Nine states have passed Medical MJ initiatives in the US: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Oregon, Nevada and Washington.
Arizona and California voters approved medical marijuana laws in 1996.
Alaska, Oregon and Washington voters approved laws in 1998.
Maine voters approved their medical marijuana initiative in 1999.
Colorado and Nevada voters approved medical marijuana laws in 2000.
Hawaii voters approved their medical marijuana laws in 2000.
District of Columbia voters approved an initiative in 1998 with 69 percent of the vote, but Congress overrode the law.
State Initiatives: A Closer Look
The Alaska proposal allows patients to legally possess up to one ounce of marijuana or cultivate three mature plants for medical use with a doctor's recommendation. Patients are encouraged to enroll in a confidential registry where they will be issued a state identification card indicating they may legally possess medical marijuana. Those who do not register, or who choose to cultivate or possess larger amounts of marijuana than specified by the initiative guidelines, still qualify to raise the affirmative defense of medical necessity against any state criminal charges. Patients who suffer from cancer, glaucoma, HIV positive or AIDS wasting syndrome, cachexia, severe pain, severe nausea, seizures (including epilepsy, muscle spasms and multiple sclerosis), or any other illness approved by the state Department of Health and Social Services are covered under the state law.
Arizona's law states that physicians may prescribe marijuana to patients when they have a second doctor's concurring opinion. However, because the law conflicts with federal law prohibiting doctors from prescribing any Schedule I drug. Few Arizona physicians are willing to recommend marijuana to patients. There are no set limits on how much a patient can cultivate or possess. Patients who suffer debilitating or life threatening conditions are covered under the state law.
California's law allows for the medical use of marijuana for patients who possess a doctor's recommendation and who suffer from cancer, anorexia, AIDS, chronic pain, glaucoma, arthritis, migraine, or any other illness for which marijuana provides relief. The law set no limits on how much marijuana a patient can possess or cultivate. An identification card is not necessary, but some localities have adopted such programs to further protect patients.
Colorado's law allows for the medical use of marijuana for patients who have a doctor's recommendation and who suffer from cancer, glaucoma, AIDS, chronic pain, cachexia, severe nausea and seizures including epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. Patients can possess no more than two ounces of marijuana or cultivate six marijuana plants (three mature). Patients must apply for a medical marijuana identification card.
Hawaii's medical marijuana law allows for the medical use of marijuana for patients who possess a medical recommendation and who suffer from such medical conditions as cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, a chronic or debilitating disease, wasting syndrome, severe pain, severe nausea, seizures, severe muscle spasms including multiple sclerosis, or any other medical condition approved by the department of health. Patients can possess up to three mature marijuana plants, four immature plants and one ounce of smokeable marijuana per each mature plant. Patients must register annually with the Hawaii Department of Public Safety.
The Maine medical marijuana law permits patients who have a medical recommendation from a doctor to legally smoke and possess marijuana. Patients who suffer from persistent nausea, vomiting, wasting syndromes or loss of appetite as a result of AIDS or chemotherapy for cancer, glaucoma and seizures associated with chronic, debilitating diseases such as multiple sclerosis are covered under the state law. Patients are allowed to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana or six marijuana plants (no more than three mature).
The Nevada medical marijuana law allows patients to use marijuana legally upon the recommendation of a doctor. Patients who suffer from cancer, glaucoma, AIDS, severe persistent nausea or cachexia resulting from these or other chronic or debilitating medical conditions, epilepsy and other disorders characterized by seizures and multiple sclerosis and other disorders characterized by spasticity are covered under the state law. The law provides for a confidential patients registry. Limits have not been determined as to how much a patient can possess.
The Oregon Medical Marijuana Act permits state registered patients who have received a physician's recommendation qualify to lawfully possess up to one ounce of marijuana or cultivate up to three mature plants. Patients who suffer from cancer, glaucoma, HIV positive or AIDS, cachexia, severe pain, severe nausea, seizures including but not limited to multiple sclerosis, or any other medical condition approved by the Health Division of the Oregon Department of Human Resources are covered under the state law. Non-registered patients, or those possessing greater amounts of medical marijuana, may assert the affirmative defense against criminal marijuana charges.
Washington's medical marijuana law allows patients who have a doctor's recommendation to possess up to a 60-day supply of marijuana. Patients who suffer from cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy or other seizure or spasticity disorders, intractable pain, glaucoma, Crohn's disease, or any other medical condition approved by the Washington State Medical Quality Assurance Board are covered under the state law.
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