NM Legalization Bills Filed, PA Bill Would Restrict Buprenorphine, More... (2/2/21)

Kansas's governor wants medical marijuana approved to pay for Medicaid expansion, the Mississippi Supreme Court has set a date for oral arguments in a case challenging that state's voter-approved medical marijuana initiative, and more.

buprenorphine (Pixabay)
Marijuana Policy

New Mexico Marijuana Legalization Bills Filed. Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers have filed marijuana legalization bills this week. Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto (D) has filed SB 13, which would have private enterprise control the sale of marijuana and would tax it at 21%. Meanwhile, Senator Cliff Pirtle (R) has filed SB 288, which would also provide for the regulated, taxed sale and manufacturing of retail cannabis. The retail tax would be shared among municipalities, counties, and state governments for law enforcement and behavioral health and substance abuse programs. Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) is calling for marijuana legalization to pass this year.

Medical Marijuana

Kansas Governor Pushes for Medical Marijuana to Pay for Medicaid Expansion. Governor Laura Kelly (D) called Monday for lawmakers to legalize medical marijuana as a means of paying for the expansion of Medicaid in the state. The move comes after Republican legislators blocked Medicaid expansion last year. You have heard many of the comments coming from the opposition have been we can't afford it," Kelly said. "We have just designed a bill that pays for itself and more. There's never been any good argument against expansion other than we can't afford it."

Mississippi Supreme Court Set to Hear Oral Arguments in Medical Cannabis Case. The state Supreme Court has set a date of April 14 to hear oral arguments in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the medical marijuana initiative approved by voters in November. Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler filed the lawsuit, which seeks to invalidate the will of the voters because the state's initiative law is outdated. Under the state constitution, initiative petitioners must collect an equal number of signatures from five congressional districts, but the state now has only four congressional districts, which, Butler argues, makes the initiative vote invalid.

Harm Reduction

Pennsylvania Bill Would Restrict Buprenorphine Access. State Sen. Michele Brooks (R-Crawford County) has refiled Senate Bill 675, which would impose new requirements on buprenorphine prescribers and create new barriers for buprenorphine patients. Buprenorphine is used to maintain opioid-dependent patients. Brooks' bill would require doctors prescribing buprenorphine to pay a fee of up to $500 to get a license from the state. It would also bar opioid use disorder (OUD) patients from being prescribed the drug unless they are enrolled in drug treatment programs licensed by the state Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs. Brooks introduced the same bill in 2019, where it passed the Republican-controlled Senate only to die in the House.

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