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GA Governor To Investigate Toxic Air At Plants

This story is jointly reported by Brenda Goodman of WebMD and Andy Miller of Georgia Health News.

Aug. 1, 2019 — Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s office said Thursday that it’s investigating toxic pollution involving two medical device sterilization plants in metro Atlanta.

An EPA report last year flagged two census tracts in the Smyrna area and one in Covington — along with dozens of other areas in the U.S. — for higher risks of cancer, driven largely by airborne releases of ethylene oxide, a gas used by sterilization plants.

Smyrna and Covington have sterilization facilities that use ethylene oxide. The cancer-causing chemical, the cancer risks associated with it, and the Georgia facilities using the gas were detailed in a report last month by WebMD and Georgia Health News.

“From the beginning, the administration has worked closely with local, state, and federal partners to investigate these findings, identify solutions, and keep residents updated throughout the process,” said Candice Broce, a spokeswoman for Kemp. “We will work around the clock to address this situation and keep Georgia families safe.”

Broce said the administration first heard about the ethylene oxide emissions from the WebMD/Georgia Health News article. She said that after that news report, Kemp staff members reached out to the state Environmental Protection Division (EPD) to get information about the sterilization plants and the processes they use.

The two companies involved in Georgia — Sterigenics in Smyrna and BD in Covington — have volunteered to cut emissions of ethylene oxide, Broce said.

This week, the Smyrna City Council said it has committed to independent testing of the air surrounding the Sterigenics plant there to determine accurate levels of ethylene oxide in that community. Broce said the administration supports that testing.

Kemp’s staff has heard from several lawmakers, local officials, and constituents expressing concern about the airborne pollution, Broce said.

The Kemp administration plans to hold public meetings this month to answer questions about the topic, together with federal Environmental Protection Agency and CDC officials, as well as staff from the state EPD and Department of Public Health.

The communities in the Smyrna area and Covington did not know about the cancer risks until news reports surfaced recently, even though state EPD officials have known about the EPA data since last year. Kemp took office in January.

When asked about the lack of state public disclosure on ethylene oxide, Broce said that “we try to operate every day with transparency. That’s what we expect from our administration. We will make sure that remains a priority.”

State Sen. Jen Jordan, a Democrat who represents part of the Smyrna area, said Thursday that she is “happy to hear that the Governor’s Office is finally engaged. This is a public health crisis. We need all hands on deck.”

Jordan has been outspoken in a call for independent testing of the air around the Sterigenics plant.

“I’m glad he’s getting involved,” said state representative Erick Allen, a Democrat who represents Georgia’s 40th district in Smyrna.

The administration said it has been having daily meetings and getting updates from state officials, and has been communicating with local and state lawmakers, including Jordan, Cobb County Commissioner Bob Ott, State Rep. Erick Allen, who represents the Smyrna area, and state Sen. Brian Strickland, who represents Covington.

Sources

Candice Broce, spokeswoman, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp.

© 2019 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Pro-Marijuana Democrat Pritzker Elected Illinois Governor

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Connecticut’s race for governor may determine state’s future on marijuana policy

Democrat Ned Lamont strongly supports ending marijuana prohibition, while Republican Bob Stefanowski says the issue shouldn’t be a priority.

The Connecticut general election will take place next Tuesday, November 6. If you’re not sure how or where to vote, please visit the Secretary of State’s website for more information.

Voters who care about marijuana policy reform should know that there is a very clear contrast between the candidates for governor:

  • Democratic candidate Ned Lamont strongly supports legalization, regulation, and taxation of marijuana. “It’s an idea whose time has come, and I’m going to push it in the first year,” he said.
  • Republican candidate Bob Stefanowski does not currently support legalization. “Maybe at some point we should look at legalizing marijuana … but we’ve got so many fundamental problems in this state… Let’s fix the economy first,” he said.

Please share this information with your friends and family and remind them to vote on Tuesday, November 6!

The post Connecticut’s race for governor may determine state’s future on marijuana policy appeared first on MPP Blog.


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Del. governor signs expungement bill; primary election is Thursday

Last Wednesday, Gov. John Carney signed into law a bill that allows hundreds of Delawareans to clear their records of marijuana possession convictions!

The new law applies to individuals who have a single conviction on their record. (A second conviction, whether it’s marijuana-related or otherwise, would disqualify the individual.) Delaware decriminalized simple possession of marijuana back in 2015, but records from old marijuana charges can shut the door on opportunities.

Now, individuals with a single conviction for possessing up to an ounce of marijuana automatically qualify to clear their record. To receive an expungement, individuals first request their certified records from the State Bureau of Identification. Then, they pay a fee and fill out a form to apply for mandatory expungement. The expungement forms are on the Courts website, under the Superior Court heading, and are listed by county.

Primary Election Day is Thursday!

In other news, Delaware’s Primary Election Day is coming up this Thursday, September 6. Polls are open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Only registered Democrats can vote for Democratic candidates, and only registered Republicans can vote on the Republican ticket. You can find your polling place and read your sample ballot here.

Our allies at the Delaware Cannabis Advocacy Network have put together a comprehensive voter guide with the results of their candidate surveys and incumbents’ voting records. If you’re a Delaware resident, check it out, share it on social media, and don’t forget to vote if you’re able to!

The post Del. governor signs expungement bill; primary election is Thursday appeared first on MPP Blog.


MPP Blog

Illinois governor signs opioid alternative bill, making huge improvements to medical cannabis program

Sweeping changes include medical cannabis access for opioid patients, streamlined process, and others

Illinois’s medical cannabis program took a major step forward today as Gov. Bruce Rauner signed bill SB 336, the Alternatives to Opioids Act, into law.

This historic change makes several key improvements:

Opioid patients now qualify. Patients who are — or could be — prescribed opioid drugs will be able to register to obtain medical cannabis as an alternative.

Shorter wait times. Patients will get provisional authorization to access medical cannabis as soon as their paperwork is submitted for registration — saving weeks of wait time.

No more fingerprint requirement! Patients and caregivers will no longer be required to submit fingerprints to register for the program, and those with felony convictions in their past will no longer be denied access to the program.

Many thanks go to bill sponsors Sen. Don Harmon and Rep. Kelly Cassidy, and the many medical cannabis patients and supporters who worked to pass this major improvement to state law. The full text of the measure is here.

In other news, if you are in the neighborhood, the public is invited to tonight’s town hall on cannabis legalization for adults in La Grange, Illinois.

When: Tuesday, August 28 7:00 p.m.

Where: La Grange Village Hall Auditorium, 53 S. La Grange Road, La Grange, Illinois

Who: Bill sponsor Sen. Heather Steans, Rep. Jim Durkin, and several other panelists

Another big win for medical cannabis patients today — please spread the word! And if you can, come to tonight’s town hall and support a sensible legalization law in Illinois!

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MPP Blog

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Illinois students get relief, but opioid patients still waiting on governor

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The governor only has until August 28 to sign, amend, or reject the bill.

The Opioid Alternative Pilot Program Act, which passed on May 31, not only allows those who could be prescribed opioid drugs to qualify for the medical cannabis program, it also dramatically improves current law by streamlining wait times and removing fingerprint requirements for patients. For a summary written by bill supporters — including key changes to background checks and shortened approval process — click here. The final bill draft language is here.

Gov. Rauner needs to hear from those who support this important change. If you are an Illinois resident, please click here to send an email message to his office.

The post Illinois students get relief, but opioid patients still waiting on governor appeared first on MPP Blog.


MPP Blog

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