An Updated Look at Medical Cannabis in the United States
By Allen St. Pierre, NORML.
WASHINGTON, DC — Currently in the United States, 35 states have reformed their laws via legislation or binding voter approved ballot initiative to allow qualified patients medical access to cannabis products.
This time last year, 21 states and the District of Columbia had medical cannabis laws on the books–a sixty percent increase in a single year.
The laws today governing medical cannabis at the state level breakdown to three basic categories: Self-preservation (patient has medical necessity defense for possessing or growing cannabis); Retail access (patient can access cannabis in retail store; home cultivation is often prohibited) and CBD-only (patients are allowed to possess and use cannabis strains and other products high in cannabidiol [CBD], although generally there is no legal source for the patients to obtain those strains; no home cultivation allowed).
A few states have hybrid medical cannabis programs where patients can both cultivate a personal amount of cannabis and also have retail access to cannabis products (notably Washington, Oregon, Colorado and Maine). Minnesota’s law only allows for “oils and concentrates to be ‘vaporized’”.
NORML executive director Allen St. Pierre stated, “Major media news outlets have recently published inaccurate maps regarding medical cannabis and we want to make sure the public, notably cannabis consumers and patients, have an accurate understanding of America’s ever-changing ganja geography. What makes NORML’s medical cannabis map up-to-date is that it accurately reflects which states are yet to implement their law reforms to allow legal access.”