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CA Gov. Expands MMJ Patient Protections, Fetterman Talks Cannabis With Biden, & Sioux Falls Opens First MMJ Dispensary

Cesar Gallegos

by Cesar Gallegos

September 9, 2022 08:00 am ET Estimated Read Time: 4 Minutes

California Gov. expands medical cannabis patient protections, Fetterman talks cannabis legalization with President Biden, and Sioux Falls celebrates the opening of its first medical cannabis dispensary.

Let’s dive into this week’s cannanews.

California Gov. Newsom Expands MMJ Patient Protections

California governor Gavin Newsom has signed two new pieces of cannabis legislation into law. The bills bring some much needed protections to medical cannabis patients in the state. Let’s take a look at the expanded protections California medical users can now enjoy.

First up is Assembly Bill 1954 (AB-1954). Thanks to the AB-1954, physicians can no longer deny medical cannabis patients who test positive for THC from accessing medication. This clears up an issue that previously blocked an estimated 18.5% of medical cannabis patients from obtaining vital medication.

As physician Larry A Bedard so eloquently put it, the practice of denying MMJ patients medication is “…irresponsible and unethical” since there is “conclusive scientific evidence that cannabis is a safe and effective treatment for chronic pain”.

Now, let’s take a look at Senate Bill 988 (SB-988). The bill was championed by Sen. Ben Hueso as an amendment to the Compassionate Access to Medical Cannabis Act, aka Ryan’s Law. Going forward, health facility’s are required to ensure MMJ patients (or their caregivers) properly dispose of their cannabis once they have been discharged from the medical cannabis program.

Gov. Newsom is currently considering a number of other cannabis bills. These bills cover everything from ensuring medical patients have access to delivery services, to streamlining the process by which prisoners with cannabis-related convictions can have their records sealed. Make sure to check in with Veriheal to be the first to know if the governor decides to pass more cannabis legislation.

What do you think of the two bills Gov. Newsom just passed? Are there any other modifications you’d like to see happen to California’s medical cannabis program? Let us know in the comments!

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Fetterman Makes Good on His Promise to Push Biden On Cannabis

Last week, we reported on Senate candidate John Fetterman’s promise to push President Biden on cannabis legalization ahead of their Labor Day meeting. With that Labor Day meeting now well in the rearview—we are happy to report that Fetterman made good on his vow.  

According to Fetterman staffers, the Senate candidate spent part of his meeting with Biden talking about the Controlled Substances Act. Fetterman, reportedly, urged the President to use his executive authority to reschedule cannabis so that individuals convicted on cannabis-related charges could be freed from prison.

President Biden has previously stated that he supports the decriminalization of cannabis. However, the president’s inaction on cannabis thus far has shown that this may not be as big of a priority for him as once thought.

What do you think of Senate Candidate John Fetterman’s bold plan? Do you think his discussion will lead to action from President Biden? Let us know in the comments!

Sioux Falls, South Dakota Opens First Medical Cannabis Dispensary

South Dakota (SD) has had a particularly difficult medical cannabis legalization journey. All the way back in November 2020, SD residents voted to legalize both recreational and medical marijuana at the same time! The vote made SD the first state to pass both rec. and med. legalization at the same time! Unfortunately, the celebration would not last.

Anti-cannabis SD Governor Kristi Lynn Noem spent the next two years using every trick in the book, and every politician in her pocket to deny the will of the people. Thankfully, not even Gov. Noem could hold medical cannabis back. Earlier this month, SD cannabis advocates finally had a reason to rejoice as the first cannabis dispensary opened in Sioux Falls, the states biggest city.  

Flower Shop Dispensary opened its doors on Friday, Sept 2nd. The establishment is the first of the five business awarded a medical marijuana license through the Sioux Falls lottery to open for business. South Dakota now has a total of 3 state-licensed medical dispensaries.

Flower Shop Dispensary offers customers 5 different cannabis strains as well as hemp-based edibles. Those looking to visit must have a valid state-issued medical cannabis card and must be older than 21.

Tell us what you think about SD’s medical cannabis achievement in the comments!

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