Tuesday, August 28, 2018
Has anyone tracked how many times and how many ways state medical marijuana programs have been expanded after inception?
The question in the title of this post was my first reaction to the latest reports on the latest states to expand access to medical marijuana. This piece from Connecticut on this front is headlined "State Approves Use Of Medical Marijuana For Stubborn Headaches, 7 Other Conditions," and here are the basics:
Medical marijuana may now be prescribed in Connecticut to treat medication-resistant headaches, severe rheumatoid arthritis and several other new conditions, the Department of Consumer Protection announced Tuesday.
The state legislature’s Regulation Review Committee has updated the state’s medical marijuana program regulations to include eight new conditions for adults and two new conditions for patients under 18.
Today, also brings this similar news from Illinois, under the headline "Rauner signs medical marijuana expansion bill allowing drug as painkiller alternative," starting this way:
A measure that could dramatically expand access to medical marijuana in Illinois — making it available as an opioid painkiller replacement and easing the application process for all who qualify — was signed into law by Gov. Bruce Rauner on Tuesday....
No longer will any applicants have to be fingerprinted and undergo criminal background checks. And those who complete an online application with a doctor’s authorization will get a provisional registration to buy medical cannabis while they wait for state officials to make a final review of their request.
My sense is that this is a common reality that has found expression perhaps multiple time in multiple states: over time, states add qualifying conditions or reduce restriction on access to medical marijuana. I suspect someone somewhere is tracking these developments nationwide, and I think the pace and scope of amendments to state medical marijuana regimes would tell an interesting and significant modern reform story.