There were some major statewide victories last week for medical marijuana programs — including a bill in Colorado that will allow patients suffering from PTSD to receive cannabis as a legitimate treatment. Veterans in the state have been pushing this battle for years. Find out in our weekly marijuana legislative roundup.
On June 5, Governor John Hickenlooper signed a bill to include post-traumatic stress disorder on the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana in the state. PTSD is the only condition to be added to the list of diagnoses since Colorado’s medical marijuana law was implemented in 2001. The list also includes cancer, HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, muscle spasms, cachexia, severe nausea or pain, and seizures.
The cannabis products most effective at treating PTSD are not widely available on the recreational market, and taxation rates make recreational products less viable as a treatment option for many patients.
On Thursday, Hickenlooper signed two separate bills tightening the state’s marijuana regulations and strengthening their enforcement. House Bill 1220 caps the number of plants adults can grow at home to 12. Currently, medical marijuana patients may grow up to 99 plants at home, which critics argue has contributed to the sale of cannabis on the black market.
The other bill, H.B. 1221 appropriates $6 million of marijuana tax revenue to enforcement of state marijuana law.
The Connecticut House of Representatives on Wednesday debated a measure to legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older. The legislation would allow recreational cannabis sales at licensed dispensaries and lounges.
Debate concluded without a vote after 90 minutes because there was insufficient support to pass the bill, which could be brought back up in budget negotiations later in the session.
On Thursday, Governor Phil Scott signed legislation to expand Vermont’s medical marijuana system. S.16 adds Parkinson’s, Crohn’s, and PTSD to the list of qualifying conditions for which patients may receive cannabis as treatment.
The bill also increases the number of dispensaries from four to five, and provides for further dispensary licenses as the number of registered medical marijuana patients increases.
On Friday, the Florida state legislature passed a compromise medical marijuana law that will allow patients diagnosed with chronic pain due to one of 10 qualifying conditions to receive treatment with either low-THC or full-strength cannabis products. However, the bill does not permit patients to smoke marijuana.
Florida voters passed a medical marijuana ballot measure with 71 percent in favor last November. Governor Rick Scott said that he intends to sign the legislation into law.
On Tuesday, the Wichita City Council unanimously approved legislation reducing penalties for certain first-time marijuana offenders. Under the measure, adults 21 and older will face a $50 fine for their first cannabis possession offense. A second conviction will result in a penalty of no more than a $2,500 fine and one year in jail.
The change will not apply to those arrested under suspicion of a felony offense or who have a felony conviction in the prior five years.