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

1. Alabama 6.Indiana 11. Massachusetts 16. Ohio
2. Arkansas 7. Iowa 12. Mississippi 17. Oklahoma
3. Connecticut 8. Kansas 13. Missouri 18. Pennsylvania
4. Idaho 9. Kentucky 14. New Hampshire 19.Tennessee
5. Illinois 10. Maryland 15. New York 20. West Virginia
21. Wisconsin
 
21 states considered 29 pieces of legislation or ballot measures to legalize medical marijuana in 2012. Two states (Connecticut and Massachusetts) legalized medical marijuana. Ten states had legislation carried over from 2011. Nineteen states failed to pass pro-medical marijuana measures.

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 0025 (40 KB)
"Marijuana, use for medical purposes authorized, certified by physician, regulated as controlled substances, Michael Phillips Compassionate Care Act." Pre-filed by Rep. Patricia Todd (D) and assigned to the Health Committee; Pending Committee Action in House of Origin on Feb. 7, 2012; Died when legislative session ended (May 16, 2012) Failed
2. Arkansas
Ballot Initiative:
Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act (65 KB) (Issue No. 5)
"An act making the medical use of marijuana legal under Arkansas state law, but acknowledging that marijuana use, possession, and distribution for any purpose remain illegal under federal law; establishing a system for the cultivation, acquisition and distribution of marijuana for qualifying patients through nonprofit medical marijuana dispensaries and granting those nonprofit dispensaries limited immunity; allowing localities to limit the number of nonprofit dispensaries and to enact reasonable zoning regulations governing their operations..." Arkansans for Compassionate Care needed 62,507 signatures to get the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act on the November ballot. On Aug. 22, 2012, the official Twitter feed for Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin stated, "Our office verified over 69,000 signatures for Arkansans for Compassionate care. They will be certified to the ballot."

Arkansas voters defeated (51.45% against vs. 48.55% for) the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act (Nov. 6, 2012)
Failed
3. Connecticut
House Bill:
HB 5389 (375 KB)
"An Act concerning the palliative use of marijuana." The bill would allow qualifying patients to obtain medical marijuana "solely within [Connecticut] from a licensed dispensary." Introduced by the Judiciary Committee on Feb. 29, 2012; Referred to the Joint Committee on Judiciary on Mar. 1, 2012; Joint Committee on Judiciary voted 35-8 in favor of the bill on Mar. 21, 2012; Filed with Legislative Commissioners' Office on Mar. 22, 2012; Referred by House to Committee on Public Health on Apr. 23, 2012; House Passed as Amended , 96-51, on Apr. 25, 2012; Senate Passed as Amended by House Amendment Schedule A, 21-13 (May 4, 2012)

On June 1, 2012, the bill was signed into law by Governor Daniel P. Malloy, who released a statement (120 KB) that said, in part, "For years, we've heard from so many patients with chronic diseases who undergo treatments like chemotherapy or radiation and are denied the palliative benefits that medical marijuana would provide. With careful regulation and safeguards, this law will allow a doctor and a patient to decide what is in that patient's best interest."

Passed
4. Idaho
House Bill:
HB 370 (100 KB)
"Idaho Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act: Compassion dictates that a distinction be made between medical and nonmedical uses of marijuana. Hence, the purpose of this chapter is to protect from arrest, prosecution, property forfeiture, and criminal and other penalties those 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." Introduced by Rep. Tom Trail (R) on Jan. 17, 2012; Referred to State Affairs Committee on Jan. 19, 2012; Died when the legislative session ended (Mar. 29, 2012) Failed
5. Illinois
House Bill:
HB 0030 (100 KB)
"Creates the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act," allowing state-registered patients diagnosed by a physician as having a debilitating medical condition to cultivate medical marijuana or to obtain it from state-regulated dispensaries."

Amendment 1 repeals the program after three years and prohibits patients from driving for 12 hours after consuming marijuana.

Amendment 2 makes it illegal for dispensaries to make campaign contributions.

Amendment 3 sets a $5,000 non-refundable application fee and $20,000 certificate fee for dispensaries.

Amendment 4 "Excludes from the definition of 'qualifying patient' active public safety personnel."

Pre-filed with clerk by Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang (D) on Dec. 28, 2010; First reading in the House and referral to Rules Committee on Jan. 12, 2011; Added chief co-sponsor Rep. Angelo Saviano (R) on Jan. 20, 2011; Added chief co-sponsor Rep. Ann Williams (D) on Jan. 21, 2011; Assigned to Human Services Committee on Feb. 8, 2011; House Committee Amendment No.1 filed, referred to Rules Committee, referred to Human Services Committee on Mar. 8, 2011; Adopted by voice vote in Human Services (6-5) and placed on calendar for 2nd reading on Mar. 9, 2011; Amendment 2 filed Apr. 12, 2011; Amendment 3 filed Apr. 22, 2011; Amendment 4 filed May 3, 2011; Third reading held May 4, 2011; Added chief co-sponsors Rep. Kenneth Dunkin (D) and Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D) on May 5, 2011; Added co-sponsor Rep. Kelly M. Cassidy (D) on May 18, 2011; Final action deadline extended to May 31, 2011 on May 27, 2011; Re-referred to Rules Committee May 31, 2011; Re-referred to Rules Committee on Mar. 30, 2012; Final action deadline extended to May 31, 2012 on Apr. 16, 2012; Placed on calendar - consideration postponed on Apr. 16, 2012; Re-referred to Rules Committee on May 31, 2012; Approved for consideration by Rules Committee and placed on calendar on Aug. 14, 2012; House floor amendments filed on Aug. 17, Aug. 28, Aug. 29, Sep. 4, and Sep. 5, 2012; Re-referred to Rules Committee under Rule 19(b) on Sep. 17, 2012 [pending bills are automatically re-referred to the Rules Committee on the 31st consecutive day that the House has not convened for session]; Session officially ended and bill considered dead  (Jan. 8, 2013) 

               
The Illinois state legislature has a two-year session so the bill was carried over to 2012.
Failed

Law

Summary

History (last action date)

Outcome

6. Indiana
House Bill:
HB 1370 (150 KB)
"Requires the executive board of the state department of health to adopt rules to regulate registered medicinal marijuana cardholders, medicinal marijuana dispensaries, and registered medicinal marijuana dispensary employees. Provides that marijuana crimes do not apply in certain circumstances to medicinal marijuana cardholders, medicinal marijuana dispensaries, and registered medicinal marijuana dispensary employees." Introduced by Rep. Tom Knollman (R), coauthored by Rep. Mike White (D), received first reading and referred to Committee on Public Policy on Jan. 11, 2012; HB 1370 died in the Committee on Public Policy when the legislative session ended (Mar. 9, 2012) Failed
7. Iowa
Senate File:
SF 266 (100 KB)
"An Act relating to the creation of a medical marijuana Act including the creation of nonprofit dispensaries, and providing for civil and criminal penalties and fees."

Allows qualifying patients to possess no more than two and one-half ounces of usable marijuana and six marijuana plants.
Introduced by Sen. Joe Bolkcom and referred to Human Resources on Feb. 21, 2011; Referred to Human Resources subcommittee (Feb. 22, 2011)

SF 266 carried over when the legislature reconvened on Jan. 9, 2012 but did not advance out of committee.
Failed
8. Kansas
House Bill:
HB 2330 (150 KB)
"An Act enacting the cannabis compassion and care act; providing for the legal use of cannabis for certain debilitating medical conditions; providing for the registration and functions of compassion centers; authorizing the issuance of identification cards." Introduced by Rep. Gail Finney (D) on Feb. 11, 2011; Referred to Committee on Health and Human Services (Feb. 14, 2011)

The bill carried over to the 2012 when the new legislative session began on Jan. 9, 2012, and it received an informational hearing on Jan. 24, 2012. The bill died because it did not meet a committee deadline.

Failed
Senate Bill:
SB 354 (150 KB)
"An Act enacting the cannabis compassion and care act; providing for the legal use of cannabis for certain debilitating medical conditions; providing for the registration and functions of compassion centers; authorizing the issuance of identification cards."New Cell Introduced by Sen. David Haley (R) on Jan. 30, 2012; Referred to Committee on Public Health and Welfare on Jan. 31, 2012; Withdrawn from Committee on Public Health and Welfare and referred to Committee on Federal and State Affairs on Feb. 2, 2012; Died when the legislative session ended (June 1, 2012) New Cell Failed
9. Kentucky
Senate Bill:
SB 129 (35 KB)

[Editor's Note: SB 129 was considered largely symbolic and would not have legalized medical marijuana because the bill used the word "prescribe;" federal law prohibits marijuana from being prescribed.]

"Amend and create various statutes in KRS Chapter 218A to make marijuana a schedule II drug with the limitation that a person for whom the drug has been prescribed may not possess more than five grams per month of the drug or have under cultivation more than five marijuana plants; create a new section of KRS Chapter 315 to require the Board of Pharmacy to establish a certification program for pharmacies seeking to dispense marijuana; designate this Act as the Gatewood Galbraith Memorial Medical Marijuana Act." Introduced by Sen. Perry B. Clark (D) and Sen. Kathy W. Stein (D) on Jan. 31, 2012; Assigned to the Judiciary Committee (Feb. 2, 2012)

The bill is considered dead because the formal legislative session ended on Apr. 12, 2012.
Failed
10. Maryland
House Bill:
HB 15 (300 KB)
Maryland Medical Marijuana Act: "Authorizing the medical use of arijuana under specified circumstances; repealing criminal provisions that allow the imposition of a fine or the use of an affirmative defense for use or possession of marijuana or use or possession of drug paraphernalia related to marijuana under specified circumstances..." Pre-filed by Delegate Cheryl Glenn (D) on Nov. 5, 2011; First reading in the Health and Government Operations & Judiciary Committee on Jan. 15, 2012; Hearings held on Feb. 17 and Feb. 23, 2012; Second reading passed with amendments on Apr. 4, 2012; Third reading passed with a vote of 86-42 (Apr. 6, 2012)

This bill died because the legislative session ended on Apr. 9, 2012, before the bill could go to a vote in the Senate.

Failed
Senate Bill:
SB 995 (575 KB)
"Establishing that it is an affirmative defense to a prosecution for the possession of marijuana or the possession of specified drug paraphernalia that the defendant was a specified caregiver and possessed the marijuana or paraphernalia for a specified purposes; establishing that a specified qualifying patient who has been issued and possesses a specified written certification is not subject to a specified prosecution, penalty, or denial of a right or privilege for the medical use of marijuana, under specified circumstances."

Introduced by Sen. David Brinkley and received first reading on Feb. 16, 2012; Re-referred to Judicial Proceedings Committee on Feb. 27, 2012; Third reading passed 46-0 (Apr. 3, 2012)

House Actions: First reading on Apr. 4, 2012; Re-referred to Health and Government Operations and Judiciary Committees (Apr. 9, 2012)

This bill died because the legislative session ended on Apr. 9, 2012, before the bill could go to a vote in the House.

Failed

Law

Summary

History (last action date)

Outcome

11. Massachusetts
Ballot Initiative:
Question 3 (225 KB)
"The citizens of Massachusetts intend that there should be no punishment under state law for qualifying patients, physicians and health care professionals, personal caregivers for patients, or medical marijuana treatment center agents for the medical use of marijuana." A spokesman for Secretary of State William Galvin told ProCon.org in a July 10, 2012 phone conversation that the initative has qualified to be on the Nov. 6, 2012 ballot.

Question 3 was passed by a vote of 63% to 37%, making Massachusetts the 18th state to legalize medical marijuana. (Nov. 6, 2012)
Passed
House Bill:
HB 625 (100 KB)
"The Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Act. It is the purpose of this act 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." Introduced by Rep. Frank I. Smizik (D) on Jan. 14, 2011; Referred to Joint Committee on Public Health on Jan. 24, 2011; Hearing held (July 12, 2011)

The bill is considered dead because the formal legislative session ended on July 31, 2012.

Failed
Senate Bill:
SB 1161 (275 KB)
"'The Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Act.' It is the purpose of this act 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." Introduced by Sen. Stanley Rosenberg (D) on Jan. 20, 2011; Referred to the Joint Committee on Public Health on Jan. 24, 2011; Hearing held on July 12, 2011; Accompanied a study order in SB 2438 that authorized a joint committee to investigate health-related Senate bills (Sep. 20, 2012)

The bill is considered dead because the formal legislative session ended on July 31, 2012.
Failed
Senate Bill:
SB 818 (110 KB)
"An Act relative to the arrest and prosecution for the possession of marihuana for medical purposes...

It shall be a prima facie defense to a charge of possession, manufacturing or trafficking of marihuana under this section if the defendant is a patient, caregiver or physician... Police officers shall have the right to exercise judgment in determining whether or not to arrest an individual..."
Introduced by Sen. Thomas McGee (D) on Jan. 21, 2011; Referred to Joint Committee on the Judiciary on Jan. 25, 2011; House rules suspended and House concurred on Apr. 9, 2012; Senate rules suspended and reporting date extended to June 8, 2012; House concurred on May 14, 2012; Senate rules suspended and reporting date extended to Friday, July 13, 2012 on June 21, 2012; House rules suspended and House concurred (June 27, 2012)

The bill is considered dead because the formal legislative session ended on July 31, 2012.
Failed
12. Mississippi
Senate Bill:
SB 2252 (175 KB)
"An act to authorize the medical use of marihuana by seriously ill patients under a physician's supervision;... To provide and exemption from criminal and civil penalties for the medical use of marihuana;...to provide a legal defense for patients and primary caregivers..." Introduced by Sen. Deborah Dawkins (D) and referred to the Judiciary Committee on Jan. 30, 2012; Died in committee (Mar. 6, 2012) Failed
13. Missouri
House Bill:
HB 1421 (100 KB)
"Changes the laws regarding the classification of marijuana as a controlled substance and allows its use for medicinal purposes under certain conditions." Introduced by Minority Whip Rep. Mike Colona (D) and read for the first time on Jan. 19, 2012; Read for the second time on Jan. 23, 2012; referred to the House Crime Prevention and Public Safety Committee (March 21, 2012)

The bill is considered dead because the formal legislative session ended on May 30, 2012.

Failed
14. New Hampshire
Senate Bill:
SB 409 (115 KB)
Allows qualifying patients who possess registration cards to possess six ounces of usable marijuana and up to six plants (plus 12 seedlings if the patient does not have a designated caregiver). Introduced by Sen. Jim Forsythe (R) and referred to the Health and Human Services Committee on Feb. 15, 2012; Hearing held on Mar. 8, 2012; Passed by the Senate 13-11 on Mar. 28, 2012; Passed by the House 236-96 and returned to Senate to review amendments on Apr. 25, 2012; In Senate Committee of Conference on May 23, 2012; Conference Committee Report adopted by the House and by the Senate (June 6, 2012)       

The bill was then sent to Governor John Lynch (D), who vetoed medical marijuana legislation (HB 648) in 2009 (180 KB).

Gov. Lynch vetoed the bill on June 21, 2012. The Governor's Veto Message Regarding SB 409 (420 KB). stated in part, "I continue to believe that the most effective manner in which to facilitate the safe and controlled use of marijuana for medical purposes is to distribute the drug like any other controlled substance through a regulated prescription system. I recognize that such a system is unlikely as long as marijuana use for medicinal purposes remains illegal under federal law. As well intentioned as the efforts reflected in SB 409 are, I cannot support establishing a system for the use of medical marijuana that poses risks to the patient, lacks adequate oversight and funding, and risks the proliferation of a serious drug."

On June 27, 2012, the New Hampshire Senate voted 13-10 to override the veto, which was three votes short of the 16 needed to enact SB 409. As a result, the veto was sustained and the bill is considered dead.

Failed
15. New York
Senate Bill:
S7283 (150 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;... directs the department of health to monitor such use and promulgate rules and regulations for registry identification cards." Sets possession limit of 2.5 ounces." Introduced by Sen. Diane Savino (D) and referred to the Health Committee on May 2, 2012; Amended and recommitted to Health Committee (June 8, 2012)

The Senate adjourned sine die on June 21, 2012 and the New York Senate's 2012 legislative session formally ended on Jan. 8, 2013. Therefore the bill is considered dead.

Failed
Assembly Bill:
A7347 (30 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;... directs the department of health to monitor such use and promulgate rules and regulations for registry identification cards." Sets possession limit of 2.5 ounces. Introduced by Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried (D) on May 2, 2011; Referred to Codes Committee on May 24, 2011; Referred to Ways and Means Committee on June 13, 2011; Referred to Rules Committee on June 15, 2011; The bill carried over to 2012 because New York has a two-year legislative session, which reconvened on Jan. 4, 2012; Referred to Health Commttee on Jan. 4, 2012; Amended to A7347-A and recommitted to Health Committee on May 3, 2012; Reported referred to Codes Committee on May 15, 2012; Amended and recommitted to Codes Committee on June 8, 2012; Reported referred to Ways and Means Committee on June 11, 2012; Reported referred to Rules Committee on June 12, 2012; Passed the Assembly by a vote of 90-50 and will be sent to the Senate (June 13, 2012)

The Assembly adjourned sine die on June 21, 2012 and the New York Senate's 2012 legislative session formally ended on Jan. 8, 2013. Therefore the bill is considered dead.
Failed

Law

Summary

History (last action date)

Outcome

16. Ohio
House Bill:
HB 214 (250 KB)
"There is a presumption that a registered qualifying patient or visiting qualifying patient is engaged in the medical use of cannabis if the patient is in possession of a valid registry identification card or valid visiting qualifying patient identification card." Introduced by Rep. Kenny Yuko (D) and Rep. Robert Hagan (D) and assigned to the Health & Aging committee on Apr. 26, 2011; Session officially ended, killing the bill (Dec. 20, 2012)

The bill carried over to 2012 because Ohio has a two-year legislative session, which reconvened on Jan. 3, 2012.

Failed
17. Oklahoma
Senate Bill:
SB 573 (20 KB)
The Compassionate Use Act of 2011 removes Oklahoma’s criminal penalties for a patient who "possesses or cultivates marijuana for the personal medical purposes of the patient upon the written or oral recommendation or approval of a physician." Introduced by Sen. Constance Johnson (D); First reading held Feb. 7, 2011; Second Reading and referral to Health and Human Services committee; Session officially ended, killing the bill (Dec. 20, 2012)   

The bill carried over when the legislature reconvened on Feb. 6, 2012 but it died because it did not advance before the legislative deadline.
Failed
18. Pennsylvania
Senate Bill:
SB 1003 (75 KB)
The Governor Raymond Shafer Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act provides "for the medical use of marijuana; and repealing provisions of law that prohibit and penalize marijuana use." Introduced by Sen. Daylin Leach (D) and referred to the Public Health and Welfare committee (Apr. 25, 2011)

The bill carried over to the 2012 legislative session, which began on Jan. 3, 2012, but died because it did not advance before the legislative session ended on Nov. 30, 2012.

Failed
House Bill:
HB 1653 (85 KB)
The Governor Raymond Shafer Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act provides "for the medical use of marijuana; and repealing provisions of law that prohibit and penalize marijuana use." Introduced by Rep. Mark Cohen (D) and referred to the House Health Committee on June 13, 2011; Referred to Human Services Committee (June 23, 2011)

The bill carried over to the 2012 legislative session, which began on Jan. 3, 2012, but died because it did not advance before the legislative session ended on Nov. 30, 2012.
Failed
19. Tennessee
House Bill:
HB 294 (100 KB)

[Editor's Note: HB 294 was considered largely symbolic and would not have legalized medical marijuana because the bill uses the word "prescribe" and federal law prohibits marijuana from being prescribed.]
"This bill establishes the safe access program. To enroll in the program, a qualified patient must receive a prescription for medical marijuana from a practitioner, stating that in the practitioner's professional opinion the potential benefits of the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the health risks for the qualifying patient. The prescription and safe access program enrollment completed at the participating pharmacy must specify the qualifying patient's debilitating medical condition." Introduced by Rep. Jeanne Richardson (D) on Feb. 4, 2011; Referred to Health & Human Resources Committee on Feb. 9, 2011; Placed on calendar for Health and Human Resources Committee on Mar. 28, 2012; Taken off notice for calendar for Health and Human Resources Committee by the sponsor (Apr. 4, 2012) Failed
Senate Bill:
SB 251 (100 KB)

[Editor's Note: SB 251 was considered largely symbolic and would not have legalized medical marijuana because the bill uses the word "prescribe" and federal law prohibits marijuana from being prescribed.]
"This bill establishes the safe access program. To enroll in the program, a qualified patient must receive a prescription for medical marijuana from a practitioner, stating that in the practitioner's professional opinion the potential benefits of the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the health risks for the qualifying patient. The prescription and safe access program enrollment completed at the participating pharmacy must specify the qualifying patient's debilitating medical condition." Introduced by Sen. Beverly Marrero (D) on Jan. 27, 2011; Referred to Government Operations Committee on Feb. 9, 2011; Recommended for pass by Government Operations Committee and referred to Health and Welfare Committee on Apr. 4, 2012; Failed in Health and Welfare Committee due to lack of motion to support the bill (Apr. 17, 2012) Failed
20. West Virginia
 House Bill:
HB 4498 (200 KB)
"Compassionate Use Act for Medical Cannabis; providing for protections for the medical use of cannabis;... registration of qualifying patients and designated care givers; issuance of registry identification cards; affirmative defense and dismissal for medical marihuana..." Introduced by Rep. Mike Manypenny (D) and referred to Health and Human Resources Committee and Judiciary Committee (Feb. 10, 2012)

The bill is dead because it did not advance before the legislative session ended on Mar. 16, 2012.
Failed
21. Wisconsin
 House Bill:
HB 371 (120 KB)
"This bill establishes a medical necessity defense to marijuana-related prosecutions and forfeiture actions...

A qualifying patient may invoke this defense if he or she acquires, possesses, cultivates, transports, or uses marijuana to alleviate the symptoms or effects of his or her debilitating medical condition or treatment, but only if no more than the maximum authorized amount of marijuana (12 marijuana plants and three ounces of marijuana leaves or flowers) is involved...

The bill also prohibits the arrest or prosecution of a qualifying patient who... possesses a valid registry identification card, a valid out-of-state registry identification card, or a written certification...

In addition, the bill prohibits the arrest or prosecution of or the imposition of any penalty on a physician who provides a written certification to a person in good faith."
Introduced by Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D) and Sen. Lena Taylor (D), read for the first time, and referred to Committee on Health on Jan. 9, 2012

The bill died because it did not advance prior to the legislative deadline (Mar. 23, 2012)
Failed

Visit the ProCon.org community on:

© 2014 ProCon.org, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit     |   233 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 200, Santa Monica, CA 90401    |    Tel: 310-451-9596   




Hide/Show