Medicinal marijuana can help with a host of ailments, like epilepsy and insomnia, but where can you get it? Here's a list of the U.S. states that have legalized medical marijuana.
Over the past 24 years, medicinal marijuana legalization has spread throughout the U.S. like wildfire, to the point that now 33 out of 50 U.S. states have legalized the plant for medical uses.
While cannabis was once stigmatized and referred to as "Devil's lettuce," the drug has since proven to be tremendously effective in alleviating a host of medical conditions, such as epilepsy, chronic pain, insomnia, inflammation and more.
Medical cannabis was first made legal in California in 1996, after the approval of Proposition 215, though medical marijuana entered the mainstream following the case of Charlotte Fiji in 2011. Charlotte had been diagnosed with Dravet Syndrome—a rare form of early-onset epilepsy—which would cause her to have up to 350 seizures a week by the age of five. Despite being on an array of pharmaceutical drugs, Charlotte was unfortunately in the one-third of people diagnosed with epilepsy who don't respond to available medication.
After trying a host of pharmaceutical drugs to no success, Charlotte's parents tried CBD oil, and to their shock, her seizures stopped. Suddenly, Charlotte went from up to 350 grand mal seizures a week, to about four seizures a month. Charlotte's amazing story gained the attention of CNN, who produced a documentary about her called 'Weed,' and the rest was history.
From there, the FDA would approve the very first cannabis-derived drug, known as Epidiolex, which was used to treat rare forms of epilepsy such as Charlotte's.
With all that in mind, let's take a look at where medical marijuana is legal in the United States.
Where is medical marijuana legal in the U.S.?
As we mentioned previously, medical marijuana is legal in 33 U.S. states, and recreational cannabis is legal in 11 states, with Illinois being the most recent state to legalize the plant for recreational consumption. Furthermore, thanks to the passage of the Farm Bill in 2018, hemp-derived products are legal to cultivate and consume, provided they contain no greater than 0.3% THC content. This means that even in states where medical marijuana isn't permissible, you will be able to purchase a hemp-derived CBD product
Though if you want a product containing THC, you'll have to visit these states:
Medical marijuana was made legal in Alaska as a result of the passage of Measure 8 in 1998, which gained the favor of 58% of voters. Though similar to Washington's legalization of medical marijuana, Alaska's Measure 8 did not allow for medical cannabis dispensaries. This meant that patients had to grow their own cannabis up until 2014 when Measure 2 would be passed.
Measure 2 legalized recreational cannabis possession, consumption and distribution, and got the ball rolling for dispensaries. Though the first dispensary didn't emerge in Alaska until October 2016, and to this day, no medical provisions exist around marijuana in Alaska. For medical patients, they'll have to visit their nearest dispensary just like anyone else.
In 2010, Arizona legalised the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes. Proposition 203 was approved with a slither of a majority of 50.1%, allowing patients with a doctor's prescription to possess up to two and a half ounces of cannabis.
However, Proposition 203 also limited the total number of medicinal dispensaries to 124, with home cultivation rendered illegal unless the patient lives more than 25 miles from a registered dispensary. Qualified patients living more than 25 miles from a dispensary are able to legally home grow up to 12 plants.
Arkansas voters approved the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment (AMMA), or Issue 6, with 53% of the vote on Nov. 8, 2016. The law allows seriously ill patients to obtain and consume medical marijuana with a doctor's approval and establishes licenses for state cultivation facilities and dispensaries.
After the Arkansas Supreme Court in June 2018 reversed a Pulaski County Circuit judge's decision three months earlier to block the issuing of licenses, the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission has since awarded licenses to five cultivation companies. In August 2018, the commission chose Public Consulting Group to grade more than 200 dispensary applications it has received and chose 32 businesses to sell under Arkansas' marijuana laws.
Cannabis is indeed legal for medical use in California, and has been since 1996. California has been pushing the envelope with regards to medical cannabis legalization as early as 1972 when the state first attempted to legalize the plant through a ballot initiative named Proposition 19. While the initiative was unsuccessful, it was representative of California's forward-thinking nature, which came to fruition in 1996 through the Compassionate Use Act known as Proposition 215.
Patients suffering from Cancer, AIDs, Chronic Pain, Epilepsy, Arthritis and a host of other symptoms can be legally prescribed cannabis by their physician.
On November 7, 2000, a majority of voters in Colorado approved Amendment 20, which allowed for the use of medical marijuana in the state for patients approved by a physician. The law allowed patients to possess up to two ounces of medical marijuana and cultivate up to six marijuana plants. Five years after the passage of Amendment 20, The Colorado Compassion Club was opened, which became the very first medical cannabis dispensary in Colorado.
Additionally, as many will know, Colorado went on to become the first state in the U.S. to legalize recreational cannabis, alongside Washington, with the Colorado Amendment 64 in November 2012.
Connecticut legalised medical marijuana as "An Act Concerning the Palliative Use of Marijuana" in May 2012. Now, Connecticut has just over 37,000 registered patients, a drastic increase from roughly 8000 patients back in 2016. Patients can purchase, possess, and consume marijuana in the form of flower, edibles, concentrates, topicals, and tinctures from a licenced dispensary. The possession limit caps at 2.5 ounces (56.7 grams) per month as prescribed by the patient's physician.
Home cultivation is strictly prohibited. Patients are only permitted to purchase medical marijuana from their designated dispensary. Making/manufacturing edibles are also prohibited and must be purchased from a dispensary.
There are currently 17 medical dispensaries in Connecticut and can cater to over 30 medical conditions. Conditions such as cancer, cachexia, ALS, and multiple sclerosis are quite common across other states. Connecticut, however, also provides medical marijuana for conditions such as Cystic Fibrosis, Cerebral Palsy, and Sickle cell disease.
Medical marijuana is indeed legal in D.C., though similar to a lot of other U.S. states, legalization wasn't an easy process. In as early as 1998, a voter-approved ballot was introduced known as Initiative 59 which sought to legalize medicinal cannabis in the U.S. Capital State. The initiative passed with a 69% majority voting in favour of it in November 1998, though it would take over a decade before Initiative 59 could be properly implemented.
An amendment known as the Barr Amendment, after congressman Bob Barr who introduced it, successfully impeded the commencement of the medical marijuana program for the proceeding decade, until eventually being overturned in 2009.
Following the overturn of the Barr Amendment, the District of Columbia Council passed a bill legalizing medical marijuana in 2010, making medicinal marijuana legal as of January 1st, 2011.
Slowly, dispensaries began opening in DC, and the first medical marijuana sale finally occurred in DC in 2013. Patients suffering from HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, cancer, and other qualifying conditions can seek doctor approval to gain access to medicinal marijuana products, Under D.C.'s medicinal marijuana program, patients can legally buy up to four ounces of marijuana every month.
Medical Marijuana is indeed legal in Florida, provided it is approved by a professional, and you have a qualifying condition.
Florida first legalized medicinal cannabis in 2016 through it's Right to Try act which allowed terminally ill patients to gain access to medicinal cannabis. Though shortly after, that same year, the State legalized medicinal cannabis for a wider array of non-fatal conditions.
At the time, patients were only allowed to consume cannabis oils, pills or vaporize cannabis products, though this changed in 2019 with the passage of Bill SB 182, which allowed Floridian medical marijuana patients to smoke cannabis to alleviate their symptoms.
Hawaii legalized medicinal cannabis in 2000, through Act 228 which was signed into law by the Hawaiian governor at the time, Ben Cayetano which enabled medical marijuana cardholders to cultivate their own cannabis should they wish to consume it.
However, it wasn't until 2015 that the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Program would be created, establishing a network of cannabis dispensaries and a ready supply of cannabis for medical patients who didn't wish to cultivate their own. There are now 13 licensed retail dispensaries in the State of Hawaii, and as of May 31st last year, there were 26,125 valid Hawaiian medical marijuana patients.
Illinois legalised medicinal marijuana on January 1st in 2014 as a trial period which was recently extended until at least July 2020. The twentieth state to legalise medical cannabis, Illinois also allows for the cultivation of marijuana plants in patients' homes.
There have been approximately 100,000 patients enrolled in the state's opioid and cannabis programs since their inception. The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act requires qualifying patients to register and obtain a valid identification card. To qualify, patients must be diagnosed by a physician as having a debilitating medical condition. This includes serious conditions such as multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, hepatitis C and cancer, but also covers ailments such as post-traumatic stress disorder and residual limb pain.
In 2016, Louisiana became the first South-eastern state to implement a medical cannabis program. However, after several delays and amendments, marijuana did not become available to patients until August 2019.
Unlike most states, there is no official medical marijuana registry in Louisiana. If a patient's condition qualifies for medicinal marijuana, it is up to the discretion of their physician to recommend a form and dosage. Once organised, the patient will collect the supply from their nearest dispensary. Conditions can include, seizure, spasms, intractable pain, and glaucoma.
Patients may purchase and possess up to a 30-day supply of non-smokable cannabis as prescribed by their physician and pick it up from one of nine medical dispensaries. Home cultivation of the plant is strictly prohibited. Any cannabis purchased must be done through the patient's physician. There are currently nine dispensaries divided into regions across the state.
Medical marijuana was made legal in Maine in 1999 when a 62% majority of voters approved of legalizing the plant, which allowed for patients suffering from severe conditions to legally consume weed.
Then, a decade later, voters passed the Maine Medical Marijuana Initiative, which built upon the previous legislation, and decriminalized cannabis possession of up to 2.5 ounces, or 70.9 grams. The same vote that allowed for the passage of the Maine Medical Marijuana Initiative also led to the founding of the Maine Medical use of Marijuana Program (MMMP) which created a non-profit network of cannabis cultivators and dispensaries.
Now, Maine citizens who have a qualifying condition can be prescribed an MMMP identification card, which they can use to at a dispensary to acquire the necessary cannabis strain or product to improve their conditions.
In 2014, Maryland's House Bill 881 passed legislation to implement the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC). The MMCC regulates distributions, possession, cultivation, and consumption of medical marijuana in patients 18 years and over. However, the first sale of medicinal marijuana didn't occur until 2017.
Patients can nominate up to two caregivers and can only purchase cannabis from one of the state-licensed dispensaries in the state. Currently, there are 102 approved dispensary applications in Maryland, with over 80 operational dispensaries serving almost 100,000 registered patients.
Patients can possess up to 4.23 ounces (120 grams) of dried cannabis at once; and up to 1.27 ounces (36 grams) of concentrated THC per month. Edibles and all cannabis concentrated foods and beverages are prohibited. However, patients and caregivers are not allowed to home cultivate the plant.
Unlike other states, eligible conditions are restricted to cachexia; severe chronic pain, nausea, and spasms; PTSD; Glaucoma; and hospice care.
Massachusetts legalized medical marijuana in November 2012, when 63% of voters approved the Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Initiative. The initiative removed penalties for marijuana possession to those who had been issued a medical marijuana card by a physician, while also allowing for up to 35 non-profit dispensaries in the state.
According to the State's government website, there are 59,288 active patients currently enrolled in the Massachusetts Medical Marijuana program.
Michigan legalized medical cannabis in 2008 through the voter-approved Michigan Compassionate Care Initiative. The initiative allowed patients who were approved by a physician to possess up to two and a half ounces of cannabis for the treatment of certain qualifying medical conditions, though it didn't legally allow dispensaries within the state. Despite this, roughly 100 dispensaries cropped up over the next few years, with legislators uncertain in how they would proceed.
As a result, in 2016, the Governor of Michigan Rick Snyder approved a bill which allowed for the operation and taxation of cannabis dispensaries for medical patients, while also expanding the range of acceptable form factors beyond the raw flower material. This allowed cannabis edibles and oils to be made legal in Michigan.
As of July 2019, there were an estimated 284,088 medical marijuana patients in Michigan.
In 2014, the Minnesota Medical Cannabis Act was signed, making Minnesota the 23rd state to legalise medical marijuana. From 2018, patients with qualifiable conditions can purchase cannabis in the form of liquid, topical cream, pill, or vape. The plant itself remains illegal so smokable cannabis is unavailable.
Approved conditions include HIV/AIDS, terminal illness, obstructive sleep apnoea, and seizures. In 2019, state laws added chronic pain and Age-related macular degeneration to the list of conditions, taking effect in August 2020. The Minnesota Health Department also expanded product options to include water-soluble and orally dissolvable cannabis-based products.
Patient Possession limits are set on a 30-day supply as prescribed by a physician, however, only in the form listed above.
As the plant is still illegal, home cultivation is strictly prohibited in the state of Minnesota. Patients can only purchase cannabis forms from one of eight dispensaries; however, eight more dispensaries will be available by December 2020.
Montana legalized medical marijuana in 2004 through a ballot initiative known as the Montana Medical Marijuana Allowance, or I-148, which passed with close to 62% approval.
There were subsequent attempts to repeal I-148, with the Senate enacting strict measures upon medical marijuana and the qualifying conditions to acquire it in 2011. These measures were once again loosened in 2016, with the Montana Medical Marijuana Initiative, that allowed for conditions such as PTSD to qualify patients.
An estimated 30,000 patients are registered to use medical cannabis in Montana.
Medical marijuana is legal in Nevada and has been for close to two decades. In 1998, Nevada voters approved the Nevada Medical Marijuana Act, which was again approved in 2000. The Act needed to go through two consecutive elections in order to be made into law as it required a constitutional amendment.
Finally, in October 2001, medical use marijuana was officially legalized, allowing adults aged 21 and over to possess up to two and a half ounces of cannabis.
Home cultivators can grow up to twelve mature plants, though there are restrictions for those who live within 25 miles of a cannabis dispensary. Currently, it's estimated that Nevada has 17,623 registered patients.
New Jersey became the 14th state to legalise medical marijuana under the "Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act" in 2010. In 2012, the state's first dispensary opened for patients. There are currently 18 approved conditions to qualify patients for registration, including opioid dependency, dysmenorrhea (severe menstrual cramps), anxiety, and seizures. The most common reason for medical marijuana is chronic pain.
Patients are permitted to possess up to three ounces within 30 days. Patients are also allowed to nominate a caregiver that can assist in obtaining cannabis on the patient's behalf. The state of New Jersey strictly prohibits the home cultivation of the plant. Patients must purchase medicinal marijuana from any of the seven dispensaries currently serving over 60,000 patients.
New Hampshire became the 19th state to legalise medical marijuana in 2013.
Currently, the Therapeutic Cannabis Program (TCP) recognises 25 conditions for eligible use of medicinal cannabis, including Lupus, ALS, Muscular Dystrophy, and traumatic brain injury. Patients are allowed to possess up to two ounces (56.7 grams) of cannabis or cannabis-based products within 10 days.
Patients are not permitted to cultivate the plant at home and can only purchase cannabis-based products from one of the five state-licensed dispensaries.
Prior to 2018 New Hampshire had four state-licensed dispensaries, one in each region. In 2018 however, the state passed a law that allowed an additional 'satellite' dispensary to open in each region. Currently, there are five operational dispensaries. This decision was based on a 32% patient application increase between June 2018 and October 2019.
The new dispensaries will likely reduce patient 'travel burden' and increase sale growth as a result.
Medical marijuana was made legal in New York in 2016, under Mayor Bill de Blasio, for those suffering from chronic pain, seizures, HIV, nausea, Parkinsons, Epilepsy, Multiple Sclerosis, PTSD and several other symptoms. It should be noted, however, that smoking in public remains illegal even for medicinal purposes, so most patients will opt for alternative form factors that aren't smokeable like tinctures or capsules.
New Yorkers who wish to use medical marijuana need to obtain medical records that confirm they have one or more of the aforementioned conditions, before seeing a practitioner who is registered to the States medical marijuana program who may then issue that citizen with a medical marijuana card. While recreational cannabis isn't yet legal in New York, lawmakers have introduced a bill in attempts to push it through amid the coronavirus crisis.
After being illegal since 1933, the North Dakota Compassionate Care Act passed in 2016.
Patients were able to apply for a medical marijuana card for thirteen conditions, including cancer, HIV/AIDS, chronic pain, Glaucoma, PTSD, and brain injuries. In April 2019, an amendment to the law allowed an additional twelve conditions to be considered eligible. This included conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, endometriosis, anxiety, anorexia nervosa, and Tourette syndrome.
There are currently almost 2000 cardholder's in North Dakota and three dispensaries in North Dakota. The first state-licenced dispensary opened in Fargo in March 2019 (although it is temporarily closed due to COVID-19).
Cultivation laws were amended in 2017, making it illegal for patients to cultivate the plant at home. There are only two registered facilities in North Dakota that can grow cannabis legally.
The allowance for purchasing cannabis is different depending on the condition. Patients and caregivers holding a 'standard' card can purchase up to 71 grams within a 30-day-period.
Medical Marijuana became legalised in Ohio in 2016.
There are currently 21 conditions eligible for medicinal marijuana, including chronic pain, bowel disease, fibromyalgia, and Alzheimer's. Similar to Minnesota laws, cannabis use is restricted to forms such as oils, tinctures, topical creams, capsules, edibles, and vaping. The state currently prohibits smoking cannabis.
Patients are not allowed to cultivate the plant from home and must purchase cannabis products from a state-licensed dispensary. Patients and caregivers are allowed to purchase up to a 90-day supply of cannabis. This limit includes one-tenth of an ounce of plant material; 296 mg of THC contained in a patch, ointment or cream; 110g of THC contained in oil, tincture, capsule or edible; and 590mg of THC of oil for vaporisation.
As of April 2020, there are currently 51 open medical dispensaries in Ohio.
When the Medical Marijuana Legalisation Initiative passed in 2018, Oklahoma became the 30th state to have legalised medicinal cannabis. Already, Oklahoma has become the front-runner for number of dispensaries in the U.S. with 2,200 dispensaries to cater to almost 180,000 registered patients.
Patients are required to apply for a medicinal marijuana license online with a certificate from their physician. Unlike most states, Oklahoma's laws state that the eligibility for cannabis therapy is up to the discretion of the patient's physician. There are also no purchase limits for patients.
Allowances, however, for possession is restricted to three ounces (85.04 grams) of cannabis dry flower. Patients are also allowed one ounce of cannabis concentrates and 72 ounces of edibles. Eight ounces of cannabis can be kept in the patient's residence.
Patients are permitted to cultivate up to six mature cannabis plants within their residence and six seedlings. Caregivers are also permitted to cultivate on the patient's behalf.
Medical marijuana in Oregon is legal thanks to the passage of Ballot Measure 67 in November 1998. Measure 67 modified state law to allow the cultivation, possession, and use of marijuana by prescription by patients with certain medical conditions. Patients with one or more qualifying illnesses and a doctor's recommendation are able to apply for registration with the program, in order to receive a Medical Marijuana Card. Oregon citizens with a Medical Marijuana Card are allowed to possess up to 1.5 pounds of marijuana at a time.
Much like other states, qualifying conditions in Oregon are severe pain, nausea, epilepsy, HIV/AIDS, cancer, glaucoma and Alzheimer's disease.
Medical Marijuana became legal in the state of Pennsylvania in April 2016. The purchasing of medicinal marijuana in state-licensed dispensaries is restricted to Pennsylvania residents.
Under state law, patients and caregivers can purchase up to a 30-day supply of oils, tinctures, ointments, and liquids. In 2018, the state allowed patients to purchase cannabis in its plant form. Caregivers can transport cannabis on the patient's behalf, however, cannabis must be within the 30-day supply limits, and kept in a sealed container, and out of immediate reach.
There are currently 21 conditions that are eligible for medical marijuana, including opioid dependency, Huntington's disease, Parkinson's disease, and PTSD.
While consumption is restricted to the patient's home, the home cultivation of the plant is strictly prohibited.
Up to 50 dispensaries have been approved under state law. Click here for location details.
Medical Marijuana has been legal in the state of Puerto Rico since 2015.
There are over 20 conditions that are eligible for patient registration including anxiety, epilepsy, insomnia, spinal cord injuries, and depression. Patients can purchase up to a 30-day supply of cannabis-based products in the form of oils, edibles, capsules, suppositories, and topical creams. Like Minnesota and Ohio state laws, smokable cannabis remains prohibited.
Home cultivation is not permitted by patients, however, there are currently 40 dispensaries located around the island. Overall, there are a total of 77 approved licenses. As of July 2019, there are 92,000 registered patients with numbers continuing to grow.
Rhode Island legalised medicinal cannabis back in 2006, making it the 11th U.S. state to do so.
Under the laws, regulated by the Rhode Island Department of Health (DOH) Medical Marijuana Program, patients can apply to register to be a cardholder if they have obtained a written form by GP and one of the eligible conditions. There are thirteen eligible conditions, including persistent muscle spasms, cancer, HIV/AIDS, Glaucoma, seizures, and chronic pain.
Cultivation is permitted, within the one, indoor facility. Patients can have up to 12 plants and 12 seedlings. Patients are also allowed to share a facility in both residential and non-residential facilities under altered conditions. Possession of cannabis is restricted to 2.5 ounces.
There are currently three state-licenced dispensaries in Rhode Island. As of March 2020, The Department of Business Regulation (DBR) is expected to reveal an application period for an additional six dispensaries to serve almost 20,000 registered patients.
Technically speaking, medical marijuana is legal in Texas – though there are some catches.
In 2015, the state passed the Compassionate Use Act, which allowed for the prescription of medicinal marijuana for those suffering from "intractable epilepsy."
Now, here's the rub; in order to be prescribed medicinal cannabis, you must first be a permanent resident of Texas, and you also need to have attempted to treat your condition with two other antiepileptic drugs before seeking a physicians approval. Once you've gone through all that, you'll need a second physician's approval, and then you may then be prescribed "low-THC cannabis" that contains equal to, or less than 0.5% THC content.
For those aware of the weed laws in the US, you'll realize this is a pretty negligible amount of THC, especially given that hemp containing up to 0.3% THC is already federally legal throughout the United States. In short, while medicinal marijuana is technically legal in Texas, if you truly need it, you're better off looking in another state.
Utah became the 33rd state to approve medicinal cannabis for patients in December 2018 under Proposition 2.
The law, however, received backlash from religious groups, leading to a compromise that tightened regulations for production, distribution, and use of the plant.
In September 2019, the law was amended to approve 14 state-licenced dispensaries in Utah, the first of which opened in March 2020. Several more dispensaries have opened since then and the remaining will likely open after July.
Currently, eligible conditions like Alzheimer's, HIV/AIDS, cancer, Crohn's disease, PTSD, epilepsy, chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, and severe/persistent nausea. The law also includes terminally ill and hospice care patients. Patients can nominate up to two caregivers that can buy, transport, and help facilitate administration.
Patients can purchase up to a 30-day supply of regulated medicinal cannabis. Possession is restricted to 113 grams (4 ounces) of raw cannabis with no more than 20grams of THC.
Medicinal Marijuana became legal in Vermont in 2004, making it the ninth state to legalise the plant.
Under the new law, any patient with a "debilitating illness" could no longer be penalised for possessing or cultivating marijuana. Patients were required to register for a Marijuana card, allowing them to possess up to two ounces of useable cannabis and cultivate two mature plants.
In 2007, eligible conditions were expanded to include cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, cachexia, severe pain, severe nausea, and seizures. Caregivers and patients were also allowed to cultivate an additional seven immature plants. In 2017, Crohn's disease, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Parkinson's disease were now also classified as eligible conditions.
In June 2011, the development of four state-licenced dispensaries was authorised. Currently, there are five dispensaries in Vermont with 5,209 medicinal marijuana patients registered. A sixth licence will be announced when this number increases to 7000.
Virginia was one of the first states to legalize medical marijuana in 1979. However, even today, the state medical marijuana laws are restrictive. Patients can access THC and CBD-based oils for conditions like epilepsy, spasm-related ailments, and chronic pain. However any smokable products and the flower itself are still illegal.
Over the years, patients have faced obstacles around obtaining and possessing medical marijuana. However, in 2018, a bill was signed to expand access to Virginians. In doing so, medical marijuana treatment covered the prescription for any ailment under practitioner recommendation. Furthermore, in July 2020, the state decriminalized the possession of marijuana in small amounts. The maximum penalty for possession of up to one ounce is now $25.
Patients must be registered with the Board of Pharmacy, applications for registration require a written certificate from their practitioner to apply. Patients can possess up to a 90-day supply of medical cannabis oils which can be obtained at state-approved pharmacy processors. Consumption of medical marijuana is restricted to private residences.
Medical marijuana is legal in Washington, however, the State's history with cannabis has been colorful, to say the least. In 1979, the Washington Court recognized the medicinal benefits of cannabis in the case of a man with Multiple Sclerosis, who overturned his conviction of cannabis possession due to the severity of his condition and his need to use cannabis to alleviate symptoms.
Though it wouldn't be until 1998 that medical cannabis would even be decriminalized, as a result of the passage of Initiative 692, which allowed physicians to recommend medical marijuana to patients with terminal or debilitating illnesses including: chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, glaucoma and several other conditions. Patients with a qualifying condition were able to get a note from their doctor which allowed them to possess up to 24 ounces of usable marijuana and no more than fifteen plants. Though at the time, dispensaries remained illegal, and so Washington citizens needed to cultivate plants themselves if they wished to consume medical cannabis.
For the next fourteen years, Washingtonians would continue to cultivate their own cannabis, until November 2012, Initiative 502 was approved. The initiative legalized the production, possession, delivery, and distribution of marijuana. From that point forward, dispensaries began to open and the medical marijuana landscape really opened up in Washington.
The West Virginia Medical Act came into law in 2017. Because of several obstacles, the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Commission did not begin to certify patients of cannabis use until 2019. Until the program is in full operation, regulations and application processing is completed by the West Virginia Bureau of Health.
The state acknowledges 16 conditions eligible for cannabis use including, PTSD, chronic pain, spinal cord damage, and neuropathies. Patients can purchase and possess cannabis in the form of pills, creams, oils, tinctures, and liquids. Dry-leaf is available but only "in non-whole-plant forms" through vaporisation; smoking cannabis remains illegal in the state. Edibles are not permitted for purchase; however, patients are allowed to make them within their own residence. Patients may possess no more than a 30-day supply and can only purchase from the Bureau of Health approved dispensaries.
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