More Legal Weed For Those In Need
The one good thing to come out of this year’s election is all the legal weed. Four different states passed medical marijuana measures on election day. The voters of Arkansas, North Dakota, Florida, and Montana have spoken. They want medical marijuana for their suffering patients and they want to make it accessible. Seven states in total legalized some form of marijuana but we’ll focus on those who really need weed first. States like North Dakota are dipping their toes into the medical marijuana world for the first time. However, Florida, Arkansas and Montana have already had medical marijuana and are looking to improve their mmj laws.
Florida (Amendment 2)
Florida’s medical marijuana measure passed two years ago with 58% of the vote. The Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act allowed certain patients with debilitating conditions access to medical marijuana. However, the act required patients be provided with cannabis that is low in THC. The lack of the main psychoactive ingredient means Florida’s cannabis carried less medicinal effects than the cannabis in other states. On the bright side, patients in Florida will now be allowed to obtain full strength marijuana.
“This is a major tipping point,” said Tom Angell of Florida’s vote. “With Florida’s decision, a majority of states in the U.S. now have laws allowing patients to find relief with medical marijuana, and these protections and programs are no longer concentrated in certain regions of the country like the West and Northeast.”
Montana has had medical marijuana laws for over a decade. In 2011, the laws changed making it more difficult for patients to find a dispensary. It also made it harder for dispensaries to remain open because they could only have 3 patients. Initiative 182 just passed granting Montana medical marijuana patients easier access to their medicine. There is no longer a 3 patient limit so dispensaries will be encouraged to open up and serve the thousands of MT patients in need medicine.
Arkansas (Issue 6)
Arkansas voters decided between two different initiatives. The Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act and the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment. The main difference between the two was in the number of dispensaries allowed. The amendment ended up passing with 53% of the vote and 46% voting against it. The AK Department of Health has been given 120 days to adopt the new rules from the amendment. There will be labeling and testing standards for marijuana distributed to patients. Once the new law is in place there will be 56 qualifying conditions for medical marijuana in AK.
North Dakota (Measure 5)
North Dakota’s medical marijuana measure passed with flying colors. The initiative had about 64% support from state voters. Patients suffering from AIDS/HIV, PTSD, epilepsy, glaucoma, and more will be able to register for medical marijuana in ND now. Possession of 3 ounces is allowed for patients and cultivation of 8 plants is allowed for those who over 40 miles away from a dispensary.
More than half of the United States have access to medical marijuana now. Prior to the election there were 25 states, there are now 28 with some type of medical marijuana law in place. There’s good news for those who don’t necessarily need weed too. A quarter of the nation now has access to recreational marijuana!