Update: This bill has been defeated in committee.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 179, to establish a pilot program to provide qualified patients with legal access to medical marijuana products.
Under this program, patients would be permitted to obtain up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis and/or cannabis-infused products, such as extracts or edibles, from a state-licensed dispensing facility. Regulators must begin accepting initial applications from dispensaries and testing facilities by January 1, 2018.
Patients must be diagnosed with one of the following debilitating conditions to qualify for access: cancer, glaucoma, spastic quadriplegia, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), seizures, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, ulcerative colitis, and/or intractable pain. Home cultivation is not permitted under the proposal. The measure also seeks to restrict patients from smoking cannabis, but does not prohibit vaporization.
While NORML believes that such restrictions on smoking are unnecessary, we also are doubtful that such prohibitions can feasibly be enforced. Further, this legislation is more expansive than the state’s existing CBD-specific law, which only applies to patients with intractable epilepsy and has failed to provide needed relief to the patient community. Ultimately, we would like to see this measure amended to include patients’ right to home grow.