Medical Marijuana Update

Some of the remaining non-medical marijuana states are moving to get on the bandwagon, the NLRB says medical marijuana workers in Pennsylvania can't unionize, and more.

Alabama

Alabama Senate Committee Approves Medical Marijuana Legalization Bill. A bill to legalize medical marijuana, Senate Bill 46, was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee last Wednesday. Sponsored by Sen. Tim Melson (R), the bill would set up a state medical marijuana commission, but would limit access to patients who have been diagnosed with one of about 20 qualifying conditions.

Idaho

Idaho Medical Marijuana Bill Wins Committee Vote. A bill that would legalize medical marijuana in the state won a vote in the House Health and Welfare Committee Monday. Although sponsored by the committee, the bill was actually written by Sgt. Jeremy Kitzhaber, a US Air Force veteran with terminal cancer, who testified before the vote Monday. "I'm here to talk with you about my desire for medical cannabis to be legalized here in Idaho, with specific limitations and controls," Kitzhaber said. "I've spent years writing and editing this legislation, to make it something that would allow medical cannabis to reach those who need it, but not necessarily reach those who just want it."

Kansas

Kansas Governor Pushes for Medical Marijuana to Pay for Medicaid Expansion. Governor Laura Kelly (D) called February 1 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

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Butler filed the lawsuit, which seeks to invalidate the will of the voters because the state's initiative law is outdated.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.

Mississippi Medical Marijuana Bill Moves. The Senate Finance Committee has approved Senate Bill 2765, which would make medical marijuana available to people with specified debilitating and chronic diseases. Last November, voters approved a broader medical marijuana initiative, but it is being challenged in court. The bill sponsor says if the court strikes down the initiative, there will be a bill ready to replace it.

New Jersey

New Jersey Court Hears Oral Arguments in Medical Marijuana Expansion Case. A panel of three appellate court judges heard oral arguments February 2 in a case where rejected medical marijuana applicants sued the state over its licensing procedures. The rejected business applicants argue that the state incorrectly rejected their applications. The case has stalled the expansion of the state's medical marijuana program.

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Marijuana Workers Can't Unionize, NLRB Rules. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has squashed an attempt to unionize workers at a medical marijuana facility near Philadelphia. Workers at the AgriKind growing operation cannot be unionized because they are agricultural workers, the NLRB held. Agricultural and farm workers are usually considered to be exempt from federal labor law. The NLRB has ruled in favor of unionizing marijuana workers if their work includes packaging or delivering marijuana.

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