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Cannabis Industry State of the Union

The movement to end the prohibition of pot continues to gather momentum. Along with this, so too do the business opportunities in the cannabis industry. Currently, marijuana is legal for recreational use in four (4) states as well as the District of Columbia. Five (5) more states are expected to introduce ballot measures to legalize recreational cannabis. Twenty three (23) states have legalized cannabis for recreational use and at least twelve (12) other states are looking at creating or significantly expanding their medical-marijuana programs. Although marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, a strong and growing majority of Americans now believe that it should be taxed and regulated like alcohol. Given these rapidly changing attitudes, there’s no wonder that the cannabis industry is the fastest growing in the nation. In this constantly evolving landscape, it’s important to stay up-to-date with the latest developments. Click on the map to learn more about the latest news and legislative initiatives in each state.

Washington

In November 2012, Washington voters passed I-502, an initiative to tax and regulate marijuana similar to alcohol. In doing so, they became the 2nd state to legalize cannabis for adult recreational use. In July 2014, the first recreational dispensaries opened and over the course of its first year of regulated sales, Washington generated roughly $70 million in cannabis related tax revenues. In June 2015, Washington replaced it's 3 tiered tax structure, which imposed a tax of 25% at the production, processing and retail level, with a single excise tax of 37 percent at the point of sale.

Regulatory Agency: Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board

Oregon

In November 2014, Oregonian voters approved Ballot Measure 91, which legalized marijuana for adult-use. The measure appoints the Liquor Commission to license and regulate four types of marijuana businesses to produce, process, wholesale, and sell marijuana. There is no limit on the number of licenses that can be awarded, and vertical integration is permitted. Oregon's first recreational dispensaries opened on October 1st, 2015.

California

In 1996, California became the first state to legalize Medical Marijuana when voters approved Prop 215 (also known as the Compassionate Use Act). However, for nearly 20 years after that California had no official state regulations which created a "gray market" that left cultivators, processors, and dispensaries exposed to law enforcement intervention. Fortunately, recent developments have brought a degree of sanity to the Golden State. On October 9, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law three pieces of legislation that together will regulate businesses serving medical marijuana patients in what is the largest Medical Marijuana market in the world. The Department of Consumer Affairs and other regulatory agencies have until January 2017 to adopt rules overseeing the industry, and those rules are expected to go into effect in 2018. At the same time, California is widely expected to legalize the recreational use of Cannabis in 2016.

Idaho

Idaho currently does not have an existing medical marijuana program. In April of 2015, Senate Bill 1146, which would have legalized CBD oil for approved patients, passed through both the House and Senate. However, Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter vetoed the legislation.

Nevada

In 2013 the Nevada Legislature passed SB 374 which created a system of regulated medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivators. The law is favorable in that it allows for a broad range of qualifying conditions (including chronic pain) and also allows reciprocity. So far, the state has awarded more than 370 licenses. There have been substantially more culitvation licenses awarded than dispensary licenses. With many dispensaries also being awarded cultivation licenses, it remains to be seen whether all of those with cultivation licenses only wil be able to legally find a home for their products. This may end up being a moot point after November 2016 when Nevada citizens have a chance to vote on Initiative Petition 1, which would legalize marijuna for adult use and establish a system to tax and regulate marijuana similarly to alcohol.

Montana

In 2004, 62 percent of Montana voters passed Initiative I-148, allowing registered patients to use, possess and cultivate medical cannabis. Unfortunately the law does not permit dispensaries to operate. Qualifying patients are allowed to grow their own or acquire cannabis through a designated caregiver. Qualifying patients and their caregivers may not possess more than four marijuana plants and one ounce of usable marijuana.

Regulatory Agency: Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services

Wyoming

Wyoming does not currently have a medical marijuana program. In February 2015, the legislature pasesed House Bill 3 which allows for the use of CBD oil to treat seizures. However, the law does not provide for the cultivation, production, or dispensing of the products. There are currently no strong movements to expand the current law or pass new medical or adult-use legislation.

Utah

In 2014, Gov. Gary Herbert signed HB 105 into law. The bill allows individuals suffering from intractable epileptic disorders to legally possess and use high-CBD oils if certified to do so by their neurologist. Unfortunately the law, as written, requires that the CBD oil be imported from other states where it is legal, making it virtually impossible to access without violating federal law. In 2015, state Sen. Mark Madsen introduced S.B. 259, a bill that would have created a comprehensive medical marijuana program that would protect registered, qualifying, medical marijuana patients from arrest and prosecution. The bill passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, but failed by one vote on the Senate floor.

Arizona

The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA) was approved in November 2010. This measure allows for the legal use of Medical Marijuana for patients with a broad range of qualifying conditions including Alzheimer's, ALS, Cachexia (wasting syndrome), Cancer, Chronic pain, Crohn's Disease, Glaucoma, Hepatitis C, HIV / AIDS, Nausea, Persistent Muscle Spasms, PTSD and Seizures. The law allows patients to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and to cultivate up to 12 plants if they live more than 25 miles from a registered dispensary. The law also offers Reciprocity, enabling patients from other states to fill their cannabis presciptions in Arizona. In April of 2012 the Arizona Department of Health Services established the rules for the Medical Marijuana Dispensary portion of the AMMA and in August 2012, 97 retail licenses (out of a possible 126) were awarded. Arizona is seen as a likely candidate to legalize recreational use in 2016.

Colorado

In November of 2012, Colorado became the first state in the U.S to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Specifically, Amendment 64 makes the private use, and limited possession and home-growing of marijuana legal under Colorado law for adults 21 years of age and older; establishes a system in which marijuana is regulated, taxed, and distributed similarly to alcohol starting October 2013; and requires the state legislature to permit the cultivation, processing, and sale of industrial hemp. On January 1, 2014 Colorado made history when the world's first legal recreational marijuana sales began there. The results since then have been overwhelmingly positive. The state generated almot $70 million in tax revenue last year and marijuana sales (recreational and medical combined) eclipsed $100M in a month for the first time in August 2015. Meanwhile, crime is down; driving fatalities are down; and the state's economy is booming.

Regulatory Agency: Department of Revenue

New Mexico

New Mexico first approved medical marijuana leglislaton in March 2007 when it passed Senate Bill 523, "The Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act". Currently, the New Mexico Department of Health has awarded licenses to 23 producers and is currently in the process of awarding 12 additional licenses. Producers are allowed to open as many dispensaries as they would like but are limited to growing between 150 and 450 plants. All dispensaries owned by a single producer must be stocked from the same relatively small grow. Qualifying conditions are fairly broad and include chronic pain.

Regulatory Agency: New Mexico Department of Health

North Dakota

North Dakota currently does not have a medical marijuana program. In January 2015, a bipartisan group of legislators introduced House Bill 1430, HB 1430, which would have created a comprehensive medical marijuana program, was quickly defeated in the House by a wide margin.

South Dakota

South Dakota does not currently have a medical marijuana program and in 2015 no marijuana policy reform was proposed in the South Dakota legislature. In 2014, the Department of Justice issued a memorandum that urged federal authorities not to crack down on tribal nations that chose to grow and sell marijuana on their lands. In June 2015, South Dakota's Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe became the first in the nation to legalize cannabis on their lands. They had plans to build the nation’s first marijuana travel resort and to begin selling canabis on South Dakota tribal lands by the end of 2015. However, in November the tribe burned their entire cannabis crop over concerns of a potential Federal raid. At issue, is whether the tribe has the right to sell marijuana to non-Indians. Until the issue is clarified, the program will remain at a standstill.

Nebraska

Nebraska currently has no medical marijuana program. In January 2015 Sen. Tommy Garrett introduced LB 643, which would allow patients with cancer, HIV/AIDS, ALS, and other serious ailments to obtain and use medical marijuana products if recommended to do so by their doctors. No action was taken on the bill in 2015, so it will carry into 2016 when it is expected to reach the desk of Gov. Pete Ricketts. The governor has indicated that he will veto the bill.

Kansas

Kansas currently has no medical marijuana program. Two efforts were put forth in early 2015 (SB 9 and HB 2011) which would have provided for the legal use of cannabis for certain debilitating medical conditions and provided for the registration and functions of compassion centers. Both failed to advance.

Oklahoma

In April 2015 Gov. Mary Fallin signed HB 2154, also known as "Katie and Cayman’s Law." The law provides legal protections for patients with severe forms of epilepsy who use high-CBD oil under the recommendation of a doctor. Unfortunately there isn't currently a regulated system for production of CBD oil within the state, rendering HB 2154 highly ineffective.

Texas

In June 2015, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill into law that allows patients with epilepsy and other chronic diseases a chance to get their hands on medicinal marijuana that is high in CBD and low in THC. It is a sign of progress in the Lone Star State even if it amounts to little more than political window dressing. Unfortunately the bill, in its current form, is likely unworkable because of one word. Doctors are required to "prescribe" rather than "recommend" the cannabis oil. Doctors can't prescribe anything that doesn't have FDA approval - to do so would be to risk losing their medical license.

Minnesota

In May 2014, Minnesota approved SF 2470, thereby legalizing the use of medical marijuana for patients with certain conditions. Though a step in the right direction, Minnesota's medical marijuana policies are some of the most restrictive we have seen. Use or possession of cannabis flower is still illegal. Only cannabis products which may be vaporized or consumed by a means other than smoking, such as edibles or tinctures, may be used. This law allows for two licensed businesses to grow, process, and sell these products and each license holder is allowed 4 distribution centers. In January 2016, the Department of Health will consider adding severe pain to the list of qualifying conditions.

Regulatory Agency: Minnesota Department of Health

Iowa

In 2014, the Iowa legislature passed SF 2360, the “Medical Cannabidiol Act." Though a step in the right direction, the initiative is extremely limited in scope. Only patients with intractable epilepsy can use high CBD products (defined in the law as having less than 3% THC content). And only licensed neurologists can certify patients. Attempts at broader and more inclusive medical marijuana legislation so far have failed. Senate File 484, which would have allowed Iowans suffering from cancer, multiple sclerosis, Crohn's disease, post-traumatic stress disorder and other chronic and debilitating ailments to legally use cannabis to treat their symptoms, passed in the Senate but failed to be debated by the House.

Missouri

In 2014, Missouri passed HB 2238, which creates a legal right for certain patients to obtain, possess, and use “hemp extracts” in limited circumstances. The law defines a “hemp extract” as a preparation of cannabis that contains at least 5% CBD and no more than 0.3% THC. Only patients with a seizure disorder and a recommendation from a neurologist are eligible to obtain a “hemp registration card,” which entitles them to access and legal protections. Patients are allowed to purchase hemp extracts from two state-regulated “Cannabidiol oil care centers.” The law also allows the Department of Agriculture to license and regulate growers of cannabis plants to produce the oil to make sure they conform to the CBD and THC stipulations.

Arkansas

Arkansas has some of the most severe marijuana laws in the nation and to date the Arkansas Legislature has shown little appetite for disrupting the status quo. However, changing attitudes among the citizens of Arkansas should give prospective patients and entreprenuers reason for optimism. In November 2012, Arkansas Medical Marijuana Question Issue 5, which would have legalized the medicinal use of marijuana in Arkansas, was narrowly defeated by a 51-49% margin. In 2016 the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act is expected to be on the ballot and recent polls have shown overwhelming support for medical marijuana policy reform.

Louisiana

In 2014, Sen. Fred Mills introduced Senate Bill 541 (the Louisiana Therapeutic Use of Marijuana Act). This bill would have established a comprehensive program with state regulated production facilities and treatment centers to provide cannabis to seriously ill patients. Unfortunately, the bill died in committee. In 2015, Sen. Mills again introduced medical marijuana legislation. This time, the legislation passed. Senate Bill 143 (the Alison Neustrom Act) was signed into law by Gov. Jindal on June 29, 2015. Unfortunately, there's no mechanism in current law that allows for the legal dispensing of the drug. Doctors can legally prescribe it, patients can legally use it, but patients can't access it in the state legally. Taken in it's entirety, this is a positive development for medical marijuana advocates in Louisiana, but until there becomes a legal way for patients to access cannabis legally, Louisana remains one of the states without an operational medical marijuana program.

Wisconsin

In 2014, Gov. Scott Walker signed AB 726 into law. The law is extremely narrow in scope, allowing only for patients with seizure disorders to possess and use CBD-rich medicines under the recommendation of a doctor. In addition to being severely limited, the law will also likely be ineffective, as it does not allow for any amount of THC in cannabis products, and does not provide a framework for creating or distributing CBD products to patients. In May 2015, State Rep. Melissa Sargent introduced legislation that seeks to regulate the production and sale of marijuana to adults 21 and older.

Illinois

In 2013, Governor Pat Quinn signed House Bill 1, the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act. HB1 allows registered patients to purchase up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis every 2 weeks from licensed retail establishments and allows for up to 60 dispensary locations and 22 cultivation centers. Licenses were awarded in February 2015 with the first retail locations opening in November. In August, Rep. Kenneth Dunkin (D-Chicago) introduced House Bill 4276 which would legalize cannabis for adult recreational use and authorize marijuana to be taxed and regulated similar to alcohol. If this bill is successful, Illinois would become the first state to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes through the legislature rather than the popular vote.

Regulatory Agency: Illinois Department of Public Health

Michigan

In November 2008, Michigan passed Proposal 1, allowing the use of medical marijuana for patients with certain debilitating medical conditions. This law, however, does not allow retail distribution. In October 2015, the House passed several imortant bills that aim to create a robust medical marijuna program In Michigan. HB 4209 provides the framework for setting up a regulated and licensed dispensary system. HB 4210 allows for extractions and products derived from them, such as edibles and concentrates. HB 4827 requires an electronic “seed to sale” tracking system for cannabis plants and products. These bills now await hearing in the state Senate.

Regulatory Agency: Michigan Medical Marihuana Program (MMMP)

Indiana

Indiana currently does not have a medical marijuana program nor does there seem to be substantial hope for changing this in the short term. Senate Bill 284 and House Bill 1487 were each proposed in early 2015. These bills, taken together, would have established a medical marijuana program; required that the state Department of Health adopt rules concerning the use, distribution, A3:E51 production, and testing of medical cannabis; and provided immunity for physicians who recommend the medical use of cannabis. Sadly, both of these Bills failed to advance. Meanwhile, Indiana continues to have some of the most draconian marijuana penalties in the country, with possession of even a single joint punishable by up to a year of incarceration and a fine of up to $5,000.

Ohio

Despite overwhelming support for medical marijuana policy reform among Ohio's residents, the state still lacks a legal medical marijuana program. In November 2015, the citizens of Ohio had the chance to make history when they voted on Measure 3. It's passage would have allowed adults aged 21 and older to use, possess, purchase, and grow marijuana or marijuana products and would have assigned licenses to a significant number of retailers and product manufacturers who would have been subject to regulation and taxation. It also would have made Ohio the first state to legalize marijuana for recreational use without first having a pre-existing medical marijuana program. The Measure, which was sponsored by a group called Responsible Ohio, was controversial from the start because it called for 10 cultivation licenses, each of which would be assigned to one of the group's wealthy donors. Measure 3's sound defeat should be seen as a rejection of an unfair strucure that would have created an oligopoly on the cultivation side rather than a reflection of voters attitudes on marijuana policy reform. It is widely expected that substantive changes will be made to the proposed legislation before it reappears on the ballot in 2016.

Kentucky

In April 2014 Kentucky passed Senate Bill 124, which allows patients with intractable seizure disorders to access pure CBD oil under the orders of a physician. However, without a state licensed dispensary system in place, it is unlikely to be very effective. Attempts at broader medical marijuana legalization showed early promise when the House Health and Welfare Committee voted 9-5 to approve House Bill 350. Unfortunately, the legislature adjourned in late March without taking action on the bill.

Tennessee

In May 2014 and May 2015, Gov. Bill Haslam signed into law two separate Senate Bills (SB 2531 & SB 280) that would allow seriously ill seizure patients to have access to high-CBD cannabis oil. Unfortunately the laws remain highly ineffective. Because law does not allow for the cultivation, processing, or dispensing of oil, it thereby requires patients to purchase CBD oil in another state and bring it back into Tennessee. This is a clear violation of both federal interstate drug trafficking laws as well as the laws of the states that the patient would have to transport the product through.

Mississippi

In April 2014, Mississippi passed House Bill 1231 (also known as "Harper Grace's Law"). The law provides an affirmative defense for the possession and use of CBD oil only for patients suffering from severe, debilitating epileptic conditions. Unfortunately the law does not provides a regulatory framework for actually obtaining the CBD oil so most patients have no way to access the medicine they need.

Alabama

In 2014, the Alabama state legislature passed SB 174 into law. This bill, also known as "Carly's Law," legalized the use of CBD oil for medicinal use. Though extremely limited in scope, the bill's passage was largely seen as a positive indicator of changing attitudes in the state. However in 2015, efforts to enact more comprehensive medical marijuana legislation failed when SB 326 (the Medical Marijuana Patient Safe Access Act) died on the Senate Floor.

New York

In July 2014, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the Compassionate Care Act and New York became the 23rd state to enact medical marijuana legalization. The law, however, is very restrictive. As with Minnesota, New York does not allow patients to smoke cannabis so they must access it by way of edibles, pills, oils, or vaporizers. Also, the state issued only five licenses, with each licensee allowed to open 4 dispensaries. Even with a limited list of qualifying conditions that does not include chronic pain or PTSD it is highly unlikely that the needs of a state with almost 20 million people will be met by 20 dispensaries.

Regulatory Agency: New York State Department of Health

Pennsylvania

In May 2015, the Pennsylvania state Senate passed medical cannabis legislation (for the 2nd time) by an overwhelming 40-7 vote. As with the first attempt, the bill stalled out in the House Health Committee. This time, however, a series of procedural maneuverings resulted in the bill being sent to the House Rules Committee. If the bill gets through the House it will become law as Gov. Tom Wolf has indicated he will sign it. The House was supposed to vote on the bill on November 23rd but it was pulled from the schedule. So we will have to wait and see if this bill will become law before the end of 2015.

New Jersey

In January 2010, New Jersey passed the Compassionate Use of Medical Marijuana Act. The extremely slow implementation of the program can be tied directly to the reluctance of Gov. Chris Christie to embrace medical marijuana. Currently, there are 5 "Alternative Treatment Centers" that are operational. Each dispensary must cultivate all of their own medicine. Although the list of qualifying conditions is more expansive than in many other states, the size of the market is hampered by the fact that recommending physicians are required to certify that a patient’s qualifying condition is “resistant to conventional medical therapy. Furthermore, only doctors who register with the state are allowed to qualify patients for New Jersey’s program.

Regulatory Agency: New Jersey Department of Health

Maryland

In 2013, House Bill 1101 established the The Natalie M Laprade Medical Marijuana Commission to regulate the state's medical marijuana programs. in 2014, the Maryland legislature voted overwhelming to adopt two new bills that substantially improved upon the existing medical marijuna laws. HB881 and SB923 expanded and clarified legal protections for patients, caregivers, and physicians, and created a regulated retail distribution system. The law currently allows for 15 cultivation licenses, 94 dispensary licenses and an unspecified number of processor licenses. The Medical Marijuana Commission began accepting applications in September with a deadline of November 6th. The Commission expects to select the winners by mid-January 2016.

Regulatory Agency: Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Marijuana Commission

Delaware

In 2011, the Delaware state legislature approved Senate Bill 17, the Delaware Medical Marijuana Act, which made it legal for registered patients to possess up to 6 ounces of cannabis for medical purposes. This initiative allows the state to establish up to three nonprofit compassion centers throughout the state. Currently, only one of these compassion centers is operational.

Regulatory Agency: Delaware Health and Social Services - Division of Public Health

District of Columbia

On November 4, 2014, a whopping 70% of D.C. voters approved Initiative 71, which legalized the limited possession and cultivation of marijuana by adults who are 21 or older. However, the law does not allow sales and the U.S. Congress has prevented the D.C. Council from legalizing and regulating marijuana sales to adult consumers. The District has had a functioning medical marijuana program since 2010 (12 years after D.C. voters first approved it). Registered patients are allowed to purchase up to 2 ounces of cannabis in a 30-day period. In May 2014 the Department of Health added several new qualifying conditions and allowed cultivation centers to increase their plant output from 95 to 500.

Regulatory Agency: District of Columbia Department of Health

West Virginia

West Virginia currently does not have a medical marijuana program. In 2015, two bills (HB 2909 and SB 546) were introduced that would have legalized marijuana for medical use. However, neither bill was granted a hearing and both died in Committee.

Virginia

In February 2015, Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed HB 1445 into law. This extremely limited law allows patients with intractable epilepsy to avoid a conviction for possessing high-CBD, low-THC cannabis oil. The law does not, however, provide any mechanism for patients to access these oils in-state, thereby nullifying its effectiveness.

North Carolina

On July 2014, North Carolina passed the North Carolina Epilepsy Alternative Treatment Act (HB1220). Although this represents a step in the right direction, the legislation is so limited as to render it virtually useless. The law allows for the use of CBD oil only for patients suffering from intractable epilepsy that have been unresponsive to at least 3 other treatment options. Patients can access the cannabis oil through a registered caregiver. However, there is no way to legally obtain the CBD oil in-state so the only way a caregiver can get it is from another medical marijuana state that allows reciprocity. In February 2015, Rep. Kelley Alexander introduced House Bill 78. HB 78 would have established a legal framework for the cultivation, processing and dispensing of medical marijuana but a state House committee unanimously rejected the proposal.

South Carolina

In 2014, Gov. Nikki Haley signed the Medical Marijuana Therapeutic Treatment Research Act into law. Also knows as "Julian's law", the Act allows patients with severe epilepsy and seizure disorders to use high-CBD cannabis extracts. In 2015, South Carolina saw two bills (HB 4037 and SB 672) put forth in the State House and Senate that would create a comprehensive medical marijuana program. Both bills are expected to be considered during the 2016 legislative session.

Georgia

In April of 2015, Gov. Nathan Deal signed HB1 which legalizes the use of high-CBD, low-THC cannabis oil for the treatment of severe, debilitating epileptic conditions. The law allows qualified users to possess up to 20 ounces of infused cannabis oils containing a maximum of 5% THC and requires a minimum 1:1 ratio of CBD to THC. Unfortunately, the law does not provide a mechanism for the legal cultivation, processing, or dispensing of marijuana products.

Florida

In November of 2014, nearly 58% of Floridians voted to approve Amendment 2 (the Florida Right to Medical Marijuana Initiative). Unfortunately, this was just shy of the 60% required in order to enact a constitutional amendment. The initiative would have created a system of registered medical marijuana providers and would have protected patients from arrest and prosecution related to the use and possession of cannabis. The initiative is expected to be put before the citizens of Florida again in 2016. Earlier in 2014, the Florida legislature passed Senate Bill 1030. Also known as the "Charlotte's Web Bill," SB 1030 is a very limited medical marijuana program allowing only for the use of high CBD-oil for patients suffering from cancer, muscle spasms and seizures. The Department of Health rules allow for five state licenses to grow, process and sell these products. However, after a lengthy application submission and review process the Department has still yet to name the five applicants who will be receiving licenses.

Regulatory Agency: Florida Department of Health

Maine

Maine first legalized medical marijuana back in 1999 when voters overwhelming approved the Maine Medical Marijuana Act (also known as Question 2). This program was expanded in 2009 when voters approved Question 5. This initiative added several additional qualifying conditions and created a statewide patient registry and distribution system. Currently, Maine has 8 state-licensed dispensaries. Dispenaries are required to be vertically integrated. The list of qualifying conditions is very broad but Maine's market size remains limited due it's small population. Maine is widely seen as a likely candidate to legalize recreational marijuana in 2016.

Regulatory Agency: Maine Department of Health and Human Services

Vermont

Vermont first established its medical marijuana program in 2004 with the passage of Senate Bill 76. Over time, subsequent bills have resulted in increased cultivation limits and qualifying conditions. There are currently 4 state-licensed dispensaries. These dispensaries were previously limited to 1,000 patients each but a resolution passed in 2014 eliminated this cap. Vermont is expected to be a strong contender for adult use legalization in 2016.

Regulatory Agency: Vermont Department of Public Safety

New Hampshire

In July 2013, the New Hampshire Legislature passed House Bill 573 which allows seriously ill patients to use marijuana for medical purposes and calls for the establishment of four "Alternative Treatment Centers" (one in each of four geographic areas) in the state. On the surface, the laws seem favorable due to the broad range of qualifying conditions and the fact that it allows for reciprocity. However, the program quickly became entangled in a string of bureaucratic red tape and none of the four approved ATC's have opened yet. Despite this, many expect New Hampshire to pass adult use legalization as soon as 2017.

Regulatory Agency: New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

Massachusetts

In November 2012 voters overwhelmingly approved Question 3 by a 67-33% margin, making Massachusetts the 18th state to enact a medical marijuana program. Question 3 called for up to 35 dispensaries. In January 2013, the state approved twenty provisional licenses, but soon revoked nearly half of them. Problems with the application selection process led to a string of lawsuits that delayed implementation of the program. In 2015, a judge ordered some of the revoked licenses restored and the Department of Public Health announced that it would scrap its controversial scoring system for applicants. The Department allowed the first dispensary to begin cultivating on December 31, 2014. Since then, several additional dispensaries have been approved to begin cultivation and in June 2015 the state's first medical marijuana dispensary opened it's doors. In March 2015, a bill was introduced in the House that would legalize and regulate marijuana similar to alcohol. Although the measure has broad bipartisan and public support, Gov. Charlie Baker has vowed to oppose it. If the legislature fails to act in 2015 it is a virtual certainty that voters will see this on a ballot initiative in the November 2016 election.

Regulatory Agency: Massachusetts Department of Health and Human Services

Connecticut

In 2012, Connecticut passed House Bill 5389: "An Act Concerning the Palliative Use of Marijuana". This law allows registered patients to obtain up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis each month from a licensed dispensary. Connecticut is a small but growing medical market. In 2015, the state Department of Consumer Protection added 4 additional qualifying conditions and decided to add up to 3 additional dispensaries. Also in 2015, House Bill 6703 was introduced. This initiative would make the possession, sale, transport, growth and use of set amounts of marijuana legal for persons twenty-one years of age or older (subject to certain restrictions). A hearing on this is not expected until 2016.

Regulatory Agency: Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection

Rhode Island

Rhode Island first passed medical marijuana legislation back in 2006. The Governor at the time (Gov. Carcieri) vetoed the legislation but the House and Senate overrode the veto to enact the Edward O. Hawkins and Thomas C. Slater Marijuana Act. Currently, patients are allowed to possess up to 2.5 ounces of usable cannabis which they can purchase from one of three licensed dispensaries in the state. The list of qualifying conditions is broad and includes chronic pain. In February 2015, Senate Bill 510 was introduced. The bipartisan bill, also knows as the "Marijuana Regulation, Control, and Taxation Act", would allow adults 21 years of age and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow one mature marijuana plant in an enclosed, locked space. It would also create a tightly regulated system of licensed marijuana retail stores, cultivation facilities, and testing facilities and direct the Department of Business Regulation to create rules regulating security, labeling, and health and safety requirements. The measure is currently being held in Senate committee pending further study.

Regulatory Agency: State of Rhode Island Department of Health

Alaska

In November 2014, the citizens of Alaska voted to approve Ballot Measure 2 by a 52-48% margin. This law allows people age 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and up to six plants. However, the the state’s Marijuana Control Board is still in the process of establishing rules for marijuana cultivators, processors, and retail shops and dispenaries are not expected to open until November 2016.

Regulatory Agency: Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Public Health

Hawaii

Hawaii first legalized medical marijuana back in 2000 but the law did not allow for dispensaries. That changed in July of 2015 when Gov. David Ige signed House Bill 321 into law. HB 321 allows for a total of 8 licenses: Three on Oahu, two on the Big Island and one on Kauai. Each license holder will be allowed two dispensary and cultivation locations. Cultivation sites are limited to 3,000 plants per location. The state will issue eight licenses in April 2016, with the doors of up to 16 dispensaries opening in July of that same year. Hawaii has also been identified as a likely target state for a tax and regulate bill for recreational cannabis use by 2017.

Regulatory Agency: Hawaii State Department of Health

ID
MT
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MN
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MI
NY
ME
VT
NH
MA
CT
RI
OR
WY
SD
NE
IA
IL
IN
OH
PA
NJ
NV
UT
CO
KS
MO
KY
WV
MD
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DC
VA
CA
AZ
NM
OK
AR
TN
NC
MS
AL
GA
SC
TX
LA
FL
AK
HI

Alabama

In 2014, the Alabama state legislature passed SB 174 into law. This bill, also known as "Carly's Law," legalized the use of CBD oil for medicinal use. Though extremely limited in scope, the bill's passage was largely seen as a positive indicator of changing attitudes in the state. However in 2015, efforts to enact more comprehensive medical marijuana legislation failed when SB 326 (the Medical Marijuana Patient Safe Access Act) died on the Senate Floor.

Alaska

In November 2014, the citizens of Alaska voted to approve Ballot Measure 2 by a 52-48% margin. This law allows people age 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and up to six plants. However, the the state’s Marijuana Control Board is still in the process of establishing rules for marijuana cultivators, processors, and retail shops and dispenaries are not expected to open until November 2016.

Regulatory Agency: Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Public Health

Arizona

The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA) was approved in November 2010. This measure allows for the legal use of Medical Marijuana for patients with a broad range of qualifying conditions including Alzheimer's, ALS, Cachexia (wasting syndrome), Cancer, Chronic pain, Crohn's Disease, Glaucoma, Hepatitis C, HIV / AIDS, Nausea, Persistent Muscle Spasms, PTSD and Seizures. The law allows patients to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and to cultivate up to 12 plants if they live more than 25 miles from a registered dispensary. The law also offers Reciprocity, enabling patients from other states to fill their cannabis presciptions in Arizona. In April of 2012 the Arizona Department of Health Services established the rules for the Medical Marijuana Dispensary portion of the AMMA and in August 2012, 97 retail licenses (out of a possible 126) were awarded. Arizona is seen as a likely candidate to legalize recreational use in 2016.

Arkansas

Arkansas has some of the most severe marijuana laws in the nation and to date the Arkansas Legislature has shown little appetite for disrupting the status quo. However, changing attitudes among the citizens of Arkansas should give prospective patients and entreprenuers reason for optimism. In November 2012, Arkansas Medical Marijuana Question Issue 5, which would have legalized the medicinal use of marijuana in Arkansas, was narrowly defeated by a 51-49% margin. In 2016 the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act is expected to be on the ballot and recent polls have shown overwhelming support for medical marijuana policy reform.

California

In 1996, California became the first state to legalize Medical Marijuana when voters approved Prop 215 (also known as the Compassionate Use Act). However, for nearly 20 years after that California had no official state regulations which created a "gray market" that left cultivators, processors, and dispensaries exposed to law enforcement intervention. Fortunately, recent developments have brought a degree of sanity to the Golden State. On October 9, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law three pieces of legislation that together will regulate businesses serving medical marijuana patients in what is the largest Medical Marijuana market in the world. The Department of Consumer Affairs and other regulatory agencies have until January 2017 to adopt rules overseeing the industry, and those rules are expected to go into effect in 2018. At the same time, California is widely expected to legalize the recreational use of Cannabis in 2016.

Colorado

In November of 2012, Colorado became the first state in the U.S to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Specifically, Amendment 64 makes the private use, and limited possession and home-growing of marijuana legal under Colorado law for adults 21 years of age and older; establishes a system in which marijuana is regulated, taxed, and distributed similarly to alcohol starting October 2013; and requires the state legislature to permit the cultivation, processing, and sale of industrial hemp. On January 1, 2014 Colorado made history when the world's first legal recreational marijuana sales began there. The results since then have been overwhelmingly positive. The state generated almot $70 million in tax revenue last year and marijuana sales (recreational and medical combined) eclipsed $100M in a month for the first time in August 2015. Meanwhile, crime is down; driving fatalities are down; and the state's economy is booming.

Regulatory Agency: Department of Revenue

Connecticut

In 2012, Connecticut passed House Bill 5389: "An Act Concerning the Palliative Use of Marijuana". This law allows registered patients to obtain up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis each month from a licensed dispensary. Connecticut is a small but growing medical market. In 2015, the state Department of Consumer Protection added 4 additional qualifying conditions and decided to add up to 3 additional dispensaries. Also in 2015, House Bill 6703 was introduced. This initiative would make the possession, sale, transport, growth and use of set amounts of marijuana legal for persons twenty-one years of age or older (subject to certain restrictions). A hearing on this is not expected until 2016.

Regulatory Agency: Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection

Delaware

In 2011, the Delaware state legislature approved Senate Bill 17, the Delaware Medical Marijuana Act, which made it legal for registered patients to possess up to 6 ounces of cannabis for medical purposes. This initiative allows the state to establish up to three nonprofit compassion centers throughout the state. Currently, only one of these compassion centers is operational.

Regulatory Agency: Delaware Health and Social Services - Division of Public Health

District of Columbia

On November 4, 2014, a whopping 70% of D.C. voters approved Initiative 71, which legalized the limited possession and cultivation of marijuana by adults who are 21 or older. However, the law does not allow sales and the U.S. Congress has prevented the D.C. Council from legalizing and regulating marijuana sales to adult consumers. The District has had a functioning medical marijuana program since 2010 (12 years after D.C. voters first approved it). Registered patients are allowed to purchase up to 2 ounces of cannabis in a 30-day period. In May 2014 the Department of Health added several new qualifying conditions and allowed cultivation centers to increase their plant output from 95 to 500.

Regulatory Agency: District of Columbia Department of Health

Florida

In November of 2014, nearly 58% of Floridians voted to approve Amendment 2 (the Florida Right to Medical Marijuana Initiative). Unfortunately, this was just shy of the 60% required in order to enact a constitutional amendment. The initiative would have created a system of registered medical marijuana providers and would have protected patients from arrest and prosecution related to the use and possession of cannabis. The initiative is expected to be put before the citizens of Florida again in 2016. Earlier in 2014, the Florida legislature passed Senate Bill 1030. Also known as the "Charlotte's Web Bill," SB 1030 is a very limited medical marijuana program allowing only for the use of high CBD-oil for patients suffering from cancer, muscle spasms and seizures. The Department of Health rules allow for five state licenses to grow, process and sell these products. However, after a lengthy application submission and review process the Department has still yet to name the five applicants who will be receiving licenses.

Regulatory Agency: Florida Department of Health

Georgia

In April of 2015, Gov. Nathan Deal signed HB1 which legalizes the use of high-CBD, low-THC cannabis oil for the treatment of severe, debilitating epileptic conditions. The law allows qualified users to possess up to 20 ounces of infused cannabis oils containing a maximum of 5% THC and requires a minimum 1:1 ratio of CBD to THC. Unfortunately, the law does not provide a mechanism for the legal cultivation, processing, or dispensing of marijuana products.

Hawaii

Hawaii first legalized medical marijuana back in 2000 but the law did not allow for dispensaries. That changed in July of 2015 when Gov. David Ige signed House Bill 321 into law. HB 321 allows for a total of 8 licenses: Three on Oahu, two on the Big Island and one on Kauai. Each license holder will be allowed two dispensary and cultivation locations. Cultivation sites are limited to 3,000 plants per location. The state will issue eight licenses in April 2016, with the doors of up to 16 dispensaries opening in July of that same year. Hawaii has also been identified as a likely target state for a tax and regulate bill for recreational cannabis use by 2017.

Regulatory Agency: Hawaii State Department of Health

Idaho

Idaho currently does not have an existing medical marijuana program. In April of 2015, Senate Bill 1146, which would have legalized CBD oil for approved patients, passed through both the House and Senate. However, Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter vetoed the legislation.

Illinois

In 2013, Governor Pat Quinn signed House Bill 1, the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act. HB1 allows registered patients to purchase up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis every 2 weeks from licensed retail establishments and allows for up to 60 dispensary locations and 22 cultivation centers. Licenses were awarded in February 2015 with the first retail locations opening in November. In August, Rep. Kenneth Dunkin (D-Chicago) introduced House Bill 4276 which would legalize cannabis for adult recreational use and authorize marijuana to be taxed and regulated similar to alcohol. If this bill is successful, Illinois would become the first state to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes through the legislature rather than the popular vote.

Regulatory Agency: Illinois Department of Public Health

Indiana

Indiana currently does not have a medical marijuana program nor does there seem to be substantial hope for changing this in the short term. Senate Bill 284 and House Bill 1487 were each proposed in early 2015. These bills, taken together, would have established a medical marijuana program; required that the state Department of Health adopt rules concerning the use, distribution, A3:E51 production, and testing of medical cannabis; and provided immunity for physicians who recommend the medical use of cannabis. Sadly, both of these Bills failed to advance. Meanwhile, Indiana continues to have some of the most draconian marijuana penalties in the country, with possession of even a single joint punishable by up to a year of incarceration and a fine of up to $5,000.

Iowa

In 2014, the Iowa legislature passed SF 2360, the “Medical Cannabidiol Act." Though a step in the right direction, the initiative is extremely limited in scope. Only patients with intractable epilepsy can use high CBD products (defined in the law as having less than 3% THC content). And only licensed neurologists can certify patients. Attempts at broader and more inclusive medical marijuana legislation so far have failed. Senate File 484, which would have allowed Iowans suffering from cancer, multiple sclerosis, Crohn's disease, post-traumatic stress disorder and other chronic and debilitating ailments to legally use cannabis to treat their symptoms, passed in the Senate but failed to be debated by the House.

Kansas

Kansas currently has no medical marijuana program. Two efforts were put forth in early 2015 (SB 9 and HB 2011) which would have provided for the legal use of cannabis for certain debilitating medical conditions and provided for the registration and functions of compassion centers. Both failed to advance.

Kentucky

In April 2014 Kentucky passed Senate Bill 124, which allows patients with intractable seizure disorders to access pure CBD oil under the orders of a physician. However, without a state licensed dispensary system in place, it is unlikely to be very effective. Attempts at broader medical marijuana legalization showed early promise when the House Health and Welfare Committee voted 9-5 to approve House Bill 350. Unfortunately, the legislature adjourned in late March without taking action on the bill.

Louisiana

In 2014, Sen. Fred Mills introduced Senate Bill 541 (the Louisiana Therapeutic Use of Marijuana Act). This bill would have established a comprehensive program with state regulated production facilities and treatment centers to provide cannabis to seriously ill patients. Unfortunately, the bill died in committee. In 2015, Sen. Mills again introduced medical marijuana legislation. This time, the legislation passed. Senate Bill 143 (the Alison Neustrom Act) was signed into law by Gov. Jindal on June 29, 2015. Unfortunately, there's no mechanism in current law that allows for the legal dispensing of the drug. Doctors can legally prescribe it, patients can legally use it, but patients can't access it in the state legally. Taken in it's entirety, this is a positive development for medical marijuana advocates in Louisiana, but until there becomes a legal way for patients to access cannabis legally, Louisana remains one of the states without an operational medical marijuana program.

Maine

Maine first legalized medical marijuana back in 1999 when voters overwhelming approved the Maine Medical Marijuana Act (also known as Question 2). This program was expanded in 2009 when voters approved Question 5. This initiative added several additional qualifying conditions and created a statewide patient registry and distribution system. Currently, Maine has 8 state-licensed dispensaries. Dispenaries are required to be vertically integrated. The list of qualifying conditions is very broad but Maine's market size remains limited due it's small population. Maine is widely seen as a likely candidate to legalize recreational marijuana in 2016.

Regulatory Agency: Maine Department of Health and Human Services

Maryland

In 2013, House Bill 1101 established the The Natalie M Laprade Medical Marijuana Commission to regulate the state's medical marijuana programs. in 2014, the Maryland legislature voted overwhelming to adopt two new bills that substantially improved upon the existing medical marijuna laws. HB881 and SB923 expanded and clarified legal protections for patients, caregivers, and physicians, and created a regulated retail distribution system. The law currently allows for 15 cultivation licenses, 94 dispensary licenses and an unspecified number of processor licenses. The Medical Marijuana Commission began accepting applications in September with a deadline of November 6th. The Commission expects to select the winners by mid-January 2016.

Regulatory Agency: Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Marijuana Commission

Massachusetts

In November 2012 voters overwhelmingly approved Question 3 by a 67-33% margin, making Massachusetts the 18th state to enact a medical marijuana program. Question 3 called for up to 35 dispensaries. In January 2013, the state approved twenty provisional licenses, but soon revoked nearly half of them. Problems with the application selection process led to a string of lawsuits that delayed implementation of the program. In 2015, a judge ordered some of the revoked licenses restored and the Department of Public Health announced that it would scrap its controversial scoring system for applicants. The Department allowed the first dispensary to begin cultivating on December 31, 2014. Since then, several additional dispensaries have been approved to begin cultivation and in June 2015 the state's first medical marijuana dispensary opened it's doors. In March 2015, a bill was introduced in the House that would legalize and regulate marijuana similar to alcohol. Although the measure has broad bipartisan and public support, Gov. Charlie Baker has vowed to oppose it. If the legislature fails to act in 2015 it is a virtual certainty that voters will see this on a ballot initiative in the November 2016 election.

Regulatory Agency: Massachusetts Department of Health and Human Services

Michigan

In November 2008, Michigan passed Proposal 1, allowing the use of medical marijuana for patients with certain debilitating medical conditions. This law, however, does not allow retail distribution. In October 2015, the House passed several imortant bills that aim to create a robust medical marijuna program In Michigan. HB 4209 provides the framework for setting up a regulated and licensed dispensary system. HB 4210 allows for extractions and products derived from them, such as edibles and concentrates. HB 4827 requires an electronic “seed to sale” tracking system for cannabis plants and products. These bills now await hearing in the state Senate.

Regulatory Agency: Michigan Medical Marihuana Program (MMMP)

Minnesota

In May 2014, Minnesota approved SF 2470, thereby legalizing the use of medical marijuana for patients with certain conditions. Though a step in the right direction, Minnesota's medical marijuana policies are some of the most restrictive we have seen. Use or possession of cannabis flower is still illegal. Only cannabis products which may be vaporized or consumed by a means other than smoking, such as edibles or tinctures, may be used. This law allows for two licensed businesses to grow, process, and sell these products and each license holder is allowed 4 distribution centers. In January 2016, the Department of Health will consider adding severe pain to the list of qualifying conditions.

Regulatory Agency: Minnesota Department of Health

Mississippi

In April 2014, Mississippi passed House Bill 1231 (also known as "Harper Grace's Law"). The law provides an affirmative defense for the possession and use of CBD oil only for patients suffering from severe, debilitating epileptic conditions. Unfortunately the law does not provides a regulatory framework for actually obtaining the CBD oil so most patients have no way to access the medicine they need.

Missouri

In 2014, Missouri passed HB 2238, which creates a legal right for certain patients to obtain, possess, and use “hemp extracts” in limited circumstances. The law defines a “hemp extract” as a preparation of cannabis that contains at least 5% CBD and no more than 0.3% THC. Only patients with a seizure disorder and a recommendation from a neurologist are eligible to obtain a “hemp registration card,” which entitles them to access and legal protections. Patients are allowed to purchase hemp extracts from two state-regulated “Cannabidiol oil care centers.” The law also allows the Department of Agriculture to license and regulate growers of cannabis plants to produce the oil to make sure they conform to the CBD and THC stipulations.

Montana

In 2004, 62 percent of Montana voters passed Initiative I-148, allowing registered patients to use, possess and cultivate medical cannabis. Unfortunately the law does not permit dispensaries to operate. Qualifying patients are allowed to grow their own or acquire cannabis through a designated caregiver. Qualifying patients and their caregivers may not possess more than four marijuana plants and one ounce of usable marijuana.

Regulatory Agency: Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services

Nebraska

Nebraska currently has no medical marijuana program. In January 2015 Sen. Tommy Garrett introduced LB 643, which would allow patients with cancer, HIV/AIDS, ALS, and other serious ailments to obtain and use medical marijuana products if recommended to do so by their doctors. No action was taken on the bill in 2015, so it will carry into 2016 when it is expected to reach the desk of Gov. Pete Ricketts. The governor has indicated that he will veto the bill.

Nevada

In 2013 the Nevada Legislature passed SB 374 which created a system of regulated medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivators. The law is favorable in that it allows for a broad range of qualifying conditions (including chronic pain) and also allows reciprocity. So far, the state has awarded more than 370 licenses. There have been substantially more culitvation licenses awarded than dispensary licenses. With many dispensaries also being awarded cultivation licenses, it remains to be seen whether all of those with cultivation licenses only wil be able to legally find a home for their products. This may end up being a moot point after November 2016 when Nevada citizens have a chance to vote on Initiative Petition 1, which would legalize marijuna for adult use and establish a system to tax and regulate marijuana similarly to alcohol.

New Hampshire

In July 2013, the New Hampshire Legislature passed House Bill 573 which allows seriously ill patients to use marijuana for medical purposes and calls for the establishment of four "Alternative Treatment Centers" (one in each of four geographic areas) in the state. On the surface, the laws seem favorable due to the broad range of qualifying conditions and the fact that it allows for reciprocity. However, the program quickly became entangled in a string of bureaucratic red tape and none of the four approved ATC's have opened yet. Despite this, many expect New Hampshire to pass adult use legalization as soon as 2017.

Regulatory Agency: New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

New Jersey

In January 2010, New Jersey passed the Compassionate Use of Medical Marijuana Act. The extremely slow implementation of the program can be tied directly to the reluctance of Gov. Chris Christie to embrace medical marijuana. Currently, there are 5 "Alternative Treatment Centers" that are operational. Each dispensary must cultivate all of their own medicine. Although the list of qualifying conditions is more expansive than in many other states, the size of the market is hampered by the fact that recommending physicians are required to certify that a patient’s qualifying condition is “resistant to conventional medical therapy. Furthermore, only doctors who register with the state are allowed to qualify patients for New Jersey’s program.

Regulatory Agency: New Jersey Department of Health

New Mexico

New Mexico first approved medical marijuana leglislaton in March 2007 when it passed Senate Bill 523, "The Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act". Currently, the New Mexico Department of Health has awarded licenses to 23 producers and is currently in the process of awarding 12 additional licenses. Producers are allowed to open as many dispensaries as they would like but are limited to growing between 150 and 450 plants. All dispensaries owned by a single producer must be stocked from the same relatively small grow. Qualifying conditions are fairly broad and include chronic pain.

Regulatory Agency: New Mexico Department of Health

New York

In July 2014, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the Compassionate Care Act and New York became the 23rd state to enact medical marijuana legalization. The law, however, is very restrictive. As with Minnesota, New York does not allow patients to smoke cannabis so they must access it by way of edibles, pills, oils, or vaporizers. Also, the state issued only five licenses, with each licensee allowed to open 4 dispensaries. Even with a limited list of qualifying conditions that does not include chronic pain or PTSD it is highly unlikely that the needs of a state with almost 20 million people will be met by 20 dispensaries.

Regulatory Agency: New York State Department of Health

North Carolina

On July 2014, North Carolina passed the North Carolina Epilepsy Alternative Treatment Act (HB1220). Although this represents a step in the right direction, the legislation is so limited as to render it virtually useless. The law allows for the use of CBD oil only for patients suffering from intractable epilepsy that have been unresponsive to at least 3 other treatment options. Patients can access the cannabis oil through a registered caregiver. However, there is no way to legally obtain the CBD oil in-state so the only way a caregiver can get it is from another medical marijuana state that allows reciprocity. In February 2015, Rep. Kelley Alexander introduced House Bill 78. HB 78 would have established a legal framework for the cultivation, processing and dispensing of medical marijuana but a state House committee unanimously rejected the proposal.

North Dakota

North Dakota currently does not have a medical marijuana program. In January 2015, a bipartisan group of legislators introduced House Bill 1430, HB 1430, which would have created a comprehensive medical marijuana program, was quickly defeated in the House by a wide margin.

Ohio

Despite overwhelming support for medical marijuana policy reform among Ohio's residents, the state still lacks a legal medical marijuana program. In November 2015, the citizens of Ohio had the chance to make history when they voted on Measure 3. It's passage would have allowed adults aged 21 and older to use, possess, purchase, and grow marijuana or marijuana products and would have assigned licenses to a significant number of retailers and product manufacturers who would have been subject to regulation and taxation. It also would have made Ohio the first state to legalize marijuana for recreational use without first having a pre-existing medical marijuana program. The Measure, which was sponsored by a group called Responsible Ohio, was controversial from the start because it called for 10 cultivation licenses, each of which would be assigned to one of the group's wealthy donors. Measure 3's sound defeat should be seen as a rejection of an unfair strucure that would have created an oligopoly on the cultivation side rather than a reflection of voters attitudes on marijuana policy reform. It is widely expected that substantive changes will be made to the proposed legislation before it reappears on the ballot in 2016.

Oklahoma

In April 2015 Gov. Mary Fallin signed HB 2154, also known as "Katie and Cayman’s Law." The law provides legal protections for patients with severe forms of epilepsy who use high-CBD oil under the recommendation of a doctor. Unfortunately there isn't currently a regulated system for production of CBD oil within the state, rendering HB 2154 highly ineffective.

Oregon

In November 2014, Oregonian voters approved Ballot Measure 91, which legalized marijuana for adult-use. The measure appoints the Liquor Commission to license and regulate four types of marijuana businesses to produce, process, wholesale, and sell marijuana. There is no limit on the number of licenses that can be awarded, and vertical integration is permitted. Oregon's first recreational dispensaries opened on October 1st, 2015.

Pennsylvania

In May 2015, the Pennsylvania state Senate passed medical cannabis legislation (for the 2nd time) by an overwhelming 40-7 vote. As with the first attempt, the bill stalled out in the House Health Committee. This time, however, a series of procedural maneuverings resulted in the bill being sent to the House Rules Committee. If the bill gets through the House it will become law as Gov. Tom Wolf has indicated he will sign it. The House was supposed to vote on the bill on November 23rd but it was pulled from the schedule. So we will have to wait and see if this bill will become law before the end of 2015.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island first passed medical marijuana legislation back in 2006. The Governor at the time (Gov. Carcieri) vetoed the legislation but the House and Senate overrode the veto to enact the Edward O. Hawkins and Thomas C. Slater Marijuana Act. Currently, patients are allowed to possess up to 2.5 ounces of usable cannabis which they can purchase from one of three licensed dispensaries in the state. The list of qualifying conditions is broad and includes chronic pain. In February 2015, Senate Bill 510 was introduced. The bipartisan bill, also knows as the "Marijuana Regulation, Control, and Taxation Act", would allow adults 21 years of age and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow one mature marijuana plant in an enclosed, locked space. It would also create a tightly regulated system of licensed marijuana retail stores, cultivation facilities, and testing facilities and direct the Department of Business Regulation to create rules regulating security, labeling, and health and safety requirements. The measure is currently being held in Senate committee pending further study.

Regulatory Agency: State of Rhode Island Department of Health

South Carolina

In 2014, Gov. Nikki Haley signed the Medical Marijuana Therapeutic Treatment Research Act into law. Also knows as "Julian's law", the Act allows patients with severe epilepsy and seizure disorders to use high-CBD cannabis extracts. In 2015, South Carolina saw two bills (HB 4037 and SB 672) put forth in the State House and Senate that would create a comprehensive medical marijuana program. Both bills are expected to be considered during the 2016 legislative session.

South Dakota

South Dakota does not currently have a medical marijuana program and in 2015 no marijuana policy reform was proposed in the South Dakota legislature. In 2014, the Department of Justice issued a memorandum that urged federal authorities not to crack down on tribal nations that chose to grow and sell marijuana on their lands. In June 2015, South Dakota's Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe became the first in the nation to legalize cannabis on their lands. They had plans to build the nation’s first marijuana travel resort and to begin selling canabis on South Dakota tribal lands by the end of 2015. However, in November the tribe burned their entire cannabis crop over concerns of a potential Federal raid. At issue, is whether the tribe has the right to sell marijuana to non-Indians. Until the issue is clarified, the program will remain at a standstill.

Tennessee

In May 2014 and May 2015, Gov. Bill Haslam signed into law two separate Senate Bills (SB 2531 & SB 280) that would allow seriously ill seizure patients to have access to high-CBD cannabis oil. Unfortunately the laws remain highly ineffective. Because law does not allow for the cultivation, processing, or dispensing of oil, it thereby requires patients to purchase CBD oil in another state and bring it back into Tennessee. This is a clear violation of both federal interstate drug trafficking laws as well as the laws of the states that the patient would have to transport the product through.

Texas

In June 2015, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill into law that allows patients with epilepsy and other chronic diseases a chance to get their hands on medicinal marijuana that is high in CBD and low in THC. It is a sign of progress in the Lone Star State even if it amounts to little more than political window dressing. Unfortunately the bill, in its current form, is likely unworkable because of one word. Doctors are required to "prescribe" rather than "recommend" the cannabis oil. Doctors can't prescribe anything that doesn't have FDA approval - to do so would be to risk losing their medical license.

Utah

In 2014, Gov. Gary Herbert signed HB 105 into law. The bill allows individuals suffering from intractable epileptic disorders to legally possess and use high-CBD oils if certified to do so by their neurologist. Unfortunately the law, as written, requires that the CBD oil be imported from other states where it is legal, making it virtually impossible to access without violating federal law. In 2015, state Sen. Mark Madsen introduced S.B. 259, a bill that would have created a comprehensive medical marijuana program that would protect registered, qualifying, medical marijuana patients from arrest and prosecution. The bill passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, but failed by one vote on the Senate floor.

Vermont

Vermont first established its medical marijuana program in 2004 with the passage of Senate Bill 76. Over time, subsequent bills have resulted in increased cultivation limits and qualifying conditions. There are currently 4 state-licensed dispensaries. These dispensaries were previously limited to 1,000 patients each but a resolution passed in 2014 eliminated this cap. Vermont is expected to be a strong contender for adult use legalization in 2016.

Regulatory Agency: Vermont Department of Public Safety

Virginia

In February 2015, Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed HB 1445 into law. This extremely limited law allows patients with intractable epilepsy to avoid a conviction for possessing high-CBD, low-THC cannabis oil. The law does not, however, provide any mechanism for patients to access these oils in-state, thereby nullifying its effectiveness.

Washington

In November 2012, Washington voters passed I-502, an initiative to tax and regulate marijuana similar to alcohol. In doing so, they became the 2nd state to legalize cannabis for adult recreational use. In July 2014, the first recreational dispensaries opened and over the course of its first year of regulated sales, Washington generated roughly $70 million in cannabis related tax revenues. In June 2015, Washington replaced it's 3 tiered tax structure, which imposed a tax of 25% at the production, processing and retail level, with a single excise tax of 37 percent at the point of sale.

Regulatory Agency: Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board

West Virginia

West Virginia currently does not have a medical marijuana program. In 2015, two bills (HB 2909 and SB 546) were introduced that would have legalized marijuana for medical use. However, neither bill was granted a hearing and both died in Committee.

Wisconsin

In 2014, Gov. Scott Walker signed AB 726 into law. The law is extremely narrow in scope, allowing only for patients with seizure disorders to possess and use CBD-rich medicines under the recommendation of a doctor. In addition to being severely limited, the law will also likely be ineffective, as it does not allow for any amount of THC in cannabis products, and does not provide a framework for creating or distributing CBD products to patients. In May 2015, State Rep. Melissa Sargent introduced legislation that seeks to regulate the production and sale of marijuana to adults 21 and older.

Wyoming

Wyoming does not currently have a medical marijuana program. In February 2015, the legislature pasesed House Bill 3 which allows for the use of CBD oil to treat seizures. However, the law does not provide for the cultivation, production, or dispensing of the products. There are currently no strong movements to expand the current law or pass new medical or adult-use legislation.