Initiative to Legalize Medical Marijuana Filed in Nebraska

A pair of initiatives that would legalize medical marijuana and provide protections for physicians who recommend it was filed today with the Nebraska Secretary of State.

Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana (NMM) filed the initiatives today, with the hopes of placing medical marijuana legalization on the November, 2024 ballot. This is the group’s third attempt to put a medical marijuana initiative before voters of the state. In 2020 the group collected enough signatures to put their initiative to a vote, but a technicality led to the state supreme court removing it from the ballot.

“We have no choice but to keep petitioning our government,” said Crista Eggers, co-chair of MMM. “The Legislature refuses to act despite the will of over 80 percent of Nebraskans (from all parties, regions, ages, etc) supporting this.”
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Maryland Governor Signs Bill Protecting Parents/Guardians Who Consume Marijuana

Maryland legislation to codify that the use of marijuana by a parent or legal guardian does not by itself constitute child neglect has been signed into law by Governor Wes Moore.

House Bill 232 was passed overwhelmingly by both the House of Representatives and Senate last month. It passed the House 134 to 1, and was approved by the full Senate 36 to 11. Now the measure has been signed into law by Governor Wes Moore, and will take effect on July 1.

Filed by Delegate Nicole Williams, House Bill 232 will alter state law to clarify that the legal definition of child neglect:
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Texas House-Approved Marijuana Decrim Bill Receives Committee Assignment in the Senate

Texas legislation to decriminalize the possession of marijuana and marijuana concentrates has advanced through its first reading and given an official committee assignment in the Senate, the first steps required for it to eventually reach the Senate floor.

The House of Representatives gave approval to House Bill 218 late last month. The vote was 87 to 59. This sent the measure to the Senate.

The Senate advanced the proposal through its first reading and gave it a committee assignment two weeks after the House vote, on May 11. House Bill 218 now sits in the State Affairs Committee.
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Maine Committee Approves Bill to Double Marijuana Cultivation Limit

Legislation that would double the current limit for growing marijuana has been passed by a joint legislative committee.

Maine House Bill 555 was filed by State Representative David Boyer along with a bipartisan coalition of nine other lawmakers. According to its official summary the measure simple “increases the number of mature cannabis plants allowed for home cultivation from 3 to 6.”

In Maine marijuana was legalized via a citizen initiative in 2016. The law allows those 21 and older to possess up to 2.5 ounces and grow up to three mature marijuana plants, 12 immature plants and an unlimited number of seedlings. House Bill 555 would retain the limit of 12 immature plants and unlimited seedlings, but would double the mature cultivation limit.
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Study: 87% of Parkinson’s Disease Patients Exhibited Symptom Improvements Following Marijuana Use

The use of medical marijuana “may improve motor and nonmotor symptoms in patients with Parkinson’s disease and may allow for reduction of concomitant opioid medication use”, according to a newly published study.

Parkinson's Disease

The study, titled Medical Cannabis in the Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease, was published in the recent issue of the journal Clinical Neuropharmacology. It was conducted by researchers at the University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and DENT Neurologic Institute.

“Medical cannabis (MC) has recently garnered interest as a potential treatment for neurologic diseases, including Parkinson’s disease (PD)”, states the study’s abstract. “A retrospective chart review was conducted to explore the impact of MC on the symptomatic treatment of patients with PD.”
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Washington Governor Signs Bill Making Drug Possession a Misdemeanor

During a special session called by Governor Jay Inslee the Washington Legislature on Tuesday passed a bill to make drug possession a gross misdemeanor while boosting substance-use treatment programs.

The bill was quickly signed into law by Governor Inslee, who said that it “is not designed to fill our jails, it’s designed to fill our treatment centers”. The measure passed the House 83 to 13, and passed the Senate 43 to 6.

According to Inslee the bill was needed given that a temporary measure making drug possession a misdemeanor expires next month. If the measure was to expire, as some drug reform advocates have called for, drug possession would have been entirely decriminalized due to a 2019 decision by the Washington Supreme Court. Prior to the 2019 decision the possession of most drugs was a felony, even if the individual had just a miniscule amount.
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Maine Senate Passes Bill to Exempt Medical Marijuana From Taxes

Maine’s Senate has given approval to a measure that would exempt medical marijuana sales from being taxed.

According to its official summary, House Bill 541 “includes medical cannabis in the sales tax exemption that applies to medicines sold on a doctor’s prescription.”

The bipartisan bill was filed by State Representative Ann Fredericks with cosponsors Representatives David Boyer and Craig Hickman. The proposal was voted on by the House on May 4 in a closer than expected 76 to 62 vote, with 13 members absent. Today it was passed by the full Senate.
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New Mexico Officials Vote to Add Insomnia as Qualifying Medical Marijuana Condition

Officials in New Mexico have voted in favor of adding insomnia to the state’s medical marijuana program.

The New Mexico Medical Cannabis Advisory Board voted today to approve a petition calling for insomnia to join the state’s list of medical ailments that qualify an individual to become a medical marijuana patient. The list now includes 30 qualifying conditions including Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety, cancer, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, PTSD, obstructive sleep apnea and severe chronic pain.

New Mexico first legalized medical marijuana in 2007, with the law altered a few times over the years. Under the current law those with a qualifying condition and a physician recommendation can possess up to eight ounces of marijuana over a 90-day period, and can grow up to 12 plants (four of which can be mature).
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Michigan Committee Votes to Allow 19 and 20 Year Olds to Work at Marijuana Stores

Michigan legislation to lower the age requirement for working or volunteering at licensed marijuana retail outlets has been passed by a key House committee.

House Bill 4322 has been passed by the House Regulatory Reform committee, and has been sent to the full House of Representative to be considered on second reading. If passed through a second and then third reading, it will be sent to the Senate for consideration.

“A person who is 19 years of age or older may manufacture, purchase, distribute, and sell marihuana accessories if the person is an agent acting on behalf of a marihuana establishment”, states House Bill 4322. The current age is aligned with the age to possess and use marijuana, which is 21.
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Oklahoma Governor Signs Bill Extending Mortarium on Marijuana Businesses to 2026

An Oklahoma moratorium (temporary ban) on new marijuana businesses has been extended to at least 2026.

Governor Kevin Stitt signed House Bill 2095 into law earlier this month, officially extending the state’s ban on the establishment of any new medical marijuana businesses.

Last year Oklahoma lawmakers enacted a moratorium that explicitly prohibits regulators from issuing licenses for any new medical marijuana dispensaries, processors, or commercial growers until August 1, 2024. House Bill 2095 extends the ban by two years, until August 1, 2026.
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