Dear Mr. President or Anyone Else Listening

I write to put a face to this war on medical cannabis.  There are things in life that I hope most never experience.  Having to hear the words that a loved one has cancer. Watching them slowly die from toxic chemo treatments. To see their eyes fade, the life shrinking away preparing for death.  But in all the misery there is hope from strangers. Strangers that risk their life to provide a life saving oil, one that you have deemed too harmful for the public. Despite this the oil is used and the fire in their eyes returns little by little and they come back from the brink.  The doctors say its a miracle but we know its a natural cure.  It is hard to believe that this life saving oil has no medical value when thousands have seen it with their own eyes.  Its hard to believe that this is so dangerous that it must be kept away from the public with hard consequences if obtained.  Its hard to believe that this natural cure is equated with heroin and other harmful drugs.  There are millions of silent users, including yourself, that have used it and not only survived but benefited from it.  It is not a new designer drug but has been used medicinally for thousands of years. Modern science has not unlocked all the mysteries of cannabis.  What we do know is promising and does point towards a cure for cancer as well as other illnesses.  We can not wait for modern science to figure out what millions already know.  We used to put people to death for saying the world is round, which in modern times would sound ridiculous but with cannabis prohibition restricting access to this natural cure, you are essentially condemning thousands of patients to suffer in pain or die from their illness.  We are all born of free will.  We are all born with the right to decide what is best for our own body.  Government has no business making medical and personal decisions for me or anyone else.   We should not be forced to watch our loved ones slowly and agonizingly die from government approved cancer treatments.  We should be able to pursue a natural treatment instead of only those the government pushes.  We can not stand by and watch as politics dictates how we treat our illnesses when patients lives are at stake.  We are all adults and we need to be treated that way.  We need responsible regulations.  We need to come together to ensure safe access for all. There is an opportunity here that is yours for the taking.  You can make a difference, you can right wrongs and stop the oppression of millions.  You have experienced cannabis surely you can see it is not the same as heroin or other schedule 1 drugs.  Millions of lives have been changed forever for simple possession.  Countless families turned upside down over a plant.  Its time for a change, its time for legalization!

Take Action Now!

We’re Fed Up! – An Open Letter From 30,000,000 Marijuana Smokers Who Vote

I found this post while researching and wanted to share:

Because of our diversity and direct democracy, California has always been a “test state” for many new ideas and political reforms. The Federal government is now targeting California and its Medical Marijuana patients to create a test case out of us.

They are afraid to change the status quo. But it is not just Medical Marijuana patients, or even marijuana smokers they are targeting.

The people of the state of California are the ones who voted for Medical Marijuana. We did this by direct democracy, by voting to change our own laws with Proposition 215, rather than have legislators write them for us. This is the essence of a democratic republic at its best.

By attacking Medical Marijuana in the State of California, the Federal government is attacking and disrespecting the people of California. They’re effectively saying, “We don’t recognize your authority over your own lives. We want to control you and force you to use only the medicines that we approve. We don’t care about your actual health. And we really don’t want you to get the idea that you can change things by voting.”

The Feds are very afraid of direct democracy because it challenges the power of the bloated, monolithic central government. All the career politicians are afraid of what can happen when people realize the power they have. Remember the 1960s rallying cry Power To the People? We have the power and we’re not planning to give it up.

“They got the guns, but we got the numbers.” — Jim Morrison

We are tired of being persecuted and mistreated simply because of our choice of medicine.

Marijuana users are treated as a laughingstock, even by a president that publicly claimed to be one of us.

We are sought out, profiled, and arrested.

We are imprisoned.

We are called drug addicts and losers by our own government.

Even the most unfortunate among us — who have cancer, AIDS, MS, depression, and intractable pain of all kinds — are treated in much the same manner, sometimes even judicially murdered.

Would the American public put up with this treatment if it was happening to gay and lesbian people? To Jews? To Muslims? Certainly not!

Each of those groups have suffered persecution in the past, gotten organized, and either aroused public sensibilities about their treatment to the point where it was made socially unacceptable, or gotten laws passed or changed to insure that it wouldn’t happen again.

But we have something special that these other groups don’t have.

We outnumber them all put together.

That’s right. There are 30 million people who regularly smoke marijuana in the United States. That’s about 10% of the population.

About 5% of Americans are gay or lesbian (so 15 million in round numbers), around 5 million are Jewish, 7 million are Muslim. We could easily throw other often oppressed groups in here, such as the Sikhs, without changing the equation.

The nation’s marijuana smokers need to unite for real change.

We must get organized.

We must arouse public sensibilities about our treatment and make it socially unacceptable to laugh at medical marijuana patients as well as recreational users.

The American public must understand that we – medical marijuana patients and users – are not anonymous drug-addled strangers. We are their sons and daughters, their brothers and sisters, their fathers and mothers, their grandfathers and grandmothers.

Marijuana prohibition is a failure based on lies, bad science, and racism. Millions upon millions of people have had their lives ruined – not by the harmless cannabis plant, but by the laws, arrests, lost jobs, and denied medical treatment.

75 years of marijuana prohibition is long enough for us, as a nation, to calmly sit down and acknowledge that the experiment of making a medicinal plant illegal is unconstitutional, morally wrong, and destructive to our society. It’s time to change things to insure that it won’t happen again.

We have the organizations — NORML, ASA, MPP, and others. We have our own media: The 420 Times, High Times, Kush, Skunk, Cannabis Culture, Treating Yourself, Toke Of the Town, and plenty more. But all of us have tended to work separately. Now it is time for laser focus.

We now call upon all of these organizations and publications, and all of us – patients and caregivers and recreational smokers alike – to unite behind a single, attainable goal:

Reschedule Marijuana Out Of Category I

Doing this can be a face-saver for the Federal government. No laws need be changed, no “embarrassing” Congressional debates over “pot”. No high-level politician even has to take “the blame” for it. It just becomes a simple administrative change in a database, but it will allow open medical research and actual legal prescriptions by doctors. It’s also about time that the Federal government acknowledges that cannabis actually is an effective medicine that is safely used every day by millions of people…since they already know that.

Let’s all take the time to help them help us.

Our first step: support CA NORML’s Call The White House campaign set for Tuesday, October 11.

Our second step: sign this online petition directly to the White House to address rescheduling marijuana out of Category I.

Our third step: we will be working with these other organizations and publications to organize a National Day Of Protest to call attention to this problem.

And for heaven’s sake, vote.

(Signed)

N.B. This manifesto does not intend to minimize the oppression that these and all other minorities (including women and people of color) have suffered in the past and present in this country and elsewhere. But the point is that the oppression of marijuana patients and users is official government policy to this very day, and we must not be satisfied until it ends forever.

http://the420times.com/2011/10/were-fed-up-an-open-letter-from-30000000-marijuana-smokers-who-vote/

A Call To Action:Your Local Government

In California medical cannabis patients are under attack from not only the federal government but local governments as well.  City after city has pushed for ordinances against medical marijuana.  Some baring dispensaries and some banning growing.  Some do this out of ignorance of medical cannabis and the industry and others in fear of repercussions from the federal government.   At the local level we need to work together to create a system that will regulate medical marijuana in a fair safe manner. Below is a letter to our local city council.  I share it in hopes to spark conversations in other cities where patients are being oppressed.

To Our Local Government:

We are standing at a unique point in time.  When you look back which side will you be on?  Will it be the ignorant, stubborn side that wishes to cling to yesteryear where fear and misinformation oppressed citizens or will it be on the side that is enlightened and will one day be vindicated?  We can no longer ignore science.  We can no longer let this be a political game with innocent patients as the chips.

It is time that you step up and start fighting FOR the patient instead of against.  It is time that you team up with the patients and create a peaceful business environment.  You were elected to SERVE the people not rule.  Minority groups need to be heard too. There is too much proof out there, both in personal stories and medical science to say medical marijuana doesn’t have medicinal purposes.

We can no longer allow the federal government to dictate how the state, county or city conducts business with medical cannabis with bullying tatics.  We can no longer allow the federal government to ignore science.  We can no longer allow government, instead of science, medicine and our own judgment, to dictate what we put in our bodies and how we treat our illnesses.

These laws are turning innocent patients into criminals.  The actions taken in the form of raids, arrests, threats, monetarily and in court have destroyed lives and caused many to be condemned to a life of lower standards.  These laws and by extension all of you enforcing these laws are oppressing people.

There needs to be regulation.  There needs to be a partnership between law enforcement, the City and patients.  We need sanity back in government.  People need to be educated before swinging the mighty gavel. As a patient I want to be able to walk into a dispensary and know I am safe from criminals and the government.  I want to know that if I grow a few plants my family wont have their door knocked down and have a gun in their face.  I want to know that the officials that we elect are held to the standard of being level headed, fair and just.  I want to know that they would give consideration to 1 person the same as they would 10,000.

Prohibition and reefer madness has been going on for over 74 years.  People have been hearing lies for a long time and that has bred a lot of misconceptions, greed, violent black markets and many other things that scare people.  What they don’t realize is that prohibition has caused this.  Its going to take all of us to fix this.  Its going to take all of us taking a fair balanced look at cannabis and seeing how we can improve things.  We need to be the ones changing it together.  We will never have progress if there is fighting. It is ridiculous for innocent, lawful patients and caregivers to be punished because of misuse of federal power and the actions of criminals.  We should be allowed safe access to our voter and Dr approved medicine.

Corruption Through the Ages

It is said that if history is not learned it is doomed to repeat itself.  It is important to look back and know how we got here today.  We have looked at how Prohibition of Alcohol can be applied to today’s War on Drugs.  We have also looked at the current Drug War in terms of stats on arrests and how much money is wasted.  Now we will take a look at how the Banking System has played a role in the drug trade and the War on Drugs. If you study the timeline below you will see how corruption has a firm grip where ever there is money. In the past 10 years there has been major corruption linking the banking system and drug cartels.  This is just one key point in the War on Drugs and our fight for legalization.  Money does have control and it is vital to know all aspects when fighting for legalization.  In the timeline you will notice underline text.  These are areas that I encourage to be further researched as there is a lot of interesting history to be discovered.  Please Share: just click on the image below to read~ Cherry Girl

Also available in High Resolution

Adapted from “Banking Laid Bare” Steven Hager ~ High Times Dec 2011

Wachovia and J.P. Morgan connection to Slave Trade: http://www.ushistory.org/presidentshouse/news/ww061005.htm 

Why More Americans Support Legalization of Marijuana

Gallup Poll released yesterday showed American support for the legalization of marijuana has risen to 50%. What might have caused this surge in support and made Americans take a second look at cannabis? Have Americans finally seen what a waste the War on Drugs is? Media coverage has become more common and less taboo enabling more people to become enlightened to the many benefits of cannabis as well as the corruption and lies surrounding it. There are 16 states that have set up some sort of medical marijuana program. More doctors and medical studies have emerged that support the medical benefits of cannabis.  There is also anger in the nation at corruption and Big Pharma is one target.

We have seen several reports lately that have showed medical advancements and new knowledge of the powers of cannabis.  We have seen them not only in expected media like High Times but also on news channels ranging from local to MSNBC.  We have seen many reports of patients that cannabis has helped or cured them as well as scientists discovering why cannabis works.

16 states enacted some sort of medical marijuana program. California was the first to enact legislation and has run a medical marijuana program for 15 years.  Colorado is one state that is allowing for-profit dispensaries to operate.  Reports have shown how revenue from taxes and fees as well as the residual business that benefits are seen throughout the community.  In a time when the economy is slow its hard to ignore the fact that cannabis is a booming industry.  With more states challenging the federal government’s stand on cannabis we have this industry brought to the forefront.

Politics has affected this issue extensively.  Many times politicians are focused on their career and not on the issues that need to be addressed.  Instead they continue to follow the failed policies of the Drug War that has been failing for the last 70 plus years.  The current Obama administration has promised one thing while doing a completely opposite action.  Recently attacks from the federal government against California patients has become severe.  With many more urgent issues that need to be addressed many Americans see this use of government spending wasteful.

 

People have seen the costs associated with processing criminals for small amounts of marijuana as well as the search for marijuana grows.  In a time where everyone is scrutinizing government spending people have turned their attention to the money wasted on the War on Drugs.  The recent attacks on medical marijuana dispensaries in California have put federal government spending in the spotlight.

Although Occupy Wall St is disorganized one thing you can glean from the people is the frustration over corruption.  We have seen how Big Pharma has control over the industry.  People want affordable, quality medicine, and with more information emerging on the health risks of prescription medications as well as the up rise in addiction rates more people are looking for a natural solution.

Some other points that might explain the increase in support is the spotlight that has been shown on NYC and the racially profiled marijuana arrests, that are prevalent not only in NYC but all over the country.  In 2010 NYC spent $75 million arresting and jailing 50,000 people for possessing small amounts of marijuana.  Most of them were in their late teens or early twenties and nearly 90% of them were of color.  This is something that has caught the attention of the NAACP who has spoke out in support of legalization of marijuana.

 

With so many factors working for us there are just as many if not more working against the legalization for marijuana. There is legislation currently being processed  HR 2306: The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011 which you can request your representative to support.  There is also a proposed ballot that has support of private citizens, celebrities, law enforcement and judges.  Its called the Regulate Marijuana Like Wine Act of 2012.  Now is our opportunity to change history and right a wrong.  Reefer madness and all the ridiculous claims against cannabis have had their claim on Americans for far too long.  Now is the time to take a second look at cannabis.  Now is the time to act and help legalize a natural safe alternative!

The Regulate Marijuana Like Wine Act 2012

Imagine a day when a property owner can look out over his cannabis crops just like a vinyard owner.  That day may be much closer with a proposed ballot in California.  Its call The Regulate Marijuana Like Wine Act 2012 and it has a lot of good points to it.  If passed it could change countless lives and challenge the federal government, something that is long overdue.

It also boasts some impressive supporters.  You can find more information on their website.  The launch of the petition drive will be November 1, 2011. They have volunteering opportunities on their website as well.

In Short – This California Voter Intitiative for 2012 intends to:

  •  Repeal prohibition of marijuana for adults
  •  Strictly regulates marijuana, just like the wine industry
  •  Allows hemp agriculture and products
  •  Does not change laws regarding

medical marijuana
impairment
workplace
vehicle operation
use by minors under 21 years old

  •  Provides specific personal possession exemptions
  •  Requires dismissal of pending court cases
  •  Defense against all related litigation
  •  Prevents California from supporting federal enforcements that conflict with this law and requires the State to petition the Feds to remove marijuana from Schedule One
  •  Prohibits commercial advertising of non-medical marijuana
  •  Generates new revenue from sales taxes, while creating no new taxes
SPONSORED BY
THE REGULATE MARIJUANA LIKE WINE COMMITTEE

JAMES P. GRAY, CHIEF PROPONENT 
Retired Superior Court Judge and author
STEVE KUBBY, CHIEF OFFICER 
Managing Partner and CEO, Kubby Patents and Licenses
WILLIAM McPIKE,  COUNSEL  
Nationally recognized attorney and legal authority
STEVE COLLETT, TREASURER 
President, Collett & Company, Inc., Certified Public Accountants
For more information visit their site at

Now Is the Time To Act! Medical Marijuana On the Defense

With all the protests and grumbling from the every day American I know that we are at a pivotal point in history that we are at a point where they could go either way.  I believe we are at that point with Medical Marijuana.  It has been state legal in CA since 1996 but only in the past few years has it really exploded.  A quick search on weedmaps or any other like website and you will see thousands of dispensaries dotted all over California.  While for cannabis consumers its a dream come true for officials its a nightmare.

With their experience only while the black market still exists, law enforcement and like minded people’s point of view on the violence and corruption that seems to follow I can see how they can be fearful of the whole industry. But just like with like with prohibition, not all of us are Al Capone.  There will always be criminals but it is wrong to punish us all for a few and in turn create more criminals.

Cannabis patients truly are an oppressed people.  The government has sought after marijuana with the same vivaciousness of a murderer manhunt. It has been unrelenting in its pursuit of even simple possession.  They wasted billions of hard earned taxpayer’s money at the drop of a hat over a simple plant.

There are hundreds of other top priority issues that are being negleted to go after this plant and its consumers.  It makes me angry to see stories where domestic violence is decriminalized because they ran out of money to prosecute but they have plenty of money to go after medical marijuana patients.

Thankfully the Alcohol Prohibition Era lasted a relatively short time but it still gives us a great look into a failed policy that applies to us today.  We saw how crime and general chaos ensued after prohibition took place.  We also saw crime organized for the first time on a larger scale.  Mass murders took place with bodies being dumped in the streets.  Even with the it being illegal people still drank.

We are at a time in history with some of the same things taking place.  We have dispensaries and patients being robbed.  We have gang violence still trying to control whats left of the black market.  We have Mexican cartels taking over our forests and killing thousands in their country.  We have decapitated heads being found on children’s school playgrounds.

The underground black market for Marijuana is organized.  It has its roots deep throughout the country.  Here in California especially it has spilled out into almost every county.  The gang violence can be seen in the streets as well as the size of the prison population.  It has been a very lucrative business for them.  The sad thing is that some marijuana patients are forced to fuel this economy.

With regulation and legislation passed we have seen the legal medical marijuana population rise to the top and be on display for the world to see.  They have shown how dispensaries can be run responsibly and in the compassionate manner originally intended.  We have seen the standards of cannabis rise not only with potency but in growing and quality.

We have heard thousands of success stories from patients living a better life thanks to cannabis.  When pulled into the light and operated legally we see a change.  I have visited locations that are similar to a doctor’s office with a staff that are professional and knowledgeable.  They pay taxes, bring revenue into the county and provide jobs.

In Colorado, where the medical marijuana industry is for-profit, we have seen the amount collected in business licenses and the like in the millions.  We see how even in a bad economy that is one industry that is booming.  It is exploding right in the face of the federal government and they’re not happy about it.

Today we saw a crack down in California from the federal government.  They put it under the guise of criminal activity but in their eyes all of it is illegal.  The Attorney General’s office sent out letters to property owners bullying them by saying they would lose their property if they continued to allow a dispensary to operate.  By doing this they are strong arming the entire industry.

Not everyone can grow their own medicine but they still need it.  Even when the government says they are not going after the sick, by attacking the source of our medicine, they are attacking patients.  Once again they are reacting towards everyone instead of the problem.  Somehow they still do not seem to get that while a black market exists, while the unsuccessful and costly drug war exists, while prohibition exists we will always have these issues.

If it was not illegal you would not have mass amounts of undocumented marijuana transferred between states but instead a regulated system that would generate billions if not trillions in revenue.  The Mexican cartels, US gangs and the black market would not have the funding nor the power it currently does.

Instead license fees, taxes and other revenue would be pumped into the local, state and federal governments.  Patients would have access to quality medicine without fear.  With a law enforcement that back the marijuana industry and instead targets only true criminal activity I believe we would see an industry much like alcohol or tobacco.

With over 70 years of failed policy and crime stats supporting the evidence its time to repeal the prohibition of marijuana is it not time to act?  One can not be heard but many they will take notice.  How much longer can we stand by while the government attacks patients?

Even if you can’t actively participate educating and informing people of the benefits of cannabis is one way to be active.  There are hundreds of medical studies, thousands of survivor stories and millions of consumers.  There is mounting evidence of the powers of cannabis.  It is time for us to educate the government and others so that all can be free to medicate.

If you can be active get involved and contact your representitive and the presidential hotline.  Supporters are urged to call on the President to respect state marijuana laws – White House Hotline:202 -456-1111  show your support for a bill to let states regulate medical marijuana legally, H.R. 2306, has been introduced by Rep. Barney Frank and has several co-sponsors from California.

And in the great words of Thomas Jefferson:
When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance?-Thomas Jefferson

POT-TAX

Prohibition: Then and Now, History Repeating Itself?

We see Hollywood glamorizing the roaring 20’s, Prohibition Era, with the speakeasies and flapper girls. Then there was Al Capone and the mob’s criminal activities. Today, with the Drug Prohibition, we have stories of bodies being dumped in the streets and heads being found on school playgrounds. Can we not learn from history?

During the Prohibition Era which lasted from 1920 to 1933, people truly thought that passing more laws would make things safer and better.  They felt that alcohol was the cause of many social issues and if it were illegal things would improve.  Unfortunately it had the opposite affect.

Suddenly with liquor being available only through the black markets, criminals organized and gangs were created.  What were once legally run production, importation and distribution businesses were now taken over by gangs.

As a result of the prohibition prices went up further fueling more attraction to gangs who became rich.  Once gangs took hold of the industry fights broke out over territory and connections, spilling crime into the streets including mass murder.


A Bill was created in Congress that celebrated the Repeal day which notes that “throughout American history, alcohol has been consumed by its citizens”;that prohibition resulted in “abuses” and the “irresponsible over consumption of alcohol”; and that the ban on “‘intoxicating liquors’ in the United States, resulted in a dramatic increase in illegal activity, including unsafe black market alcohol production, organized crime, and noncompliance with alcohol laws…”

While prohibition was a complete failure one thing we can learn from them is that they did go through the proper processes.  With prohibition activists worked their way from the local level to the federal level eventually amending the constitution. When America repealed prohibition with a constitutional amendment it explicitly gave the power to regulate alcohol to the states.

In contrast to the drug prohibition, Congress as well as the Supreme court, was not Constitutional when it passed the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 which started the modern day Drug War.

Crime was not the only factor in the failure of prohibition.  The lack of regulation was also a problem.  Unlike the regulated liquor, black market liquor was more potent and more harmful.  Today we have unregulated marijuana that is available to the public causing concerns.  Harmful chemicals, mold and many other issues can have serious effects on the end user as well as the enviroment. Without proper regulation patients can find it hard to get safe, quality marijuana.

During the Prohibition Era doctors were still able to prescribe it to their patients unlike today where dispensaries, doctors and patients  are being terrorized by raids. After almost 40 years since the Controlled Substance Act passed there are hundreds of thousands of people in prison for nonviolent drug crimes. We have federal and local  police forces that all too often acts like an military force with nearly a trillion dollars spent on enforcement. All the while the street prices of drugs like cocaine and marijuana has dramatically dropped since the government began keeping track in the early 1980s.

H.R. 2306, entitled the ‘Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011,’ prohibits the federal government from prosecuting adults who use or possess marijuana by removing the plant, and its primary psychoactive constituent, THC, from the five schedules of the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970.  It is currently being cosponsored by 16 Congresspeople.

There are plenty of lessons to learn from the Prohibition Era as well as the Drug War thus far.  As they always say history will repeat itself if you never learn from it.  Prohibition does not work, as proven, it has the opposite effect. Now is the time to stop the corruption and end Prohibition against marijuana.

Dr. Recommendations

If you are lucky to live in one of the states that has passed a Medical Marijuana Law you can go to your Dr. and get an evaluation for recommendation for Medical Cannabis Usage.

If you do not live in a state that is compassionate or your Dr. refuses to write the recommendation you can still have them document your chart.  Let him know how you feel it helps you.  Then each time you meet make sure you bring up your medical marijuana usage and have the Dr. write it into you medical records. By doing this they are legally monitoring your medical marijuana usage and  it can help to protect you and enable you to use a medical necessity defense in a Court of Law.

Below are the states that have enacted a Medical Marijuana Programs

Washington Oregon California Nevada Colorado Alaska Hawaii Maine Vermont Montana Washington, DC New Jersey Rhode Island Michigan New Mexico Arizona

Alaska

SUMMARY: Fifty-eight percent of voters approved Ballot Measure #8 on November 3, 1998. The law took effect on March 4, 1999. It removes state-level criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by patients who possess written documentation from their physician advising that they “might benefit from the medical use of marijuana.” Patients diagnosed with the following illnesses are afforded legal protection under this act: cachexia; cancer; chronic pain; epilepsy and other disorders characterized by seizures; glaucoma; HIV or AIDS; multiple sclerosis and other disorders characterized by muscle spasticity; and nausea. Other conditions are subject to approval by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. Patients (or their primary caregivers) may legally possess no more than one ounce of usable marijuana, and may cultivate no more than six marijuana plants, of which no more than three may be mature. The law establishes a confidential state-run patient registry that issues identification cards to qualifying patients.

The medical use provisions in Alaska do not include reciprocity provisions protecting visitors from other medical use states.

AMENDMENTS: Yes.

Senate Bill 94, which took effect on June 2, 1999, mandates all patients seeking legal protection under this act to enroll in the state patient registry and possess a valid identification card. Patients not enrolled in the registry will no longer be able to argue the “affirmative defense of medical necessity” if they are arrested on marijuana charges.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA STATUTES: Alaska Stat. §§ 17.37.10 – 17.37.80 (2007).

CAREGIVERS: Yes. The caregiver must be 21 years of age or older. The caregiver can never have been convicted of a felony controlled substances offense. The caregiver must be listed by the patient as either the primary caregiver or an alternate caregiver. Only one primary caregiver and one alternate caregiver may be listed in the registry for a patient. A person may be a primary caregiver or alternate caregiver for only one patient at a time, unless the primary caregiver or alternate caregiver is simultaneously caring for two or more patients who are related to the caregiver by at least the fourth degree of kinship by blood or marriage. Alaska Stat. §17.37.010 (2007).

CONTACT INFORMATION: For more information on Alaska’s medical marijuana law, please contact:

Alaskans for Medical Rights
P.O. Box 102320
Anchorage, AK 99510
(907) 277-AKMR (2567)

Application information for the Alaska medical marijuana registry is available by writing or calling:

Alaska Department of Health and Social Services
P.O. Box 110699
Juneau, AK 99811-0699
(907) 465-5423
Attention: Terry Ahrens
terry_ahrens@health.state.ak.us

Top Arizona

SUMMARY: Just over 50 percent of voters (50.13 percent) approved Proposition 203 on November 2, 2010. The law removes state-level criminal penalties on the use and possession of marijuana by patients who have “written certification” from their physician that marijuana may alleviate his or her condition. The law took effect on April 14, 2011. Patients diagnosed with the following illnesses are afforded legal protection under this act: cancer; glaucoma; positive status for HIV or AIDS, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease), Crohn’s disease, agitation of Alzheimer’s disease or any chronic or debilitating medical condition or its treatment that produces one or more of the following: cachexia or wasting syndrome, severe or chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy, severe or persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis, persistent muscle spasms or seizures, severe nausea or pain. Other conditions will be subject to approval by the Arizona Department of Health Services. Patients (or their primary caregivers) may legally possess no more than two and one-half ounces of usable marijuana, and may cultivate no more than twelve marijuana plants in an “enclosed, locked facility.” The law establishes a confidential state-run patient registry that issues identification cards to qualifying patients. State-licensed nonprofit dispensaries may produce and dispense marijuana to authorized patients on a not-for-profit basis. Qualified patients who reside within 25 miles of a state-licensed dispensary facility will not be permitted to cultivate marijuana at home. Final rules for the program, physician certification forms, and a frequently asked questions (FAQs) page are all available online at the website of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Program here. http://www.azdhs.gov/prop203/

UPDATE: On Tuesday, May 24, 2011, Republican Gov. Jan Brewer announced that the state attorney general would be seeking a declaratory judgment in federal court regarding the implementation of some aspects of the state’s medical marijuana law. Specifically, the state is seeking clarification regarding the provisions pertaining to the licensing of medical marijuana dispensaries. At this time, the Arizona Department of Health Services indicates that the agency will “continue to issue Qualifying Patient and Designated Caregiver Registry Cards.” The DOH statement appears here: http://directorsblog.health.azdhs.gov/?p=1454.

RECIPROCITY: Yes. The act defines a ‘visiting qualifying patient’ as a person ‘who has been diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition by a person who is licensed with authority to prescribe drugs to humans in the state of the person’s residence.’

Top California

SUMMARY: Fifty-six percent of voters approved Proposition 215 on November 5, 1996. The law took effect the following day. It removes state-level criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by patients who possess a “written or oral recommendation” from their physician that he or she “would benefit from medical marijuana.” Patients diagnosed with any debilitating illness where the medical use of marijuana has been “deemed appropriate and has been recommended by a physician” are afforded legal protection under this act. Conditions typically covered by the law include but are not limited to: arthritis; cachexia; cancer; chronic pain; HIV or AIDS; epilepsy; migraine; and multiple sclerosis. No set limits regarding the amount of marijuana patients may possess and/or cultivate were provided by this act, though the California Legislature adopted guidelines in 2003.

The medical use provisions in California do not include reciprocity provisions protecting visitors from other medical use states.

AMENDMENTS: Yes. Senate Bill 420, which was signed into law in October 2003 and took effect on January 1, 2004, imposes statewide guidelines outlining how much medicinal marijuana patients may grow and possess. Under the guidelines, qualified patients and/or their primary caregivers may possess no more than eight ounces of dried marijuana and/or six mature (or 12 immature) marijuana plants. However, S.B. 420 allows patients to possess larger amounts of marijuana when such quantities are recommended by a physician. The legislation also allows counties and municipalities to approve and/or maintain local ordinances permitting patients to possess larger quantities of medicinal pot than allowed under the new state guidelines.

Senate Bill 420 also mandates the California Department of State Health Services to establish a voluntary medicinal marijuana patient registry, and issue identification cards to qualified patients. To date, however, no such registry has been established.

Senate Bill 420 also grants implied legal protection to the state’s medicinal marijuana dispensaries, stating, “Qualified patients, persons with valid identification cards, and the designated primary caregivers of qualified patients … who associate within the state of California in order collectively or cooperatively to cultivate marijuana for medical purposes, shall not solely on the basis of that fact be subject to state criminal sanctions.”

MEDICAL MARIJUANA STATUTES: California Compassionate Use Act 1996, Cal. Health & Saf. Code, § 11362.5 (1996) (codifying voter initiative Prop. 215).

Cal. Health & Saf. Code, §§ 11362.7 – 11362.83 (2003) (codifying SB 420).

CAREGIVERS: Yes. Primary caregiver is the individual, designated by a qualified patient or by a person with an identification card, who has consistently assumed responsibility for the housing, health, or safety of that patient or person. The caregiver must be 18 years of age or older (unless the primary caregiver is the parent of a minor child who is a qualified patient or a person with an identification card). Cal. Health & Saf. Code, §11362.7 (2003).

CONTACT INFORMATION: For more information on California’s medical marijuana law, please contact:

California NORML
2215-R Market Street #278
San Francisco, CA 94144
(415) 563-5858
http://www.canorml.org/

For detailed information on county or municipal medical marijuana
guidelines, please visit: http://www.canorml.org/prop/local215policies.html

For a list of California doctors who recommend medical cannabis, please
visit:
www.canorml.org/prop/215physicians.html

For a list of California medical cannabis providers, please visit:
www.canorml.org/prop/cbclist.html

http://www.canorml.org/prop/local215policies.html

Top Colorado

SUMMARY: Fifty-four percent of voters approved Amendment 20 on November 7, 2000, which amends the state’s constitution to recognize the medical use of marijuana. The law took effect on June 1, 2001. It removes state-level criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by patients who possess written documentation from their physician affirming that he or she suffers from a debilitating condition and advising that they “might benefit from the medical use of marijuana.” (Patients must possess this documentation prior to an arrest.) Patients diagnosed with the following illnesses are afforded legal protection under this act: cachexia; cancer; chronic pain; chronic nervous system disorders; epilepsy and other disorders characterized by seizures; glaucoma; HIV or AIDS; multiple sclerosis and other disorders characterized by muscle spasticity; and nausea. Other conditions are subject to approval by the Colorado Board of Health. Patients (or their primary caregivers) may legally possess no more than two ounces of usable marijuana, and may cultivate no more than six marijuana plants. The law establishes a confidential state-run patient registry that issues identification cards to qualifying patients. Patients who do not join the registry or possess greater amounts of marijuana than allowed by law may argue the “affirmative defense of medical necessity” if they are arrested on marijuana charges.

The medical use provisions in Colorado do not include reciprocity provisions protecting visitors from other medical use states.

AMENDMENTS: Yes. House Bill 1284, signed into law on June 7, 2010, establishes state provisions regulating medical cannabis dispensaries. The law requires medical marijuana dispensing facilities to obtain state and local licensing approval and to be in compliance with all local zoning codes. Dispensaries must pay a state licensing fee, shall be located no closer than 1,000 feet from a school or daycare (municipalities have the authority to issue exemptions to this rule), and operators must oversee the cultivation at least 70 percent of the marijuana dispensed at the center. Licensed dispensary owners will be required to undergo criminal background checks by the state.

House Bill 1284 imposes a statewide moratorium on the establishment of new dispensaries, beginning in July 2010. HB 1284 also grants local municipalities the authority to prohibit the establishment of dispensaries in their community. Individual caregivers are legally permitted to provide medical cannabis for up to five patients in localities that have formally banned dispensaries.

Full text of the law is available here.

AMENDMENTS: Yes. Senate Bill 109, signed into law on June 7, 2010, limits the authority of physicians to recommend cannabis therapy to patients with which the doctor has had a prior counseling relationship.

Full text of the law is available here.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA STATUTES: C.O. Const. art. XVIII, §14 (2001) (codified as §0-4-287 art. XVIII).

Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-18-406.3 (2001) (interpreting the provisions of the ballot initiative and constitutional amendment).

Colo. Rev. Stat. § 25-1.5-106 (2003) (originally enacted as § 25-1-107(1)(jj) (2001)) (describing the powers and duties of the Colorado Department of Public Health).

CAREGIVERS: Yes. Primary caregiver is a person other than the patient or the patient’s physician. The caregiver must be 18 years of age or older. A patient can only have one primary caregiver at a time. A patient who has designated a primary caregiver for himself or herself may not be designated as a primary caregiver for another patient. A primary caregiver may be listed on the medical marijuana registry for no more than 5 patients. Colo. Rev. Stat. §25-1.5-106 (2), (10) (2001).

CONTACT INFORMATION: Application information for the Colorado medical marijuana registry is available online or by writing:

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
HSVR-ADM2-A1
4300 Cherry Creek Drive South
Denver, CO 80246-1530
Phone: 303-692-2184
http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/hs/medicalmarijuana/fullpacket.pdf

Top Delaware

SUMMARY: Governor Jack Markell signed legislation — Senate Bill 17, The Delaware Medical Marijuana Act — into law on May 13, 2011. State regulators have up to one-year to draft regulations to formally govern the program. The law removes state-level criminal penalties on the use and possession of cannabis obtained from state-licensed facilities for patients with an authorized “debilitating medical condition.” The measure provides for the establishment of at least one non-profit ‘compassion center’ per county that would be licensed by the state to produce and dispense medical cannabis. Recommending physicians must have “bona fide physician-patient relationship” with a person before recommending the use of medical cannabis. Medical conditions that may qualify for cannabis under this act include: cancer, HIV/AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as cachexia, chronic pain (if the condition has not responded to previously prescribed medications), severe nausea, seizures or severe and persistent muscle spasms, including but not limited to those characteristic of multiple sclerosis. Patients may legally possess up to 6 ounces of usable marijuana, if the marijuana is obtained from a state-licensed facility. Home cultivation of marijuana is not allowed under this act. The law establishes a mandatory, confidential state-run patient registry that issues identification cards to qualifying patients. The act also provides medical marijuana patients who are not registered with the state to raise an ‘affirmative defense’ motion to dismiss at trial. This act includes reciprocity provisions protecting visitors from other medical use states.

Top District of Columbia

SUMMARY: D.C. Council Members enacted legislation in May 2010 authorizing the establishment of regulated medical marijuana dispensaries in the District of Columbia. On Monday, July 26, members of Congress allowed the measure to become law without federal interference.

The law amends the Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Treatment Initiative, a 1998 municipal ballot measure which garnered 69 percent of the vote yet was never implemented. Until 2010, D.C. city lawmakers had been barred from instituting the measure because of a Congressional ban on the issue. Congress finally lifted the ban in 2009.

Under the law, D.C. Health Department officials will oversee the creation of as many as eight facilities to dispense medical cannabis to authorized patients. Medical dispensaries would be limited to growing no more than 95 plants on site at any one time.

Both non-profit and for-profit organizations will be eligible to operate the dispensaries.

Qualifying D.C. patients will be able to obtain medical cannabis at these facilities, but will not be permitted under the law to grow their own medicine. Patients diagnosed with the following illnesses are afforded legal protection under this act: HIV or AIDS; glaucoma; conditions characterized by severe and persistent muscle spasms, such as multiple sclerosis; cancer; or any other condition, as determined by rulemaking, that is: “(i) chronic or long-lasting; “(ii) debilitating or interferes with the basic functions of life; and (iii) A serious medical condition for which the use of medical marijuana is beneficial: (I) That cannot be effectively treated by any ordinary medical or surgical measure; “(II) For which there is scientific evidence that the use of medical marijuana is likely to be significantly less addictive than the ordinary medical treatment for that condition. The maximum amount of medical marijuana that any qualifying patient may possess at any moment is 2 ounces of dried medical marijuana, though this limit is subject to revision by the Mayor.

A separate provision enacted as part of the 2011 D.C. budget calls for the retail sales of medical cannabis to be subject to the District’s six percent sales tax rate. Low-income will be allowed to purchase medical marijuana at a greatly reduced cost under the plan.

It will likely be several months before Health officials establish a patient registry and/or begin accepting applications from the public to operate the City’s medical marijuana production and distribution centers.

The medical use provisions in the District of Columbia do not include reciprocity provisions protecting visitors from other medical use states.

CAREGIVERS: Yes. Caregiver is a person designated by a qualifying patient as the person authorized to possess, obtain from a dispensary, dispense, and assist in the administration of medical marijuana. The caregiver must be 18 years of age or older. The caregiver must be registered with the Department as the qualifying patient’s caregiver. A caregiver may only serve one qualifying patient at a time. D.C. Act 13-138 §2 (3) (2010).

CONTACT INFORMATION: DC City Council Committee on Health or DC Department of Health

Top Hawaii

SUMMARY: Governor Ben Cayetano signed Senate Bill 862 into law on June 14, 2000. The law took effect on December 28, 2000. The law removes state-level criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by patients who possess a signed statement from their physician affirming that he or she suffers from a debilitating condition and that the “potential benefits of medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the health risks.” Patients diagnosed with the following illnesses are afforded legal protection under this act: cachexia; cancer; chronic pain; Crohn’s disease; epilepsy and other disorders characterized by seizures; glaucoma; HIV or AIDS; multiple sclerosis and other disorders characterized by muscle spasticity; and nausea. Other conditions are subject to approval by the Hawaii Department of Health. Patients (or their primary caregivers) may legally possess up to 3 ounces of usable marijuana, and may cultivate no more than seven marijuana plants, of which no more than three may be mature. The law establishes a mandatory, confidential state-run patient registry that issues identification cards to qualifying patients.

The medical use provisions in Hawaii do not include reciprocity provisions protecting visitors from other medical use states.

AMENDMENTS: No, although Hawaii has a separate statute allowing patients arrested on marijuana charges to present a “choice of evils” defense arguing that their use of marijuana is medically necessary.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA STATUTES: Haw. Rev. Stat. §§ 329-121 to 329-128 (2008).

CAREGIVERS: Yes. Primary caregiver is a person who has the responsibility for managing the well-being of the qualifying patient with respect to the medical use of marijuana. Primary caregiver is a person other than the qualifying patient, or the patient’s physician. The caregiver must be 18 years of age or older. Qualifying patients shall have only one primary caregiver an any given time. Primary caregiver shall be responsible for the care of only one qualifying patient at any given time. Haw. Rev. Stat. §§329-121; 329-123 (b),(c) (2008).

CONTACT INFORMATION: Administrative rules for Hawaii’s medical marijuana program are available online from the Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii website at: http://www.dpfhi.org/

Application information for the Hawaii medical marijuana registry is available by writing or calling:

Hawaii Department of Public Safety
919 Ala Moana Boulevard
Honolulu, HI 96814
(808) 594-0150

Top Maine

SUMMARY: Sixty-one percent of voters approved Question 2 on November 2, 1999. The law took effect on December 22, 1999. It removes state-level criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by patients who possess an oral or written “professional opinion” from their physician that he or she “might benefit from the medical use of marijuana.” Patients diagnosed with the following illnesses are afforded legal protection under this act: epilepsy and other disorders characterized by seizures; glaucoma; multiple sclerosis and other disorders characterized by muscle spasticity; and nausea or vomiting as a result of AIDS or cancer chemotherapy. Patients (or their primary caregivers) may legally possess no more than one and one-quarter ounces of usable marijuana, and may cultivate no more than six marijuana plants, of which no more than three may be mature. Those patients who possess greater amounts of marijuana than allowed by law are afforded a “simple defense” to a charge of marijuana possession. The law does not establish a state-run patient registry.

RECIPROCITY: Yes. Authorizes visiting qualifying patient with valid registry identification card (or its equivalent), to engage in conduct authorized for the registered patient (the medical use of marijuana) for 30 days after entering the State, without having to obtain a Maine registry identification card. Visiting qualifying patients are not authorized to obtain in Maine marijuana for medical use. Me. Rev. Stat. Tit. 22, §2423-D (2010).

AMENDMENTS: Yes. Senate Bill 611, which was signed into law on April 2, 2002, increases the amount of useable marijuana a person may possess from one and one-quarter ounces to two and one-half ounces. Question 5, approved by 59 percent of voters on November 3, 2009, mandates the Department of Health to enact rules within 120 days establishing a confidential patient registry and identification card system, and allowing for the dispensing of medicinal cannabis via state-licensed nonprofit dispensaries. The act also expands the list of qualifying illnesses for which a physician may recommend medical cannabis to include: “A. cancer, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, agitation of Alzheimer’s disease, nail-patella syndrome or the treatment of these conditions; B. a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces intractable pain, which is pain that has not responded to ordinary medical or surgical measures for more than 6 months; C. a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces one or more of the following: cachexia or wasting syndrome; severe nausea; seizures, including but not limited to those characteristic of epilepsy; or severe and persistent muscle spasms, including but not limited to those characteristic of multiple sclerosis; or D. any other medical condition or its treatment approved by the department as provided.” Read the full text.

ADDITIONAL AMENDMENTS: Yes.

LD. 1811, signed into law on April 9, 2010, authorizes the creation of up to eight nonprofit medical cannabis dispensaries – one for each of the state’s public health districts. Under the measure, dispensaries may legally “acquire, possess, cultivate, manufacture, deliver, transfer, transport, sell, supply or dispenses marijuana or related supplies and educational materials” to state-authorized medical marijuana patients. The Maine Department of Health and Human Services will oversee the licensing of these facilities.

The law also requires, for the first time, that authorized patients join a confidentially state registry. Cardholding patients will not be subject to “arrest, prosecution or penalty in any manner, including but not limited to a civil penalty or disciplinary action by any business or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau, or denied any right or privilege,” for their possession, use, or cultivation of authorized amounts of medical cannabis (2 and one-half ounces and/or six plants).

Full text of the law is available here.

ADDITIONAL AMENDMENTS: Yes.

LD 1296, signed into law on July 24, 2011, eliminates the 2010 legislative mandate requiring medical marijuana patients to be registered with the state in order to receive legal protection under state law. It also eliminates language requiring physician’s to disclose a patient’s specific medical condition with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. In addition, LD 1296 limits the ability of law enforcement to seize cannabis from lawful patients, and mandates for the return of any seized property within seven days.

The new law takes effect in approximately 90 days.

Full text of the measure is available here.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA STATUTES: Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 22, § 2383-B(5), (6) (1999) (amended 2001).

Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 22, § 2383-B(3)(e) (amended 2001) (increasing amount of marijuana a patient may posses to two and one-half ounces).

CAREGIVERS: Yes. Primary caregiver is a person providing care for the registered patient. The caregiver must be 21 years of age or older. The caregiver can never have been convicted of a disqualifying drug offense. Patients can name one or two primary caregivers. (only one person may be allowed to cultivate marijuana for a registered patient) Me. Rev. Stat. Tit. 22, §§2422; 2425 (2010).

STATE REGULATIONS: Statement of Maine’s Medicinal Marijuana Law [PDF]

CONTACT INFORMATION: Brochures outlining Maine’s medical marijuana law are available from:

www.mainecommonsense.org

Maine Citizens for Patients Rights
PO Box 1074
Lewiston, ME 04243

Top Maryland

SUMMARY: Maryland’s legislature passed a medical marijuana affirmative defense law in 2003. This law requires the court to consider a defendant’s use of medical marijuana to be a mitigating factor in marijuana-related state prosecution. If the patient, post-arrest, successfully makes the case at trial that his or her use of marijuana is one of medical necessity, then the maximum penalty allowed by law would be a $100 fine.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA STATUTES: Maryland Darrell Putman Compassionate Use Act, Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law §5-601(c)(3)(II) (2003).

AMENDMENTS: Yes.

Senate Bill 308, signed into law on May 10, 2011, removes fines and criminal penalties for citizens who successfully raise an ‘affirmative defense’ in court establishing that they possessed limited amounts (one ounce or less) of marijuana for medical purposes. Citizens who cultivate cannabis or who possess larger amounts of marijuana may still raise an affirmative defense at trial and, if successful, will have their sentence mitigated.

Top Michigan

SUMMARY: Sixty-three percent of voters approved Proposal 1 on November 4, 2008. The law took effect on December 4, 2008. It removes state-level criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by patients who possess written documentation from their physicians authorizing the medical use of marijuana. Patients diagnosed with the following illnesses are afforded legal protection under this act: Cancer, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, agitation of Alzheimer’s disease, nail patella, or the treatment of these conditions. Patients are also offered legal protection if they have a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or treatment of said condition that produces 1 or more of the following: cachexia or wasting syndrome; severe and chronic pain; severe nausea; seizures, including but not limited to those characteristic of epilepsy; or severe and persistent muscle spasms, including but not limited to those characteristic of multiple sclerosis. Patients (or their primary caregivers) may possess no more than 12 marijuana plants kept in an enclosed, locked facility or 2.5 ounces of usable marihuana. The law establishes a confidential state-run patient registry that issues identification cards to qualifying patients. The state officially began accepting applications for the program on April 6, 2009.

RECIPROCITY: Yes. Authorizes visiting qualifying patient with registry identification card (or its equivalent) from a State that also allows the medical use of marijuana by visiting qualifying patients, to engage in the medical use of marijuana. Also authorizes a person to assist with a visiting qualifying patient’s medical use of marijuana. Mich. Comp. Law § 333.26424(j) (2008).

(other state, district, territory, commonwealth, or insular possession of the U.S. must offer reciprocity to have reciprocity in Michigan)

AMMENDMENTS: Yes

Administrative rules for the program took effect on April 4, 2009. A copy of the regulations is available here.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA STATUTES: Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, Mich. Comp. Law §§ 333.26421 – 333.26430 (2008).

CAREGIVERS: Yes. Primary caregiver is a person who has agreed to assist with a patient’s medical use of marihuana. The caregiver must be 21 years of age or older. The caregiver can never have been convicted of a felony involving illegal drugs. Each patient can only have one primary caregiver. The primary caregiver may assist no more than 5 qualifying patients with their medical use of marihuana. Mich. Comp. Law §§ 333.26423; 333.26426(d) (2008).

CONTACT INFORMATION:

Michigan Medical Marihuana Program (MMMP)
Michigan.gov/mmp

Michigan Medical Marijuana Association
http://michiganmedicalmarijuana.org/

Top Montana

SUMMARY: Sixty-two percent of voters approved Initiative 148 on November 2, 2004. The law took effect that same day. It removes state-level criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by patients who possess written documentation from their physicians authorizing the medical use of marijuana. Patients diagnosed with the following illnesses are afforded legal protection under this act: cachexia or wasting syndrome; severe or chronic pain; severe nausea; seizures, including but not limited to seizures caused by epilepsy; or severe or persistent muscle spasms, including but not limited to spasms caused by multiple sclerosis or Crohn’s disease. Patients (or their primary caregivers) may possess no more than six marijuana plants. The law establishes a confidential state-run patient registry that issues identification cards to qualifying patients.

Valid medical marijuana registry cards from other medical marijuana states are recognized in this state, so long as the cardholder is in compliance with the possession limits imposed on cardholders in this state.

RECIPROCITY: Yes. Authorizes qualifying patient with registry identification card (or its equivalent) to engage in the medical use of marijuana. Also authorizes a person to assist with a qualifying patient’s medical use of marijuana. Mont. Code Ann. §50-46-201(8) (2009).

AMENDMENTS: Yes

Senate Bill 423, which became law on May 14, 2011, amends the state’s medical marijuana law. The act is due to go into effect on July 1, 2011. Among the changes mandated by this act:

  • Chronic pain patients will face more stringent requirements to qualify under the law, and in some cases may require a recommendation from two separate physicians;
  • Patients found guilty of marijuana DUI will have their medical marijuana privileges revoked;
  • Advising physicians will be reported to the Board of Medical Examiners if they recommend for more than 25 patients per year; Physician will be responsible for the costs of this investigation;
  • Caregivers may accept no monetary compensation for providing cannabis to qualified patients.

A comprehensive summary of the primary provisions of SB 423 may be found here. Full text of the measure is online here.

Several provisions of SB 423 are presently being litigated in court.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA STATUTES: Montana Medical Marijuana Act, Mont. Code Ann. §§ 50-46-1 to 50-46-2 (2007).

CONTACT INFORMATION: www.dphhs.mt.gov/medicalmarijuana/

Top Nevada

SUMMARY: Sixty-five percent of voters approved Question 9 on November 7, 2000, which amends the states’ constitution to recognize the medical use of marijuana. The law took effect on October 1, 2001. The law removes state-level criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by patients who have “written documentation” from their physician that marijuana may alleviate his or her condition. Patients diagnosed with the following illnesses are afforded legal protection under this act: AIDS; cancer; glaucoma; and any medical condition or treatment to a medical condition that produces cachexia, persistent muscle spasms or seizures, severe nausea or pain. Other conditions are subject to approval by the health division of the state Department of Human Resources. Patients (or their primary caregivers) may legally possess no more than one ounce of usable marijuana, and may cultivate no more than seven marijuana plants, of which no more than three may be mature. The law establishes a confidential state-run patient registry that issues identification cards to qualifying patients. Patients who do not join the registry or possess greater amounts of marijuana than allowed by law may argue the “affirmative defense of medical necessity” if they are arrested on marijuana charges.

The medical use provisions in Nevada do not include reciprocity provisions protecting visitors from other medical use states.

AMENDMENTS: No.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA STATUTES: Nev. Rev. Stat. §§ 453A.010 – 453A.240 (2008).

CAREGIVERS: Yes. Designated primary caregiver is a person who has significant responsibility for managing the well-being of a person diagnosed with a chronic or debilitating medical condition. Caregiver does not include the attending physician. The caregiver must be 18 years of age or older. Patients may only have one designated primary caregiver. Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§435A.080(1)(a), (2); 435A.250(2) (2008).

CONTACT INFORMATION: Application information for the Nevada medical marijuana registry is available by writing or calling:

Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, Nevada State Health Division
4150 Technology Way, Suite 104
Carson City, Nevada 89706
Phone: 775-687-7594
Fax: 775-684-4156
health.nv.gov/MedicalMarijuana.htm

Top New Jersey

SUMMARY: Governor Jon Corzine signed the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act into law on January 18, 2010. As initially passed, the law was scheduled to take effect in July 2010. However, lawmakers in June amended the legislation at the behest of Republican Gov. Chris Christie to delay the enactment of the law until October 1, 2010. The law mandates the state to promulgate rules governing the distribution of medical cannabis to state-authorized patients. These rules shall address the creation of up to six state-licensed “alternative treatment centers.” Patients diagnosed with the following illnesses are afforded legal protection under this act: cancer, glaucoma, seizure and/or spasticity disorders (including epilepsy), Lou Gehrig’s disease, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, HIV/AIDS, inflammatory bowel disease (including Crohn’s disease), any terminal illness if a doctor has determined the patient will die within a year. Other conditions are subject to approval by the state Department of Health. Patients authorized to use marijuana under this act will not be permitted to cultivate their own cannabis, and are limited to the possession of two ounces of marijuana per month. Additional information on this measure is available here.

The medical use provisions in New Jersey do not include reciprocity provisions protecting visitors from other medical use states.

CAREGIVERS: Yes. Primary Caregiver is a person who has agreed to assist with a registered qualifying patient’s medical use of marijuana. Primary caregiver cannot be the patient’s physician. Primary caregiver must be a resident of New Jersey. The primary caregiver can never have been convicted of a felony drug offense. The caregiver must be 18 years of age or older. The caregiver may only have one qualifying patient at any one time. N.J. Stat. Ann. §24:6I-3 (2010).

  • (Registration process for caregivers has not yet been determined.)

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

New Jersey NORML
http://www.normlnj.org

Coalition for Medical Marijuana — New Jersey
http://www.cmmnj.org/

Top New Mexico

SUMMARY: Governor Bill Richardson signed Senate Bill 523, “Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act,” into law on April 2, 2007. The new law took effect on July 1, 2007. The law mandates the state Department of Health by October 1, 2007, to promulgate rules governing the use and distribution of medical cannabis to state-authorized patients. These rules shall address the creation of state-licensed “cannabis production facilities,” the development of a confidential patient registry and a state-authorized marijuana distribution system, and “define the amount of cannabis that is necessary to constitute an adequate supply” for qualified patients.

The medical use provisions in New Mexico do not include reciprocity provisions protecting visitors from other medical use states.

AMENDMENTS: Yes. In January 2009, the New Mexico Department of Health finalized rules governing the production, distribution, and use of medicinal cannabis under state law. Patients registered with the state Department of Health and who are diagnosed with the following illnesses are afforded legal protection under these rules:

  • Arthritis
  • Severe chronic pain
  • Painful peripheral neuropathy
  • Intractable nausea/vomiting
  • Severe anorexia/cachexia
  • Hepatitis C infection currently receiving antiviral treatment
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease)
  • Cancer
  • Glaucoma
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with intractable spasticity
  • Epilepsy
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Hospice patients

Other conditions are subject to approval by the Department of Health. Patients may legally possess six ounces of medical cannabis (or more if authorized by their physician) and/or 16 plants (four mature, 12 immature) under this act.

State regulations also authorize non-profit facilities to apply with the state to produce and dispense medical cannabis. State licensed producers may grow up to 95 mature plants at one time. (UPDATE! The New Mexico Department of Health finalized revised regulations in December 2010 increasing the number of plants that may be produced at one time from 95 to 150. The updated regulations also allow licensed producers to obtain plants, seeds, and/or usable cannabis from other non-profit producers. The licensing fee for producers is: $5,000 for producers licensed less than one year, $10,000 for more than one year, $20,000 for more than two years and $30,000 for more than three years. For further information, please see: http://nmhealth.org/idb/medical_cannabis.shtml)

MEDICAL MARIJUANA STATUTES: Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act, N.M. Stat. Ann. § 30-31C-1 (2007).

CAREGIVERS: Yes. Primary caregiver is designated by patient’s practitioner as necessary to take responsibility for managing the well-being of a qualified patient with respect to the medical use of cannabis. Primary caregiver must be a resident of New Mexico. The caregiver must be 18 years of age or older. N.M. Stat. Ann. §26-2B-3(F) (2007).

CONTACT INFORMATION: Please contact the Medical Cannabis Program Coordinator at (505) 827-2321 or medical.cannabis@state.nm.us or visit www.nmhealth.org/marijuanahtml for more information.

Top Oregon

SUMMARY: Fifty-five percent of voters approved Measure 67 on November 3, 1998. The law took effect on December 3, 1998. It removes state-level criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by patients who possess a signed recommendation from their physician stating that marijuana “may mitigate” his or her debilitating symptoms. Patients diagnosed with the following illnesses are afforded legal protection under this act: cachexia; cancer; chronic pain; epilepsy and other disorders characterized by seizures; glaucoma; HIV or AIDS; multiple sclerosis and other disorders characterized by muscle spasticity; and nausea. Other conditions are subject to approval by the Health Division of the Oregon Department of Human Resources. Patients (or their primary caregivers) may legally possess no more than three ounces of usable marijuana, and may cultivate no more than seven marijuana plants, of which no more than three may be mature. The law establishes a confidential state-run patient registry that issues identification cards to qualifying patients. Patients who do not join the registry or possess greater amounts of marijuana than allowed by law may argue the “affirmative defense of medical necessity” if they are arrested on marijuana charges.

The Oregon law does not include a reciprocity provision. However, the Oregon Court of Appeals has ruled (and the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program has confirmed) that patients from out of state are permitted to register with the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program to obtain a registry identification card, the same as an Oregon resident, which will protect them from arrest or prosecution while in Oregon. These out of state patients are required to obtain a recommendation for the medical use of marijuana from an Oregon licensed physician. State v. Berringer, 229 P3d 615 (2010).

AMENDMENTS: Yes.

House Bill 3052, which took effect on July 21, 1999, mandates that patients (or their caregivers) may only cultivate marijuana in one location, and requires that patients must be diagnosed by their physicians at least 12 months prior to an arrest in order to present an “affirmative defense.” This bill also states that law enforcement officials who seize marijuana from a patient pending trial do not have to keep those plants alive. Last year the Oregon Board of Health approved agitation due to Alzheimer’s disease to the list of debilitating conditions qualifying for legal protection.

In August 2001, program administrators filed established temporary procedures further defining the relationship between physicians and patients. The new rule defines attending physician as “a physician who has established a physician/patient relationship with the patient; … is primarily responsible for the care and treatment of the patients; … has reviewed a patient’s medical records at the patient’s request, has conducted a thorough physical examination of the patient, has provided a treatment plan and/or follow-up care, and has documented these activities in a patient file.”

Also, Senate Bill 1085, which took effect on January 1, 2006, raises the quantity of cannabis that authorized patients may possess from seven plants (with no more than three mature) and three ounces of cannabis to six mature cannabis plants, 18 immature seedlings, and 24 ounces of usable cannabis. However, those state-qualified patients who possess cannabis in amounts exceeding the new state guidelines will no longer retain the ability to argue an “affirmative defense” of medical necessity at trial. Patients who fail to register with the state, but who possess medical cannabis in amounts compliant with state law, still retain the ability to raise an “affirmative defense” at trial.

Other amendments to Oregon’s medical marijuana law redefine “mature plants” to include only those cannabis plants that are more than 12 inches in height and diameter, and establish a state-registry for those authorized to produce medical cannabis to qualified patients.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA STATUTES:Oregon Medical Marijuana Act, Or. Rev. Stat. § 475.300 (2007).

CAREGIVERS: Yes. Designated primary caregiver is the person that has significant responsibility for managing the well-being of a person who has been diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition. Primary caregiver does not include the patient’s physician. The caregiver must be 18 years of age or older. A patient may only have one primary caregiver. Or. Rev. Stat. §§ 475.302(5); 475.312(2) (2007).

CONTACT INFORMATION: Application information for the Oregon medical marijuana registry is available online or by writing:

Oregon Department of Human Services
800 NE Oregon St.
Portland, OR 97232
(503) 731-4000
http://egov.oregon.gov/DHS/ph/ommp/index.shtml

Oregon Cannabis Patients registry: 1 (877) 600-6767

Oregon NORML Medical Marijuana Act Handbook (PDF)

Top Rhode Island

SUMMARY: The Edward O. Hawkins and Thomas C. Slater Medical Marijuana Act took effect immediately upon passage on January 3, 2006. The law removes state-level criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by patients who possess “written certification” from their physician stating, “In the practitioner’s professional opinion, the potential benefits of the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the health risks for the qualifying patient.” Patients diagnosed with the following illnesses are afforded legal protection under this act: cachexia; cancer; glaucoma; Hepatitis C; severe, debilitating, chronic pain; severe nausea; seizures, including but not limited to, those characteristic of epilepsy; or severe and persistent muscle spasms, including but not limited to, those characteristic of multiple sclerosis or Crohn’s Disease; or agitation of Alzheimer’s Disease. Other conditions are subject to approval by the Rhode Island Department of Health. Patients (and/or their primary caregivers) may legally possess 2.5 ounces of cannabis and/or 12 plants, and their cannabis must be stored in an indoor facility. The law establishes a mandatory, confidential state-run patient registry that issues identification cards to qualifying patients. Patients who do not register with the Department of Health, but have received certification from their physician to use medicinal cannabis, may raise an affirmative defense at trial.

RECIPROCITY: Yes. Authorizes a patient with a debilitating medical condition, with a registry identification card (or its equivalent), to engage in the medical use of marijuana. Also authorizes a person to assist with the medical use of marijuana by a patient with a debilitating medical condition. R.I. Gen. Laws § 21-28.6-4(k) (2006).

AMENDMENTS: Yes.

In June 2007, the Rhode Island House and Senate enacted legislation eliminating the sunset clause of the The Edward O. Hawkins and Thomas C. Slater Medical Marijuana Act, making the provisional program permanent

ADDITIONAL AMENDMENTS: Yes.

In 2009, lawmakers enacted legislation authorizing the establishment of state-licensed not-for-profit ‘compassion centers’ to “acquire, possess, cultivate, manufacture, deliver, transfer, transport, supply or dispense marijuana, or related supplies and educational materials, to registered qualifying patients and their registered primary caregivers.” The Rhode Island Department of Health will oversee the licensing and regulating of these facilities. Copies of the regulations are available for public inspection in the Cannon Building, Room #201, Rhode Island Department of Health, 3 Capitol Hill, Providence, Rhode Island, on the Department’s website: http://www.health.ri.gov/ or the Secretary of State’s website: http://www.sos.ri.gov/rules/, by calling 401-222-7767 or by e-mail to Bill.Dundulis@health.ri.gov.

ADDITIONAL AMENDMENTS: Yes.

In 2010, lawmakers enacted legislation, House Bill 8172, ensuring the confidentiality of medical marijuana patients’ records. The law states, in part, “Applications and supporting information submitted by qualifying patients, including information regarding their primary caregivers and practitioners, are confidential and protected under the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, and shall be exempt from the provisions of the RIGL chapter 38-2 et seq. the Rhode Island access to public records act and not subject to disclosure, except to authorized employees of the department as necessary to perform official duties of the department.”

MEDICAL MARIJUANA STATUTES: The Edward O. Hawkins and Thomas C. Slater Medical Marijuana Act, R.I. Gen. Laws § 21-28.6 (2006).

CAREGIVERS: Yes. The caregiver must be 21 years of age or older. Primary caregiver may assist no more than 5 qualifying patients with their medical use of marijuana. R.I. Gen. Laws 1956, §21-28.6-3 (9) (2006).

CONTACT INFORMATION: http://www.health.state.ri.us/
Application Forms are available at www.health.ri.gov/hsr/mmp/index.php or by visiting room 104 at the Health Department, 3 Capitol Hill, Providence.

More helpful information can be found here: http://ripatients.org/.

Top Vermont

SUMMARY: Senate Bill 76 became law without Gov. James Douglas’ signature on May 26, 2004. The law takes effect on July 1, 2004. The law removes state-level criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by patients diagnosed with a “debilitating medical condition.” Patients diagnosed with the following illnesses are afforded legal protection under this act: HIV or AIDS, cancer, and Multiple Sclerosis. Patients (or their primary caregiver) may legally possess no more than two ounces of usable marijuana, and may cultivate no more than three marijuana plants, of which no more than one may be mature. The law establishes a mandatory, confidential state-run registry that issues identification cards to qualifying patients.

The medical use provisions in Vermont do not include reciprocity provisions protecting visitors from other medical use states.

AMENDMENTS: Yes.

Senate Bill 7, which took effect on July 1, 2007, expands the definition of “debilitating medical condition” to include: “(A) cancer, multiple sclerosis, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or the treatment of these conditions, if the disease or the treatment results in severe, persistent, and intractable symptoms; or (B) a disease, medical condition, or its treatment that is chronic, debilitating, and produces severe, persistent, and one or more of the following intractable symptoms: cachexia or wasting syndrome; severe pain; severe nausea; or seizures.”

The measure also raises the quantity of medical cannabis patients may legally possess under state law from one mature and/or two immature plants to two mature and/or seven immature plants. Senate Bill 7 also amends state law so that licensed physicians in neighboring states can legally recommend cannabis to Vermont patients.

ADDITIONAL AMENDMENTS: Yes.

Senate Bill 17, which was signed into law on June 2, 2011, allows up to four state-licensed facilities to dispense marijuana to medically authorized patients. Each dispensary will be licensed by the state Department of Public Safety and will be permitted to serve up to 1,000 registered patients. The Department is in the process of developing rules to carry out the new law. The Department is anticipated to begin issuing licenses within six or seven months and must begin doing so within one year.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA STATUTES: Therapeutic Use of Cannabis, Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 18, §§ 4471- 4474d (2003).

CAREGIVERS: Yes. Registered caregiver is a person who has agreed to undertake responsibility for managing the well-being of a registered patient with respect to the use of marijuana for symptom relief. The registered caregiver can never have been convicted of a drug-related crime. The caregiver must be 21 years of age or older. Patients may only have one registered caregiver at a time. Registered caregiver may serve only one registered patient at a time. Vt. Stat. Ann. Tit. 18, §4472(6); 4474(1),(2)(c) (2003).

CONTACT INFORMATION:

Marijuana Registry
Department of Public Safety
03 South Main Street
Waterbury, Vermont 05671
802-241-5115
www.safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=2012

Top Washington

SUMMARY: Fifty-nine percent of voters approved Measure 692 on November 3, 1998. The law took effect on that day. It removes state-level criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by patients who possess “valid documentation” from their physician affirming that he or she suffers from a debilitating condition and that the “potential benefits of the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the health risks.” Patients diagnosed with the following illnesses are afforded legal protection under this act: cachexia; cancer; HIV or AIDS; epilepsy; glaucoma; intractable pain (defined as pain unrelieved by standard treatment or medications); and multiple sclerosis. Other conditions are subject to approval by the Washington Board of Health. Patients (or their primary caregivers) may legally possess or cultivate no more than a 60-day supply of marijuana. The law does not establish a state-run patient registry.

The medical use provisions in Washington do not include reciprocity provisions protecting visitors from other medical use states.

AMENDMENTS: Yes.

Senate Bill 6032, mandated the Department of Health to “adopt rules defining the quantity of marijuana that could reasonably be presumed to be a sixty-day supply for qualifying patients.” In October 2008, the department finalized guidelines allowing patients to cultivate up to 15 cannabis plants and/or possess up to 24 ounces of usable marijuana. The new limits took effect on November 2, 2008.

Patients who possess larger quantities of cannabis than those approved by the Department will continue to receive legal protection under the law if they present evidence indicating that they require such amounts to adequately treat their qualifying medical condition.

Senate Bill 6032 also affirmed changes previously recommended by the state’s Medical Quality Assurance Commission to expand the state’s list of qualifying conditions to include Crohn’s disease, hepatitis c, and any “diseases, including anorexia, which results in nausea, vomiting, wasting, appetite loss, cramping, seizures, muscle spasms, and/or spasticity, when these symptoms are unrelieved by standard treatments or medications.”

It also limits the ability of police to seize medicinal cannabis that is “determined … [to be] possessed lawfully [by an authorized patients] under the … law.”

ADDITIONAL AMMENDMENTS: Yes.

Senate Bill 5798 allows additional health care professionals including naturopaths, physician’s assistants, osteopathic physicians, osteopathic physicians assistants, and advanced registered nurse practitioners to legally recommend marijuana therapy to their patients. The new law will take effect on June 10, 2010.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA STATUTES: Wash. Rev. Code §§ 69.51A – 69.51A.901 (2007).

CAREGIVERS: Yes. Designated provider is a person who has been designated in writing by a patient to serve as a designated provider. The caregiver must be 18 years of age or older. The designated provider is prohibited from consuming marijuana obtained for the personal, medical use of the patient for whom the individual is acting as designated provider. The designated provider may be the primary caregiver for only one patient at any one time. Wash. Rev. Code §§69.51A.010, 69.51A.040 (2007).

CONTACT INFORMATION: Fact sheets outlining Washington’s medical marijuana law are available from:

Washington State Department of Health
101 Israel Road SE
Tumwater, WA 98501
(800) 525-0127
Attention: Glenda Moore
http://www.doh.wa.gov/

ACLU of Washington, Drug Reform Project
(206) 624-2184
http://www.aclu-wa.org/detail.cfm?id=182