By: Mikel Weisser
If you have been following our updates on cannabis-related bills at the state capitol you will be thrilled to read that HB2149, AZ’s cannabis definitions bill (an approach designed to solve AZ’s concentrates crisis) have landed a hearing with a Republican ally as chair of the House Public Safety Committee. The bill is designed to amend state criminal drug statutes to clarify protections for concentrated marijuana products under the state MMJ laws. This cause has become the single largest issue in AZ’s MMJ community, both for the industry and for patients.
The committee chair, Rep Kevin Payne, is an ally on cannabis issues. Payne is the sponsor of HB2404 a cannabis defelonization bill and was a leader on last year’s testing bill effort. Reading the committee, it breaks naturally 4-3 in our favor. Three of the yeses are Andrade (D-LD29), Hernandez D-LD2), and Longdon (D-LD24) are all longtime advocates. Longdon even helped write early cultivator license apps when the AMMA was just getting launched. The fourth is Payne, the chair, who has worked to aid this bill already.
The three probable NOs break down like this: one possibly on the fence for this (Campbell, R-LD1), one who met w constituents last week and offered support (Kavanagh, R-LD23) and one who has not taken meetings w cannabis advocates and so is no probably a hard no (Kern, R-LD20). Besides the immense amount of suffering this legislation could save, there are Arizonans already awaiting trial for cannabis related class four felony charges incurred since the Jones Decision. Their lives could be impacted. Lastly, the AZ cannabis industry itself is on trial, with more than 40% of the industry at risk. Further, if the Jones Case is affirmed, then ALL the patients who purchased cannabis products from dispensaries since the Jones ruling can hold the dispensaries liable for any damages they’ve suffered. Since there is no testing and so no modicum of product safety, the resulting debris could devastate AZ MMJ as we know it.
But solving this concentrates controversy through statute could end all of that agony. I feel we can clear the committee. I know how you can help.
MITA-AZ is asking you to step up and join in the call for passing HB2149. Contact YOUR legislators. Don’t know who is your legislator? Click here. Call, email, send handwritten letters. Tell them this:
“I want you to support Rep Tony Rivero’s HB2149, the “marijuana, cannabis definition bill. Concentrated products need to be protected for the patients. Please vote yes.”
Here is the contact info for the members of the House Public Safety Committee. Contact them also:
Kevin Payne (Chrmn) firstname.lastname@example.org (602) 926-4854
Anthony T. Kern (V-Chrmn) email@example.com (602) 926-3102
Richard C. Andrade firstname.lastname@example.org (602) 926-3130
Noel W. Campbell email@example.com (602) 926-3124
Daniel Hernandez, Jr. Dhernandez@azleg.gov (602) 926-4840
John Kavanagh Jkavanagh@azleg.gov (602) 926-5170
Jennifer Longdon firstname.lastname@example.org (602) 926-3102