January 24, 2018
More than half of the nation’s states have legalized medical marijuana, with 29 states making the move to medical cannabis by the close of 2017. By the end of 2018, the nation could see up to 12 states now legalizing recreational marijuana, making America one of the greenest nations in the whole world. It’s a big decade for cannabis.
The progression of recreational cannabis is a thing to celebrate. It will be the end of prohibition and criminalization of those who simply enjoy cannabis as part of their lifestyle. Yet, in the age of recreational legalization, it’s often too easy to celebrate the wins, while failing to recognize that there are still 21 states within our nation that are still in total cannabis prohibition. People who are seeking medical cannabis for the relief of symptoms associated with illnesses or their treatments are left without options for legal cannabis. But that’s about to change.
Here are some emergent U.S. states that are about to make the move to medical marijuana this year, forever altering cannabis culture in their state:
“Kentucky is behind,” Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Grimes stated in terms of cannabis progress. Grimes, recognizing that many of the state’s neighbors have moved to legalize, is determined to make medical marijuana available within the state by pushing the Legislature to send a bill for medical marijuana this year. However, there may be a bit of a holdup, with the state’s Governor Matt Bevin previously expressing concerns about cannabis “overdoses”.
A 2013 poll showed that 71% of people in the state support medical cannabis, yet the state hasn’t been successful in bringing it to ballot… until this year. It’s expected that the issue of medical marijuana will be placed on a ballot before its citizens this year, where it can be decided upon as early as June or pushed to November as part of the general election within the state.
Signatures to support a ballot initiative for medical marijuana were submitted last November, and we’ll know in March whether medical marijuana will appear in elections. If medical marijuana is passed, medical marijuana patients will be able to legally possess up to 3 ounces of cannabis to treat qualifying conditions. This state also did pursue recreational marijuana, but the initiative was thrown out due to a writing error.
One of the more conservative states, Utah’s medical marijuana measures are expected to make their way onto the state’s November Ballot. However, it’s to be noted that the qualifying conditions for medical marijuana are restrictive, and if passed, medical marijuana patients will be prohibited from consuming marijuana through smoking.
Missouri’s approach to medical marijuana legalization is currently being undertaken by three different initiatives that will bring the issue of medical marijuana to ballot this year. One group, New Approach Missouri, has collected 100,000 of the required 170,000 signatures needed to initiate a ballot that will change the state constitution. Their counterparts are enacting similar initiatives to make a statute change. This isn’t so straightforward for the state. Depending on what initiative makes it onto ballots first, there will likely be a long road of litigation to extend rights for medical marijuana in the state before anything is officially enacted. A state to pay close attention to.
A Nation Lies in Wait
Earlier this year, when Jeff Sessions rescinded the Cole Memo that kept the federal government out of the state’s legal marijuana programs, the medical marijuana community took a collective gasp at the perceived threat. Since then, however, the state-regulated legal marijuana movement has shown no signs of stopping, with states renewing their dedication to ensuring marijuana access for their people.
As new states legalize medical marijuana, CMN Holdings will remain a dedicated partner in patient education, working with medical doctors and cannabis dispensaries across the nation to increase patient literacy as cannabis makes its way into mainstream healthcare.