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State Laws That Legalized Medical Marijuana Use

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medical marijuana states




I. State Laws That Legalized Medical Marijuana Use
State

Program Details

Contact Info
1. Alaska Ballot Measure 8 -- Approved 11/3/98 by 58% of voters.
Effective: 3/4/99.

Removed 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."

Approved Conditions: 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.

Possession/Cultivation: 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.

Amended: Senate Bill 94
Effective: 6/2/99

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.

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
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
2. California Ballot Proposition 215 -- Approved 11/5/96 by 56% of voters.
Effective: 11/6/96

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 covered: "cancer, anorexia, AIDS, chronic pain, spasticity, glaucoma, arthritis, migraine, or any other illness for which marijuana provides relief."

Amended: Senate Bill 420, effective 1/1/04

Imposes statewide guidelines outlining how much medicinal marijuana patients may grow and possess.

Possession/Cultivation: 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."

A pilot ID system is being implemented one county at a time. San Diego County has voted (Board of Supervisors) to file a lawsuit challenging the state medical marijuana laws. Fees vary by county ($15 - $70).
3. Colorado Ballot Amendment 20 -- Approved 11/7/00 by 54% of voters.
Effective: 6/1/01

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.)

Approved Conditions: 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.

Possession/Cultivation: 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.

Not Amended

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

hs/medicalmarijuana/
marijuanafactsheet.asp
4. Hawaii Senate Bill 862 -- Signed into law by Gov. Ben Cayetano on 6/14/00
Effective: 12/28/00

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." The law establishes a mandatory, confidential state-run patient registry that issues identification cards to qualifying patients.

Approved conditions: 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.

Possession/Cultivation: 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.

Not Amended

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
5. Maine Ballot Question 2 -- Approved 11/2/99 by 61% of voters.
Effective: 12/22/99

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." The law does not establish a state-run patient registry.

Approved diagnosis: 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.

Possession/Cultivation: 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.

Amended: Senate Bill 611, signed into law on 4/2/02. Increases the amount of useable marijuana a person may possess from one and one-quarter ounces to two and one-half ounces.

No state program has been established.
6. Montana Initiative 148, -- Approved 62% - 38% by a popular vote on 11/2/04.
Effective: 11/2/04

Approved Conditions: A) "cancer, glaucoma, or positive status for human immonodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or the treatment of these conditions;

B) a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces one or more of the following:

1. cachexia or wasting syndrome;
2. severe or chronic pain;
3. severe nausea;
4. seizures, including but not limited to seizures caused by epilepsy, or
5. severe or persistent muscle spasms, including but not limited to spasms caused by multiple sclerosis or Chrohn's disease; or

C) any other medical condition or treatment for a medical condition adopted by the department by rule.

Possession/Cultivation: "A qualifying patient and that qualifying patient's caregiver may not possess more than six marijuana plants and 1 ounce of usable marijuana each."

Not Amended

Program is being run by the Montana Department of Public Health & Human Services
Bureau of Licensure
Roy Kemp, Chief
(406) 444-2868
7. Nevada Ballot Question 9 -- Approved 11/7/00 by 65% of voters.
Effective: 10/1/01

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.

Approved Conditions: 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.

Possession/Cultivation: 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.

Registry: 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. Legislators added a preamble to the legislation stating, “[T]he state of Nevada as a sovereign state has the duty to carry out the will of the people of this state and regulate the health, medical practices and well-being of those people in a manner that respects their personal decisions concerning the relief of suffering through the medical use of marijuana.” A separate provision requires the Nevada School of Medicine to “aggressively” seek federal permission to establish a state-run medical marijuana distribution program.

Amended: Assembly Bill 453, effective 10/1/01. Created a state registry for patients prescribed the drug by a licensed physician and the Department of Motor Vehicles would issue identification cards. No state money will be used for the program, which will be funded entirely by donations.

Application information for the Nevada medical marijuana registry is available by writing or calling:

Nevada Department of Agriculture
P.O. Box 948
Carson City, NV 89707-0948
(775) 684-5333
(Attention: Jennifer Bartlett)
8. Oregon Ballot Measure 67 -- Approved 11/3/98 by 55% of voters.
Effective: 12/3/98

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.

Approved Conditions: 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.

Possession/Cultivation: 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.

Amended, Effective Jan. 1, 2006 by Senate Bill 1085, which 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.

The law also redefines "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.

Patient Registry: 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.

Amended: House Bill 3052, effective 7/21/99

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."

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

publichealth/mm/index.cfm

The fee for a NEW application is $55.00 OR $20.00 if you are on the Oregon Health Plan (OHP) or if you are receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) monthly benefits.
9. Rhode Island Senate Bill 0710 -- Approved by state House and Senate, vetoed by the Governor. Veto was over-ridden by House and Senate. The timeline as follows below:

1. 6/24/05: passed the House 52 to 10
2. 6/28/05: passed the State Senate 33 to 1
3. 6/29/05: Gov. Carcieri vetoes the bill
4. 6/30/05: Senate overrides the veto 28-6
5. 1/3/06: House overrides the veto 59-13


Effective: 1/3/06

Approved Conditions: Cancer, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, Hepatitis C, or the treatment of these conditions; A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces one or more of the following: cachexia or wasting syndrome; 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; or any other medical condition or its treatment approved by the state Department of Health.

Possession/Cultivation: Limits the amount of marijuana that can be possessed and grown to up to 12 marijuana plants or 2.5 ounces of cultivated marijuana.

Not Amended

The law establishes a mandatory, confidential state-run registry that issues identification cards to qualifying patients who register with the state. The state Department of Health is to promulgate rules and regulations within 90 days of the effective date of the legislation.
10. Vermont Senate Bill 76 -- Approved 22-7 & House Bill 645, approved 82-59. Gov. James Douglas (R), allowed it to pass into law unsigned on 5/26/04.
Effective: 7/1/04

Approved Conditions: Only patients suffering from AIDS, cancer and multiple sclerosis.

Possession/Cultivation: Limits the amount of marijuana that can be possessed and grown to three ounces and seven plants. It also requires that the marijuana be grown in a secure indoor facility, and the law would sunset in 2006.

Not Amended

The law establishes a mandatory, confidential state-run registry that issues identification cards to qualifying patients. This program has not yet been established (as of 9/10/04)
11. Washington Ballot Measure 692 -- Approved 11/3/96 by 59% of voters.
Effective: 11/3/98

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."

Approved Conditions: 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.

Possession/Cultivation: 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.

Amended: 2001 by Washington's Medical Quality Assurance Commission, which approved Crohn’s disease, Hepatitis C, and "any disease, 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."

The law (and amendment) did not include a provision for any state agency to write rules to implement the medical use of marijuana. No contact information is provided.

The Washington State Medical Association has provided a form for medical authorization.

II. Other State Medical Marijuana Laws
State

Program Details

Contact Info
1. Arizona Ballot Proposition 200 -- Approved 11/5/96 by 65% of voters.
Effective: 12/6/96 [Not Active]

Measure mandates alternative sentencing for non-violent drug offenders, and seeks to establish legal protections for seriously ill patients by allowing doctors to "prescribe" schedule I controlled substances such as marijuana. However, because federal law ultimately forbids physicians from prescribing such drugs, this statute does not adequately protect patients from state-level criminal penalties, as do similar state laws that only require patients to possess a physician’s "recommendation" that medical marijuana therapy may be beneficial.

Not Amended: House Bill 2518, which was signed by the governor on April 21, 1997, sought to repeal Proposition 200’s medical marijuana provision by requiring the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to first approve marijuana before allowing state physicians to prescribe it. The bill was placed on the November 3, 1998 ballot as a referendum, where voters rejected it by a vote of 57 percent to 43 percent.

No state program, no contact info
2. Maryland Senate Bill 502, The "Darrell Putman" Bill -- Resolution #0756-2003 -- Approved in the state senate by a vote of 29-17. Signed into law by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. on 5/22/03.
Effective: 10/1/03

Applies to defendants possessing less than one ounce of the drug who can prove they used marijuana out of medical necessity and with a doctor’s recommendation. For others, the maximum penalty is one year in prison and a $1,000 fine.

This law allows a physician's approval of medical marijuana to be used as an affirmative defense in court against criminal charges of possession and/or cultivation.

Not Amended