Tag: Massachusetts

These 5 States Will Vote on Marijuana Legalization in November

These 5 States Will Vote on Marijuana Legalization in November

Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan last week certified a marijuana legalization initiative for the November ballot, setting the stage for a national election that will see the issue go directly to the voters in five states, including California, the nation’s most populous.

Four states have already legalized marijuana at the ballot box, Colorado and Washington in 2012 and Alaska and Oregon in 2014. The District of Columbia also legalized marijuana—but not commercial sales—in 2014.

But those states combined only have a population of about 17 million people. Winning California alone would more than double that figure and winning all five states would triple it. If all five states vote for pot, we could wake up on November 9 with nearly a quarter of the nation living under marijuana legalization.

And that could finally lay the groundwork for serious progress on ending federal marijuana prohibition. With national opinion polls now consistently reporting majorities for pot legalization, public sentiment is shifting in favor of such a move, and if voters in these five states actually do legalize it, that sentiment will have been translated into political facts on the ground. Congress may finally begin to listen.

Still, it’s not a done deal. Voters have to actually go to the polls and vote. But all five initiative campaigns are well-funded, increasingly with marijuana industry money and are in a position to significantly outspend the organized opposition. They also start from a generally favorable polling position, with leads in most of the states. And they can now point to the examples of the earlier legalization states, where, despite dire prediction, the sky has not fallen, and state treasuries are growing fat with pot fee and tax revenues.

Of the five states that will take up legalization in November, four have initiative campaigns organized under the imprimatur of the Marijuana Policy Project, whose “Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol” campaign proved so successful in Colorado. California is the one exception, with its initiative written by a group around tech billionaire Sean Parker and heavily influenced by the recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Marijuana Policy led by Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Here are the five states and their initiatives:

Sponsored by the Arizona Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, the initiative would allow people 21 and over to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants “in an enclosed, locked space within their residences.” It would also create a state agency, the Department of Marijuana License and Control, to oversee legal, licensed marijuana commerce, but would limit the number of marijuana retail shops to one-tenth the number of liquor store licenses, which would be fewer than 180.

The measure would allow localities to regulate or ban pot businesses, and it would impose a 15% excise tax on retail sales, with 80% of revenues earmarked for schools and 20% for substance abuse education. The measure does not allow for public use and does not remove existing penalties for possession of more than an ounce or six plants. That means possession of 28 grams is legal, but possession of 29 grams is a felony. The measure does not provide employment rights for marijuana user and it does not change the state’s bizarrely strict drugged driving law, which criminalizes the presence of inactive marijuana metabolites, but does not require actual impairment to be proven.

The campaign has raised $2.2 million so far and may need to spend every cent to win. An April poll had Arizonans rejecting legalization 43%-49% and a July poll had legalization losing 39%-52%. Those numbers are going to be tough to overcome, but with normally rock-ribbed red state Arizona shifting to battleground state status this wacky election year, the state could be a pleasant surprise come Election Day.

The Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) initiative sponsored by Yes on 64 would allow people 21 and over to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants, keeping the fruits of their harvest. It would also allow the unregulated gifting of up to a quarter-ounce of marijuana. The measure would also allow for licensed on-site marijuana consumption, or “cannabis cafes.” It would allow for legal marijuana commerce regulated by a new Bureau of Marijuana Control, which would replace the existing Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation, and would impose a 15% retail sales tax and a $9.25 per ounce cultivation tax imposed at the wholesale level.

In a nod to the state’s existing ma-and-pa pot growing industry, the measure would license “micro-grows” (under 10,000 square feet), but would not allow “mega-grows” (more than ½ acre indoors or 1 acre outdoors) until 2023 at the earliest. Most remaining criminal offenses around marijuana would be reduced from felonies to misdemeanors. Cities and counties could opt out of marijuana commerce, but only by a vote of residents, and they could not ban personal possession or cultivation. The measure provides no employment protections for consumers and does not change existing impaired driving laws.

The campaign has raised $7.1 million so far, including $1.5 million from Sean parker, $1 million from Weedmaps founder Justin Hartfield, and significant contributions from the Marijuana Policy Project and Drug Policy Action, the campaign and lobbying arm of the Drug Policy Alliance. Fundraising is far exceeding the organized opposition, but in a state with a huge population and massive media markets, the campaign will need to double or even triple what it has raised so far.

The polling numbers are looking good, too. A February Probolsky Research poll had support for legalization at 59.9%, while a May Public Policy Institute of California poll echoed that with support at 60%. And the trend is upward—the same Public Policy Institute of California poll had support at only 54% last year. California should go green on November 8.

 Sponsored by the Maine Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, the measure would allow people 21 and over to possess up to 2 ½ ounces of marijuana, six flowering plants, and 12 immature ones. People could also give up to 2 ½ ounces or six plants to other adults without remuneration. The measure would allow legal marijuana commerce regulated by the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, with a 10% retail sales tax. The measure would also allow for on-site consumption, or “cannabis cafes,” but would require that all pot purchased at such facilities be consumed there. Localities could regulate or ban commercial marijuana facilities.

Campaign supporters have only raised $692,000 so far, but Maine is a small state with a low population and isn’t going to require millions to run a campaign. As in other initiative states, Maine opponents are trailing badly in fundraising, but will probably get some financial assistance from the prohibitionist Smart Approaches to Marijuana, which has vowed to put $2 million into the effort to defeat the five initiatives. Most of that money won’t be going to Maine, though.

The polling numbers so far are encouraging, with a March MPRC poll showing 53.8% support and a May Critical Insights poll coming in at 55%. Those numbers aren’t high enough for campaigners to rest easy, but they do suggest that victory is well within reach.

The measure sponsored by the Massachusetts Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol would allow people 21 and over to possess up to an ounce of marijuana in public or 10 ounces at home, as well as allowing the cultivation of up to six plants and the possession of the fruits of the harvest. It would allow legal marijuana commerce regulated by a Cannabis Control Commission, and it includes a provision that would allow on-site consumption at licensed facilities, or “cannabis cafes.”

Localities would have the option of banning legal marijuana commerce enterprises. The measure would impose a 3.75% excise tax in addition to the state’s 6.25% sales tax, making an effective tax rate of 10%. Localities could add local taxes of up to 2%, but they certainly couldn’t collect them if they didn’t allow marijuana businesses to operate. There are no employment protections for pot smokers, and the state’s drugged driving laws would remain unchanged.

Funding looks to be lagging in the Bay State, where supporters have only raised $500,000, less than in Maine, which has a significantly smaller population. Organized opposition in the form of the Campaign for a Safe and Healthy Massachusetts may be the strongest of any of the five states this year, with the governor, the mayor of Boston, and other leading public officials on board.

The polling suggests this will be a very tight race. A  July 2014 poll had the state evenly split, with 48% supporting legalization and 47% opposed, and polling from last year was showing slight majorities for legalization. But a May poll had only 43% support, with 45.8% opposed, and a July poll had legalization at 41%, with 50% opposed.

Sponsored by the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Nevada, the measure would legalize the possession of up to one ounce by people 21 and over and would allow people to grow up to six plants—but only if they live more than 25 miles from a retail marijuana store. The measure also creates a system of licensed marijuana commerce to be overseen by the state Department of Taxation. The measure would impose a 15% tax on wholesale marijuana sales, and retail sales would be subject to already existing sales taxes. The measure contains no provisions for on-site cannabis consumption, does not alter existing impaired driving laws, and does not provide employment rights for pot smokers.

The campaign has raised more than $1 million so far, including $625,000 from people in the marijuana industry. But it also faces significant opposition in the person of conservative money-bags Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who gave $5 million to the campaign to defeat the 2014 Florida medical marijuana initiative. Adelson hasn’t so far kicked in directly to defeat Question 2, but he has bought the state’s largest newspaper, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, and flipped its editorial position from supporting legalization to opposing it.

Polling on the initiative campaign is scarce, but encouraging. A KTNV/Rasmussen poll just two weeks ago had the measure winning, 50% to 41%.

And there you have it. Given all the information available, our best estimate is that California is most likely to win, followed by Maine and Nevada. Arizona looks like the toughest nut to crack, followed by Massachusetts. We will know by the time the sun rises on November 9.


This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license from StopTheDrugWar.org and was first published here.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Separating Myth From Fact: DPA Releases New Marijuana Facts Booklet

Separating Myth From Fact: DPA Releases New Marijuana Facts Booklet | Drug Policy Alliance

The Drug Policy Alliance on Thursday released Marijuana Facts, intended for non-expert audiences seeking answers to some of the most common questions asked about marijuana use, its effects, and the rapidly-shifting legal landscape. The booklet addresses 15 frequently-asked questions about subjects such as driving, mental health, brain development, potency, edibles and concentrates.  It touches on […]

Separating Myth From Fact: DPA Releases New Marijuana Facts Booklet | The Daily Chronic


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Massachusetts Marijuana Legalization Measure Qualifies for November Ballot

Massachusetts Marijuana Legalization Measure Qualifies for November Ballot

Massachusetts voters will decide this November on a statewide ballot measure to legalize and regulate the adult use and retail sale of cannabis.

The Secretary of State’s office has confirmed that initiative proponents, The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, submitted a sufficient number of signatures from registered voters to qualify the measure for the November ballot.

CRMLA MassachusettsQuestion 4, The Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act, permits adults to possess (up to ten ounces) and to cultivate (up to six plants) personal use quantities of cannabis and establishes licensing for its commercial production and retail sale. Commercial for-profit sales of cannabis will be subject to taxation, while non-commercial exchanges of marijuana will not be taxed.

State voters have previously approved ballot measures decriminalizing marijuana possession penalties and legalizing the use and dispensing of medicinal cannabis.

Voters in Arizona, California, Maine, and Nevada will also decide on adult use measures this November. Voters in Arkansas, Florida, Missouri, and Montana will decide on medical use initiatives this fall.

A summary of 2016 statewide ballot measures is online here.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

2016 Marijuana-Related Statewide Ballot Proposals

2016 Marijuana-Related Statewide Ballot Proposals | Danielle Keane

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: 2016 is set to be a monumental year for marijuana law reform. There are currently nine pending ballot initiatives to either legalize adult marijuana use or to legalize the use of medical marijuana for qualifying medical conditions. The country could double the number of states that […]

2016 Marijuana-Related Statewide Ballot Proposals | The Daily Chronic


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Election Year Legalization Politics in Massachusetts

Election Year Legalization Politics in Massachusetts

After years of ducking the issue of marijuana prohibition, it is encouraging to see the Massachusetts legislature at least starting to wake up.

It is heartening that Sen. Brownsberger and others on the Judiciary Committee are confronting the problems caused by prohibition.

Rep. Rogers and some colleagues have actually introduced a reasonable bill this session.Not that it is going anywhere. Most politicians are still too nervous when it comes to anything even slightly controversial.

Massachusetts citizens, however, have a marvelous remedy when faced with inertia and foot-dragging. We are able to decide some issues directly through a ballot question. Such a choice with regard to marijuana legalization, one heavy with restrictions, will be up for a vote in November.

Yet even before it passes, there is a desire on the part of some to undermine the will of the electorate, by rolling back reforms.

Last month, a report was released by Sen. Lewis’ Special Committee on Marijuana. While it was a positive step to take up the matter, and while a number of legitimate and prudent suggestions were offered, the overall tone of the report was one of negativity and fear, and most of the proposals are a throwback to the past.

Perhaps the key area of contention is whether an ordinary citizen can be allowed to plant a seed in a flowerpot without going to jail.

When it comes to checks and balances, the option of someone growing their own is one of the few restraints there is against runaway greed and price-gouging.

And while the fleecing of customers, when it comes to pot, may not be a big concern in most people’s minds, understanding economic reality is vital to tackling larger, closely related problems.

Whatever pretext the opposition may spin, the fundamental reason for opposing home growing is corporate interests. Large businesses, often those with political connections, want to be able to jack up prices as high as they can.

In addition to freeing a considerable segment of the public from the label of “criminal,” the other principal reason for legalization is to eliminate the black market.

There are two ways to take on a black market: One is to use government force and violence, which, in this case, has not been effective at all. The other way is to undermine it with economics. If the new marijuana businesses are able to set the rules in the way they would like, there is not going to be much of a dent in the black market.

Upper middle class customers will buy marijuana at exorbitant prices in shiny boutiques. Those living in disadvantaged neighborhoods, however, will remain in a war zone in which criminal gangs continue to draw their children into “employment” in the black market; those with flowerpots will have their doors kicked down by police.

We need to normalize society’s attitude towards cannabis, not continue the evils of prohibition in a slightly relaxed form.

There is a notion floated by many government officials that they are “not ready” for legalization. They have known this was coming for years, if not decades. How long will it take them to get “ready?” The answer is they are wedded to the status quo of fear. Those in law enforcement, in particular, have an obvious vested interest in the continuation of prohibition.

On the other hand, “crony capitalists” are eager to set up a new status quo — one of greed.

We should hope that our legislators are able to accept the will of the voters without twisting it toward either extreme, fear or greed.

After the issue of home growing, another key test will be the make-up of the Cannabis Control Commission. Will the new bureaucracy be run entirely by retired politicians and powerful businessmen? Might perhaps a few members be reform-minded citizens? Madeline Webster and William Downing are a couple of names that come to mind as good citizen commissioners.

Assuming the ballot question passes this fall, there is one area where the legislature does need to take further action. That is in a section of policy where the ballot question wasn’t permitted to go — the expungement of past convictions.

We are not talking solely about those in jail. The lives of hundreds of thousands of citizens, of all colors, are hindered by criminal records, some going back to the Nixon era. It is time for a new morning in Massachusetts.


This column first appeared in the Daily Hampshire Gazette.


© 2016 The Daily Chronic. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without expressed, written permission.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Vermont Governor Critical of Massachusetts Marijuana Legalization Initiative

Vermont Governor Critical of Massachusetts Marijuana Legalization Initiative

Vermont Governor Calls CRMLA’s Proposal a “Bad Pot Bill”

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, who has encouraged lawmakers in his own state to pass a bill to legalize recreational marijuana for adults, had some critical words about a proposed ballot initiative to do the same in a neighboring state.

In a blog post earlier this week, Shumlin says that now is the right time for Vermont to legalize marijuana, noting that if the House approves a legalization bill that has already passed in the Senate, the Green Mountain State could be the “first state to do it right.”

But, Shumlin warns, a proposed legalization initiative that is expected to go before voters in neighboring Massachusetts could cause “huge problems” for Vermont because it allows edibles and on-site consumption in some cannabis establishments, two things the Vermont proposal does not authorize.

“[Vermont’s] approach is in stark contrast to the one proposed in the Massachusetts referendum that will be voted on in November, which would allow edibles that have caused huge problems in other states, smoking lounges, home delivery service, and possession of up to 10 ounces of marijuana,” Shumlin writes. “Vermont’s bill allows none of that.”

Shumlin argues that if the Vermont legislature fails to pass the pending legalization bill, Senate Bill 241, the entire southern part of the state, which borders Massachusetts, could “end up with all the negatives of a bad pot bill.”

Earlier this year, Shumlin (D) called upon the state legislature to pass the “right bill” to legalize marijuana in Vermont, and making it a top priority of the legislature.  Shumlin outlined five specific requirements any marijuana legalization bill should contain before he signs it:

  1. The legal marijuana market must have protections in place to prevent minors from being able to access it.
  2. Any taxes imposed on legal marijuana must be “low enough to wipe out the black market.”  To effectively eliminate the black market, taxes must be kept to a minimum to keep prices low and competitive.
  3. Tax revenue from legal marijuana sales must be used to expand addiction prevention programs.
  4. Strenghten existing DUI laws to “improve our response to impaired drivers under the influence of Marijuana who are already on Vermont’s roads.”
  5. Ban the sale of marijuana edibles until states can “figure out” how to properly regulate them.

Legalizing marijuana in Vermont has strong support among Vermont voters, with recent polls showing 57% support.  A study released in 2015 by the Rand Corporation found that Vermont could generate upwards of  $75 million per year in taxes from legalizing marijuana.

In February, lawmakers in the Vermont Senate passed Senate Bill 241, which would make it legal for adults 21 years of age and older in Vermont to possess up to one ounce of marijuana.  The bill, as passed by the Senate, meets the five requirements outlined by Shumlin above.

The bill would also establish a tightly controlled system of licensed marijuana cultivation sites, testing facilities, and retail stores.  A 25% sales tax, similar to taxes imposed in Oregon and Colorado, would be imposed on retail sales.

If approved, Vermont’s new law would not take effect until January 2018.

© 2016 The Daily Chronic. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without expressed, written permission.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Marijuana Legalization Proponents Run St. Patrick’s Day Billboard in Boston

Marijuana Legalization Proponents Run St. Patrick’s Day Billboard in Boston

BOSTON, MA — Backers of a proposed ballot initiative to legalize marijuana in Massachusetts launched a St. Patrick’s Day-themed billboard Monday in Boston that highlights the relative safety of marijuana compared to alcohol. The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CRMLA), backers of a proposed November ballot initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Massachusetts, paid for the […]

Marijuana Legalization Proponents Run St. Patrick’s Day Billboard in Boston | The Daily Chronic


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Massachusetts to Hold Marijuana Legalization Hearing Monday

Massachusetts to Hold Marijuana Legalization Hearing Monday

Backers of Initiative to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Massachusetts Urge Legislators to Approve House Bill 3932

BOSTON, MA — Lawmakers in Massachusetts will hold a legislative hearing Monday on a proposed ballot initiative to legalize marijuana in the Bay State.

If legislators fail to approve the measure, House Bill 3932, it will be placed before voters in November to decide.

The Joint Committee on the Judiciary is hosting the hearing on H.3932 because the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CRMLA), backed by the Washington, DC-based Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), collected and submitted over 100,000 signatures in support of their “Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act Initiative.”

“This is the Legislature’s opportunity to embrace a far more sensible marijuana policy [than prohibition],” CRMLA campaign manager Will Luzier said in a statement. “Marijuana prohibition does not eliminate marijuana use. It only ensures that marijuana is unregulated, untested, untaxed, and sold by gangs and criminals.”

“It is time to regulate marijuana and stop punishing adults for consuming a substance that is less dangerous than alcohol,” Luzier said.

Under Massachusetts state law, ballot initiatives that successfully collect enough signatures to appear before voters must first be considered by the legislature, who has the option of approving the measures outright or sending them before voters to decide.

If the Legislature does not approve the measure, the CRMLA backers must collect a final 10,792 signatures by June to place the initiative on the November ballot.

In summary, the proposed initiative would:

  • allow adults 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow a limited number of marijuana plants in their homes, similar to home-brewing;
  • create a tightly regulated system of licensed marijuana retail outlets, cultivation facilities, product manufacturing facilities, and testing facilities, which will be overseen by a commission similar to the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC);
  • provide local governments with the authority to regulate and limit the number of marijuana establishments in their city or town; and
  • create a 3.75% state excise tax on retail marijuana sales (in addition to the standard state sales tax) and allow local governments to establish an additional local sales tax of up to 2%. Medical marijuana will not be subject to these additional taxes.

The full text of the proposed initiative can be found here.

Several competing proposals to legalize marijuana in Massachusetts were collecting signatures in the hopes of appearing on the November ballot, but the CRMLA initiative was the only campaign to successfully collect enough valid signatures to appear on the ballot.

Massachusetts voters approved decriminalizing the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana in 2008, and approved legalizing medical marijuana in 2012.  Both prior initiative campaigns were sponsored by the Marijuana Policy Project.

Monday’s hearing is scheduled for 1:00 pm EST in hearing room A1 of the State House.

© 2016 The Daily Chronic. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without expressed, written permission.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

ASA Releases New Report on State Medical Marijuana Programs

ASA Releases New Report on State Medical Marijuana Programs

With the release last year of the first detailed analysis and comparison of state medical marijuana laws, Americans for Safe Access (ASA) created a patient-focused tool to identify effective programs and problem areas. That groundbreaking report was followed by the release of ASA’s new, far more detailed report on state programs, which reflects the many new states that have added programs as well as others that have improved their existing programs.

Like the original report, this latest white paper enables advocates, policy makers and concerned citizens to compare and contrast from the patient’s’ point of view the 40 different approaches currently in place in the U.S. Unlike last year’s, this report takes a much closer look at the regulatory frameworks for ensuring product quality and safety. By examining in detail the differences in how state medical cannabis programs have been designed and implemented, ASA’s latest report shines a light on the what’s working and what’s not in ways that can assist policy makers in making the programs under their oversight as broadly effective as possible in ensuring a consistent supply of quality-controlled medicine for the qualifying patients who need it.

A number of states — including Illinois, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Washington — have adopted regulations that reflect the best practice standards set forth by the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA). In addition to the AHPA Recommendations for Regulators, states are also incorporating the laboratory testing standards set forth in the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia Cannabis Inflorescence Monograph. These authoritative, expert standards mean states no longer a need to omit these protocols or “reinvent the wheel” for medical cannabis product safety regulations.

Those expanded regulations to assure product quality and safety are the focus of the new rubric employed in this latest report on state programs. While states got credit in our original report for implementing regulations based on the AHPA and AHP, for 2016 we have taken a far more fine-grained approach to evaluating the extent to which each state program has adopted the recognized industry standards for everything from cultivation, manufacturing and distribution to laboratory testing for product identity and purity. Also included are measures of the ease of access for qualifying patients – arguably the most important criteria for programs – as well as the degree of civil protections from discrimination state law provides patients.  These laws all make a difference in patient’s’ lives, and in some cases may mean the difference between life and death.ASA average grade for state medical cannabis programs

Given the weight of product safety in the updated report’s scoring system, there are some grades that may stand out and raise certain questions. For example, states like Maryland, New York, and New Hampshire all received similar letter grade scores as long time states providing safe access, such as Arizona and Rhode Island. In most instances, this is due the lack of product safety regulations, or having outdated product safety regs that are no longer consistent with best practices. For states like Arizona and Rhode Island, the adoption of up-to-date product safety regulations will bring the overall grades in line with best performing states.

Much has changed in the nearly two decades since California passed the first medical marijuana law. Today, more than 275 million Americans, or about 85% of U.S. population, live where some form of medical cannabis use is legal locally. We estimate that these programs serve approximately two million patients under physician’s’ supervision. Within those various programs, physicians now recommend cannabis-based treatments for over 50 qualifying medical conditions and symptoms. That expansion has not created the problems opponents feared. States with medical cannabis programs have not experienced increased rates of teen use of cannabis. In fact, those states have seen unexpected benefits, including significant drops in opioid overdoses as well as in highway fatalities.

The takeaway from the report is that states are capable of implementing high quality  medical cannabis programs, but not nearly enough are do so in a way the serves patients well in all of the ways that these programs impact patients. This report highlights the given strengths and weaknesses that a state program has, and makes it clear where lawmakers and regulators can make improvements. Patients and caregiver activists can utilize this tool by showing their state officials what key features and protections their programs lack. Every medical cannabis law in the country has room for improvement, and this report can serve as the guide make those improvements become reality. Of course, states would be more free to create medical cannabis laws and regulations the best serve the greatest number of patients if the federal government would permanently end their interference with state programs. Passage of the CARERS Act would do just that, and would signal to lawmakers and regulators that their medical cannabis guidepost should be focused on improving patient outcomes rather than avoiding federal raids.

View and Download a Copy of the Report.

State_of_the_States_Report_Social_Media_Graphic

Letter-grades for all 23 state laws and Washington, D.C.: Alaska (D-), Arizona (B-), California (B+), Colorado (B), Connecticut (C+), Delaware (C), Hawaii (B), Illinois (B+), Maine (B-), Maryland (B), Massachusetts (B), Michigan (D+), Minnesota (C), Montana (D-), Nevada (B), New Hampshire (C), New Jersey (C), New Mexico (B+), New York (C), Oregon (B), Rhode Island (C-), Vermont (D+), Washington (B), and the District of Columbia (C).


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

ASA Report Evaluates Medical Marijuana Programs Nationwide

ASA Report Evaluates Medical Marijuana Programs Nationwide

Patient Advocates Hope Report will Help State Legislators “Make the Grade” in 2016

WASHINGTON, DC — Americans for Safe Access (ASA) issued “Medical Marijuana Access in the US: A Patient-Focused Analysis of the Patchwork of State Laws,” on Tuesday. The annual report evaluates the array of differing state medical cannabis programs across the country from a perspective often overlooked in policy debates: the patients’ and provides policy makers with model legislation and regulations. With dozens of states already seeing legislative and regulatory proposals in 2016, this  groundbreaking report will provide state lawmakers with timely tools they need to improve their medical cannabis programs to truly meet the needs of the patients they are meant to serve.

Eighty-one percent  of Americans favor the legalization of medical marijuana according to a May 7, 2015, Harris Poll.  This broad support has led to unprecedented progress in state medical marijuana programs in 2015.  Nineteen states introduced legislation to legalize medical marijuana during the year. In addition, many of the twenty three states with current medical marijuana laws passed legislation to expand or improve their programs in 2015, including New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Connecticut, Oregon, California, Washington, Maryland, Hawaii, Illinois, Delaware, and the District of Columbia. Other states, like Nevada and Vermont, expanded and improved their programs through new regulations.

This report comes at a perfect time to inform improvements to existing medical marijuana programs and guide legislators who are creating or expanding laws and programs. “Too often, patients are denied life-saving treatments solely because they are using medical cannabis,” said California Assemblymember Marc Levine, champion of the Medical Cannabis Organ Transplant Act (AB 258), “It is imperative for state lawmakers to take advantage of vital resources like ASA’s report to improve their state programs.”

The report uses a point system to grade each medical marijuana law on: 1) patients’ rights and protection from discrimination, 2) access to medicine, 3) ease of navigation, 4) functionality, and 5) product safety protocols. The report  found that while many states have important elements helpful to patients, no state has yet established an ideal, comprehensive program.

ASA average grade for state medical cannabis programsThe most notable trend  in 2015 was the adoption and implementation of comprehensive product safety regulations. With Maryland’s medical marijuana program projected to begin serving patients in 2017, the state received the highest grade for product safety by working with ASA to combine its own stringent safety and quality control measures with those of the American Herbal Product Association’s (AHPA) Recommendations to Regulators in the areas of: cultivation, distribution and manufacturing. “The tools provided by Americans for Safe Access and the Patient Focused Certification program have been tremendously helpful in creating product safety regulations that will ensure Maryland patients are receiving the highest quality products and medicine possible” said Hannah Byron, executive director of the Natalie M. LaPrade Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission.

Maryland is not the only state adopting the best practices and AHPA recommendations and standards.  New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Washington have also done so.  Michael McGuffin,  President of AHPA, notes, “The report highlights how best practice guidance such as the Cannabis Committee’s Recommendations to Regulators documents can assist states in establishing regulations that ensure the quality and safety of cannabis products.”

The report takes a patient-centered approach, evaluating programs on how effective they are in meeting patients’ needs. ASA is asking their members to share the report with their state representatives. “With the increased interest in medical cannabis access around the country, it is imperative that we ensure that new and existing programs adopt regulations and standards that provide patients with safe medicine while protecting their rights,” said ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer. “This report will help policymakers create and maintain programs that put the patients first.”

Letter-grades for all 23 state laws and Washington, D.C.: Alaska (D-), Arizona (B-), California (B+), Colorado (B), Connecticut (C+), Delaware (C), Hawaii (B), Illinois (B+), Maine (B-), Maryland (B), Massachusetts (B), Michigan (D+), Minnesota (C), Montana (D-), Nevada (B), New Hampshire (C), New Jersey (C), New Mexico (B+), New York (C), Oregon (B), Rhode Island (C-), Vermont (D+), Washington (B), and the District of Columbia (C).

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.