State News

House passes looser medical marijuana bill

By Erin Mansfield,
The Vermont House of Representatives passed a bill Tuesday in a voice vote that would loosen Vermont’s medical marijuana laws. The House had given preliminary approval to the legislation, S.14, by a vote of 133 to 13 on Monday.
Vermont currently has strict laws that require a person who wants a medical marijuana card to have a “debilitating medical condition” and a recommendation from a doctor who has seen the patient for the condition for at least six months.
The debilitating medical condition can be a terminal illness, intractable severe pain, or any of four conditions: HIV, AIDS, cancer or multiple sclerosis. The person can qualify only if the doctor certifies that other medical efforts have failed to treat the condition.
The Senate passed a version of S.14 in 2015 that requires medical marijuana dispensaries to offer their edible products with child-resistant packaging and to identify the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, in all edible product.
This year, facing political pressure to legalize recreational marijuana, the House approved language for S.14 that would add glaucoma to the list of eligible medical conditions and change “severe pain” to “chronic pain.”
S.14 would also allow a Vermont doctor to issue a medical marijuana card for a person who has been under the doctor’s care for three months rather than six. A doctor could also help the person get a card if the doctor confirms a diagnosis for a medical condition first identified in another state.

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