Tuesday, July 8, 2014
Yesterday, Americans for Safe Access released this detailed new report (PDF) on state medical marijuana laws. Among its many helpful features is a chart with a comprehensive state-by-state comparison of the conditions for which a patient can obtain medical marijuana (on page 6.) It is sure to be helpful for legal researchers and medical marijuana patients alike.
From the report's introduction:
Until recently, counting medical cannabis states boiled down to a ”yes or no” analysis – either a state had some kind of medical cannabis law, or it did not. That simple analysis is no longer enough to understand the evolving landscape for medical cannabis in the United States. The laws are simply too different, and not all function as intended. At Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the nation’s leading medical cannabis patients’ advoca- cy organization, we have more than a dozen years of experience in state policy devel- opment and implementation. Our experience shows that not all medical cannabis laws are working equally for the patients they were designed to serve. We need a new way to talk about and evaluate state medical cannabis laws.
The report also gives each state a "grade," calculated by looking at a wide range of factors--from the extent to which the law protects patients from arrest to whether the state ensures consumer safety by requiring testing and labeling of medical marijuana. From the report:
After hosting scores of community forums across the U.S. to obtain input from patients on what issues are most important to them, ASA created a matrix to deconstruct med- ical cannabis laws in order to evaluate and grade each component based on patient needs.
So, which state has the best medical marijuana law (in ASA's estimation)? Maine comes out on top with a "B" (and a point score of 339). The only other state to get a "B" grade was Rhode Island, though California and Washington each get a "B-".
Disclosure: I currently serve on ASA's Board of Directors, though I was not involved in the writing of ASA's new report.