Monday, December 04, 2017

Congress Creates Concern Over Expiring Provision Protecting Medical Cannabis States From Federal Interference

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions
On December 8, 2017, the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment officially expires while the Congressional Joint Appropriations Committee continues to negotiate the appropriations bill for fiscal year 2018.

Since 2015, this amendment, originally the Hinchey-Rohrabacher Amendment, has effectively halted the U.S. Department of Justice and the D.E.A. from enforcing federal law on states with medical cannabis regulations.   If erased from the appropriations bill, cannabis industry players and regulators across the country may find themselves in federal criminal jeopardy.  In recent statements to the press U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions called marijuana “detrimental” and a “federal violation… subject to being enforced.” 

At this time the amendment almost looks certain to fail, or more accurately, disappear.  Unlike previous congressional sessions, the amendment will not be brought up for a floor vote with address and debate from both sides.  According to U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer’s office, this amendment will either be in the final version of the 2018 appropriations bill or it will be cut as part of the frantic bill writing process that goes on when both congressional chambers get behind closed doors.   If the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment is cut, there are fears about how the U.S. Department of Justice will proceed.   

Sign-on Letter supporting a provision protecting states rights where medical cannabis laws are in place

The current signers of the letter.

Those wanting to take action can do so by contacting your U.S. representative and asking him or her to add their name to a letter of support for a provision in the appropriations bill for year 2018 that protects states with medical cannabis laws from federal interference.”  See the letter enclosed in this post. 

You should fill out the contact form on your representative’s website.  

Site has general contact information but no staff members

Sample contact page

However, the most effective person to contact in your representative’s office is their legislative director.  Not all congressional websites list their staff members but they are usually easy to find with a simple web search.  Type in your Representative’s name and legislative director, i.e, ‘Representative Blumenauer legislative director.’  Once you find the director’s name, all email addresses for the House are  

A website listing a representative's staff members

Legislative director's name found!

A second confirmation that this is the right person and email address

Likewise, you may want to also find the name of the deputy chief of staff and cc: them as well.  You will want to email the enclosed letter to the legislative director for a faster response. 

It is common for elected officials and staffers to block attachments.  To ensure the letter of support has been received, you may want to call the legislative director and let him or her know that you emailed an attachment.

Sample letter to Legislative Director

Engaging democracy is hugely important, usually tricky, and not always convenient.  However, this action does not require you to take to the streets, protest smash and grab raids, or offer court support for federal prisoners… yet.  Let’s take action now before the AG Sessions does.

The Hinchey-Rohrabacher Amendment

Trump's Victory Makes the Hinchey-Rohrabacher Amendment Critical

US Attorney General Sessions Signals Change in Marijuana Policy

Find Your Representative

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Advocates In California Urge Protection For Medical Cannabis Patients From Hyper-regulation, Over-taxation, & Corporate Takeover

The Bureau of Cannabis Control is slated to start issuing and processing applications on January 1, 2018.  Further regulations will be presented in November of this year, and the California Department of Consumer Affairs just seated the long-waited Cannabis Advisory Committee mandated by the state’s new cannabis rules.  

What is absent on this committee is any authentic patient voice or social justice advocates.  However, this has been the case in Sacramento during all medical cannabis policy discussions.  Patient advocates have had to demand to be heard or be ignored.  Now that the potential revenue from adult recreational cannabis sales and production is being projected, affordable access to medical cannabis for disabled and low-income patients is the furthest thing on the minds of the new Cannabis Bureaucracy.

Hopefully, the California Cannabis Bureaucracy realizes that we could find ourselves back in a federally hostile environment.  Who did they seat to tackle the possibility that our U.S. Attorney General and Department of Justice may decide to enforce the Controlled Substances Act, again?  Who will deal with the fallout and stand up for the political prisoners?

What is present on this committee is the Drug Policy Alliance.  Members of the Drug Policy Alliance are gaining seats on committees and commissions around the state.  Since DPA’s political action committee donated a significant amount of money to Prop. 64, this would seem to be a conflict.  However, this works out wonderfully for George Soros, who founded and funds DPA, and is heavily vested in Monsanto.   Monsanto stands to win the most from Prop. 64, by acquiring the largest permits and controlling the seeds for recreational, medical and hemp stains.  With Soros’ employees serving around the state the mega-corporate take over of California’s cannabis industry is moving right along.

Despite how the advisory or oversight bodies may be stacked, the regulations themselves equate impractical policy.  Many current businesses will find it burdensome and too expensive to comply.  This creates a monopoly for wealthy, elite players to saturate the marketplace.  True patients and their providers will be priced out and in jeopardy.  Some operations will go deep underground, adding to existing environmental concerns about unregulated cultivation.

Patients are urged to contact:

Department of Consumer Affairs – Bureau of Cannabis Control

Attn: Lori Ajax, Chief, Bureau of Cannabis Control;
Dean R. Grafilo, Director, California Department of Consumer Affairs;
And Members of the Cannabis Advisory Committee

Or (800) 952-5210

Let them know that you are patient that relies on consistent and affordable access to medical cannabis, and you are concerned that over-regulation, permitting fees and taxes for medical cannabis are going to put your collective out of business or make it so you can no longer afford your medicine. 

Send your comments and concerns to your California state representatives as well:
Find Your California Representative


Some related links:
Department of Consumer Affairs Announces Appointments to Cannabis Advisory Committee

L.A. City Council approves new Cannabis Department head

George Soros And Big Agriculture Move The Marijuana Movement

How Monsanto & Bayer Are Trying To Take Over The Cannabis Industry

The Corporate Billionaires’ Hostile Attempt To Take Over The California Cannabis Industry in 2016

Legalization, 4 Years Later: What Happened In Washington State?


Monday, July 10, 2017

The Tedious Process Of Implementing Cannabis Laws In California

Since the 2016 Election, Patient Advocacy Network has watched the slow, steady process in Sacramento to combine MMRSA (the medical marijuana law of 2015) and AUMA (Prop. 64 of 2016).  As of this post 61 marijuana-related bills are active in Sacramento.  The unique and tedious situation in California is applying regulations to an extensive and thriving medical cannabis industry that has existed for decades.  The real test will be how the new rules affect the existing businesses. 

PAN communicates regularly with Sacramento officials about the affordability of medical cannabis mandated by the Compassionate Use Act.  One of the biggest threats to patients is a bureaucracy, and fees and taxes that will make medical cannabis too expensive for low and moderate income, and disabled patients.  The new rules make it very disadvantageous for dispensaries to provide free or greatly reduced medical cannabis to its most vulnerable patient members.   

Last few months PAN has also been extremely busy with medical cannabis providers preparing for local approval and state permitting.  Despite what seems like legislative chaos in Sacramento, the new regulatory bureau and associated departments state they will be ready to take applications January 1, 2018. 

We will not know what is working or not until full implementation.  PAN is seeking feedback from patients and providers as to how the new rules are impacting access and compliance, respectively.   Any grievances will be taken up with our state elected officials at that time.

PAN is also extremely effective in helping patients get regulations on the local level.  We have stopped bans and assisted with crafting workable guidelines to protect patients and communities.  Please contact us if you have questions about getting (better) medical cannabis regulations in your community.