Medical Marijuana Update

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #1201)

A Pennsylvania medical marijuana expansion bill heads to the governor's desk, a Delaware medical marijuana expansion bill gets filed, and more.

[image:1 align:left]Delaware

Delaware Medical Marijuana Expansion Bill Filed. A bill introduced last week House Bill 285, would dramatically expand the state's medical marijuana program by removing the requirement that patients have one of a list of designated qualifying conditions in order to have medical marijuana recommended by a physician. Instead, doctors would be able to recommend it for any condition they believe it could benefit.

Sponsored by Rep. Ed Osienski (D), a medical marijuana champion, and three others, the bill would also allow residents 65 and over to self-certify their need for medical marijuana -- without any need for a recommendation from a health care provider.

The bill would also make registry cards good for two or three years instead of just one. Patients diagnosed with terminal illnesses could qualify for a card with an "indefinite" expiration date.

The bill comes even as the state prepares for the advent of a legal adult use market after legalizing it earlier this year.


Kansas Republican Senate President Says He is Open to Medical Marijuana. Senate President Ty Masterson (R) says that he is open to a discussion about medical marijuana when the legislature begins its 2024 session next month -- but legalizing weed is off the table.

Kansas is one of only a dozen states that have no provision for medical marijuana or low-THC cannabis oil for medicinal purposes.

Last year, Masterson opposed a medical marijuana bill, saying it was too close to fully legalizing marijuana.

"I'm actually open to true medical marijuana or to palliative care. I am open to that. I am not saying no," said Masterson. "I'm just saying we don't have any real studies on dosing and distribution."


Oklahoma Woman Asks State Supreme Court to Block Prosecutions of Medical Marijuana-Using Pregnant Women. Brittany Gonsolus, who used medical marijuana edibles and topical creams during her pregnancy with a doctor's recommendation and then was charged with felony child neglect by the Comanche County District Attorney, asked the state Supreme Court last Thursday to stop prosecutors in the state from criminally charging women who use medical marijuana during their pregnancies.

At an August court hearing, prosecutors made the bizarre claim that Gonsulus broke the law because her fetus did not have its own, separate medical marijuana license. Her attorneys argued that she should not be prosecuted because medical marijuana is like any other legal medication under state law.

The state has seen a flurry of criminal cases involving women who used marijuana during their pregnancies since it legalized medical marijuana in 2018. At least 17 women have been prosecuted for using medical marijuana during their pregnancies and dozens more for using it without a doctor's recommendation.


Pennsylvania Bill to Expand Medical Marijuana Permits Goes to Governor's Desk. A bill from state Sen. Chris Gebhard (R) that would expand the number of permits granted to small-scale medical marijuana growers Senate Bill 773, has passed out of the legislature and has gone to the desk of Gov. Josh Shapiro (D), who is expected to sign it into law.

The bill passed the Senate last month and passed the House on Wednesday.

It would allow independent growers/processors to obtain a single dispensary permit and it would allow independent dispensaries to obtain a single grower/processor permit. Under the state's current medical marijuana law, only five operations in the state are allowed to apply for dispensary permits, a situation Gebhard said favored large-scale growers.

The state Health Department has found that up to ten independent growers and four dispensaries could qualify for the new permits.

"As I've said all along, this is not about what these companies are selling, they could be selling widgets for all I care, this is about allowing small Pennsylvania businesses to compete against large multistate operators that have come into this state and attempted to take over an entire industry," Gebhard said in a written statement.

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