State-by-State Medical Marijuana Laws



INTRODUCTION AND METHODOLOGY

 

Like many people after the November 5, 1996 elections, I thought California's Proposition 215 (passed by 56% of the vote) and Arizona's Proposition 200 (passed by 65%) were groundbreaking measures.

My belief was reinforced by comments made by various state and national leaders who seemed to be strongly against the two initiatives and made public statements such as:

  • "[P]ot activists won public sanction for widespread marijuana use on the basis of the drug's supposed medicinal qualities." (U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), introducing Judiciary Committee hearing, 12/2/96)

     

  • "We cannot afford to allow the Arizona and California mistake to become a drug-legalizing step to be repeated in the other 48 states of the union." (Office of the National Drug Control Policy Director Barry McCaffrey, Senate Judiciary Committee testimony, 12/2/96)

     

  • "Arizona and California voters were bamboozled..." (Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse Director Joseph Califano, Washington Post op-ed, 12/4/96)

I was therefore surprised to learn that 22 other states plus the District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.) have medicinal marijuana laws on the books, most passed between 1978 and 1981. In addition, 10 other states had such laws within the last 19 years, two of which had subsequently expired and eight of which had since been repealed.

This compilation suggests that the California and Arizona initiatives of last November [1996] did not break new ground but were the progression of similar laws enacted by legislatures in many states -- now containing over 160 million Americans (60.46% of the entire U.S. population).1

I encouraged the Marijuana Policy Project Foundation2, a public 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, to re-work its September 1996 report, "How Can a State Legislature Enable Patients to Use Medicinal Marijuana Despite Federal Prohibition?" This re-worked version includes United States population numbers to better illustrate the significance of these laws.

 

Steven C. Markoff
Santa Monica, California
June 1997



1 Estimates of the Population of States, as of July 1, 1996; Population Division, U.S. Bureau of the Census, Washington, D.C.
2 MPP Foundation, P.O. Box 77492, Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C. 20013
(202) 462-5747; Fax: (202) 232-0442; MPP@MPP.Org; Web: www.mpp.org
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TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. State Medicinal Marijuana Laws, including populations 1
II. Overview of State Medicinal Marijuana Laws, by year first enacted 2
III. Charts Describing State Laws and Citing State Legislative Codes 3
  A. Definitions and Background of Terms Used 3
  B. 24 States (plus the District of Columbia) with Current Medicinal Marijuana Laws 5
  C. Two States that Passed Medicinal Marijuana Laws, which have
Subsequently Expired
9
  D. Eight States that Passed Medicinal Marijuana Laws, which were
Subsequently Repealed
10
  E. Map of Current State Medicinal Marijuana Laws 12
IV. Conclusion 12
V. Appendices 13
  A. Explanation of Schedules 13
  B. General Structure of a State Therapeutic Research Program 13
  C. Five States that Have Passed Non-Binding Resolution Urging the Federal
Government to Make Marijuana Medically Available
14
  D. 16 States that Have Never Had Medicinal Marijuana Laws 14
  E. About the Marijuana Policy Project Foundation 15
  F. Biography of the Publisher 15
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Page 1 of 15

I. State Medicinal Marijuana Laws, including populations

 

24 States (plus the District of Columbia) with Current Medicinal Marijuana Laws
  State Effective Date1 Population2
1. Alabama 1979 4,273,000
2. Arizona1 1980 4,428,000
3. California1, 3 1979 31,878,000
4. Connecticut 1981 3,274,000
5. District of Columbia 1981 543,000
6. Georgia 1980 7,353,000
7. Illinois 1978 11,847,000
8. Iowa 1979 2,852,000
9. Louisiana 1978 4,351,000
10. Massachusetts 1991 6,092,000
11. Minnesota 1980 4,658,000
12. Montana 1979 879,000
13. New Hampshire3 1981 1,162,000
14. New Jersey 1981 7,988,000
15. New Mexico3 1978 1,713,000
16. New York 1980 18,185,000
17. Rhode Island 1980 990,000
18. South Carolina 1980 3,699,000
19. Tennessee 1981 5,320,000
20. Texas 1980 19,128,000
21. Vermont 1981 589,000
22. Virginia 1979 6,675,000
23. Washington (state) 1979 5,533,000
24. West Virginia 1979 1,826,000
25. Wisconsin 1982 5,160,000
Total Population2 160,396,000
Percent of U.S. Population4 60.46%

10 Other States that Passed Medicinal Marijuana Laws
State Effective Date1 Remark Population2
1. Alaska 1983 Repealed 607,000
2. Arkansas 1981 Repealed 2,510,000
3. Colorado 1979 Repealed 3,823,000
4. Florida 1978 Repealed 14,400,000
5. Maine 1979 Expired 1,243,000
6. Michigan3 1979 Expired 9,594,000
7. Nevada 1979 Repealed 1,603,000
8. North Carolina 1979 Repealed 7,323,000
9. Ohio 1980 Repealed 11,173,000
10. Oregon 1979 Repealed 3,204,000
Total Population2 54,480,000
% of U.S. Population4 20.91%

16 States that Have Never Passed
Medicinal Marijuana Laws
State Population2
1. Delaware 725,000
2. Hawaii 1,184,000
3. Idaho 1,189,000
4. Indiana 5,841,000
5. Kansas 2,572,000
6. Kentucky 3,884,000
7. Maryland 5,072,000
8. Mississippi 2,716,000
9. Missouri3 5,359,000
10. Nebraska 1,652,000
11. North Dakota 644,000
12. Oklahoma 3,301,000
13. Pennsylvania 12,056,000
14. South Dakota 732,000
15. Utah 2,000,000
16. Wyoming 481,000
Total Population2 49,408,000
% of U.S. Population4 18.62%

 


1

For ease of summarization, only the years that states' first medicinal marijuana laws took effect are used; in several cases, other laws have followed. California and Arizona, for example, had laws on the books that expired in 1989 and 1985, respectively, then new laws were enacted by voters in 1996.

2

Population is rounded to the nearest thousand, as of July 1, 1996; from Population Estimates Program, Population Division, U.S. Bureau of the Census, Washington, D.C.

3

State has passed a non-binding resolution supporting medicinal marijuana. Non-binding resolutions are passed by both houses of a state's legislature and do not require the governor's signature. These resolutions officially urged Congress and the president to reconsider the federal policies regarding medicinal marijuana, but did not change policy on the state level.

4

Out of total U.S. population of 265,283,783.

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II. Overview of State Medicinal Marijuana Laws
(by year first enacted)

 

24 States (plus the District of Columbia) with Current Medicinal Marijuana Laws
Year Law Took Effect1
Number of States
1978
3
1979
7
1980
7
1981
6
1982
1
1983
-
1991
1
Total
25

10 Other States that Passed Medicinal Marijuana Laws which Subsequently Expired or Were Repealed
Year Law Took Effect1
Remark2
Number of States
1978
FL repealed 1984
1
1979
CO repealed 1995;
ME expired 1987;
MI expired 1987;
NV repealed 1987;
NC repealed 1987;
OR repealed 1987;
6
1980
OH repealed 1997
1
1981
AR repealed 1987
1
1982
-
-
1983
AK repealed 1986
1
1991
-
-
TOTAL
 
10

Sixteen states have never had laws recognizing marijuana's medical benefits.
(See Appendix D, page 14.)

 


1

For ease of summarization, only the years that states' first medicinal marijuana laws took effect are used; in several cases, other laws have followed. California and Arizona, for example, had laws on the books that expired in 1989 and 1985, respectively, then new laws were enacted by voters in 1996.

2

Year that state's last remaining medicinal marijuana law expired or was repealed.

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III. Charts Describing State Laws and Citing State Legislative Codes

A. Definitions and Background of Terms Used
(by order of appearance in the following charts)

1. Schedule

The federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970 created a series of five schedules establishing the varying degrees of control over certain substances. Marijuana is presently in Schedule I, thereby prohibiting doctors from prescribing it under any circumstances. Schedule II substances are defined as having accepted medical use "with severe restrictions." Schedules III, IV, and V are progressively less restrictive. See Appendix A, page 13.

2. Therapeutic Research Programs

The federal government allows one exception to its prohibition of the cultivation, distribution, and use of Schedule I controlled substances: research. Doctors who wish to conduct research on Schedule I substances must receive special permission from the federal government, including a special license from the DEA to handle the substance, FDA approval of the research protocol (if experimented with human subjects), and legal access to a supply of the substance.

An individual doctor may conduct research if all the necessary permissions are granted, or a state may run a large-scale program involving many doctor-patient teams if the state secures the necessary permission from the federal government for the researchers. For the general structure of a state program, see Appendix B, page 13. Significant variations from this general structure are explained in the charts.

While 24 states passed laws creating therapeutic research programs, only seven obtained all of the necessary federal permission, received marijuana from the federal government, and distributed the substance to approved patients through approved pharmacies.1 No states presently have programs running, even where laws creating the programs remain on the books.

3. Prescribe

A prescription is a legal document from a licensed physician ordering a pharmacy to release a controlled substance to a patient. Prescription licenses are granted by the federal government; therefore, it is a violation of federal law to "prescribe" marijuana, regardless of state law. Furthermore, it is illegal for pharmacies to dispense marijuana (unless as part of a federally sanctioned research program).


1

Marijuana, Medicine & the Law, Volume II, R.C. Randall, ed.; Washington, D.C.: Galen Press, 1989.

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Definitions and Background of Terms Used (Continued)
(by order of appearance in the following charts)

4. Exemption from Prosecution

State governments are not required to enforce federal laws. A state may establish that it is no longer a state-level crime for patients to possess or cultivate marijuana for medicinal purposes. Federal laws would be broken by individual patients, but an "exemption from prosecution" prevents the state from prosecuting such patients. In California, to verify a medical need, a patient must have a "recommendation" from a physician. (A recommendation is simply a doctor's opinion, not a legal document like a prescription.)

5. Medical Necessity Defense

The necessity defense, long recognized in common law, gives a defendant the chance to prove in court that his or her violation of the law was necessary to avert a greater evil. This defense may lead to an acquittal, even if the evidence proves that the patient did indeed possess or cultivate marijuana. Unlike "exemption from prosecution," a patient still must be arrested and prosecuted for the crime, and the judge and/or jury may decide that the evidence was insufficient to establish medical necessity.

This defense is typically established by decisions in state court of appeals. (Courts in the District of Columbia, Florida, Idaho and Washington have recognized this defense.) Additionally, a state legislature may codify a medical necessity defense into law.

6. THC

THC is an abbreviation for tetrahydrocannabinol, the primary active ingredient in marijuana.

 

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B. 24 States (plus the District of Columbia) with
CURRENT Medicinal Marijuana Laws

 

  State Schedule/
Citation1
Description of Law/
Effective Date/Citation1
Remarks
1. Alabama Schedule I/
§ 20-2-23(3) and AAC Chap. 420-7-2
therapeutic research program/
7-30-79/
§ 20-2-110
For cancer chemotherapy and glaucoma.
2. Arizona Schedule I/ § 36-2512 physicians may prescirbe/
12-6-96/
§ 13-3412.01
Proposition 200 established that a medical doctor may prescribe any Schedule I controlled substance (e.g., marijuana, LSD, heroin) to a seriously ill patient if (1) existing research supports the medical efficacy of the substance, and (2) a second medical doctor concurs in writing.

State previously had a therapeutic research program law, which took effect 4-22-80 and expired 6-30-85, for cancer and glaucoma (H.B. 2020, Ch. 122 (1980)).

3. California Schedule I/
H&S § 11054
exemption from prosecution/
11-6-96/
H&S § 11362.5
Proposition 215 madates that the state cannot impose any civil or criminal...penalties on any patient with "any illness for which marijuana provides relief" if the patient is possessing or growing marijuana for personal use. To verify a medical need, the patient must have a recommendation from a physician. Patients' immediate caregivers are also exempt from state-level prosecution for marijuana possession or cultivation.

State previously had a therapeutic research program law, which took effect 7-25-79 and expired 6-30-89, for cancer and galucoma (S.B. 184, Ch. 300 (1979)).

One of seven states in which a therapeutic research program functioned to provide marijuana to patients.

4. Connecticut Schedule I/
§ 21a-243 and §21a-243-7 Reg. of CT State Agencies
physicians may prescribe/
7-1-81/
§ 21a-246 and §21a-253
For cancer chemotherapy and glaucoma. Makes no provision for the marijuana supply.
5. District of Columbia2 Schedule V/
§ 33-516
scheduling recognizes marijuana's therapeutic use/
8-5-81/
§ 33-522
Marijuana (cannabis) is listed among the substances in Schedule V, which are found to a have a "low potential for abuse," "currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States or the District of Columbia," and "limited physician dependence or psychological dependence."
6. Georgia N/A/
16-13-25
therapeutic research program/
2-22-80/
43-34-120 and Rules and Regulations Chapter 360-12
For cancer and glaucoma.

One of seven states in which a therapeutic research program functioned to provide marijuana to patients.

7. Iowa Sched. I&II/
§ 124.204 and § 124.206
scheduling recognizes marijuana's therapeutic use/
7-1-79/
§ 124.204 and
§ 124.206 and Admin. Code 620-12
The bill appropriated funds to start a therapeutic research program which never happened. The bill also implemented a dual scheduling scheme for marijuana -- Schedule I but considered to be in Schedule II when used for medicinal purposes.
8. Illinois N/A/
720 ILCS 570/206 and 77 IAC Ch. X, Sec. 2070
therapeutic research program/
9-9-78/
720 ILCS 550/11 and 77 IAC Ch. X, Sec. 2085
For glaucoma and cancer chemotherapy and radiology or other procedures.
9. Louisiana Schedule I/
40:964
physicians may prescribe/
8-14-78 & 8-21-91/
40:1021
For glaucoma, cancer chemotherapy, and "spastic quadriplegia." A previous law, 40:1021 - 40:1026, had been repealed by H.B. 1224 in 1989 (Act No. 662). The previous law was a therapeutic research program that addressed only glaucoma and cancer.
10. Massachussetts N/A/
94C § 31
therapeutic research program/
12-31-91; medical necessity defense/
8-8-96/
94D § 1
For cancer chemotherapy and radiology, glaucoma and asthma. Controlled substances in Classes A, B, C, and D, which determine the severity of penalties for possession, manufacture, and distribution of these substances. The classes make no statement as to the medical value of the controlled substances. On August 9, 1996, Massachusetts passed a second medicinal marijuana bill (H. 2170) which mandates that within 180 days, the state's public health department must establish the rules and regulations necessary to get its therapeutic research program running and to allow a defense of medical necessity for enrolled patients.
  State Schedule/
Citation1
Description of Law/
Effective Date/Citation1
Remarks
11. Minnesota Schedule I/
§ 152.02 and MR 6800.4200
therapeutic research program/
4-25-80/
§ 152.21
For cancer only (THC research only). State also has a dual scheduling scheme for marijuana; on Schedule I but considered to be in Schedule II when used for medicinal purposes.
12. Montana Schedule I/
50-32-222
scheduling recognizes marijuana's therapeutic use/
3-26-79/
50-32-222(7)
Would automatically reschedule marijuana to Schedule II if the federal government authorizes the prescription or administration.
13. New Hampshire Schedule I/
318-B:1-a
physicians may prescribe/
6-22-81/
26:2L
For cancer chemotherapy and radiology.
14. New Jersey Schedule I/
24:21-5 and 8:65-10 New Jersey Admin. Code
Therapeutic research program/
3-23-81/
26:2L
For life- or sense-threatening diseases. Pertains to any Schedule I substance (not specific to marijuana).
15. New Mexico Schedule I/
30-31-3
Therapeutic research program/
2-21-78/
26-2A
For glaucoma and cancer chemotherapy; patients with other diseases must get special approval. Marijuana is considered to be in Schedule II when dispensed through the program. Would have expired on 7-1-79, but ch. 11 (1979) extended the program indefinitely.

One of seven states in which a therapeutic research program functioned to provide marijuana to patients.

16. New York Schedule I/
PHL § 3306
Therapeutic research program/
9-1-80/
PHL § 3397 and
PHL § 3328
For cancer, glaucoma, and other life- and sense-threatening diseases approved by the commissioner. Confiscated marijuana may be used if necessary.

One of seven states in which a therapeutic program functioned to provide marijuana to patients.

17. Rhode Island Schedule I/
§ 21-28-2.08
Therapeutic research program/
5-19-80/
§ 21-28.4-1
Patients must be involved in a life- or sense-threatening situation.
18. South Carolina Schedule I/
§ 44-53-160 and § 44-53-190
Therapeutic research program/
2-28-80/
§ 44-53-610
For glaucoma and cancer chemotherapy and radiology and other disease groups. "Commissioner shall obtain marijuana through whatever means he deems most appropriately consistent with federal law."
19. Tennessee Schedule VI/
§ 39-17-408
scheduling recognizes marijuana's therapeutic use/
4-2-81/
§ 68-52-101
The bill created a therapeutic research program for cancer chemotherapy or radiology or glaucoma. Therapeutic research program was repealed in 1992, but dual scheduling scheme remains. Marijuana is in Schedule VI but is considered to be in Schedule II when used for medicinal purposes. (Schedule VI includes controlled substances that "should not be included in Schedules I through V." Schedules I through V have the typical definitions used in other states.)

One of seven states in which a therapeutic research program functioned to provide marijuana to patients.

20. Texas Schedule I/
H&S § 481.032 and § 481.038 and 37 TAC § 13.1
therapeutic research program/
1-1-80/
H&S § 481.111 and § 481.201-205
For cancer and glaucoma (THC or its derivatives). May seek authorization to expand program to include other diseases.
  State Schedule/
Citation1
Description of Law/
Effective Date/Citation1
Remarks
21. Vermont N/A/
N/A
physicians may prescribe/
4-27-81/
18 VSA § 4471
For cancer and other medicinal uses as determined by the Commissioner of Health. Called a "research program" but really permits physicians to prescribe marijuana; "commissioner of health shall have the authority to obtain...cannabis administered under this program.
22. Virginia N/A/
§ 54.1-3443
physicians may prescribe/
spring, 1979/
§ 18.2.250.1 and §18.2-251.1
For cancer and glaucoma. Allows physicians to prescribe and pharmacists to dispense marijuana and THC for such purposes.
23. Washington2 Schedule I/
69.50.204 and WAC 246-887-100
therapeutic research program/
3-27-79/
69.51
For cancer chemotherapy and radiology and glaucoma, and other disease groups. May use confiscated marijuana. On 3-30-96, Washington State enacted the 1996 supplemental operating budget which allocated $130,000 for two medicinal marijuana-related projects: $70,000 to research a tamper-free means of cultivating marijuana for medicinal purposes, and $60,000 to research the therapeutic potential of marijuana.

One of seven states in which a therapeutic research program functioned to provide marijuana to patients.

24. West Virginia Schedule I/
§ 60A-2-204
therapeutic research program/
6-8-79/
§ 16-5A-7
For cancer chemotherapy and glaucoma. May include other disease groups if approved.
25. Wisconsin Schedule I/
161.13; 161.41(3r)
physicians may prescribe/
4-20-82; 4-28-88/
46.60
No disease groups specified. Allows medicinal marijuana prescriptions in accordance with federal permits; gives controlled substances board the authority to set up regulations.
1

Italics for a citation indicate that is it in the state's administrative code (developed by state agencies in the executive branch), not the state's statutes (laws passed by the state legislature).

2

State has court-recognized medical necessity defense.

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C. Two States that Passed Medicinal Marijuana Laws
which have Subsequently EXPIRED

 

  State Schedule/
Citation1
Description of Law/
Effective Date/Expiration Date/Citation1
Remarks
1. Maine N/A/
17-A § 1102
therapeutic research program/
9-14-79; 9-23-83/
expired 1981 & 1987 (respectively)/
22 § 2401-2410;
22 § 2411-2420
For glaucoma and cancer chemotherapy. If necessary, may use marijuana confiscated by state law-enforcement agencies. Controlled substances are in Schedules W, X, Y, and Z, which determine the severity of penalties for possession, manufacture, and distribution of these substances. The schedules make no statement as to the medical value of the controlled substance.
2. Michigan Schedule I/
§ 333.7212; MAC 338.3114 and 338.3119a (1986 Annual Supplement); MAC 338.3113 (1988 Annual Supplement).
therapeutic research program/
10-22-79; 12-21-82/
expired 11-1-82 & 11-1-87 (respectively)/
§ 333.7335
For glaucoma and cancer chemotherapy; allows patients with other diseases if patients have permit from FDA. If necessary, may use marijuana confiscated by state law-enforcement agencies. State also had a dual scheduling scheme for marijuana -- Schedule I but considered to be in Schedule II when used for medicinal purposes.

One of seven states in which a therapeutic research program functioned to provide marijuana to patients.

1

Italics for a citation indicate that is it in the state's administrative code (developed by state agencies in the executive branch), not the state's statutes (laws passed by the state legislature).

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D. Eight States that Passed Medicinal Marijuana Laws
which have Subsequently REPEALED

 

  State Schedule/
Citation1
Description of Law/
Effective Date/
Repeal Date/
Citation1
Remarks
1. Alaska Schedule VIA/
§ 11.71.160
therapeutic research program/
1-1-83/
repealed 1986/
§ 17.35
For cancer chemotherapy and radiology, and glaucoma. May include other disease groups if physician presents pertinent medical data. Marijuana, which is still a Schedule VIA drug, has the "lowest degree of danger or probable danger to a person or the public."
2. Arkansas Schedule VI/
§ 5-64-215
physicians may prescribe/
1-30-81/
repealed 1987/
§ 82-1007 (numbering system has changed since law was repealed)
For cancer (lawfully obtained THC). Marijuana is listed in Schedule VI, but Schedule VI substances are defined similarly -- yet even more restrictively -- than Schedule I substances.
3. Colorado N/A/
§ 18-18-203
therapeutic research program/
6-21-79/
repealed 1995/
§ 25-5-901 to -907
For cancer and glaucoma and other disease groups if pertinent data are presented by physician who has FDA permit.
4. Florida2 Schedule I/
§ 893-03
therapeutic research program/
7-1-78/
repealed 1984/
§ 402.36
For cancer and glaucoma. May include other disease groups after pertinent data have been presented by physician.
5. North Carolina Schedule VI/
§ 90-90
physicians may prescribe/
6-5-79/
repealed 1987/
§ 90-101
"A physician...may possess, dispense or administer tetrahydrocannabinols in duly constituted pharmaceutical form for human administration for treatment purposes pursuant to rules adopted by the [North Carolina Drug] Commission." Schedule VI (§ 90-94) is specific to marijuana: "no customarily accepted medical use in the United States; a relatively low potential for abuse in terms of risk to public health and potential to produce psychic or physiological dependence liability based upon present medical knowledge, or a need for further and continuing study to develop scientific evidence of its pharmacological effects."
6. Nevada Schedule I/
453.510 NAC
therapeutic research program/
6-2-79/
repealed 1987/
453.740 - 453.810 and
453.740 NAC
For glaucoma or cancer chemotherapy or others.
7. Ohio Schedule I/
§ 3719.41
medical necessity defense/
6-20-80; 7-1-96/
repealed 1997/
§ 2925.11(I)
The 1996 law read as follows: "It is an affirmative defense...to a charge of possessing marijuana under this section that the offender, pursuant to the prior written recommendation of a licensed physician, possessed the marijuana solely for medicinal purposes." 1980 law which expired on June 20, 1984, was a therapeutic research program for glaucoma, cancer chemotherapy or radiology, or other medical conditions; law appeared at § 3719.85.
8. Oregon Schedule I/
475.035 and
OAR 855-80
physicians may prescribe/
6-18-79/
repealed 1987/
475.505 - 475.515
For cancer chemotherapy and glaucoma. State police shall make confiscated marijuana available to the Health Division. Available to physicians upon written request; patients who are prescribed such marijuana may possess less than an ounce.
1

Italics for a citation indicate that is it in the state's administrative code (developed by state agencies in the executive branch), not the state's statutes (laws passed by the state legislature).

2

State has court-recognized medical necessity defense.

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E. Map of Current State Medicinal Marijuana Laws

 

 

IV. Conclusion

As political and scientific debates about the medicinal marijuana issue continue, the following facts are clear:

  • The existence of medicinal marijuana laws in California and Arizona is not a new phenomenon -- 24 states and the District of Columbia have laws that to some degree recognize marijuana's medicinal benefits.

     

  • 160,396,533 Americans as of July 1, 1996 (60.46% of the U.S. population) live in states with current medicinal marijuana laws, most dating back to the early 1980s.

     

  • The California and Arizona laws are the only state medicinal marijuana laws that were passed by voter initiatives, rather than by state legislatures.

     

  • The California law seems the most pragmatically effective state law at enabling patients to use medicinal marijuana. While other states seemingly intended to make marijuana medically available, only California law provides for a legal supply of marijuana that is not contingent upon the approval of any state or federal bureaucracy. In California, patients who possess or grow their own marijuana -- with their doctor's approval -- cannot be prosecuted by the state.

     

  • Regardless of state laws, doctors remain unable to officially "prescribe" marijuana for patients to receive from a pharmacy as long as marijuana remains a Schedule I drug on the federal level.

     

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V. Appendices

A. Explanation of Schedules1

 

Schedule I (includes heroin, LSD, and marijuana)
  1. The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse.

     

  2. The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.

     

  3. There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.
Schedule II (includes morphine, used as a pain-killer, and cocaine, used as a topical anesthetic)
  1. The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse.

     

  2. The drug or other substance has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States or a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions.

     

  3. Abuse of the drug or other substance may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.
Schedule III (includes anabolic steroids)
  1. The drug or other substance has a potential for abuse less than the drugs or other substances in Schedules I and II.

     

  2. The drug or other substance has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.

     

  3. Abuse of the drug or other substance may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence.
Schedule IV (includes Valium and other tranquilizers)
  1. The drug or other substance has a low potential for abuse relative to the drugs or other substances in Schedule III.

     

  2. The drug or other substance has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.

     

  3. Abuse of the drug or other substance may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to the drugs or other substances in Schedule III.
Schedule V (includes codeine-containing analgesics)
  1. The drug or other substance has a low potential for abuse relative to the drugs or other substances in Schedule IV.

     

  2. The drug or other substance has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.

     

  3. Abuse of the drug or other substance may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to the drugs or other substances in Schedule IV.
B. General Structure of a State Therapeutic Research Program

 

The program is administered by the state department of health or board of pharmacy. Participating patients, physicians, and pharmacies that dispense the marijuana must be approved by a patient qualification review board. Patients must be suffering from specified ailments -- and not responding or having adverse reactions to conventional treatment. In some states, patients with other ailments may participate -- but only after receiving special approval from the appropriate agencies.

The research protocols must be approved by the FDA, and the programs must adhere to federal regulations. The marijuana and THC must be supplied by the federal government -- but in some states the state department of health or board of pharmacy was permitted to distribute confiscated marijuana to patients in emergency situations (though there is no evidence that confiscated marijuana was ever used).

Program administrators must collect and analyze data.

Patients' privacy must be protected.

Significant variations from this typical structure are explained in the chart.

 


1

Scheduling criteria from Title 21 of U.S. Code, Section 812(b) (21 U.S.C. 812(b)); example substances from Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Section 1308.

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V. Appendices (Continued)

C. Five States that Have Passed Non-Binding Resolutions2 Urging the Federal Government to Make Marijuana Medically Available

 

State
Date Resolution Passed
Resolution #
1. California September 2, 1993 Sen. Joint Res. No. 8
2. Michigan March 17, 1982 Sen. Conc. Res. No. 473
3. Missouri Spring, 1994 Sen. Conc. Res. 14
4. New Hampshire not available not available
5. New Mexico not available not available

 

D. 16 States that Have Never Had Medicinal Marijuana Laws

 

State
Schedule
Citation3
1. Delaware
I
16 § 4713
2. Hawaii
I
§ 329-14
3. Idaho
I
37-2705
4. Indiana
I
35-48-2
5. Kansas
I
65-4105
6. Kentucky
I
218A and 902 KAR 55:020
7. Maryland
I
27 § 279
8. Mississippi
I
§ 41-29-113
9. Missouri
I
195.017
10. Nebraska
I
§ 28-405
11. North Dakota
I
19-03.1-04
12. Oklahoma
I
63 § 2.804
13. Pennsylvania
I
35 § 755-104 and 28 § 25.72 Pen. Code
14. South Dakota
N/A
§ 34-20B-11
15. Utah
I
58-37-4
16. Wyoming
I
§ 35-7-1012 and 024 059 101 Wyoming Rules


2

Non-binding resolutions are passed by both houses of a state's legislature and do not require the governor's signature. These resolutions officially urged Congress and the president to reconsider the federal policies regarding medicinal marijuana but did not change policy on the state level.

3

Italics for a citation indicate that it is in the state's administrative code (developed by state agencies in the executive branch), not the state's statutes (laws passed by the state legislature).

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Page 15 of 15

 

V. Appendices (Continued)

E. About the Marijuana Policy Project Foundation

 

The Marijuana Policy Project Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, was established in May 1996. The MPP Foundation serves to research marijuana policy implications, prepare reports, and educate the public through speaking engagements, educational seminars, and the mass media.

MPP Foundation
P.O. Box 77492 / Capitol Hill / Washington, D.C. 20013
phone (202) 462-5747 / fax (202) 232-0442
email MPP@MPP.ORG / Web: www.mpp.org

F. Biography of the Publisher

 

Steven C. Markoff is a Santa Monica, California businessman with a continuing interest in U.S. drug policy. This report is one of a series that looks at various facts related to our nation's drug policy. The reports include:

  • "Addictiveness of Marijuana vs. Five Commonly Used Drugs"

     

  • "Marijuana's Contribution to Preventable Deaths in the United States in 1990"

     

  • "State-by-State Marijuana Laws (as of March 31, 1997)"
For copies of the above reports, please call (310) 587-1471 or fax (310) 319-0310.