of mixed signals from the Administration regarding enforcement of the federal prohibition on the possession and sale of cannabis.  These mixed signals have created tremendous uncertainty in all segments of the cannabis industry, but it is hard to believe that the Administration really intends to disrupt what has become a multi-billion dollar industry.

 

 

As we enter a new year, and approach the one year anniversary of New York’s Medical Marijuana Program,  we are given an opportunity to look back and reflect on the performance of the program, and what lies ahead.

In some ways, the program has been vastly successful.  As of January 3, 2016, 807 practitioners have registered for the Medical Marijuana Program, and 12,067 patients have been certified by their practitioners.

However, the Medical Marijuana Program has also been criticized for its limited access, high prices, and the regulatory hurdles which have discouraged doctors and patients from participating, and have hurt medical marijuana companies trying to grow their business.  For instance, some patients have to travel upwards of three hours to receive the required medication.  Further, many companies have invested in large grow spaces, but due to the restrictive nature of the law, demand has remained low.  Consequently, these companies are using only a marginal fraction of their overall capacity for growth.

Continue Reading New York is Lighting A Fire Under its Budding Cannabis Industry

As we know, many states have now legalized the sale and use of marijuana for medical purposes.  Often, advocates of medical marijuana have worked for many years in order to see their state’s voters or legislature make access to cannabis the law of the land.  This doesn’t mean that patients will be able to purchase marijuana any time soon, however.  The wait can be years.

Continue Reading Are We There Yet? The Wait Between Legalization and Availability of Medical Marijuana

Since Pennsylvania Senate Bill SB3 passed on April 17 (codified as P.L. 84, No. 16, otherwise known as “Act 16”) new issues regarding pot use have sparked.  As discussed in my previous post, the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania proposed amendments to PA Rule of Professional Conduct 1.2 to contemplate legal advice rendered concerning the legalized use of medical marijuana. Though the comment period ended on June 3, it appears that the Disciplinary Board has not yet adopted the amendments to the rule.  We will provide updated information as it becomes available.
In addition to the proposed changes to PA legal ethics rules, certain other developments have arisen since April.  Perhaps the most exciting update is that medical marijuana patients under the age of 18 now have access to the drug, pursuant to the first temporary regulation published under Act 16.  Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Karen Murphy indicated the legislature’s intent in assisting ailing children through the passage of the law, and as such, patients under the age of 18 are the first in line to reap the benefits of the law.

Continue Reading PA Residents Keep Their Buzz Going: Pot Law Developments Continue to Spark Interest

Last week, Illinois courts and lawmakers changed the  course of the administration of medical marijuana for state residents with debilitating conditions and diseases. First, on June 28, 2016, Associate Judge Neil H. Cohen of Cook County Chancery Court ruled that the Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health (“IDPH”), Director Neil D. Shah, illegally denied a Petition to include Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (“PTSD”) as a debilitating medical condition within the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program (“Program”). Plaintiff Daniel Paul Jabs, a veteran of the Iraq War, suffered from PTSD and had symptoms of “‘panic attacks, flashbacks, nightmares, intrusive memories, hyper-sensitivity to light and noise, over reactive startle responses,’ as well as isolation, mood fluctuations, anxiety and insomnia.” After providing the requisite documents at a public hearing before an Advisory Board, the board members unanimously voted to add PTSD and ten other medical conditions as authorized debilitating medical conditions under the Program.

Continue Reading A One-Two Punch: Jabs v. IDPH and SB 10 Passage Changing the Direction of Medical Marijuana in Illinois

Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your weekly look at all things legalized marijuana.

 

The cannabis industry is becoming increasingly attractive to investors, who are pumping more money than ever into marijuana companies.  One indication of the increased activity: In 2015, cannabis companies secured more than $215 million in venture capital, according to data from the investment research firm CB Insights.

 

In a sign of marijuana’s growing normalization in Canada, two major life insurance companies have decided to treat cannabis users as non-smokers, reversing a long-standing policy and offering many of them far cheaper premiums.

 

A bill authorizing physicians to prescribe marijuana derivatives to treat a host of health conditions was signed into law this afternoon by Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

 

Something we missed that everyone needs to read?  Let us know in the comments.

Welcome back to The Week in Weed; here’s your Friday update on all things cannabis.

Long-term marijuana use is not associated with a raft of physical health problems, according to a new study, with one surprising exception: gum disease.

Ohio appears poised to become the newest state to approve a medical marijuana program, which could create one of the largest MMJ industries in the nation with patient numbers in the hundreds of thousands and annual sales in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

The federal government just softened its stance on a very specific use of medical marijuana.

Something we missed that everyone needs to know?  Give us a shout in the comments.

Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your weekly source for news about legalized marijuana.

He’s a medical pot advocate with arthritis.  He’s also the first Congressman to admit to marijuana use while in office.

 

A medical marijuana legalization bill has been sent to Ohio Governor John Kasich in an effort by state lawmakers to offset support for a proposed fall ballot measure.  Gov. Kasich has not indicated whether he will sign the legislation or not.

 

Public cannabis-based companies seeking to list on a national exchange suffered a setback this week when Nasdaq rejected a listing request by MassRoots, fearing it would “aid in the use and dealing of an illegal substance.”

 

It’s not that the Teamsters are opposed to legalizing marijuana use, but they are concerned about how the transportation and distribution of the drug would be managed under the proposal that goes to the state’s voters in November.

 

Anything we missed?  Let us know in the comments.

Can a bistro in Pottsville, Pa. fire employees for using medical cannabis?  Not anymore.  On Tuesday, May 17, 2016, the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Act (SB-3) (“MMA”) went into effect, following Governor Tom Wolf’s signature last month (as previously reported here).  Pennsylvania joins 24 other states, including New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, on the Pineapple Express.  Along the way, employers will learn their ability to discipline employees for consuming medical marijuana on the job, for showing up to work under the influence of medical marijuana, and other unintended consequences that will bud from the law. Continue Reading The “Key-Stoned State”: Employer’s Guide to the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Law

Hello all and welcome back to The Week in Weed, your go-to source for news in the world of legalized marijuana.

This new ordinance is a bit of a head-scratcher.  “A marijuana conviction often can disqualify you from receiving a cannabis business license, but in Oakland it can give you an advantage over applicants with clean records.”  Under this legislation, half of all licenses to run medical marijuana businesses must go to persons with convictions for cannabis-related offenses or who live in one of six neighborhoods targeted by the Oakland Police Department’s war on drugs.  The stated purpose is to increase diversity in the marijuana industry, but critics of the bill note that “most of the six police beats included in the bill lie in the city council district of the councilor who sponsored the legislation.”

 

The Southeast is an area of the country where legalized marijuana has not made much of an inroad.  This may be about to change as Louisiana takes another step towards legalizing the use of cannabis for medical purposes.  The personal stories of those urging passage of the measure are believed to have swayed legislators over the arguments of opponents that legalizing medical marijuana is a step on the slippery slope to legalizing for recreational use.

 

Are you ready for some (medical marijuana in) football?  Eugene Morris, who plays for the Baltimore Ravens, is advocating the use of cannabis in lieu of opioids to treat pain resulting from the rough and tumble inherent in the sport.

 

Anything we missed?  Let us know in the comments section.