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Congressional Cannabis Caucus pushes on vets.
Caucus co-chairs Earl Blumenauer, David Joyce, Barbara Lee, and Don Young wrote a letter to the Department of Veterans Affairs to push for veterans’ access to medical cannabis.
“America’s veterans have risked life and limb to preserve our freedoms, so we must not allow the unnecessary politicization of medical cannabis to hinder their lifesaving therapies. We stand ready to work with you and your administration in advancing these necessary treatments,” they wrote.
Today, a VA physician cannot recommend medical cannabis. In 2011, a federal memo clarified that a veteran “must not be denied VHA [Veterans Health Administration] services,” should they choose to find a willing physician outside the VA. In December 2017, the Department of Veterans Affairs issued new guidance, which encouraged open conversations about medical cannabis between medical providers and patients.
But lawmakers aim to move beyond memos and guidance, and change the law to ensure access.
Minnesota adds products, but denies new conditions in the medical cannabis program.
Minnesota’s Department of Health will allow “gummies and chews” as approved products for medical cannabis patients starting next August. Currently, only “pills, vapor oil, liquids, topicals, powdered mixtures, and orally dissolvable products, like lozenges,” are allowed. In March, smokable cannabis will be added, too, following lawmakers’ approval this year.
However, after deliberation, anxiety disorder will not be an approved condition. Earlier this year, Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm asked the Office of Medical Cannabis for an “in-depth review” to determine whether the condition should be approved, as Minnesotans have petitioned for it to be added for years.
“We received many comments from health care practitioners treating patients with anxiety disorder, and they urged us to not approve it as a qualifying medical condition,” said Malcolm in a statement. “We recognize that not everyone has equal access to therapy – which is considered the front-line treatment – but ultimately we concluded that the risk of additional harms to patients outweighed perceived benefits.”
New Mexico’s largest cannabis company is pushing back against labor peace agreements.
The state Regulation and Licensing Department’s Cannabis Control Division held a public hearing on a proposed amendment that would require licensees, except for microbusinesses, to “maintain a labor peace agreement with a bonafide labor organization that is actively engaged in representing or attempting to represent the applicant’s employees.”
One of the most vocal opponents to this amendment is Ultra Health, the largest cannabis company in the state, which submitted a comment calling this requirement “unlawful.”
It’s worth noting that several states have this requirement in place, including New York, New Jersey, and California.