Oregon Governor Signs Bill Altering Marijuana Penalties, Removing Marijuana from Controlled Substances Act

Legislation altering Oregon’s marijuana penalties, and removing marijuana from the Uniform Controlled Substances Act, has been signed into law by Governor Kate Brown

Senate Bill 302 was signed into law yesterday by Governor Kate Brown. It was passed by the Senate last month with a 21 to 8 vote, and approved by the House of Representatives 34 to 21 earlier this month. The proposal took effect immediately after being signed by Governor Brown.

The new law reduces the penalty for possessing more than the legal one ounce limit, but less than four times that limit. However, it would increase the penalty for possessing over 16 times the legal limit (anything over a pound. The measure also “repeals additional penalties for the possession, manufacture, or sale of marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school”, and “moves criminal penalties and related provisions from the CSA [Controlled Substances Act] to the Control and Regulation of Marijuana Act”.

The full text of this bill can be found by clicking here.

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Iowa Legislature Approves Measure Legalizing Distribution of Medical Cannabis Oil

In a last-minute deal Iowa lawmakers gave approval today to legislation to expand the state’s limited medical cannabis oil law that passed in 2014.

House File 524 was approved by the House today at 3am (83 to 11), and was passed by the Senate exactly four hours later (33 to 7), sending it to Governor Terry Branstad for final consideration. The proposal would legalize the production and distribution of cannabis oil for those with a qualifying condition who receive a recommendation from a physician. Licensed dispensaries would be established to safely distribute the medicine to patients.

“There are many, many citizens, literally thousands of citizens, that could benefit from the use of this medication,” says Representative John Forbes, a Democratic pharmacist who voted in favor of the measure. “They’ll have access now to a treatment for debilitating diseases that are not very well treated sometimes with conventional medicine.”

“There are sick Iowans out there that need relief, bottom line,” said the bill’s floor manager, Representative Jarad Klein, R-Keota.

If approved into law, House File 524 would allow the Department of Public Health to approve up to two manufacturers and up to five distributors if cannabis oil. The cannabis oil will be limited to containing no more than 3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

The bill also would expands the list of qualifying conditions to use cannabis oil to include cancer, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS and others. A medical Cannabidiol Advisory Board would be established within the Department of Public Health to recommend adding or removing qualifying conditions.

A separate, more liberal proposal to legalize medical cannabis recently passed the Iowa Senate.

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Colorado Legislature Approves Measure Adding PTSD and Acute Stress Disorder as Medical Cannabis Conditions

Colorado Legislation to expand the state’s list of qualifying medical cannabis conditions has been passed by the full legislature.

Senate Bill 017 would create “a statutory right to use medical marijuana for a patient with acute stress disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder.” The bill “creates the same rights, limitations, and criminal defenses and exceptions as the constitutional right to use medical marijuana” for all other conditions that currently qualify someone to become a legal medical cannabis patient.

The measure passed the Senate last month with a 34 to 1 vote, and was approved today by the House of Representatives. Given it was amended slightly in the House, it will need to go back for a final vote before being sent to Governor John Hickenlooper for consideration.

Senate Bill 17-017 is sponsored by Senator Irene Aguilar and Representative Jonathan Singer. It it becomes law, Colorado would join Minnesota, New Jersey, Michigan, California, Illinois, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Arizona, Washington, Rhode Island and Oregon as states that allow those with PTSD or acute stress disorder to legally use medical cannabis.

Click here for the full text of the measure.

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Study: National medical marijuana laws would save lives — and a billion taxpayer dollars

A fascinating study in Health Affairs last year by a father-daughter pair of public policy researchers found that Medicare prescriptions for things like painkillers, antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications dropped sharply in states that introduced a medical marijuana program. The implication? Offered the choice between taking medication prescribed by a doctor…

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Vermont Marijuana Legalization Bill Passed by Senate

A bill to legalize marijuana for those 21 and older has been given approval by Vermont’s full Senate.

The Vermont Senate approved a bill on Friday that would regulate the production and sale of marijuana and eliminate penalties for personal possession and cultivation by adults 21 and older.

The Senate amended House Bill 167, an unrelated House-approved bill, to replace it with a revised version of a marijuana regulation bill that passed last year in the Senate and failed in the House. The Senate also amended H. 167 to include the same home cultivation provision that is included in H. 170, a bill that has been making its way through the House. H. 170 would eliminate Vermont’s civil penalty for possessing one ounce or less of marijuana and remove penalties for possession of up to two mature marijuana plants and up to four immature plants. The Senate proposal would allow unlimited small-scale cultivation licenses for producers no larger than 500 sq feet. The marijuana regulation bill that failed in the House last year, S. 241, did not include a home cultivation provision.

The Senate-amended version of H. 167 will receive one final vote before being sent back to the House for consideration.

Most Vermont voters are in favor of the policy changes proposed in H. 167 and H. 170, according to a survey conducted March 20-21 by Public Policy Polling. Fifty-seven percent support allowing adults 21 and older to possess and grow limited amounts of marijuana, and 54% support regulating and taxing marijuana similarly to alcohol. The results are available at https://www.mpp.org/VTpoll.

“Most Vermonters think marijuana should be made legal for adults, and they’re looking to lawmakers to come up with a plan”, says Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. :We applaud the Senate for approving a thoughtful alternative to marijuana prohibition that would account for public health and improve public safety. We would love to see the House step up and join the Senate in supporting this sensible reform. If the House isn’t willing to support the Senate’s proposal, it at least needs to support its own Judiciary Committee’s plan and pass H. 170.”

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