Pages tagged "California"


Your Weekly Source for Medical Cannabis News & Information


Your Weekly Source for Medical Cannabis News & Information


Your Weekly Source for Medical Cannabis News & Information

Last week was a busy one in Sacramento. Hundreds of patients and advocates participated in our California Citizen Lobby Day on Monday. Check out my blog about which medical cannabis bills won and lost by the end of the week.

There is a new action alert this week… Tell your California Senator to vote no on SB 987, which adds an additional 15% tax to medical cannabis statewide. 

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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. 

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Your Weekly Source for Medical Cannabis News & Information

There are only 7 days left until the California Citizen Lobby Day. Get registered today so that we can make appointments for you at you Assembly and Senate offices! 

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

ASA’s California Weekly Roundup is your way to stay on top of medical cannabis news, events, action alerts, court support, and more.

ALERT: LIVE TONIGHT at 8:00 PM – “Medicine for Real: Taxation”
California lawmakers want to tax medical cannabis like a vice. What does that mean? What can you do? Let’s talk tonight. Log onto Google+ or YouTube a little before 8:00 PM tonight.

There are only 14 days left until the California Citizen Lobby Day. Get registered today so that we can make appointments for you at you Assembly and Senate offices! 

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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.

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

ASA’s California Weekly Roundup is your way to stay on top of medical cannabis news, events, action alerts, court support, and more.

There are only 21 days left until the California Citizen Lobby Day in Sacramento. Get registered today!

Last week ASA…

  • Announced a new partnership with a prestigious law firm to provide free legal support to medical cannabis patients.
  • Worked with local officials in several cities to improve or adopt local medical cannabis licensing ordinances.
  • Started scheduling appointments for California Citizen Lobby Day participants at Assembly and Senate offices.

This week…

  • ASA will support a new “cottage license” for small-scale medical cannabis cultivators and oppose a DUID bill in the Assembly Committee on Appropriations (see below). 

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

ASA’s California Weekly Roundup is your way to stay on top of medical cannabis news, events, action alerts, court support, and more.

There are only 29 days left until the California Citizen Lobby Day in Sacramento. Get registered today!

Last week ASA…

  • Testified in opposition to SB 987 (McGuire), which will impose an extra 15% tax on medical cannabis statewide.
  • Testified in opposition to AB 2243 (Wood), which will impose a tax of $9.25/ounce on medical cannabis cultivation.
  • Worked with local advocates to promote a new medical cannabis-licensing ordinance in Los Angeles.

This week…

  • ASA will be working with local advocates in the San Francisco Bay Area and elsewhere to promote and improve medical cannabis licensing ordinances. 

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