Tag: Mid-Atlantic

Pennsylvania Auditor General Says State Lawmakers Should Regulate the Marijuana Market

HARRISBURG, PA — Pennsylvania’s auditor general on Monday publicly advocated for the legalization and taxation of retail marijuana sales, arguing that such a policy would bring new jobs and tax revenue to the state.

Speaking at a news conference at the state capitol, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said:

“The regulation and taxation of the marijuana train has rumbled out of the station, and it is time to add a stop in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. I make this recommendation because it is a more sane policy to deal with a critical issue facing the state.

Other states are already taking advantage of the opportunity for massive job creation and savings from reduced arrests and criminal prosecutions. In addition, it would generate hundreds of millions of dollars each year that could help tackle Pennsylvania’s budget problems.”

However, Gov. Tom Wolf said that state lawmakers should not go forward with regulating the adult use marijuana market at this time. Instead, he expressed support for decriminalizing the possession and personal use of the plant.

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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.

New York State Assembly Passes Landmark Bill to Seal Past Marijuana Possession Convictions

ALBANY, NY — The New York State Assembly voted this week in support of a bill that will seal the criminal records of people who have been unjustly and unconstitutionally arrested for simple possession of marijuana in public view.

The vote on Assembly Bill 2142 was 95 in favor and 38 opposed.

Over the last 20 years, more than 800,000 New Yorkers have been arrested for simple possession of marijuana. Those convicted face significant barriers to accessing education, employment, housing opportunities, and other state services.

This bill was sponsored by Assemblymember Crystal Peoples-Stokes of Buffalo and members of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Caucus, who have vocally called for equity in our state’s drug policies, citing the impact the discriminatory enforcement of these policies have had on communities of color.

“I introduced the marijuana sealing bill because drug laws have created a permanent underclass of people unable to find jobs after a conviction,” said Assemblymember Crystal Peoples-Stokes. “One of the most damaging issues derived from the war on drugs is that the policies are inherently racist. Communities of color have been devastated by bad drug policies and hyper-criminalization for the last 40 years. It is an approach that has never worked and has caused significantly more harm than good to our communities and to our families.”

“If today’s moment of increased attention to heroin encourages us to center public health in our drug policy, then we need to ensure that we are making amends to communities of color by alleviating the burden bad policies have had on their lives. Sealing low-level marijuana possession convictions is the first step to reintegrating thousands of New Yorkers who are inhibited daily from accessing employment, housing and an education all due to a conviction on their record for simple possession of marijuana,” added Peoples-Stokes.

New York State first decriminalized personal marijuana possession in 1977, recognizing the harmful impact an arrest could have on young people.

Although New York officials, including Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, have previously recognized these arrests as ineffective, unjust, and racially discriminatory, they still continue across the state because of a loophole in the law.

In 2016 more than 22,000 New Yorkers were arrested for possession of small amounts of marijuana – 80% of whom were black or Latino. Governor Cuomo proposed closing this loophole as part of his State of the State 2017, citing the damaging collateral consequences. As policymakers acknowledge that these arrests are unjust and should not take place in the future, they must simultaneously focus on repairing the harm for people burdened by a criminal record from such an arrest.

The discriminatory practices are statewide. For example, in the city of Buffalo in Erie County, African Americans represent 70% of the marijuana arrests – despite only being 38.6% of the population, and using marijuana at similar rates as other groups.

Once convicted, a permanent record can follow these mostly young people of color for the rest of their lives – a record easily found by banks, schools, employers, landlords, and licensing boards.

This sealing legislation has taken on increased importance amid the Trump Administration’s rhetoric and actions targeting immigrant communities. On the national level, simple marijuana possession is the fourth most common cause of deportation, according to the report “Secure Communities and ICE Deportations: A Failed Program?

Sealing records will provide a measure of protection for immigrants by making it difficult or impossible for immigration authorities to meet their legal burden of proof for a judge to find a lawful permanent resident deportable.

Additionally, sealing will guard against the Trump administration’s Executive Order targeting non-citizens with any criminal arrests and/or convictions for deportation. If the arrest is also sealed and the sealed information is not shared with the FBI, these individuals may be at lower risk of becoming an enforcement target.

“A marijuana conviction can lead to devastating consequences for immigrants, including detention and deportation,” said Alisa Wellek, Executive Director of the Immigrant Defense Project. “This bill will provide some important protections for green card holders and undocumented New Yorkers targeted by Trump’s aggressive deportation agenda.”

Increasingly, jurisdictions and legislators across the country are realizing that marijuana prohibition has been ineffective, unjust, and racially discriminatory, and are working to implement regulatory systems that are fair and effective. In New York, Assembly members recognize that, at a minimum, people should not be saddled with a permanent criminal record simply for possession of small amount of marijuana.

“New York must repair the harms of our racially biased marijuana laws and sealing low-level marijuana convictions is a step in the right direction. Thank you to the New York State Assembly for recognizing that a permanent criminal record is an out-sized burden for low-level marijuana possession and that allowing sealing for these convictions will allow New Yorkers to avoid job loss, eviction, and a host of unnecessary collateral consequences.” Alyssa Aguilera, Co-Executive Director, VOCAL-NY

Advocates now look to the Senate to quickly pass the Senate companion bill (S.3809) sponsored by Senator Jamaal Bailey before the session ends on June 21, and to begin to repair the harm done by marijuana prohibition to communities across the state.

Governor Cuomo also has a unique opportunity to address the harms that these arrests have caused by enacting sealing for marijuana possession arrests as part of his decriminalization proposal in the state budget legislation.

Such a move would show his commitment to communities that have borne the harshest brunt of racial profiling and those currently most vulnerable under Trump’s executive orders.

“In New York State 22,000 people were arrested for marijuana possession in 2016. The misdemeanor charge for public view of marijuana possession gives those people convicted a criminal record that will follow them throughout their lives, potentially limiting their access to education, affecting their ability to obtain employment, leading to a potential inability to provide for  their families,” said Senator Jamaal Bailey.

“Furthermore, and even more problematic, there exist significant racial disparities in the manner that marijuana possession policy is enforced. Blacks and Latinos are arrested at higher rates despite the fact that white people use marijuana at higher rates than people of color. Responsible and fair policy is what we need here and this bill will do just that. I am proud to sponsor this legislation with Assemblymember Peoples-Stokes and commend her for taking initiative on this issue. We must act now, with proactive legislation, for the future of many young men and women of our State are at stake here.”

Senator Jesse Hamilton said, “Any one of the more than 22,000 arrests made in our state last year over misdemeanor marijuana possession could snowball into the nightmare of losing one’s job, losing a license used to make a living – to be a nurse, a home health aide, or a security guard – or for immigrants, losing the ability to remain in our country. All that stands alongside stigma and other consequences. This legislation is an important part of tackling that current, overly punitive approach. Steps like this one move us toward the wiser, more humane approach New Yorkers deserve.”

“We applaud the New York Assembly for their continued leadership on marijuana reform,” said Kassandra Frederique, New York State Director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “Sealing past illegitimate marijuana convictions is not only right, it is most urgent as the country moves toward legalization and immigrant families are put at risk under our new federal administration. Comprehensive drug law reform must include legislative and programmatic measures that account for our wrongheaded policies and invest in building healthier and safer communities, from the Bronx to Buffalo, Muslim and Christian, US-born and green card-holding.”

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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.

New York City Marijuana Possession Arrests Spike in 2016

NEW YORK, NY — Criminal arrests for marijuana possession increased ten percent in 2016 despite former promises from Mayor Bill de Blasio to reduce the city’s total number of cannabis-related prosecutions.

New York City police made over 17,600 arrests last year for which the top charge was marijuana possession in the 5th degree – a class B misdemeanor. Of those charged, 85 percent were either Black or Hispanic. Ninety-six percent were arrested specifically for possessing marijuana in a manner that was open to public view.

Under state law, the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis is a non-arrestable offense, except instances where the police contend that the substance was either being burned or was in public view.

In 2010 and 2011, New York City police made approximately 50,000 annual marijuana arrests, often following result of stop-and-frisk encounters. Annual arrests fell between the years 2012 and 2015 before rising again last year.

Legislation is pending in the New York state Senate and Assembly to eliminate the ‘public view’ loophole – a legislative fix that is endorsed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

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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.

Maryland Lawmakers to Consider Legalizing Marijuana

ANNAPOLIS, MD — State lawmakers are rolling out legislation Monday that would regulate and tax cannabis similarly to alcohol in Maryland.

The proposal consists of two bills — a regulation bill and a tax bill — that will each be filed in the Senate and the House.

The regulation bill, sponsored by Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Jr. (D-Montgomery) and Del. Curt Anderson (D-Baltimore City), would make possession and home cultivation of limited amounts of cannabis legal for adults 21 years of age and older.

It would remain illegal to consume cannabis in public or drive under the influence. Prior convictions for adults 21 and older possessing or growing amounts of cannabis made lawful by the bill would be expunged.

The bill would also create a structure for licensing and regulating a limited number of cannabis retail stores, product manufacturers, testing facilities, cultivation facilities, and craft cultivators (that would grow smaller amounts of cannabis to sell only to cultivation facilities and product manufacturers).

The Comptroller of Maryland would be responsible for issuing licenses and creating rules, and the Department of Agriculture would be responsible for licensing and regulating the cultivation of industrial hemp. Cities and towns would have the authority to limit the location and number of cannabis establishments within their jurisdictions, as well as ban certain types of businesses.

The tax bill, sponsored by Madaleno in the Senate and Del. Mary Washington (D-Baltimore City) in the House, would create a structure for taxing cannabis and allocating the revenue. It would initially enact an excise tax of $30 per ounce, which would generally be paid by cultivators, and a 9% sales tax on retail cannabis sales, which is the same as the sales tax rate on alcohol.

Cannabis tax revenue would be used to cover the cost of administering the program, and then the remaining revenue would be allocated as follows: 50% for the community schools program; 25% for substance abuse treatment and prevention; 15% for workforce development programs; and 10% for combating impaired driving through public education and additional law enforcement training.

The legislation addresses concerns that have been raised about the licensing process for medical cannabis businesses. Specifically, it provides opportunities for small businesses, ensures the licensing process is subject to the Minority Business Enterprise Program, and requires outreach to diverse communities to ensure they are aware of new business opportunities.

It also contains strong provisions aimed at protecting public health and safety, such as mandatory product testing and labeling; restrictions on advertising and marketing; and rules limiting edible products to a single serving of THC and requiring opaque, child-resistant packaging.

Neither of the bills would affect the rights of patients under Maryland’s existing medical cannabis program, and taxes would only be applied to nonmedical cannabis.

Sixty-four percent of likely Maryland voters support making cannabis legal for adults, according to a Washington Post-University of Maryland poll conducted in September 2016.

“This legislation will effectively end the failed policy of cannabis prohibition in Maryland and replace it with a much more sensible system,” said Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Jr., vice-chair of the Senate Budget and Tax Committee and sponsor of the regulation and tax bills. “It establishes a thoughtful regulatory scheme and tax structure based on best practices and lessons learned from other states. Colorado and other states are raising millions of dollars in new revenue each month and creating thousands of good jobs. Maryland is not only missing out on the benefits, but enduring the many problems associated with prohibition.”

“African Americans are far more likely to be the subject of marijuana enforcement than other Marylanders,” said Sen. William C. Smith, primary co-sponsor of the regulation bill in the Senate. “Decriminalization reduces the number of Marylanders who are branded criminals, but it does not change the fact that marijuana laws are not enforced equally, and that people of color are disproportionately punished. Decriminalization also does nothing to stop the public safety issues that arise when a lucrative market is driven underground. It’s time to put marijuana sales behind the counter, and to let adults make their own decisions about using a substance that is safer than alcohol.”

“Tax revenue from cannabis sales will generate much-needed funds for our state. Our tax bill will allocate half of the revenues from cannabis taxes to the community schools program, which benefits high-poverty schools across Maryland. It will also provide funding for treatment services that are needed to address our state’s battle with opioid addiction,” said Del. Mary Washington, sponsor of the tax bill in the House.

“A strong and growing majority of Marylanders support ending cannabis prohibition. Rather than lagging behind our constituents, we need to get behind them and pass this legislation this year. Several states are now effectively regulating and taxing cannabis, and it is time for Maryland to join them,” added Del. Moon, a co-sponsor of the regulation and tax bills.

Maryland  lawmakers approved the medical use of marijuana and decriminalized the personal possession of under ten grams of marijuana in 2014.

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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.

Maryland Marijuana Legalization Bills to be Introudced Monday

ANNAPOLIS, MD — Lawmakers in the Maryland House of Delegates are expected to introduce a combination of bills Monday that would legalize marijuana for adults.

Two bills are expected to be introduced in each chamber.  One proposal would make marijuana legal for adults 21 and older and regulate its production and sale similarly to alcohol, according to the Washington, DC based Marijuana Policy Project.

The other bill would enact taxes on non-medical marijuana sold in Maryland.

The bills are being sponsored in the Senate by Senators Richard S. Madaleno, Jr. —  the Vice Chair of the Senate Budget and Tax Committee —  and William C. Smith, JR, and in the House by Delegates Mary Washington and David Moon.

The four lawmakers will introduce the bills at a press conference Monday afternoon.

According to the Marijuana Policy Project, taxing recreational marijuana sales in Maryland could generate tens of millions of dollars in revenue per year for the state.

According to a January 2016 poll, 53% of Maryland voters support legalizing, regulating and taxing marijuana similarly to alcohol in Maryland. Only 43% were opposed.

Maryland  lawmakers approved the medical use of marijuana and decriminalized the personal possession of under ten grams of marijuana in 2014.

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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.

New York Governor Pushes for Marijuana Decriminalization Fix

ALBANY, NY — New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday his renewed commitment to decriminalizing marijuana possession in his State of the State Book, which outlines his agenda for the 2017 Legislative Session.

New York State first decriminalized personal marijuana possession in 1977, recognizing the harmful impact an arrest could have on young people.

Criminalization of the offense has continued, however, due to a loophole left in the law by lawmakers that distinguished between personal and public view possession, where possession in public view is still a misdemeanor. Enforcement of this loophole has impacted primarily communities of color, who represented more than 83% of those arrested statewide in 2015.

The racial disparities in enforcement have been a significant motivator for groups who have called for reform.

“In 2016, Brooklyn Defender Services represented 1,070 of the many thousands of New Yorkers arrested for low-level marijuana possession, of whom 85% were Black and/or Latinx and 371 were 21 or younger. Our clients can lose their jobs, homes, and children, and even be detained by immigration authorities and deported for this offense, which a majority of Americans believe should be legal. We applaud any legislation that will reduce or—better—eliminate these senseless and discriminatory arrests,” said Lisa Schreibersdorf, Executive Director of Brooklyn Defender Services.

Citing the costliness of marijuana possession arrests and the devastating collateral consequences faced by New Yorkers who are arrested for the offense, Governor Cuomo said this proposal was in line with his existing “commitment to reduce the number of nonviolent individuals who become needlessly entangled in the criminal justice system.”

“We are pleased that Governor Cuomo remains committed to ending arrests for low-level marijuana possession in New York and that he recognizes the human and financial cost of marijuana prohibition.” said Alyssa Aguilera, Co-Executive Director, VOCAL-NY. “However, without real political muscle we know that this proposal will continue to languish, as it has for several years now. We hope that by including marijuana decriminalization in his State of the State Book that the Governor will not only support – but also fight for – long overdue marijuana reform.”

More than 800,000 New Yorkers have been arrested for low-level marijuana possession offenses in the last 20 years. A significant portion of those arrested for these offenses still have criminal arrest records that prevent access to services and restrict their opportunity to find meaningful work. The Governor acknowledged the challenges posed by a marijuana possession arrest: “Individuals can miss work, be fired, establish a record that prevents them from finding work in the future, and spend time in jail awaiting trial if they are unable to post bail.”

Governor Cuomo pushed heavily for closing that loophole in 2014 but was blocked by Senate Republicans who opposed a measure that would have standardized the penalty for all low-level possession as a violation, which would have resulted in a fine instead of arrest. These arrests continue, which is why action to remove the penalty is so important.

“New York’s marijuana arrest crusade has resulted in significant harms for those who are most vulnerable and has been used as a justification for the hyper-policing of communities of color. We see the Governor’s proposal as a positive step and also hope to engage with the Governor’s office on sealing the records of those who have been unjustly targeted so that this meaningful change can have the type of impact that is needed” said Chris Alexander, Policy Coordinator, New York, Drug Policy Alliance. “Ultimately, the best way to address the disparities and challenges posed by prohibition is to legalize and regulate marijuana in New York. We look forward to discussing a pathway to ending prohibition with the Governor this session.”

Governor Cuomo’s proposal comes just a few months after California, Maine, Nevada and neighboring Massachusetts joined the four other states that have already voted to tax and regulate the marijuana for adult use.

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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.

Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program Reaches Important Milestone

HARRISBURG, PA — Full implementation of Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program is still over a year away, but a significant milestone was reached this week when the Department of Health announced where the state’s dispensaries and cultivation facilities will be located, and that applications will be accepted starting in January.

On Wednesday, Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Karen Murphy announced that up to twelve grower/processor licensses will be issued across Pennsylvania, and up to 27 medical marijuana dispensaries will be permitted in the first phase of the state’s medical marijuana program.  The application process begins next month.

“I am excited to announce that we’ve reached an important milestone in the program with the release of permit applications on January 17, 2017,” Murphy said in a press release. Applications will be available from the Department of Health’s website at www.health.pa.gov.

The state is divided into six medical marijuana regions, with each region allocated two cultivation facilities. Each region will have a varied number of dispensaries, based on a number of factors, including population density.

“The decision for which counties will be issued permits in this first phase was determined by using the department’s medical data, as well as comments from more than 5,000 patients and nearly 900 potential grower/processors and dispensary applicants,” Dr. Murphy explained.

Not surprisingly, the Southeast Region, which includes Pthiladelphia, will receive the most dispensaries, with ten being allocated. Rural regions of Pennsylvania will receive two.

Philadelphia County, which is made up of the city of Philadelphia, will receive 3 dispensaries.  Montgomery County, comprised mostly of Philadelphia suburbs, will receive two.  Allegheny County, home to the state’s second largest city, Pittsburgh, will also receive two dispensaries.

Here’s the breakdown by region of which counties will receive a dispensary. Unless otherwise noted, one dispensary has been allocated to each:

Region 1 – Southeast

  • Berks County
  • Bucks County
  • Chester County
  • Delaware County
  • Lancaster County
  • Montgomery County – 2 dispensaries
  • Philadelphia County – 3 dispensaries

Region 2 – Northeast

  • Lackawanna County
  • Lehigh County
  • Luzerne County
  • Norhampton County

Region 3 – Southcentral

  • Blair County
  • Cumberland County
  • Dauphin County
  • York County

Region 4 – Northcentral

  • Centre County
  • Lycoming County

Region 5 – Southwest

  • Allegheny County – 2 Dispensaries
  • Butler County
  • Washington County
  • Westmoreland County

Region 6 – Northwest

  • Erie County
  • Mckean County

Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana bill, Senate Bill 3, was signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf on April 17, 2016, and took effect on May 17, 2016.  The program will offer medical marijuana in non-smokable form to patients who are residents of Pennsylvania and under a physician’s care for the treatment of a serious medical condition, and is expected to be fully implemented by 2018.

More information about the medical marijuana program is available at www.health.pa.gov.

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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.

Pennsylvania Department of Health Wants Public Input on Medical Marijuana Application Process

HARRISBURG, PA — Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Karen Murphy today encouraged individuals interested in applying for a medical marijuana grower/processor and/or dispensary permit to complete a brief survey on the department’s website.

“One of our primary focuses as we continue to develop this program is to make sure that patients with serious medical conditions have access to facilities to obtain medical marijuana.” said Secretary Murphy. “As we continue to work towards the release of applications for grower/processor and dispensary permits, we want to engage the community and determine both the level of interest in seeking either of these permits, and more importantly, where potential applicants intend to open these two types of facilities.”

This is the most recent in a series of surveys released by the Department of Health to solicit public input on the program’s development. The department previously released a survey for patients and caregivers, which is still open to the public.

The Medical Marijuana Program was signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf on April 17, 2016. Since that time, the department has:

  • Completed the Safe Harbor temporary guidelines and Safe Harbor Letter application process, as well as approved 126 applications to date;
  • Released public surveys to aid in the development of temporary regulations for growers/processors and dispensaries/laboratories; and
  • Released a Request for Information for Electronic Tracking IT solutions for the tracking of medical marijuana.

Full implementation of the program is expected to take between 18 and 24 months. The program will provide access to medical marijuana for patients who are Pennsylvania residents under a physician’s care for the treatment of a serious medical condition as defined by Act 16.

More information about the medical marijuana program is available at www.health.pa.gov.

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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.

New York Adds Chronic Pain as Qualifying Condition for Medical Marijuana Program

New York state flag

NEW YORK—The New York State Department of Health announced Thursday that they will expand New York’s beleaguered medical marijuana program by adding chronic pain as a qualifying condition under New York’s Compassionate Care Law.

This decision by the Department of Health is a victory for patient advocates and for all New Yorkers who suffer from debilitating pain,  which medical marijuana has been proven to help treat.

“Medical marijuana is a scientifically proven intervention for people who are suffering from chronic pain and we applaud New York State for added it as a qualifying condition to access medical marijuana,” said Alyssa Aguilera, Co-Executive Director, VOCAL-NY. “We hope to see additional improvements to the state’s medical marijuana program, and eventually the full legalization of cannabis, so that no New Yorkers are criminalized for possessing and using the plant.”

Since New York’s medical marijuana program was signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo in July 2014,  advocates have raised serious concerns about the onerous regulations—more than 100 pages in total–that make New York’s program one of the most restrictive in the country. Nearly 11 months after medication became available to the public under the program, patients and advocates are pleased that the Department of Health has begun to listen to patients and take steps to make the program more accessible to those who will benefit from this medicine.

“I am so pleased to hear that the Department of Health is moving forward to allow patients suffering with pain symptoms to access our medical marijuana program. Cannabis has been studied and proven to be an effective treatment in managing pain, and is a possible alternative to prescription opioid use. I hope that this is a significant step to remove some of the needless barriers New York’s chronically ill patients have faced when trying to access this program. Let’s hope the program continues to be enhanced and expanded so that more New Yorkers can afford and access this safe alternative,” said Kate Hintz, a representative of the patient advocacy group Compassionate Care NY.

The addition of chronic pain as a qualifying condition is the second change to the medical marijuana program within its first year of operation. Earlier this year, the Department of Health issued 12 recommendations to improve the program, including home delivery, allowing nurse practitioners to recommend medical marijuana, and increasing the brands and forms available, which are in the process of being implemented.

“The patient advocates at Compassionate Care New York are excited to learn that the Department of Health will add chronic pain as a qualifying condition to the medical marijuana program. With the national concern about American’s overuse of prescription opioids to manage pain, it is important that patients are able to access alternative treatments. We hope that the Department of Health will allow New York’s doctors to ultimately determine which patients suffering with pain qualify for the program and not complicate the criteria. The addition of chronic pain to our current program could benefit thousands of New Yorkers,”  said the Compassionate Care NY patient advocacy group.

“The addition of chronic pain is a positive step in the right direction overall,” said Kassandra Frederique, New York State Director for the Drug Policy Alliance. “While significant barriers remain surrounding access and implementation of New York’s medical marijuana program, we applaud the Department of Health for turning a corner and putting patients first. We remain committed to the expansion and improvement of the medical program and the end to overall marijuana prohibition in New York State.

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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.

New Jersey: Two Marijuana Legalization Measures Now Pending Before Lawmakers

New Jersey: Two Marijuana Legalization Measures Now Pending Before Lawmakers

TRENTON, NJ — New legislation has been introduced for the 2016/2017 legislative session that seeks to regulate the adult use and retail sale of marijuana.

Assembly Bill 4193 permits marijuana to be sold at convenience stores to adults aged 19 and older in unlimited amounts. The legislation also seeks to expunge the criminal records of past marijuana offenders.

Says the bill’s sponsor, Assembly member Michael Patrick Carroll:

“To me it’s just not a big deal. It’s already ubiquitous. Anybody who thinks this is somehow going to increase the availability of marijuana has never been 19. If that’s the case, then what’s the big deal about having it available at the local 7-Eleven?”

Separate legislation to legalize adult marijuana possession, A 2068, is also pending before the legislature.

New Jersey is one of a growing number of states where lawmakers are considering regulating cannabis for adults. For more information visit New Jersey NORML’s website or Facebook.


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.