Medical Marijuana
Pros and Cons
Video exploring critical thinking and how it leads to great citizen involvement

1. Alabama 6. Iowa 11. Missouri 16. Pennsylvania
2. Arizona 7. Kansas 12. New Jersey 17. South Dakota
3. Delaware 8. Maryland 13. New York 18. Tennessee
4. District of Columbia 9. Massachusetts 14. North Carolina 19. Wisconsin
5. Illinois 10. Mississippi 15. Ohio 20. Virginia

19 states and DC considered legislation or ballot measures to legalize medical marijuana in 2010. Two states (Arizona and New Jersey) and DC legalized medical marijuana, while 17 states did not.

For more information about the states that have already legalized medical marijuana, visit our page on the legal medical marijuana states.

Law

Summary

History (last action date)

Outcome

1. Alabama
House Bill:
HB 207  (60 KB)
"This bill would authorize the medical use of marijuana only for certain qualifying patients who have been diagnosed by a physician as having a debilitating medical condition." Introduced by Rep. Todd and referred to the House of Representatives committee on Judiciary on Jan. 12, 2010; passed committee and sent to the full House on Apr. 7, 2010. Session adjourned with no vote, thus killing the legislation (Apr. 22, 2010) Failed
2. Arizona
Ballot Initiative:
Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (135 KB)
The Act would allow qualifying patients to use medical marijuana. It would also establish a registry identification program and set rules for nonprofit medical marijuana dispensaries. On June 1, 2010, the Secretary of State of Arizona certified the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act to appear on the ballot as Proposition 203 for the general election on Nov. 2, 2010. The Arizona Secretary of State certified the election results on Nov. 29, 2010, with a final count of 841,346 "yes" votes (50.13%) and 837,005 "no" votes (49.87%), making Arizona the 15th state to legalize medical marijuana. Passed
3. Delaware
Senate Bill:
SB 94  (110 KB)
"The Bill creates an exception to a state's criminal laws to permit the doctor-advised medical use of marijuana by patients with serious medical conditions...

Patients would be allowed to possess up to 6 ounces and to cultivate up to 12 plants for their medical use...

The Bill would also provide a medical necessity affirmative defense that patients who needed more marijuana than was provided for by rule or who did not possess their ID cards can raise in court."
Referred to Senate Health & Social Services Committee on May 13, 2009; Reported out of committee on June 3, 2009; Introduced to the Senate with amendments on June 23, 2009; Died when legislature adjourned without voting on it (June 30, 2009) Failed
 4. District of Columbia
"Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Treatment Amendment Act of 2010"
B18-622  (80KB)
The law establishes a medical marijuana program to "regulate the manufacture, cultivation, distribution, dispensing, purchase, delivery, sale, possession, and administration of medical marijuana and the manufacture, possession, purchase, sale, and use of paraphernalia. The Program shall be administered by the Mayor."

The maximum amount of medical marijuana that any qualifying patient or caregiver may possess at any moment is two ounces of dried medical marijuana. The Mayor may increase the quantity of dried medical marijuana that may be possessed up to four ounces; and shall decide limits on medical marijuana of a form other than dried.
Approved 13-0 by the Council of the District of Columbia on May 4, 2010; Signed by DC Mayor Adrian Fenty on May 21, 2010; Transmitted to Congress for mandatory Congressional Review Period on June 3, 2010.

The Congressional Review Period lasted until July 27, 2010 when Amendment Act B18-622 became law.
Passed
 5. Illinois
House Bill:
HB 2514  (100 KB)
"Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act: Provides that when a person has been diagnosed by a physician as having a debilitating medical condition, the person and the person's primary caregiver may be issued a registry identification card by the Department of Public Health that permits the person or the person's primary caregiver to legally possess no more than 7 dried cannabis plants and 2 ounces of dried usable cannabis." Passed the Human Services Committee on Mar. 3, 2009; Re-referred to the Rules Committee (Apr. 3, 2009)

SB 1381 arrived in the House after being passed by the Senate on May 27, 2009; Referred to Rules Committee then Human Services Committee on May 28, 2009; Re-referred to Rules Committee on Dec. 1, 2009; Approved for consideration by Rules Committee on Jan. 27, 2010; Recalled to second reading and standard debate on Jan. 29, 2010; Final action deadline extended on May 28, 2010; Re-referred to Rules Committee on May 28, 2010; Approved for Consideration by the Rules Committee and placed on calendar on Nov. 10, 2010; Amended and referred to Rules Committee on Nov. 12, 2010; Rules Committee recommended amendment be adopted on Nov. 15, 2010; Recalled to second reading for debate, amendment adopted by voice vote, and placed on the calendar for 3rd reading and debate on Nov. 16, 2010; Consideration postponed (Nov. 30, 2010)

A vote held on Nov. 30, 2010 failed to secure enough votes to pass (53 yes to 59 no), so bill sponsor Rep. Lou Lang (D) withdrew consideration before the vote was official. The bill was brought to a vote again on Jan. 6, 2011 and received 56 yes votes to 60 no votes. Rep. Lang expressed his intention to reintroduce the bill in the next session, which begins Jan. 12, 2011.
Failed
Senate Bill:
SB 1381  (398 KB)
"Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act: Provides that when a person has been diagnosed by a physician as having a debilitating medical condition, the person and the person's primary caregiver may be issued a registry identification card by the Department of Public Health that permits the person or the person's primary caregiver to legally possess no more than 7 dried cannabis plants and 2 ounces of dried usable cannabis." Passed the Public Health Committee on Mar. 26, 2009; Amendments added and referred Assignments Committee, then to Public Health Committee. Passed third reading by a vote of 30-28 (May 27, 2009)

Passed Senate, Failed in House

Law

Summary

History (last action date)

Outcome

 6. Iowa
Senate Bill:
SF 293  (215 KB)
"An Act creating the medical marijuana Act including the creation of compassion centers, and providing for civil and criminal penalties and fees." Referred to Human Resources Subcommittee on Mar. 4, 2009; failed to pass committee before deadline. Considered dead (Mar. 5, 2010) Failed
7. Kansas
House Bill:
HB 2610  (90 KB)
"An Act enacting the medical marijuana act; providing for the legal use of marijuana for certain debilitating medical conditions; providing for the registration and functions of compassion centers; authorizing the issuance of identification cards; providing for administration of the act by the department of health and environment." Introduced by Rep. Finney on Feb. 2, 2010; Referred to Health and Human Services committee on Feb. 3, 2010; Died in committee when legislature adjourned (May 28, 2010) Failed
8. Maryland
House Bill:
HB 712  (200 KB)
"Requiring the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to issue a specified request for proposals to select authorized growers of marijuana for medical use; providing for specified requirements of authorized growers; requiring the Department to establish a specified registration program to authorize specified entities to distribute marijuana for medical purposes; authorizing the Department to charge a reasonable fee for the issuance of a specified permit; etc." Introduced by Del. Morhaim and 47 co-sponsors on Feb. 4, 2010; First reading in Health & Government Operations Committee and Judiciary Committee on Feb. 4, 2010; Hearings held in the Judiciary and Health and Government Operations Committees on Feb. 26, 2010; Bill died in committee (Apr. 12, 2010) Failed
Senate Bill:
SB 627  (200 KB)
"Requiring the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to issue a specified request for proposals to select authorized growers of marijuana for medical use; providing for specified requirements of authorized growers; requiring the Department to establish a specified registration program to authorize specified entities to distribute marijuana for medical purposes; authorizing the Department to charge a reasonable fee for the issuance of a specified permit; etc." Introduced by Sen. Brinkley and nine co-sponsors on Feb. 5, 2010; First reading in Judicial Proceedings Committee on Feb. 5, 2010; Hearing held Mar. 18, 2010; Passed committee by a vote of 7-4 on Apr. 5, 2010; Passed the Senate by a vote of 35-12 (Apr. 10, 2010) Passed Senate, Failed in House
 9. Massachusetts
House Bill:
HB 2160  (120 KB)
"The Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Act" is "an Act to regulate the medical use of marijuana by patients approved by physicians and certified by the department of public health... It is the purpose of this act is to protect patients with debilitating medical conditions, as well as their practitioners and designated caregivers, from arrest and prosecution, criminal and other penalties, and property forfeiture if such patients engage in the medical use of marijuana." Referred to Joint Committee on Public Health on Jan. 20, 2009; Public hearing held on May 16, 2009; Bill referred to study on Mar. 16, 2009; Bill died when 186th Session (2009-2010) ended (Jan. 4, 2010) Failed
 10. Mississippi
Senate Bill:
SB 2606 (140 KB)
"An act to authorize the medical use of marihuana by seriously ill patients under a physician's supervision... to provide an exemption from criminal and civil penalties for the medical use of marihuana; to provide a legal defense for patients and primary caregivers..." Referred to Drug Policy Committee on Jan. 14, 2010; Died in committee (Feb. 2, 2010) Failed

Law

Summary

History (last action date)

Outcome

11. Missouri
House Bill:
HB 1670  (80 KB)
"Changes the laws regarding the classification of marijuana as a controlled substance and allows the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes under certain conditions." Introduced and read the first time on Jan. 14, 2010; Read the second time in the House on Jan. 19, 2010; Referred to Health Care Policy Committee on May 14, 2010; Died when legislature adjourned without voting on it (May 30, 2010) Failed
12. New Jersey
Senate Bill 119 (175 KB) Protects "patients who use marijuana to alleviate suffering from debilitating medical conditions, as well as their physicians, primary caregivers, and those who are authorized to produce marijuana for medical purposes" from "arrest, prosecution, property forfeiture, and criminal and other penalties."

Also provides for the creation of alternative treatment centers, "at least two each in the northern, central, and southern regions of the state. The first two centers issued a permit in each region shall be nonprofit entities, and centers subsequently issued permits may be nonprofit or for-profit entities."
Approved Jan. 11, 2010 by the House with a 48-14 vote and by Senate with a 25-13 vote. Signed into law by Gov. Jon Corzine on Jan. 18, 2010, the law was supposed to become effective six months from being signed.

The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services released draft rules (385 KB) outlining the registration and application process on Oct. 6, 2010. A public hearing to discuss the proposed rules was held Dec. 6, 2010. The delay granted by the New Jersey Legislature expires in Jan. 2011 but there is still conflict over how to implement the law so legal medical marijuana is not yet available (as of Jan. 7, 2011)
Passed
13. New York
Assembly Bill:
AO 9016  (60 KB)
"Legalizes the possession, manufacture, use, delivery, transfer, transport or administration of marihuana by a certified patient or designated caregiver for a certified medical use." Sets possession limits of 2.5 ounces; establishes registry identification card program." Referred to the Committee on Health on June 19, 2009; Referred to the Committee on Codes on June 22, 2009; Referred to the Committee on Health on Jan. 6, 2010; Referred to the Committee on Codes on Jan. 12, 2010; Referred to the Ways and Means Committee on June 8, 2010; Referred to the Rules Committee on June 15, 2010; Ordered to a third reading on the Rules Committee calendar on June 15, 2010; Bill died when the 2009-2010 session ended (Jan. 5, 2011) Failed
Senate Bill:
SO 4041B  (60 KB)
"Legalizes the possession, manufacture, use, delivery, transfer, transport or administration of marihuana by a certified patient or designated caregiver for a certified medical use." sets possession limits of 2.5 ounces and 12 plants; establishes registry identification card program." Referred to the Committee on Health on Apr. 8, 2009; Amended and re-referred to the Committee on Health on Apr. 17, 2009; Passed the Committee on Health and referred to the Senate Codes Committee on May 26, 2009; Amended and re-referred to the Senate Codes Committee on Aug. 24, 2009; Re-referred to the Committee on Health on Jan. 6, 2010; Passed the Committee on Health and referred to the Senate Codes Committee again on Feb. 23, 2010; Referred to the Finance Committee on Mar. 23, 2010; Discharged by the Finance Committee and sent to the Rules Committee on June 15, 2010; Bill died when the 2009-2010 session ended (Jan. 5, 2011) Failed
 14. North Carolina
House Bill:
H 1380  (75 KB)
"North Carolina Medical Marijuana Act;" "A qualified patient [and caregiver] shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege... for the possession of or the medical use of marijuana if the quantity of marijuana does not exceed an adequate supply." Passed first reading in the House and referred to the Committee on Health on Apr. 13, 2009; Committee heard testimony from patients and medical professionals on June 18, 2009; Bill died when 2009-2010 session ended (July 10, 2010) Failed
 15. Ohio
House Bill:
HB 478  (230 KB)
A bill that establishes a registration program and allows qualified patients to grow and posses a limited amount of marijuana. Introduced by Rep. Yuko and introduced to the House Health Committee on Apr. 7, 2010; Bill died when 128th General Assembly (2009-2010) ended (Dec. 29, 2010) Failed

Law

Summary

History (last action date)

Outcome

16. Pennsylvania
House Bill:
HB 1393  (80 KB)
An Act providing for the medical use of marijuana; and repealing provisions of law that prohibit and penalize marijuana use. Referred to the Health and Human Services Committee on Apr. 30, 2008; Committee hearing held with testimonies for and against the legislation on Dec. 3, 2009; Bill died when 2009-2010 session ended (Nov. 30, 2010) Failed
Senate Bill:
SB1350  (80 KB)
An Act providing for the medical use of marijuana; and repealing provisions of law that prohibit and penalize marijuana use. Introduced by Senator Leach and referred to the Public Health and Welfare Committee on May 4, 2010; Bill died when 2009-2010 session ended (Nov. 30, 2010) Failed
17. South Dakota
Ballot Measure:
Initiated Measure 13  (475 KB)
An Act to provide safe access to medical marijuana for certain qualified persons. On Mar. 15, 2010, the Secretary of State of South Dakota certified the South Dakota Safe Access Act to appear on the ballot for the Nov. 2, 2010 general election. It was defeated by voters 63.31% (199,553) to 36.69% (115,636). (Nov. 2, 2010) Failed
 18. Tennessee
House Bill:
HB 2562  (85 KB)
The "Safe Access to Medical Cannabis Act" creates the Safe Access Program, which allows qualified patients with a prescription for medical marijuana to use medical cannabis.

[Editor's Note: Federal law prohibits physicians from writing prescriptions for illegal drugs, including marijuana. If passed, the bill would have had no practical effect (similar to Arizona).]

Introduced by Rep. Richardson on Jan. 13, 2010; Referred to Government Operations Committee on Jan. 27, 2010; Passed and referred to Health and Human Resources Committee on Mar. 17, 2010; Placed on committee calendar and action deferred five times; Placed on committee calendar on Apr. 21, 2010; Amended and passed the Health and Human Services Committee on Apr. 27, 2010; Passed the Finance, Ways & Means committee on May 19, 2010; Placed on calendar in Rules Committee but session ended without a vote, thus killing the bill (June 10, 2010) Failed
Senate Bill:
SB 2511 (75 KB)
The "Safe Access to Medical Cannabis Act" creates the Safe Access Program, which allows qualified patients with a prescription for medical marijuana to use medical cannabis. Introduced by Sen. Marrero on Jan. 13, 2010; Referred to Government Operations Committee on Jan. 27, 2010; session ended without a vote, thus killing the bill (June 10, 2010) Failed
 19. Wisconsin
Assembly Bill:
AB 554  (115 KB)
"This bill establishes a medical necessity defense to marijuana-related prosecutions and forfeiture actions. A person having or undergoing a debilitating medical condition or treatment (qualifying patient) may invoke this defense... The defense provided under the bill and the prohibition on arrest and prosecution contained in the bill apply also to a primary caregiver..." Sets possession limits and establishes registry and nonprofit distribution centers. Introduced and referred to Public Health Committee on Nov. 5, 2009; Fiscal estimate received on Nov. 16, 2009; Public hearing held on Dec. 15, 2010; Fiscal estimate received on Dec. 23, 2009; Did not pass prior to the end of legislative session (Apr. 28, 2010) Failed
Senate Bill:
SB 368  (115 KB)
"This bill establishes a medical necessity defense to marijuana?related prosecutions and forfeiture actions. A person having or undergoing a debilitating medical condition or treatment (qualifying patient) may invoke this defense... The defense provided under the bill and the prohibition on arrest and prosecution contained in the bill apply also to a primary caregiver..." Sets possession limits and establishes registry and nonprofit distribution centers. Introduced and referred to Health, Health Insurance, Privacy, Property Tax Relief, and Revenue Committee on Oct. 27, 2009; Fiscal estimate received on Nov. 4, 2009; Public hearing held on Dec. 15, 2010; Fiscal estimate received and amendment proposed on Dec. 17, 2009; Did not pass prior to the end of legislative session (Apr. 28, 2010) Failed
 20. Virginia
House Bill:
HB 1136 (50 KB)
"Provides that no person shall be prosecuted for the possession of marijuana or tetrahydrocannabinol when that possession occurs pursuant to a valid prescription issued by a medical doctor in the course of his professional practice. The bill also provides that no medical doctor or pharmacist shall be prosecuted for dispensing or distributing marijuana or tetrahydrocannabinol for medical purposes when such action occurs in the course of his professional practice. Currently medical marijuana can only be prescribed for cancer and glaucoma."

[Editor's Note: Federal law prohibits physicians from writing prescriptions for illegal drugs, including marijuana. If passed, the bill would have no practical effect (similar to Arizona), and Virginia therefore is not counted as a state with pending legislation to legalize medical marijuana.]

Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice on Jan. 13, 2010; Assigned to Courts of Justice Criminal Sub-Committee on Jan. 19, 2010; Subcommittee voted to table the bill, making it inactive (Jan. 27, 2010) Failed

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