House Votes to Allow VA Medical Marijuana

VA Medical Marijuana

WASHINGTON, D.C. (CRN) – The House of Representatives voted 233-189 today to allow Veterans Administration doctors recommend medical marijuana for vets in the 25 legal medical marijuana states. The amendment to block federal spending to enforce a gag order on VA doctors was proposed by Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer and was narrowly defeated by three votes last year. The amendment is on the House’s broader $81.6 billion bill funding military construction and veterans programs in the fiscal year starting Oct. 1.

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana (AP) — Gov. John Bel Edwards has signed a bill to kick-start and expand Louisiana’s medical marijuana program, which has been slow to begin because of regulatory hurdles. As he signed the new law Thursday, the Democratic governor said the program will have a dramatic effect on Louisiana’s families. The bill by Republican Sen. Fred Mills broadens the program to cover more diseases and makes regulatory changes aimed at getting marijuana, in an oil form, into patients’ hands more quickly. Sheriffs and district attorneys opposed the bill. But lawmakers sided with parents who said their children’s medical conditions could be helped with therapeutic marijuana. Edwards signed the bill as Katie Corkern looked on with her son Connor, who has a rare brain disorder that causes uncontrollable seizures.

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois (AP) — Gov. Bruce Rauner says he may be comfortable with legislation to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana in Illinois. But the Republican stopped short of promising to sign the bill. The Illinois House gave the measure final approval Wednesday. Because it already has passed the Illinois Senate the next step is the governor’s desk. The bill includes recommendations Rauner issued when he vetoed a decriminalization measure last year. Rauner says he has to review the bill but that if it includes what he recommended he’ll “probably be comfortable with it.” The governor made the comments Thursday. The bill would impose fines up to $200 for possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana but no jail time. It also sets a standard for what’s considered too high to drive.

SAN JOSE, California (CRN) – Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders supports the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, California’s marijuana legalization initiative likely to be on the ballot this fall. “I do not live in California,” the Vermont senator told supporters at a rally here. “But if I lived in California, I would vote ‘yes’ to legalize marijuana.” Senator Sanders is campaigning in California ahead of the June 7 primaries, continuing his insurgent campaign all the way to the Democratic Convention, despite trailing Secretary Hillary Clinton in pledged delegates and super delegates. Sanders argues that he is the better general election candidate against Donald Trump, backed by many recent polls of the hypothetical presidential match-ups.

LANSING, Michigan (AP) — Groups collecting signatures for statewide ballot drives could submit those only collected within a firm 180-day period under legislation passed by a divided House Wednesday and expected to land on Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk soon. The bill, which would take effect immediately if signed, is a response to a marijuana legalization ballot committee’s plan to try to more easily qualify old signatures. The Board of State Canvassers last week deadlocked on allowing petition backers to use a digital voter registration database to rebut a presumption that signatures older than 180 days are void or stale — which has effectively served as a 180-day limit in practice for decades. It would have been an easier process than visiting local clerks across the state to get an affidavit showing that an individual voter was registered both at the time they signed the petition and during the 180-day window.

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — House and Senate negotiators have advanced legislation that would give unincorporated communities the ability to hold elections to decide whether to prohibit legal Alaska marijuana businesses. Unincorporated communities outside of organized boroughs also would be able to hold elections to reverse any prohibitions they might enact under the bill that advanced Monday. The bill would impose a statewide household limit of 12 marijuana plants. Current law allows local governments to bar pot businesses through voter initiative or ordinance but doesn’t address so-called established villages. A disagreement over how to treat unincorporated areas tied up the bill, with the Senate version proposing to bar marijuana businesses in those areas unless they opted in. Critics said that flew in the face of the voter initiative legalizing recreational pot.