Cannabis Prohibition: Is It Really Keeping Our Children Safe?

Many a bored teen will hang out with friends and be faced with choosing to use drugs or not.  Many government officials as well as parents tout the War on Drugs as a savior to our children.  They say that it keeps the drugs out of the hands of minors, off the streets and out of schools.  With the economy shining a spotlight onto finances one can quickly see how big of a budget the War on Drugs consumes.  With taking all the different facets of this war into account some wonder if its really working.

The War on Drugs has been waging for over 40 years.  It has cost the tax-payers over $14 trillion, billions annually.  There have been surges and wanes over the 40 years in intensity in the pursuit to eradicate drug use.  Over the years we have witnessed many tragedies and successes.  We have seen harmful drug use drop among the population but especially minors.  We have also seen over the last 18 months an intensity like never before in the use of intimidation tactics, SWAT style raids against state legal patients, abuse, or lethal force when pursuing cannabis users.

With more education and information available to teens today many are able to see through the hypocrisy and lies.  Teens can see you are lying especially when they try cannabis, realize that it is not going to kill them and that they actually like the effects.  With alcohol, who’s effects are similar to cannabis but with much more harm at stake, not only available for sale but advertised everywhere including major sports events it is hard to see the difference.  When they see you are lying about cannabis they question other “truths” you have been telling them.

Simple cannabis possession or other non-violent cannabis related offenses can claim your driver’s license, student loans, subsidized housing, or federal grants.  It can jail a parent or guardian even if they are state and county legal.  With a parent jailed it costs tax-payers more to incarcerate and breaks up a family where the children are thrown into the broken foster care system.  All of us should be asking if this is really what is best for our children.

Children that go into the system cost tax-payers millions each year.  It costs the child emotionally and psychologically.   Children that grow up in the system are bounced around to different homes causing them to act out, perform poorly in school, drop out, get into legal trouble and end up repeating their parents mistakes.  Should we really treat cannabis related offenses this harshly?  Are these tactics really working?

Cannabis use was slightly higher this year but more harmful drugs, including alcohol, were reportedly down according to a recent study among teens use.  Those that take a quick look around or have a conversation with a teen will learn how easily drugs are accessible.  Each year D.E.A. officials boast of their catches but in reality they have barely scratched the surface.  Even with officials raiding and confiscating thousands of plants, California’s number one cash crop was still cannabis.  The plain truth is that it is a plant that can be grown in anyone’s home.  It can be kept from anyone’s knowledge provided the grower is smart.  It can be accessed through many avenues including access through children.

Drug cartels have taken notice of America’s love of drugs and has very outstretched networks that effect our children.  The violence and corruption that comes along with the cartels are infiltrating our schools.  The cartels lure children with money or threats using them as drug runners, smugglers or sellers.  They know that if children are caught the punishment is less.  The also know that it takes less money to impress children.  In this way they have been able to utilize children to sell to others including their peers thus spurring not only more drug use but recruiting even more children.

California has a heavily burdened prison and welfare system.  They have a large amount of incarcerated inmates for cannabis related crimes.  Our nation has been fighting this war for far too long.  Even our children see the truth about cannabis.  Isn’t it time we started talking about this subject from a new perspective?  Our law enforcement agencies have received cuts across the states including here in California.  Our streets are not safer.  Drug use has not been eradicated even after over 40 years.  Families are broken, children are effected, states are bankrupt and in the end drugs are still easily accessible at any school.  Isn’t it time we end the War on Drugs and start with a new approach?

It Is Time To Start Looking At Cannabis Differently

We all get involved with the community for different reasons.  We watch a loved one suffer through horrific pain, see injustice done to another, are a victim of the system or just realize that the harm and cost done to our nation is not worth it.  Whether it is from personal strife or in memory of a loved one we all feel the passion.  It is sometimes unfortunate that it takes a tragic event for people to become aware and get involved.  Our hope is that we can prevent tragedies while still making people aware of all the damage done by the War on Drugs.

Some activists like Jack Herer died before he was able to see the results of his work.  Although they live on in the community isn’t it sad that even with today’s vast knowledge of the medical value possessed by cannabis compounds some patients are still treated like criminals?  Some patients die with the label of a criminal even though their only crime was using a plant when they were at their weakest.

This past week in Oakland, CA we witnessed the federal government yet again demonstrate its over-reaching intimidation tactics against a well known cannabis activist  Richard Lee.  Mr Lee bankrolled Prop 19, owned Blue Sky dispensary as well as industry trade school Oaksterdam University.  Federal agents raided those locations as well as Mr. Lee’s personal residence on Monday.

Backlash and outrage from the city as well as the community were immediate.  Protesters, blogs, news outlets as well as city officials spoke out against the U.S. Attorney General Melinda Haag’s office and other federal agents condemning their actions.  One message seemed to be that although federal law may consider cannabis illegal it’s legal for medical use in California, so stay out of state and city business.  Supervisor David Campos showed support saying “San Francisco stands firm against the federal government on the issue of medical cannabis”.  Fellow Supervisor Christina Olague called the federal threats to dispensary landlords to either evict the dispensaries or face legal action “absurd” and criticized the “ignorance coming out of Washington right now.”

The cannabis community in California and across the nation are once more betrayed by the current administration.  Yet again federal agents are attacking Californians, who for the past 15 years, have approved of cannabis for medical use.  In 2011 we saw several large scale raids carried out against our own citizens.  They have nothing left but to go after citizens for obscure tax laws and threaten any land owner with forfeiture of property if they lease to a legally operated dispensary.  These kinds of stories surely can’t be the United States of America who’s very objective is to protect its citizens from such types of theft?

If a dispensary or other cannabis industry related business is in complete compliance with state, county and city regulations and is actually a benefit to the community why would the federal government feel the need to stomp all over our home bringing terror into the community?  Why do they feel the need to aggressively barge in with their intimidation tactics and leave destruction in their path?  Why must patients who are otherwise law abiding citizens be treated in the same manner as terrorists or drug cartel members?  If Californians, the people who actually have to live with any repercussions of legalizing cannabis approve why then can’t the federal agents respect that and at the very least give some dignity back to the patients when dealing with them?

After presidential promises and memo reassurances proved to be completely empty many feel lied to and betrayed and rightfully so.  People further are disrespected when the President and his administration continue to address the issue in a laughing manner as if it is a bunch of frat boys asking the question.  They seem to forget the single mother cancer patient who must choose between keeping custody of her children and relieving pain and other side effects.  They forget the families who have lost loved ones to police incompetence in their endless fight in the War on Drugs.  Or the millions of people who have been directly effected and the whole nation who ends up paying for it.

Trillions of dollars have been wasted.  Schools are in disrepair, cities are going bankrupt, crime is going up and yet our priorities are going after patients.  It is time to demand an end to this costly war!  50,000 Mexicans have died, some violently, all in the name of the War on Drugs.  Top South American leaders see it is time for a different approach  and have already started looking for alternatives.  Meanwhile our leaders continue their archaic thinking taking a hardened stance against legalization or decriminalization.

With the economy on life support, people in desperate need of jobs and the government spending an obscene amount of tax-payer money on prohibition it is time to start looking at cannabis differently.  Cannabis is one of America’s biggest cash crop and California’s largest cash crop.  It can be regulated and taxed in the same manner as alcohol which would also address the restrictions for minors.  By responsibly regulating cannabis, communities across the nation can benefit.

After the events that took place this week it is obvious that the time is now to speak up.  We should not tolerate these attacks on citizens, on patients, on our loved ones.  We should not wait for a tragic event to strike us we should get involved now and stop these aggressive tactics from our own government.  Write, email or call your representative and urge them to demand a stop to these attacks.  Call the White house and let your voice be heard.    How far are we willing to let them intrude into our communities?

How Technology and Medicine Are Coming Together To Legitimize Cannabis Use

In the last decade alone we have seen many advancements in technology as well as medicine.  We have seen the cell phone and subsequently smart phones and tablets held in the hands of the masses.  We have seen the access to information through use of the internet become available to the majority of the world even to far reaching places.  We have witnessed the advances in technology spill over to other industries such as medicine enabling breakthroughs.

Today with the help of technology the science, medical, technology and cannabis community are coming together.  We see doctors and scientists sharing information and ideas working collectively to cure and develop better therapies.  We see more informed patients who are working with doctors that have more access to their medical treatments (with electronic files implemented) helping to avoid the hundreds of millions of Americans that are sent to the hospital from drug reactions.

We have seen the technology that doctors use advance quickly enabling for a more pinpointed understanding of the ailment or even a patient’s specific body.  We have technology today that allows for the DNA sequencing of a cancer tumor, human and, thanks to Kevin McKernan and his team; cannabis Sativa and Indica.

In the Czech Republic they have been making advancements in the use of cannabis for medical use.  At the Konopi Je Lek (Cannabis Is Medicine) Clinic they have been working on exact strain-dependent therapeutic dosages of THC, CBD and CBN.  With the mapping of the cannabis plant along with the ability to map a human we can potentially have a quick way to match the right Cannabinoids for their particular ailment which is very exciting news.

There are millions of Americans that use cannabis in conjunction with their medication or instead of.  Many who know that cannabis works for them may not actually know why.  With the advancements in technology and medicine giving us those answers it is also making way for us to be able to better understand and therefore apply this for better therapy results.  Currently it can at times be a guessing game when trying to find the right strain or combination thereof when using cannabis therapy.  In the future you could make tinctures customized for your body.

Technology, Medicine, Science and Cannabis Community are showing people that cannabis therapy is beyond just the smoked version that comes up so frequently in debates.  Today’s cannabis therapy is far more advanced.  With British pharmaceutical products such Sativex (cannabis plant derived non-synthetic) that are seeking FDA approval it lends even more creditably to the medical uses of cannabis.  Many can see the future of cannabis as a therapy that will have legitimacy and will be taken seriously.

Just a few months ago we saw national support for medical legalization at 77%.  With more credible information available to the masses we see a shift in perception.  16 states along with D.C have enacted medical marijuana laws as well as several other states that have medical initiatives; with Washington, California and Colorado’s initiatives calling for legalization for adults over 21.

With the nation hurting financially it is time to look at our priorities.  So far the government has spent over $2 trillion on the war on drugs that has proven to be futile.  We need to look at reform and especially rescheduling cannabis.  This will only be accomplished if the people speak up.  We need to recognize that cannabis has medical value and that it should be decision made between a patient and doctor not the government.  Contact your local representative today and express your support for rescheduling and responsible legislation.  Many states have groups like NORML and ASA that are working on legislation so be sure to see if there is a current proposal in your state.  With everyone coming together we can see a bright future for the cannabis community as well as the nation.

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/

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

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