Medical Marijuana Update — House Approves Doubling Dispensaries, Adding Qualifying Conditions

by Carla Occaso

MONTPELIER — The Vermont House of Representatives on May 2 passed S. 16 — a bill to expand patient access to medical marijuana. The state now has four state-sanctioned facilities, one in Montpelier, one in Burlington, one in Brandon and one in Rutland. After this session, four more will be allowed. In addition to allowing twice as many centers, regulations for how the dispensaries operate will loosen. Dispensaries will now allow patient caregivers to cultivate marijuana and expand the list of qualifying medical conditions to include PTSD, Crohn’s and Parkinson’s. Also, lawmakers upped the maximum amount of pot that can be given out at one time from two to three ounces.

Qualifying medical conditions now include: “Cancer, multiple sclerosis, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, glaucoma, post-traumatic stress disorder, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, or the treatment of these conditions, if the disease or the treatment results in severe, persistent, and intractable symptoms.” Also now included are “a disease, or medical condition, or its treatment that is chronic, debilitating, and produces one or more of the following intractable symptoms: cachexia or wasting syndrome; chronic pain; severe nausea; or seizures.”

“‘Dispensary’ means a nonprofit entity registered under section 4474e of this title  that acquires, possesses, cultivates, manufactures, transfers, transports, supplies, sells, or dispenses marijuana, marijuana-infused products, and marijuana-related supplies and educational materials for or to a registered patient who has designated it as his or her center and to his or her registered caregiver for the registered patient’s use for symptom relief. A dispensary may provide marijuana for symptom relief to registered patients at only one facility or location, but may have a second location associated with the dispensary where the marijuana is cultivated or processed.”

The bill was approved by a vote of 130 to 16, according to the House Journal.

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