Where Is Medical Cannabis Use Legal? – Medical Marijuana States

Laws legalizing the use of marijuana for medicinal use have been enacted in 16 states as well as the District of Columbia, to date.  States and dates of passage are:

Alaska 1998
Arizona 2010
California 1996
Colorado 2000
District of Columbia 2010
Delaware 2011
Hawaii 2000
Maine 1999
Michigan 2008
Montana 2004
Nevada 2000
New Jersey 2010
New Mexico 2007
Oregon 1998
Rhode Island 2010
Vermont 2004
Washington 1998

In 14 of the 17 limited home cultivation is permitted, and the number of mature and immature plants allowed is specified. In addition, 13 have noted a specific number of ounces of usable marijuana that can kept on hand at any given time.  The other five areas do not allow home cultivation, and all usable marijuana must be purchased through state designated and licensed centers in specifically limited amounts.

There is a residency requirement in 13 of the 16 states to be considered a qualified patient.  Only Oregon and Montana will accept out-of-state applications.

Each state has an approved list of conditions that qualify for treatment with medical marijuana, but many include an added blanket statement such as, “Other conditions are subject to approval by . . .”   The following conditions are specifically cited in the approved conditions lists of almost every state and the District of Columbia:

  • AIDS
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Anxiety
  • Arthritis
  • Cachexia
  • Cancer
  • Chronic Severe Pain
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Depression
  • Dystonia
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • Huntington’s Chorea
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Insomnia, intractable
  • Leukemia
  • Migraine Headaches
  • Movement Disorders
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Nail Patella
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Neurogenic Pain
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Peripheral Neuropathy
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Pruritus, intractable
  • Schizophrenia
  • Seizure Disorders
  • Sickle-cell Disease
  • Spasticity
  • Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Tourette’s Syndrome
  • Unintentional weight loss from AIDS, chemotherapy and other ailments
  • Patients who have a debilitating condition that is not on the current list can file a petition with the program in most states once a year after an initial assessment of the program has passed.

In order to be protected from arrest if found with marijuana, patient must have their registration card or a certificate from their physician stating that they have a specified debilitating medical condition and that the patient would receive therapeutic benefit from medical marijuana.  In some states, a copy of this document must be sent to the state Department of Health and Social Services who will in turn issue an official ID after verifying the information.

The list above does not define all of the conditions where treatment with medical marijuana has been beneficial.  Some of the others already proven by research include:

  • Alcohol Abuse
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Asthma
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Glioma
  • MRSA
  • Muscle Relaxation
  • Premenstrual Syndrome
  • Sleep Apnea

And, the list certainly will not stop there.  Today, research continues to explore additional applications for medical marijuana, but early results have been extremely promising in the following areas:

  • Recent students also show THC might help not only calm the agitation brought about by Alzheimer’s, but actually prevent the formulation of deposits on the brain associated with the disease.
  • Several studies reveal smoking marijuana does not increase the risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or lung cancer.
  • According to recent studies, it might be as effective to use for treatment of schizophrenia as atypical antipsychotics are.
  • Medical marijuana with high levels of cannabidiol is being studied for use in patients with anxiety attacks.

Other states currently discussing concerning the legalization of medical marijuana use include:

  1. Alabama
  2. Florida
  3. Massachusetts
  4. Missouri
  5. New York
  6. North Carolina
  7. Ohio
  8. Pennsylvania
  9. Texas

A federal bill was introduced in the U. S. House of Representatives on June 23, 2011, by Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) and Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), that would remove marijuana from the federally controlled substance list, turning its regulation over to the individual states.  It is unlikely that this bill will even be read until late in the 2011-2012 session, if at all.  In all likelihood it will die a silent death along with thousands of other bills presented each year that are never heard.  The only redeeming factors that might help bring it to the top of the heap are the popularity of the subject, and the fact that it was co-authored by a powerful bipartisan duo.

However, medicinal users should be reminded that until such time as the federal ban is lifted, marijuana will still be a federally controlled substance, regardless of state law, and federal penalties and fines will still apply.

More on Medical Marijuana

History of Medical Cannabis
The Basics About Medicinal Marijuana
Synthetic Cannabis Drugs Are Available
How Is Medical Marijuana Distributed
How Is It Used or Administered
Quotations Throughout History About Cannabis
Final Words