Monday, December 03, 2018

Reform 64 - New Session In Sacramento Begins With Compassionate Care & Will Continue With More Reforms

California Senate Chamber
This week the California legislature re-introduced the Compassionate Care bill – SB 829, which will receive a new bill number next session.  This marks the legislature’s test of California’s newly elected governor, Gavin Newsom, who is predicted to be more reasonable that outgoing Jerry Brown who vetoed that Compassionate Care bill this past session.

There are many provisions and taxes within Prop. 64 that need to be amended.  PAN covers a story here that highlights everything our organization has been reporting regarding the problems with Prop. 64 and how it encourages a thriving unregulated market.  

Compassion Flower Report - Episode 15

Those most affected are patients that are overwhelmingly using the unregulated market because we can no longer afford the taxes at licensed shops.  

PAN is asking all patients and providers to list those provisions or issues you are having with accessing the regulated market or the barriers to becoming a legitimate cannabis business in California, and share them with PAN.  PAN is working with the legislature now to improve our laws.  California deserves to have the best cannabis laws in the country and we, collectively, are only ones that can make it happen.  We look forward to hearing from you.   

Monday, November 19, 2018

Give Thanks To The Patients That Made It Possible

This past election we saw two more states become medical: Utah and Missouri; and the first state in the mid-west to adopt recreational: Michigan.  

Thailand is eyeing being the first Asian country to approve medical cannabis laws. Canada is concerned about its dwindling medical cannabis supply since the implementation of adult use and is teaming up Jamaica for product.  

As we watch the industry take on challenges from city to city, state to state, and country to country, one thing remains the same, patients are concerned about cost and availability of medical cannabis in every regulated jurisdiction.

Over-regulation and hyper-taxation is putting a stranglehold on patients. Affordability and availability is an issue everywhere medical cannabis is approved.  Patient advocates hoped that adult recreational would help, not harm, access to medical, but it has made things worse for patients.

Unfortunately, licensed providers, or those hoping to become licensed are silent to the plight of patients for fear of losing authorized approval.  Defending patients often means advocating for affordability, lower-taxation, and compassion programs.  State and local governments don’t want to hear about programs that lower the potential revenue and therefore, providers don’t bring it up.  In some cases, license applicants that have solely wanted to serve patients have had their applications denied over those proposing large adult recreational outlets.  

As a result the basic greed by business owners and government officials has thrown patients under the bus.  Compassion was vetoed in California because the overall projected revenue is down and the governor would not approve a program that would eliminate some taxation, even for the poorest, sickest patients that aren’t even buying it retail anyway.  The revenue is down because the taxation and fees are too high and the underground market is thriving.  California’s legislature seems to be too blind to figure this out and/or too impotent to act.  The recent MJ Biz Conference didn’t even acknowledge medical cannabis or patients with any speakers or panels.  

So, hopefully, all of the profiteers in the industry this Thanksgiving will say ‘Thank You’ to all of the patients and advocates that took to the streets, took to city halls and statehouse chambers to expose themselves publicly as people that use cannabis, people that are regularly in possession of the cannabis, people that always have cannabis in their systems, people that may be cultivating cannabis, people with a disease that they may not have shared with others.  

This was the level of exposure that patients, providers and caregivers had to offer to get elected officials to listen and take action.  These were the people that experienced the DEA raids, had their bank accounts closed, lost jobs, had children taken away and lost housing for being a medical cannabis patient.  Some went on to federal prison for following state law.  

So, all of you CEO’s, COO’s, VP’s, and others of major cannabis companies, please thank poor, disabled patients brave enough to expose themselves to their governments, the media and law enforcement about some of the most private and sensitive parts of their lives during a very dangerous time to help pass laws long before you now get to exploit them for profit.  

Happy Thanksgiving!

Recent Headlines

Medical Cannabis News Around California

Four Palm Springs area pot shops are among the first in California to get annual licenses

California needs more time to vet and license marijuana businesses

Palm Springs Airport clears up confusion for pot on planes

California Court Says Police Have to Give Back Marijuana They Seize During Arrests

Money laundering claims linked to illegal out-of-state marijuana sales

The Eruption Of Illegal Weed Dispensaries In L.A. Is A Problem Of The City's Own Making

Kern County voters reject all cannabis measures

Voters give thumbs up to cannabis taxes in Lake, Mendocino, Solano counties

Medical Cannabis News Around The U.S.

The future is bright for medical cannabis

Guns and Medical Marijuana: An Illegal Mix, According to Feds

Marijuana Stocks Spiked After Jeff Sessions Resigned

AG Brnovich seeks to outlaw hashish for medical-marijuana patients in Arizona

Arkansas medical marijuana program well behind other states

Florida - Gov. Scott appeals major medical marijuana ruling

Florida - Tampa's largest medical marijuana dispensary opens

No clear guidelines on testing for medical marijuana in Florida

Illinois - Medical marijuana use up 83% in state; PTSD most common condition treated

Illinois - SIU to create medical marijuana certificate program, launch new research into industrial hemp

Indiana lawmakers are considering medical marijuana.
One legislator said he tried it.

Medical Marijuana in Indiana After Jeff Sessions and With New Legislators

Medical marijuana clinic opening Monday in Louisiana

Louisiana - Medical marijuana plants are ready for harvest, but lack of a testing lab could lead to delays

Michigan's medical marijuana patients can now register online

Coast mayor backs Mississippi’s medical marijuana campaign, hosts event

Fight To Legalize Medical Marijuana In Missouri Intensifies As Groups Battle Over Tax Rates

All about Amendment 2, the medical marijuana proposal approved in Missouri on Tuesday

Higher costs, local bans have Montana's small medical marijuana producers scaling up or shutting down

New Jersey - There's a big win for medical marijuana patients in the fine print of new bill

New York Bill Would Require Medical Marijuana Be Covered By Public Health Insurance

North Dakota - UPDATE: Patient applications for medical marijuana available Oct 29

Some things to know about Ohio’s medical marijuana program

Oklahoma gets 600 medical marijuana dispensary applications

Registered medical marijuana patients dropping fast in Oregon

Rhode Island - Autism spectrum disorder now recognized as treatable by medical marijuana in RI

San Antonio state senator files medical marijuana bill for Texas

Utah - Winners and losers from this week’s big medical marijuana deal

Utah Voters Approve Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana backers threaten to sue over LDS Church involvement in compromise bill to replace Prop 2

Concerns about deadline being met about medical marijuana in West Virginia

International Medical Cannabis News

Forget Stoners. The Real Money Is in Medical Marijuana

Australia’s cannabis industry set to boom: report

Canada - Medical pot shortage to last 18 months: Medicinal Cannabis Resource Centre  

Canada – OMA president's comments, apology raise questions about stigma around marijuana

Canada - Unlicensed medical pot dispensaries the wildcard in new cannabis landscape

Guam Governor Vetoes Medical Marijuana Bill, Saying it "Reeks of Legislative Arrogance"

Lithuania parliament votes to legalise medicinal cannabis use

Polish government approves import of medical cannabis

UK - Medical cannabis ‘will be available on prescription within a month’

Medical cannabis will soon be available on prescription in the UK, but who will get it?

Republic of Vanuatu Legalizes Medical Cannabis

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

California Governor Jerry Brown Issues Blow To Medical Cannabis Patients, Compassion

Protections for medical cannabis patients are eroding quickly in the state of California.  Two important medical cannabis bills that passed the legislature were not signed by Governor Jerry Brown this week, SB 829 and SB 1127, leaving what many think is a huge stain on Brown’s political legacy.

On September 11, 2015, the legislature passed MMRSA – Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act.  This set of rules was a clear violation of Proposition 215 as it made huge, sweeping amendments to a voter initiative.  In an act of diabolical genius immediately after MMRSA passed, AUMA – the Adult Use of Marijuana Act – was filed and signature gathering began soon thereafter quashing any effort to sue the State over MMRSA as any judge assigned to the case would suggest waiting until the outcome the election before moving forward with the case.  AUMA neatly umbrella’ed MMRSA making it part of their voter initiative and effectively compromising Prop. 215 – The Compassionate Use Act.  

Despite the diligent, articulate and informed arguments by patient advocates statewide that AUMA – Prop. 64 – greatly jeopardized The Compassionate Use Act, paid proponents of Prop. 64 worked to discredit and undermine decades of hard work by advocates to protect patients’ safe, affordable access to medical cannabis.  AUMA passed. The taxes and fees have skyrocketed.  Patients have stopped visiting licensed retail cannabis shops for unregulated sources.  Now a blow by the Governor to declare that Compassionate Care and allowing children access to their medicine at school are illegal.

As of January 1, 2018, giving cannabis away at no cost to vulnerable patients – the spirit of The Compassionate Use Act – became illegal.  SB 829 would have created a license for this activity to encourage the re-establishment of compassion programs allowing low-income patients and our veterans to have more livable lives.  SB 1127 would’ve allowed children with serious illnesses to have their medical cannabis available at school in case of an emergency. Many of these children suffer from Dravet Syndrome – a severe form of epilepsy that produces violent and debilitating seizures, often several times a day.  Medical cannabis alleviates the duration, frequency and severity of these seizures allowing children to have more livable lives.  Governor Brown is not concerned about the lives of Californians especially of they are poor, ill or use medical cannabis.

So, what are the options for medical cannabis patients, providers and their advocates? Taking the next several legislative sessions to make endless amendments to every part of these flawed laws is one burdensome option.  A legal challenge to Prop. 64, as it pertains to the claim that it doesn’t affect Prop. 215, is another option but not a long-term solution.  It appears more and more that the only way to protect patients and Prop. 215 is through the voter initiative process and specifically a constitutional amendment.  

However, statewide voter initiative campaigns are arduous and expensive.  Is there enough frustration to motivate a campaign?  Are there enough people willing to make a small donation to fund a campaign?  Patient Advocacy Network would like to hear your thoughts.