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Marijuana laws

Marijuana Laws in the USA including Medical Marijuana

In 1972, marijuana was categorized by the US Congress as a Schedule 1 type of drug under the Controlled Substances Act. However, several proponents of the drug argue that medical marijuana is an effective and safe treatment for various symptoms linked with medical conditions such as epilepsy, cancer, multiple sclerosis, AIDS and glaucoma. They have cited reputable medical organizations, peer-reviewed research and government reports about the use of this drug as a treatment option. Since then, 18 of the 50 states in the country has legalized cannabis for medical purposes.

Marijuana Laws in the US

1. Marijuana laws in Alaska

In 1999, the state has removed all types of state-level penalties on the possession, cultivation and use of marijuana by patients who have a valid written documentation from their doctor. Among the approved conditions for medical marijuana use include chronic pain, cancer, epilepsy, cachexia, nausea, spasticity, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, seizures, AID and HIV. Other medical conditions may be subject for approval by the DHS or the Department of Health and Social Services, in Alaska.

As for the cultivation and possession of marijuana, patients and their caregivers may possess a maximum amount of one ounce of marijuana. They are also allowed to cultivate a maximum of six marijuana plants, and three of these may be mature. The state law also establishes a patient registry where qualified individuals are provided with identification cards. Those who are not enrolled in this state-wide registry may not claim for an affirmative defense if they are arrested due to marijuana charges.

2. Marijuana laws in Arizona

The ballot proposition in the Arizona medical marijuana Act was approved on 2010. It allows qualified and registered patients to obtain the amount of marijuana prescribed by their physician They should also possess written certificate provided by their doctor, which indicate that they would gain benefits from medical marijuana as medication for their debilitating condition. These conditions include glaucoma, hepatitis C, Crohn’s disease, cancer, severe pains, seizures, Alzheimer’s disease, AIDS, HIV, multiple sclerosis, and severe muscle spasms.

According to the law, all qualified patients should register and undergo the renewal application system. They identification card issued allows certification of a limited number of dispensaries, which does not exceed 10 percent of the total pharmacies in Arizona. Furthermore, employers are not allowed to discriminate registered individuals. They may not penalize these patients for obtaining a positive result for marijuana in the drug test. However, these patients are not allowed to use or process marijuana during working hours. These registered individuals may also possess a maximum of 2.5 ounces of the drug within the 14-day period, and it must be obtained from a registered marijuana dispensary.

3. Marijuana laws in California

The marijuana law in the state was approved in 1996, and it eliminates criminal penalties on the cultivation, possession and use of marijuana by patients who hold written documentation from their doctor. Patients who suffer from arthritis, anorexia, cancer, glaucoma, persistent muscle spasms, seizures, severe nausea, multiple sclerosis, migraine, cachexia, and epilepsy may be qualified. The bill was amended and became effective in 2004. It features state-wide laws on the possession and cultivation of medical marijuana for qualified patients. According to the law, they may possess a maximum of 8 oz of dried marijuana, or 6 mature marijuana plants. However, some patients may be allowed to obtained larger amounts of the drug when advised by their physician.

4. Marijuana laws in Colorado

On November 6, 2012, the Colorado Constitution was amended, and it allowed adults to use, possess and cultivate a limited amount of marijuana. An existing system also regulates and taxes marijuana, and the law no longer prohibits the cultivation of industrial hemp. The law will be enacted on December 6, 2012, or after the certification of Governor Hickenlooper’s vote – whichever comes first.

5. Marijuana laws in Connecticut

Governor Dannel P. Mallot signed the bill on May 31, 2012, and some of the sections from the passage took effect on October 1, 2012. According to the law, qualified patients should be Connecticut residents who are 18 years old and above. However, prison inmates and other individuals supervised by the Department of Corrections are not qualified even when they have an existing medical condition.

Patients should register with the state’s Department of Consumer Protection, so they may obtain a valid certificate and engage in the use of medical marijuana. Certified and registered patients are not subject to arrest, prosecution or penalization.

6. District of Columbia

In 2010, the Mayor signed the legalization of medical marijuana act, and it became effective after the 30-day review period by the Congress. The law states that qualified patients are those who suffer from debilitating conditions such as cancer, glaucoma, AIDS, HIV, multiple sclerosis, and other ailments that interfere with the individual’s quality of life. The maximum amount of marijuana that these patients may possess is two ounces, although the Mayor may increase the up to four ounces upon approval.

Mayor Vincent Gray added another subtitle to the law, which included medical marijuana. The amendment includes the processes and procedures that will be implemented on the use of the drug by qualified patients.

7. Marijuana laws in Delaware

Governor Jack Markell signed the Senate Bill 17 on May 13, 2011, and the law became effective on July 1, 2011. The law states that patients may be protected from arrest or charges on marijuana possession, as long as they possess an ID card issued by the DHS or the Department of Health and Social Services in Delaware. Qualified patients are those who suffer from a debilitating medical condition, and they hold a written document from their physician. The document indicates that the patient is advised to take medical marijuana for therapeutic benefits. However, patients and caregivers are not allowed to cultivate marijuana at home. They may only obtain the drug at certified and regulated dispensaries, and they may possess a maximum amount of six ounces of dried marijuana.

8. Marijuana laws in Hawaii

In 2000, Governor Ben Cayetano signed the Senate Bill 862, which aims to eliminate the state-wide criminal penalties on the cultivation, possession and use of medical marijuana by qualified patients who hold a valid document from their physician. This certification affirms that the patient suffers from a serious health or medical condition, and the physician recommends the use of medical marijuana as a treatment option to the disease. There is a mandatory and state-wide registry for patients who need to obtain ID cards for legal use and possession of medical marijuana.

Patients and their primary caregiver may possess an adequate supply of the drug, which is no more than seven marijuana plants (three mature, and four immature), and an ounce of dried or usable marijuana for each mature plant.

9. Marijuana laws in Maine

The law became effective on 1999, and it removes the state-level penalty on the possession or use of medical marijuana. However, a state-wide patient registry was not established or mandated by law. Only patients who are recommended by their physician to take medical marijuana due to their serious ailments may avoid criminal penalties. These medical conditions include glaucoma, muscle spasticity, multiple sclerosis, and nausea caused by cancer or AIDS.

In 2002, the Senate Bill 611 was amended, and there is an increase in the maximum amount of marijuana that qualified patients may possess. According to the law, patients are entitled to possess between 1.25 and 2.5 ounces of marijuana for their medical issue.

10. Marijuana laws in Massachusetts

The Ballot Question 3, which was approved on November 6, 2012, will take effect on January 1, 2013. According to the law, Massachusetts citizens are exempted from criminal penalties for possession and use of marijuana, unless they are qualified patients and are advised by their doctor to take marijuana for medical purposes. The Department shall mandate registrations for a maximum of 35 medical marijuana centers, and there are expected to have at least 5 treatment centers in a county.

As for the cultivation and possession of the drug, the legal amount does not exceed the 60-day supply of marijuana. Moreover, the Department will establish a cultivation registration to all qualifying patients. Only those who suffer from financial difficulties, lack of treatment centers within the patient’s residence, or physically incapable of accessing transportation may cultivate the mandated number of marijuana plants.

11. Marijuana laws in Michigan

The Michigan medical marijuana Act was approved in 2008 and took effect in December 4, 2008. Patients who suffer from debilitating medical issues such as AIDS, HIV< glaucoma, Crohn’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cachexia, chronic pain, nail patella, seizures, multiple sclerosis and muscle spasms may be permitted to use, possess and cultivate marijuana. In addition, qualified patients may possess about 2.5 ounces of marijuana, and they may cultivate a maximum of 12 marijuana plants in a locked facility.

12. Marijuana laws in Montana

The Initiative 148 was approved by voters in 2004, and it was amended on May 3, 2011. The bill changes the procedure included in the application process, which requires patients to obtain an ID card issued by the state. Another physician is also required to attest and confirm the patient’s chronic pain or other medical conditions. The maximum number of marijuana plants that may be cultivated by qualified patients is 12 seedlings, four mature plants, and an ounce of ready-to-use marijuana.

13. Marijuana laws in Nevada

The law took effect in 2001, and it removes any state-level criminal penalty on the possession, cultivation and use of marijuana for medical purposes. However, this law is only applicable to patients who have a written document from their doctors, which states that the drug is recommended as a treatment option for the medical condition. The different approved conditions include glaucoma, AIDS, cachexia, cancer, chronic pain, and seizures. Other ailments are subject to the approval of the Nevada Department of Human Resources. Qualified individuals may register at the Department, so they may be issued an identification card.

The law was amended during the last quarter of the same year, and there is a required state registry for qualified patients who were recommended by their physicians to use medical marijuana. Moreover, the Department of Motor Vehicles was tasked to issue identification cards to these patients.

14. Marijuana laws in New Jersey

The Senate Bill 119 was signed into law by Governor Jon Corzine, in 2010. The law protects qualified patients who are advised to use marijuana as treatment for symptoms linked with medical conditions. It also established alternative treatment centers in the state, with two each in the southern, northern and central regions of Nevada. Approved medical conditions include glaucoma, intractable skeletal muscular spasticity, cachexia, multiple sclerosis, HIV, cancer, AIDS, inflammatory bowel disease, muscular dystrophy, and other conditions approved by the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services. Furthermore, physicians are responsible for determining the amount of marijuana needed by the patient, and the doctor’s prescription should be presented to the treatment center. For a period of 30 days, the maximum amount is two ounces of usable marijuana.

On August 9, 2012, there was a new rule that required patients to obtain a physician’s recommendation, proof of NJ residency and an identification card issued by the government. Two months after, the Department of Health established the first dispensary permit, to the Greenleaf Compassion Center, which served as an alternative treatment center.

15. Marijuana laws in New Mexico

The Senate Bill 523 was effective on July 1, 2007, and it removed state-wide criminal penalties on the possession and use of medical marijuana. The Department of Health in New Mexico also designated to register patients, health care providers and caregivers to this program. The law also currently considers 15 qualifying conditions for medical marijuana, which include Crohn’s disease, ALS, multiple sclerosis, intractable vomiting, chronic pain, cancer, glaucoma, damages to the spinal cord nervous issue, AIDS/ HIV, epilepsy and hospice patients. The maximum amount of cannabis that qualified patients may possess is six ounces, four mature marijuana plants, and 12 seedlings.

16. Marijuana laws in Oregon

In 1998, the Ballot Measure 67 was approved by 55 percent of the voters in the state. This law removes the state-wide penalties on the use, cultivation and possession of medical marijuana by patients. This only applies to those who have a written and signed recommendation from physicians, which state that the drug may aid in their serious medical condition. The Oregon Department of Human Resources has enumerated approved medical conditions that include glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, epilepsy, cachexia, seizures, multiple sclerosis and muscle spasms. Registered patients may possess a maximum of six marijuana plants and 24 oz. of dried marijuana.

17. Marijuana laws in Rhode Island

The Senate Bill 0710 (SB 0710) was approved by the Senate and State House. Although it was vetoed by the governor, it was over-ridden by the Senate and the House. Qualified patients include individuals who have a written document from their physicians, which indicate the use of marijuana in alleviating symptoms linked with various medical conditions. Among the approved conditions are Hepatitis C, HIV, AIDS, cancer, glaucoma, Crohn’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Those who hold a medical marijuana registry ID from other states, District of Columbia and any U.S territory may use the card in Rhode Island.

18. Marijuana laws in Vermont

The Senate Bill 76 was passed into law by Government James Douglas, and it took effect on May 30,

2007. The law indicates that patients who suffer from approved conditions are protected from criminal penalties for possession of marijuana. These medical conditions include AIDS, HIV, multiple sclerosis, cancer, and debilitating condition. Patients are mandated to register at the Vermont Department of Public Safety, and the registration fee is $50. Furthermore, Vermont does not recognize or accept registry ID cards obtained in other states.

19 Marijuana laws in Washington

In 1998, the marijuana law in the state removes criminal penalties on the use and possession of
marijuana by qualified patients, as long as they possess a valid documentation from their physician. The document indicates that the doctor affirms the patient’s debilitating condition and that he or she may obtain the therapeutic benefits of medical marijuana.

However, on November 6, 2012, the use of recreational marijuana was allowed in Washington. The maximum amount of marijuana for personal possession was 28.5 grams, and it is legal for individuals who are at least 21 years old. Furthermore, the state will permit the legal selling and taxing of cannabis to licensed stores.


18 Legal Medical Marijuana States Information-

State Medical Marijuana Laws –