Skip to Content

MPP Blog

Syndicate content
We Change Laws!
Updated: 6 hours 24 min ago

UPDATE: Congressional Budget Deal Extends Medical Marijuana Protections

Fri, 09/08/2017 - 11:05

A budget deal approved in Congress on Friday extended federal protections for state-legal medical marijuana patients and providers until Dec. 8, potentially creating another opportunity to ensure they are inluded in the FY 2018 budget.

Earlier this week, the House Rules Committee blocked an amendment introduced by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) from being heard by the House during the rest of the budget negotiations. This made it very likely that the amendment, which prevents the Department of Justice  from targeting state medical marijuana programs, would not be included in the final budget for next year. Without inclusion, these protections would have expired Sep. 30.

This budget deal gives us a little more time to put pressure on Congress to do the right thing. Please contact your lawmakers and urge them to support medical marijuana.

The post UPDATE: Congressional Budget Deal Extends Medical Marijuana Protections appeared first on MPP Blog.

Categories: Blog Feeds

National Survey Shows Teen Use Dropping, Possible Substitution for Alcohol in Adults

Thu, 09/07/2017 - 11:05

The annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health released Thursday by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that teen marijuana use rates decreased nationally in 2016. Past-month use rates among adults increased slightly, but alcohol use rates among all age groups decreased, indicating the possibility that adults are substituting marijuana for alcohol.

Past-month use rates for the 12-17 age group decreased by 0.5% from 2015 to 6.5% nationally in 2016. This is the lowest level of marijuana use in this age group since 2002. The data also shows a steady decrease since 2014, when the first states to make marijuana legal for adults began allowing regulated retail sales. The full report is available here.

“Critics of legalization worry about the message being sent to youth by marijuana policy reform efforts, but the real message is that marijuana should only be used by responsible adults, and it seems to be sinking in. Regulating marijuana for adults reinforces that message and creates effective mechanisms for making it more difficult for teens to obtain marijuana,” said Morgan Fox, senior communications manager for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Marijuana is objectively less harmful than alcohol, and regulation gives adults the legal option to choose the safer substance.”

The post National Survey Shows Teen Use Dropping, Possible Substitution for Alcohol in Adults appeared first on MPP Blog.

Categories: Blog Feeds

House Committee Blocks Medical Marijuana Protection Amendment

Thu, 09/07/2017 - 10:35

An amendment that would keep the Department of Justice from interfering with state medical marijuana programs was voted “out of order” by the House Rules Committee on Wednesday, preventing the House from including it in its version of the FY 2018 federal budget.

This amendment, introduced by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), would prevent the Department of Justice from spending any resources to target medical marijuana patients and providers in states where it is legal. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced a similar budget amendment in the Senate, which was approved in a committee voice vote in July.

In 2014, Congress passed a similar amendment to an omnibus-spending bill. This amendment was subsequently renewed, but it now stands to expire on September 30 unless the Senate version of the budget is approved in a joint House/Senate conference committee or Congress fails to pass a budget.

If the amendment is not included in the budget or carried over, the Department of Justice will have nothing to prevent it from targeting state medical marijuana programs. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has repeatedly stated that he opposes marijuana being legal for any reason and in May sent a letter to Congress urging it to vote down the amendment and allow him to resume prosecuting medical marijuana providers.

MPP’s Don Murphy released the following statement:

When an overwhelming majority of Americans oppose federal interference in state medical marijuana programs, it is unconscionable not to let their Representatives vote on whether to continue this policy. Unless Congress chooses the Senate budget version, millions of seriously ill patients and the legitimate businesses that provide them with safe access to their medicine will be at risk of prosecution.

“This vote is a slap in the face of patients, their families, their elected representatives, and the 10th Amendment.

UPDATE: A federal budget deal has extended the medical marijuana protections until Dec. 8, but inclusion in the final budget for next year is still in danger.

The post House Committee Blocks Medical Marijuana Protection Amendment appeared first on MPP Blog.

Categories: Blog Feeds

Indiana Republican Introducing Medical Marijuana Legislation Next Session

Tue, 09/05/2017 - 13:50

In August, Republican Representative Jim Lucas announced that he is planning to introduce medical marijuana legislation in the upcoming legislative session in Indiana. This is great news for the Hoosier State! Last fall, a poll commissioned by WTHR/Howey Politics found that 73% of voters in Indiana support medical marijuana legislation.

Will you ask your lawmakers to stand with voters and protect Indiana patients? If you are an Indiana resident, please urge your lawmakers to support Rep. Lucas’ medical marijuana bill.

We are so excited that a Republican has stepped up to help champion medical marijuana legislation. It’s not always easy to stand up for what you believe in, so please take a second and send a “thank you” to Rep. Jim Lucas.

The post Indiana Republican Introducing Medical Marijuana Legislation Next Session appeared first on MPP Blog.

Categories: Blog Feeds

Republican Congressman Urges Conservatives to Support Medical Marijuana Ahead of Crucial Budget Rules Vote

Tue, 09/05/2017 - 09:41

On Tuesday after Congress returned from recess, Rep. Dana Rohrbacher published a column in the Washington Post asking his conservative colleagues to support his budget amendment that would protect state-legal medical marijuana patients and providers from federal interference.

Not long ago, a supporter of mine, visiting from California, dropped by my Capitol office. A retired military officer and staunch conservative, he and I spent much of our conversation discussing the Republican agenda.

Finally, I drew a breath and asked him about an issue I feared might divide us: the liberalization of our marijuana laws, specifically medical marijuana reform, on which for years I had been leading the charge. What did he think about that controversial position?

“Dana,” he replied, “there are some things about me you don’t know.” He told me about his three sons, all of whom enlisted after 9/11.

Two of his sons returned from the battlefield whole and healthy. The third, however, came home suffering multiple seizures each day. His prospects were bleak.

His medical care fell under the total guidance of the Department of Veterans Affairs, whose doctors came under federal restraints regarding the treatments they could prescribe. (Among the treatments allowed were opioids.) Nothing worked.

Finally, a sympathetic doctor advised our young hero to see him in his private office, where he could prescribe medication derived from cannabis. The prescription worked. The seizures, for the most part, ceased.

“Dana,” said my friend, “I could hug you right now for what you’ve been doing, unknowingly, for my son.”

What had I been doing? With my Democrat friend Sam Farr, the now-retired California congressman, I wrote an amendment to spending bills that prohibits the federal government from prosecuting medical marijuana cases in states where voters have legalized such treatment. The amendment passed two consecutive years, the second time with a wider margin than the first, and has been extended through continuing resolutions and an omnibus spending bill.

Unfortunately, my longtime friend Jeff Sessions, the attorney general, has urged Congress to drop the amendment, now co-sponsored by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.). This, despite President Trump’s belief, made clear in his campaign and as president, that states alone should decide medical marijuana policies.

I should not need to remind our chief law enforcement officer nor my fellow Republicans that our system of federalism, also known as states’ rights, was designed to resolve just such a fractious issue. Our party still bears a blemish for wielding the “states’ rights” cudgel against civil rights. If we bury state autonomy in order to deny patients an alternative to opioids, and ominously federalize our police, our hypocrisy will deserve the American people’s contempt.

You can read the whole article here.

The amendment must be approved by the House Rules Committee in order to get a vote, where it will likely be approved for the FY 2018 federal budget. If it is not, a conference committee will need to choose the Senate version of the budget later this month. If one of these two options doesn’t happen, medical marijuana patients and providers will be open to federal prosecution once again.

We can’t let these protections expire. Please contact your lawmakers and ask them to support medical marijuana, and to ask their colleagues on the House Rules Committee to rule the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment “in order.”

The post Republican Congressman Urges Conservatives to Support Medical Marijuana Ahead of Crucial Budget Rules Vote appeared first on MPP Blog.

Categories: Blog Feeds

Teen Use Down in Washington Since Legalization

Sat, 09/02/2017 - 09:24

Yet another study was released this week showing that teen marijuana use did not increase after legalization, this time from Washington.

Seattle Times reports:

Youth use of pot and cannabis-abuse treatment admissions have not increased in Washington since marijuana was legalized, according to a new analysis by the state Legislature’s think tank.

Under Initiative 502, the state’s legal-pot law, the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP) is required to conduct periodic cost-benefit analyses of legalization on issues ranging from drugged-driving to prenatal use of marijuana.

The think tank’s findings on youth use were not surprising as they were based on a biannual survey by the state Department of Health of students in the sixth, eighth, 10th and 12th grades released earlier this year.

Pot use by students in all four grade levels was stable or has fallen slightly since I-502 was enacted, the WSIPP report said.

For instance, 17 percent of the 10,835 high-school sophomores surveyed last year said they consumed pot in the previous month. The level was 18 percent in 2006 and 20 percent in 2010.

Legalization was approved by Washington voters in November 2012. Legal sales began in July 2014.

The study also found that admissions to public treatment centers for cannabis abuse had fallen since legalization took effect, and that the cannabis industry had created more than six thousand full-time jobs.

 

The post Teen Use Down in Washington Since Legalization appeared first on MPP Blog.

Categories: Blog Feeds

Tennessee Has Organized a Medical Marijuana Committee

Mon, 08/28/2017 - 08:32

House Speaker Beth Harwell and Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally formed a committee to study the potential impacts of legalizing medical marijuana in Tennessee.

The committee will be chaired by Sen. Steve Dickerson, R-Nashville, and Rep. Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby, who has been a staunch advocate for medical marijuana in the Volunteer State.

Speaker Harwell has recently said she is “open” to considering a law allowing medical marijuana in Tennessee and has launched a House task force to fight the state’s ongoing opioid crisis.

A 2014 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that states with medical marijuana laws are associated with a significant reduction in mortality from opioid abuse; these states saw a 25% reduction in opioid overdose deaths, compared to states without such laws.

The post Tennessee Has Organized a Medical Marijuana Committee appeared first on MPP Blog.

Categories: Blog Feeds

Alaska Publishes Proposed Rules for Cannabis Cafés

Mon, 08/28/2017 - 07:18

The Alaska Marijuana Control Board published proposed rules for cannabis cafés. Please take a look and consider submitting written comments in support.

It’s important for the board to hear that the public wants adults to be allowed to consume cannabis at regulated establishments.

Comments are due by October 27 at 4:30 p.m., and they may be submitted by email to amco.regs@alaska.gov, or by regular mail. For more information on making submissions, please see the state’s public notice, available online here. While comments are not due until late October, we strongly encourage you to submit them early so that board members have time to review and consider submissions.

Under the current proposal, the state would allow cannabis flowers to be purchased and consumed on-site by vaporization or smoking, one gram at a time. Concentrates would not be available. Cannabis edibles and food that does not contain cannabis could also be available. A newly proposed addition to the rules would ensure cannabis café workers are not exposed to marijuana smoke while on duty.

The status quo is unworkable for the state’s tourists, and adult residents should not be relegated to private homes when alcohol consumers can choose from a variety of bars and restaurants. It is also important to ensure renters — whose leases may prohibit cannabis consumption — are not shut out of the freedoms Alaskan homeowners enjoy.

The post Alaska Publishes Proposed Rules for Cannabis Cafés appeared first on MPP Blog.

Categories: Blog Feeds

Denver Businesses Applying for Social Consumption Permits

Fri, 08/25/2017 - 09:39

In November 2016, Denver voters approved a measure that allows local businesses to apply for permits to set aside areas for marijuana consumption by their customers. Now, after months of conflict over the extremely restrictive nature of the rules, the city is accepting applications.

Advocates are still decrying the regulations, however, saying that the rules are designed to make it almost impossible for most businesses to take part. In particular, they are concerned that a requirement that applicants be at least 1,000 feet from a variety of educational, treatment, and public facilities, including city parks, eliminates most potential applicants and is unfair when compared to much less restrictive buffer zones for businesses that sell alcohol. Locals are considering a lawsuit against the city to address this issue.

The post Denver Businesses Applying for Social Consumption Permits appeared first on MPP Blog.

Categories: Blog Feeds