Pages tagged "legislation"


California fiscal committees stop a bad DUID bill, but advance medical cannabis taxation

Lobby Day Community PhotoMedical cannabis patients and other stakeholders in California scored victories and suffered defeats in the state legislature today. The Appropriations Committees in the Assembly and Senate decided the fate of hundreds of bills today in their biannual “suspense hearings” – including important bills related to medical cannabis licensing, taxation, and patients’ rights.

The committee votes come just four days after more than one hundred and fifty medical cannabis patients and caregivers gathered in Sacramento to talk face-to-face with lawmakers and staff about medical cannabis bills. Participants in the California Citizen Lobby Day took more than 200 meetings with lawmakers and staff – including members who cast votes in today’s suspense hearings. 

Read more

California Lawmakers Should Tax and Regulate Cannabis Like Medicine

CA Capitol

Last year’s trio of bills comprising The Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA) bring overdue clarity to California’s 20-year-old program, but many legislative decisions that affect legal medical cannabis patients remain.

In considering those decisions, is important that lawmakers and regulators treat medical cannabis like real medicine. We tax and regulate vices, such as alcohol and tobacco, in a fundamentally different way than we do medicine. We would never erect barriers to obtaining heart medication, but we do take steps to discourage tobacco use.  Likewise, we would not tolerate a sin tax on insulin or chemotherapy, even if the revenue was dedicated to a laudable goal. Lawmakers must resist the temptation to lump medical and non-medical cannabis use together when making policy choices.

Some Californians, including members of the legislature, claim most medical cannabis patients are not really ill. One lawmaker recently testified that as few as 30% of patients are legitimate but provided no evidence to support the allegation. Some anecdotes of abuse of the state’s medical cannabis law may be true, but lawmakers should reject the cynical position that most medical cannabis patients are recreational users. Research and experience show otherwise.  

A study published in 2014 shows that of the 1.4 million Californians who have used medical cannabis, almost all (92%) report cannabis helped treat the symptoms of a serious medical condition. The study challenges the commonly held perception that medical cannabis is being overused by healthy people and demonstrates that the state’s medical cannabis laws are providing real relief to many Californians (“Prevalence of medical marijuana use in California, 2012”, Drug and Alcohol Review (2014), DOI 10.111/dar. 12207).

This groundbreaking report is the first based on a large dataset representative of the state’s population. The California Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, which is an ongoing cross-sectional telephone survey, interviewed more than 7,500 Californians in English and Spanish, making this the most comprehensive scientific study of cannabis use in California ever conducted.

The analysis shows that one in twenty Californians have used medical cannabis. More than 30% used medical cannabis to treat chronic pain; 11% used it for arthritis, 8% for migraines, and 7% for cancer. Participants also reported using medical cannabis to treat the symptoms of HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, muscle spasms, nausea, stress, and depression. These are not trivial or minor ailments. These are serious medical conditions for which conventional treatments are often ineffective or unavailable.

The results refute smaller studies that suggest most users are young white males. Researchers found that medical cannabis was used at similar rates by men and women, the young and the old, patients with high and low levels of education, and in various regions of the state.

This rigorous evidence that medical cannabis is commonly used throughout the state by a diverse population, and that it is highly effective in treating serious conditions, matters right now. Lawmakers are considering new legislation this year regarding taxation, commercial licensing, patients’ rights, and more. Those important decisions will affect medical cannabis patients and other stakeholders and need to be informed by facts, not anecdotes, misperceptions, or bias. 

Voters are likely to decide in November if cannabis should be legal for non-medical use. There should be a separate conversation about what posture lawmakers and regulators take towards cannabis used for non-medical purposes. Those taxes and regulations might reasonably differ from those related to legal medical use. 

In the meantime, we need everyone who is going to make a decision about medical cannabis this year to understand that medical cannabis is medicine for real. That is important because decisions made about genuine medicine will be fundamentally different than those we make about regulating alcohol, tobacco, or non-medical cannabis. The idea that most medical cannabis users are not really sick or that their use is not medical is misinformation. The research says otherwise, and our local and state policies should reflect the critical role medical cannabis plays in the treatment of California patients.

Click here to download this page as a .pdf file. 

 


Make a difference for medical cannabis in California

Lobby Day Banner 2016Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is hosting our annual California Citizen Lobby Day on Monday, May 23rd, in Sacramento. This is your chance to talk face-to-face with lawmakers and staff about medical cannabis issues that affect you and your loved ones –

  • Discrimination in employment, housing, access to health care, and more
  • Bills that will turn legal patients into criminals for driving, even if they are not impaired
  • Excessive taxation on medical cannabis use and cultivation – including an additional 15% tax on medicine
  • Proposed changes to the state’s new commercial licensing program

If medical cannabis is important to you, register today for the California Citizen Lobby Day on May 23rdASA will make appointments for you at your Assembly and Senate offices when you sign up.

Why does it matter? I am going to be talking a lot more about that in a live Google Hangout entitled “Medicine for Real” at 8:00 PM PT on Monday, May 9. Log into Google+ a little before 8:00 PM on Monday to join the interactive broadcast, or watch live on YouTube.

Read more

Lori Ajax, Chief of the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation, will speak at the morning session

It’s time to get registered for the biggest medical cannabis lobby day in California! ASA will host our 5th annual California Citizen Lobby Day in Sacramento on Monday, May 23. This is your chance to join 300 other patients and advocates to talk face-to-face with lawmakers and regulators about medical cannabis in California.

Click here to register for the California Citizen Lobby Day on Monday, May 23, and ASA will make an appointment for you at your State Assembly and Senate offices.

We are excited to announce some very special guest speakers from the new Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation this year. Chief Lori Ajax and Senior Policy Advisor An-Chi Tsou will be at our morning briefing to talk about the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA) and what comes next for commercial medical cannabis regulation in the state.

Read more

Medical cannabis news, events, and more from all over the state

CA Weekly Roundup

Contents (Scroll down for details and links):

News

  • Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act of 215
  • Local

Events

  • March 18-22, 2016 – Early Bird Registration: National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference (Washington, DC)

Court Support

  • September 24, 2015 - Court Support for Frank and Marthalina Huerta (Porterville)
  • More

Take Action Now

  • Sign the Petition to Ask Your Representative and Senators to Sign on to the CARERS Act! (National)

ASA Website Spotlight

  • California Legislature Wrap Up 2015
  • National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference 2016

Chapter & Affiliate Meetings

  • September 22, 2015 - San Diego ASA (San Diego)
  • September 24, 2015 - Sacramento ASA (Sacramento)
  • September 27, 2015 - Nevada County ASA (North San Juan)
Read more

Medical cannabis news, events, and more from all over the state

CA Weekly Roundup Banner

Join us for a live Google Hangout to talk about who won, who lost, and what come’s next in Sacramento. The “California Legislative Roundup 2015” starts at 8:00 PM PT on Tuesday, September 15. Get the links to join this free online event in the Public Meetings & Events Section of the California Weekly Roundup.

Contents (Scroll down for details and links):

News

  • California
  • Local

Events

  • September 15, 2015 – Live Google Hangout: California Legislative Roundup (Online)
  • March 18-22, 2016 – Early Bird Registration: National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference (Washington, DC)

Court Support

  • September 24, 2015 - Court Support for Frank and Marthalina Huerta (Porterville)
  • More

Take Action Now

  • Sign the Petition to Ask Your Representative and Senators to Sign on to the CARERS Act! (National)
  • Medical Marijuana: A Patient Survey (California)

ASA Website Spotlight

  • Blog: Voices From the Frontlines
  • National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference 2016

Chapter & Affiliate Meetings

  • September 15, 2015 - Nevada County ASA (Grass Valley)
  • September 16, 2015 - East Bay ASA (Berkeley)
Read more

Medical cannabis news, events, and more from all over the state

Contents (Scroll down for details and links):

News

  • National
  • California
  • Local

Events

  • March 18-22, 2016 – Early Bird Registration: National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference (Washington, DC)

Court Support

  • September 2, 2015 – Court Support for Heather Blackwood (Riverside)
  • September 2, 2015 – Court Support for Jeffery and Andrea Sarbak (Pleasanton)
  • More

Take Action Now

  • Oppose AB 243 in the California Senate (California)
  • Medical Marijuana: A Patient Survey (California)

ASA Website Spotlight

  • National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference 2016
  • ASA-CCSA Email Discussion List

Chapter & Affiliate Meetings

  • September 1, 2015 - San Francisco ASA (San Francisco)
  • September 2, 2015 – Brownie Mary Democratic Club of Riverside County (Riverside)
  • September 3, 2015 - Sonoma ASA (Santa Rosa)
Read more

California Weekly Roundup: July 20, 2015

Google Hangout July 28

Mark your calendar now for the next live Google Hangout, The Truth About Medical Cannabis: Regulations in California, on Tuesday, July 28, at 8:00 PM. Get all the federal, state, and local medical cannabis news for California... plus events, court support, action alerts, chapter meetings, and more in this week’s California Weekly Roundup!

Contents (Scroll down for details and links):

News

  • National
  • California
  • Local

Events

  • July 28, 2015 - Sacramento County Board of Supervisors Meeting (Sacramento)
  • July 28, 2015 – The Truth About Medical Cannabis: Regulations in California (Online)

Court Support

  • July 21, 2015 – Court Support for Stephen Boski/The Healing Connection (Modesto)
  • More

Take Action Now

  • Sign the Petition to Ask Your Representative and Senators to Sign on to the CARERS Act!  (National)
  • Growing Medical Cannabis is Not a Waste (Sacramento County)

ASA Website Spotlight

  • Find an Attorney: ASA Legal Team

Chapter & Affiliate Meetings

  • July 21, 2015 - Nevada County ASA (Grass Valley)
  • July 21, 2015 - San Francisco ASA (San Francisco)
  • July 23, 2015 - Sacramento ASA (Sacramento)
  • July 26, 2015 - Nevada County ASA (North San Juan)
Read more

The California legislature has a full plate this year when it comes to medical cannabis

California Capitol BuildingThe California State Legislature will adjourn for their summer recess tomorrow, following a flurry of activity surrounding medical cannabis. Legislative policy committees have approved at least eight bills that touch on almost every aspect of the issue. These bills are both good and bad for patients, providers, and others. However, they all share one common trait: they are moving easily through the process. After failing to adopt a significant medical cannabis bill since the Medical Marijuana Program Act in 2003 (SB 420), lawmakers are determined to pass bills this year. Most of bills have passed easily through committee votes so far – some with no opposition at all.

Lawmakers will have three weeks to get bills through the Appropriations Committees and to a final floor vote when they get back to Sacramento on August 17. Not every bill will make it. The Appropriations Committees are tasked with determining which policy decisions the state can afford. Many bills never make it out of these powerful committees. Bills that make it through Appropriations are likely to be adopted in a final floor vote before September 11. Governor Jerry Brown will then have until October 11 to sign or veto each bill. Things will move quickly between now and the end of the session. Patient advocates must stay alert and active to make a difference in the home stretch. 

Read more

Medical cannabis news and events from around the state

CA SenateThe California legislative calendar is filling up, as lawmakers get ready for the summer recess on July 17. Four medical cannabis bills had committee hearings last week, and there are four more scheduled for this week. Lawmakers seem determined to pass medical cannabis bills this year. Both good and bad bills are being approved by healthy margins. Look for votes on commercial licensing and regulation, cultivation, and manufacturing butane hash oil this week. Get more information about this week’s hearings below, and read about all of the medical cannabis bills at http://www.safeaccessnow.org/2015_legislation

 

Read more