31 States Have Legalized Some Form of Cannabis

The wave of reform that’s swept across the U.S. this year has been swift, with lawmakers and citizens across the nation standing up for a changecannaamerica in the longstanding, propaganda-laden prohibition on cannabis. This year alone an initiative to legalize cannabis has qualified for the ballot in Alaska, signatures have been submitted for a similar initiative in Oregon and Washington D.C., and 8 states have passed laws legalizing some form of cannabis. Because of the latter, the number of states in the U.S. that have legalized at least some form of cannabis – whether it be full legalization or simply the allowance of the cannabis compound cannabidiol – has reached 31, or  62% of the entire country.

Here’s a list of states that have new medical cannabis laws which were approved by lawmakers this year (for a list of the other states with medical cannabis laws, click here):

  • Minnesota

On May 29th Governor Mark Dayton signed into law a proposal which legalizes medical cannabis in Minnesota. Although smoking cannabis isn’t allowed (oddly enough as it is), vaporizing cannabis is, as is consuming cannabis through a variety of other methods such as edibles, tinctures, oils and lotions. Dispensaries will be authorized to distribute cannabis to qualified patients, with sales expected to begin by July 1st of 2015.

  • Utah

As of July 1st of this year, the possession and use of the cannabis compound cannabidiol is legal to possess and use for those who receive a recommendation from a neurologist, and a registration card from the state’s Department of Health. The measure was signed into law by the state’s governor in March; it passed the Senate unanimously, and the House 62 to 11.

  • Maryland

House Bill 1321, which legalizes medical cannabis, was signed into law by Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley on April 15th. The measure legalizes the possession and use of medical cannabis for those with a qualifying condition such as cancer and chronic pain. The bill also legalizes cannabis dispensaries, with 94 being allowed throughout the state. Dispensaries will purchase their cannabis from licensed cultivation centers. The proposal is an extension of a law passed in 2013 which authorized academic medical centers in the state to distribute medical cannabis.

  • North Carolina

On Thursday, July 3rd, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed House Bill 1220 into law, a bill which legalizes low-THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), high-CBD (cannabidiol) cannabis extracts for medical purposes. The measure allows neurologists to distribute the medicine, and allows (as well as encourages) colleges in the state to study CBD as a potential treatment for intractable childhood epilepsy.

  • Kentucky

Under a new law signed by the state’s governor in April, universities in the state with a school of medicine will be authorized to produce and distribute the cannabis extract cannabidiol to qualified patients who receive a recommendation from one of the university’s physicians. The measure also allows anyone enrolled in an FDA trial (two such trials were approved by the FDA last year) to be legally treated with cannabis oil. The bill passed the state’s House and Senate both with a unanimous vote.

  • Alabama

A bill signed into law in April authorizes the University of Alabama’s Department of Neurology to prescribe, produce and distribute low-THC cannabis extracts (such as cannabis oil and tincture) to those with seizure disorders. The bill, named Carly’s Law in honor of 3-year-old Carly Chandler who suffers from epilepsy, will be funded with $1 million from the state’s Education Trust Fund.
As with Kentucky’s law, the bill passed both the House and Senate unanimously.

  • Wisconsin

Yet another bill signed in April, a new Wisconsin law allows physicians in the state to recommend as well as distribute low-THC, high-CBD cannabis extracts for medical purposes. The proposal was approved unanimously by the Senate, and took effect immediately after the governor signed it.

  • Florida

A bill legalizing low-THC cannabis extracts for those with cancer, epilepsy and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) was signed into law by the state’s governor last month. The bill, which appropriates $1,000,000 in funding to the state’s Department of Health to be used exclusively for studying cannabidiol and its effects on “intractable childhood epilepsy”, legalizes a small number of dispensaries to be placed throughout the state, to provide safe access to cannabis extracts for patients.

  • Iowa

Under new law which took effect on July 1st, those who receive a recommendation from a neurologist and subsequently receive a registration card from the state’s Department of Public Health will be authorized to possess and use up to 32 ounces of cannabidiol.

  • Mississippi

A Mississippi bill which, like Iowa and and Utah, took effect on July 1st, legalizes low-THC cannabis extracts for those with seizure disorders. The University of Mississippi Medical Center is authorized to dispense the medicine.

 

Most of these changes involve the legalization of cannabis extracts, and not the whole cannabis plant, and the conditions that qualify someone to be a patient are far too limited. Clearly this doesn’t go far enough, and activists should continue to fight for further reform. Still, we should be encouraged by how quickly and drastically the conversation has shifted. Rather than lawmakers claiming the decades-long facade that cannabis isn’t a medicine, they’re embracing its medical potential by legalizing it, or at the very least legalizing its extracts. Each of these states approving medical cannabis bills, even CBD-only measures, is another state making the case that cannabis shouldn’t be a Schedule 1 drug, which means by federal standards it has no medical value.

We should use these victories as springboards for further reform. The conversation has opened up in a tremendous way (for example, the U.S. House recently voted to defund medical cannabis raids). It’s only a matter of time before more lawmakers begin to understand the medical potential of cannabis as a whole, and start to respect the fact that a large majority of people favor an end to its prohibition.

TheJointBlog

3 thoughts on “31 States Have Legalized Some Form of Cannabis”

  1. My question is I have fibromialga and people have told me it is good 4- the pain I suffer with everyday of my life I don’t sleep well I take several meds a day I went from owning a successful businesses to barely be able to get out of bed does any of these drs think this would help people like me email address brenda.willard__ lawson @ yahoo. com

  2. as yet the federal government still labels marijuana as a schedule 1 drug … This means it has 0 medicinal value … not any at all … Biggest load of shit I ever heard … Cocaine, heroin, opium, methamphetamines ???? I mean all of these are scheduled 2 drugs … Each is found to have medicinal values if used correctly … But pot has none??? no medicinal value …so let me get this straight the federal government thinks that meth and coke are better for people than marijuana and the penalty for marijuana is far more severe … WTF is really going on???? There’s scientific proof that marijuana is one of the only things that can stop and cure brain cancer … I mean it can cure cancer and about a thousand other things and yet the federal government says it has 0 medicinal value … how did they become the expert on medicine …. When are they going to admit the truth??? even if it was only used for nausea or only used for depression or only used for an appetite stimulate or only used as a stress reliever … All of which are well documented and very effective uses of this medicine … How can our government be allowed to just lie right to our faces and no one stands up to them and says you’re full of shit … Why is it that everybody turns a blind eye to it and does not make the federal government fess up and stand up and tell the truth ??? If the federal government came out and said that food had no nutritional benefits would that be allowed to stand and if the federal government came out and said drinking water had no health benefits we will be furious and ask them what the fuck they were talking about …. yet we allow them to sit there and lie to our faces with no penalties ???? how can they get away with just saying whatever they please and making up lies like its not any sort of crime yet if I smoke a bowl in utah or nevada I go to jail and I have a prescription in California … I say its downright criminal and it should be punished as such

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