By Paul Armentano
Immediate action is needed in the following states:
Hawaii: Hawaii’s decade-plus medical marijuana law is under fire. The chairman of the Senate Health Committee, Sen. Josh Green (District 3, West Hawaii), is pushing for additional amendments to SB 1458 (which NORML already opposed) that would eliminate chronic pain, nausea, and Crohn’s disease as qualifying conditions under the state’s medical marijuana program. Lawmakers will decide on these draconian proposals this Thursday. Our allies at the Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii are encouraging advocates to contact Sen. Green and urge him to withdraw his amendments. Please contact the Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii for further information on how you can take action to preserve Hawaii’s medical cannabis law.
Illinois: Members of the House of Representatives are anticipated to vote next week on House Bill 30, the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act. In the previous session, similar legislation was approved by the Senate but was narrowly defeated by the House. You can contact your member of the House regarding HB 30 via NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ here. You can further support this effort by contacting Illinois NORML.
Montana: Montana’s patients are once again in legal jeopardy. House and Senate lawmakers this week approved Senate Bill 423, which seeks to severely curtail the number of state-authorized patients who have legal access to medical cannabis. According to a recent summary in The Billings Gazette: “The latest version of SB423 seeks to greatly limit the number of people licensed to use medical marijuana, now at 28,300, with backers hoping to bring that number fewer than 2,000. SB423 first would repeal the current law and shut down medical pot growing and dispensing operations on July 1.”
Our allies Patients and Families United have accurately labeled SB 423 “Repeal in Disguise.” It would “require the Board of Medical Examiners to review the practices of any physician who recommends marijuana for more than 15 patients in 12 months. Furthermore, the bill would require the physician to pay the cost of the board’s review.” Montana NORML has an action alert here urging the Gov. Brian Schweitzer to veto or amend SB 423 here. Montana activists may also wish to leave a message for the Governor urging him to stand up for Montana’s patients by rejecting SB 423. Call to leave your message here: 406-444-3111.
Pennsylvania: Legislation to allow for the physician supervised use of marijuana has been re-introduced in the Pennsylvania Senate. Senate Bill 1003 would allow state-authorized patients to possess and cultivate cannabis for therapeutic purposes. The measures also seek to allow for the state-licensed distribution and sale of medical marijuana by authorized ‘compassion centers.’ For more information, or to become involved in this campaign, please contact Philly NORML or Pennsylvanians for Medical Marijuana.
Washington: Lawmakers in both chambers have approved an amended version of Senate Bill 5073, which seeks to provide state licensing to medical marijuana producers and dispensaries in order to assure that qualified patients “will have access to an adequate, safe, consistent, and secure source of medical quality cannabis.” The proposed law does not amend patients’ existing rights to possess up to 24 ounces of marijuana for medical purposes and cultivate up to 15 cannabis plants. The measure now awaits action from Gov. Chris Gregoire, who has expressed concerns regarding the measure and has threatened to veto it. Washington advocates may contact the Governor’s office and leave her a message in support of this bill by calling 360-902-4111 or via email here. Additional information and up-to-date information regarding this measure is available from the Washington state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) here, or by contacting Washington NORML here or visiting them on Facebook here.