What Does The 2020 Election Mean For Medical Marijuana?

Marijuana was legalized in five more states on Election Day in November 2020. New Jersey, Arizona, and Montana all voted to legalize recreational marijuana, while South Dakota legalized medical and recreational marijuana and Mississippi voted to legalize medical marijuana.

These votes are another leap forward in the medical marijuana revolution that has been sweeping the country over the past decade. With so many states now voting in favor of medical and recreational marijuana legalization, surely it is only a matter of time before marijuana – of the medical variety, at least – becomes legal at the federal level. It seems more and more clear that the federal ban on marijuana is out of step with public opinion.

But it is still difficult to know what will happen next and what the timeline will be. It seems like the tide is only moving in one direction – but how long will it take for MMJ to become legal nationwide and on the federal level? What does the 2020 election mean for medical marijuana? Will these positive 2020 marijuana legalization ballots lead to federal legalization? Will marijuana be legalized in 2021? Which presidential candidate supports legalization? And what are Joe Biden’s marijuana policies?

MMJRecs - medical cannabis plant
Image by RexMedlen on Pixabay: What do the 2020 election results mean for medical marijuana?

What Does The 2020 Election Mean For Medical Marijuana?

Overall, the 2020 election results were very positive for medical marijuana patients and the MMJ industry. The COVID pandemic has hit many state economies hard, and there is a recognition that legal marijuana, whether medical or recreational, is a big money-maker. The election has shown, through the passing of all marijuana legalization bills (and the support for Joe Biden, who is MMJ-friendly), that there is huge support for MMJ legalization.

2020 Marijuana Legalization Ballot

The 2020 marijuana legalization ballots were a big step in the direction of nationwide legalization. With all five marijuana legalization ballots being passed, there are now 15 states in which recreational marijuana is legal. Medical marijuana is now legal in all states except three.

Will Marijuana Be Legalized In 2021?

Despite the ever-increasing amount of legal marijuana states, and the legalization trend only moving in one direction, it seems unlikely that marijuana will be fully legalized in 2021. Both presidential candidates support states’ rights to choose, and with three states still holding out on legalizing MMJ, it seems unlikely that the federal government will legalize in the near future.

With recreational marijuana still only legal in 15 states, it is highly unlikely that the federal government will legalize recreational marijuana potentially against the wishes of a large number of states.

Which Presidential Candidate Supports Legalization?

Both of the main presidential candidates in the 2020 election supported states’ rights to choose whether marijuana is legal or not, to what extent, and in what form.

Joe Biden Marijuana Policies

Joe Biden is in favor of medical marijuana legalization and allowing states to set their own MMJ policies. He has stated his support for modest federal marijuana policy reform, for marijuana decriminalization, and for expungements for people with marijuana convictions. However, he does not support full federal legalization of recreational marijuana.

Image by gjbmiller on Pixabay: Medical marijuana is now legal in a large majority of US states.

Medical Marijuana Card Advantages

Even in states in which recreational marijuana is legal, it is still an advantage to have a medical marijuana card. An MMJ card means that you get priority in times of shortage. Medical marijuana can also be priced more cheaply than recreational varieties, and possession limits can be higher for medical marijuana patients.

What Are the Qualifying Conditions For A Medical Marijuana Card?

The qualifying conditions for a medical marijuana card vary state by state. Some states are very liberal. In Oklahoma, for example, there is no list of official qualifying conditions. An OK MMJ doctor can prescribe MMJ for any condition that they believe would be improved by MMJ treatment. Most other states are not so liberal, however.

The following conditions will qualify you for an MMJ card in most states:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Cachexia
  • Cancer
  • Chemotherapy-induced anorexia
  • Chronic pain
  • Chronic pancreatitis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Elevated intraocular pressure
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Lupus
  • Moderate to severe vomiting
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Nausea
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Persistent muscle spasms
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Seizures
  • Severe pain
  • Spinal cord injury or disease
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Wasting syndrome

How To Get A Medical Marijuana Card

The best way to get a medical marijuana card is to arrange an online consultation with an MMJ doctor through MMJRecs. MMJRecs will arrange a face-to-face video consultation with an MMJ doctor in your state who will verify that you qualify for MMJ treatment. You will then be emailed an MMJ letter, which you can submit to your local MMJ authorities.

Featured image by Matthew T Rader on Unsplash

Medical Marijuana In 2021: All You Need To Know

In recent years, there have been many changes to the legislation around medical marijuana. A substance that was once classified federally as a Schedule I in the Controlled Substances Act is now, in many places, considered a breakthrough medical treatment for a variety of conditions, including chronic pain; nausea and vomiting, often associated with chemotherapy treatments; and tight or stiff muscles often found in people with Multiple Sclerosis.

In 2020 alone, the increase in legalization of medical marijuana gave people access to the treatment as long as they have a condition that is certified to be managed with its use. In 2021, more changes are likely to occur in regards to the laws and regulations surrounding the use of MMJ. Read on for all you need to know about medical marijuana in 2021.

How Many States Legalized Marijuana In 2020?

As of late 2020, medical marijuana was completely legal in 38 states. The states that have approved the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes include:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
MMJRecs - CBD oil bottle
Image by Anshu A on Unsplash: Some states have legalized the use of medical marijuana, but only in the form of CBD oil.

Out of those 38 states, two legalized the use of medical marijuana for the first time in 2020: Virginia and South Dakota. South Dakota voted to pass bills on both recreational use and medicinal use of marijuana, making it the first state to vote on both at the same time.

With new legislations coming into effect for these aforementioned states, many people can now gain access to an MMJ card to help treat their specific qualifying condition. However, these states were a little late to the party, and some other states remain apprehensive about the legalization of medical marijuana.

Which States Will Legalize Marijuana In 2021?

The current momentum the legalization of medical marijuana has sustained could lead to further legislation being passed in states that have failed to act so far. This could be difficult for many states, though, because they already tried to no avail during the 2020 ballot, meaning they may have to wait until 2022 to make their push.

Idaho, for example, was delayed in making medical marijuana legal due to COVID-related complications. Some activists have already filed a petition to bring the issue in front of voters in 2022. Nebraska is also on the list for potential legalization, as a petition to get medical marijuana on the 2022 ballot has already commenced.

One state is a hopeful solo contender when it comes to the legalization of medical marijuana in 2021, and that’s South Carolina. There will be certain restrictions put in place, such as how the marijuana is consumed, but Senator Tom Davis thinks that 2021 may just be the year the bill passes.

2021 Medical Marijuana Laws

When taking a look at new laws that may be put into effect, it’s important to consider that all states can pass their own laws and legislations surrounding the use of marijuana as medicine. Each individual state controls what can and can’t be done.

With the growing list of states that have approved marijuana for medicinal use, certain issues may come into effect. For example, if a person has an MMJ card in one of the approved states, can they purchase products in another state with the legal sale of medical marijuana using that same card? This depends. Some states will allow out-of-state visitors to use their MMJ cards, while others will not.

The same rules and regulations in place now – such as methods of ingestion, how much MMJ can be purchased at a time, and the list of qualifying conditions – will likely vary from state to state, so it can be hard to get a snapshot of the country as a whole since it’s operating so individualistically.

MMJRecs - marijuana plant
Image by Matthew Sichkaruk on Unsplash: Medical marijuana changes could be big if the country decides to legalize at a federal level.

Federal Legalization 2021

The federal legalization of medical marijuana would change the country forever when it comes to treatment and care options for those suffering from a qualifying condition. There has been quite the shift that could lead to federal legalization as early as next year, and it has a lot to do with who has control over the U.S. Senate. If the ongoing battle of power leans towards to Democrats come January’s decision, it will likely mean that legalization bills will pass through both the Senate and the House with ease.

This could bring widespread changes if laws are regulated at a federal level. For example, the United States is part of several international treaties that prohibit the legalization of marijuana. Since it continues to be illegal at a federal level, the country is not in violation of any of those treaties. Although Canada has been able to legalize federally without any backlash, the United States may not face the same fate.

It can be hard to determine what will happen with medical marijuana in 2021, but many states are making moves towards to full legalization. With the majority of the country dipping its toes in the waters of legalized marijuana, whether medicinal or recreational, it’s safe to assume that MMJ will continue to make waves throughout the United States as 2021 progresses.

Featured image by Moritz Knöringer on Unsplash

Which Countries Are Next For Medical Marijuana Legalization In 2021?

Which countries have been taking steps towards medical marijuana (MMJ) legalization that could potentially be finalized in 2021 or shortly after? This question is being asked by patients all over the world who would see a massive benefit in their quality of life if they could avail of medical marijuana treatment.

Medical marijuana is now proven beyond doubt to be a very effective treatment for a whole host of painful and debilitating conditions. Patients are getting a whole new lease on life thanks to MMJ treatment, which is extremely effective in pain management and symptom reduction.

MMJ can improve the symptoms of a large number of health conditions, such as epilepsy, headache, chronic pain, insomnia, glaucoma, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, Crohn’s disease, arthritis, seizures, nausea, and multiple sclerosis.

MMJRecs - medical marijuana plant
Image by RexMedlen on Pixabay: Medical marijuana laws in 2021 will differ considerably around the world.

Medical Marijuana Legalization Around The World

Medical marijuana has been legalized in most US states. The minority of states in which MMJ is still illegal seem certain to follow suit over the next few years. The weight of evidence demonstrating the wide array of benefits of MMJ treatment is simply too compelling to ignore.

Plenty of other nations around the world have by now also legalized medical marijuana. Several countries have sensible, liberal MMJ programs that their citizens can avail of. But many countries have legal MMJ almost in name only, with limiting and restrictive laws that make MMJ available to only a minority of people with very specific medical conditions.

All of the countries that look like they may make more progress towards legalizing medical marijuana in 2021 fall into the category of having some amount of current MMJ legality. But that legality tends to involve such restrictive programs that almost none of their citizens qualify, and for those who do, the product range available is extremely limited.

Medical Marijuana Laws In 2021

Medical marijuana legalization is not usually a sudden, one-fell-swoop type of situation, especially when the decision is being made at a national level. Nations are large entities that contain a wide range of conflicting pressure groups within their borders.

In the US, for example, medical marijuana is still not legal at a federal level, but most US states have now legalized medical marijuana. Nations as a whole tend to move more slowly than individual states. For example, Oklahoma went from a staunchly anti-MMJ state to a very liberal legal MMJ state almost overnight, when voters approved State Question 788 in 2018.

Which Countries Will Legalize Medical Marijuana Next?

France

Sativex, which is a mouth spray containing chemical extracts from the cannabis plant, is currently available as a treatment in France. But a full medical marijuana program is yet to be legalized and implemented in the country.

Former Minister for Health Agnes Buzyn is an influential figure in French public health policy and has stated her support for an MMJ program on several occasions. Also, the French National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products has concluded that it would be “appropriate to authorize the use of therapeutic cannabis… in certain clinical situations.” Given these high-profile endorsements, it seems only a matter of time before France fully legalizes medical marijuana.

Ireland

The Irish Medical Cannabis Access Programme is operating on a pilot basis for the next five years. Only a medical consultant (and not a general practitioner) can prescribe a marijuana-based treatment. The only patients eligible for treatment with MMJ in Ireland are those with severe, treatment-resistant epilepsy; intractable nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy; or spasticity associated with MS who have not responded to standard treatments.

Ireland’s legal MMJ program is preliminary and very limited. However, it is a start, and seems likely to expand once the initial pilot stage is complete.

The UK

The UK technically legalized treatment with medicines derived from marijuana in 2018. But the country’s MMJ program has been derided for being MMJ-legal in name only. Only three MMJ derived medications are available to patients: Sativex (only for MS patients), Nabilone (only for treating chemotherapy side-effects), and Epidiolex (only for epilepsy patients). These medications are only prescribed if all other treatment options have failed.

Alex Fraser, patient access specialist at Grow Biotech, echoes the disillusionment felt by millions of UK citizens when he says, “We’ve seen a huge reluctance from doctors and pharmacies to risk their licenses by facilitating access. The vast majority of people (…) are still being forced to rely on the black market to source their medication.” Given the public outcry and strong demand for MMJ treatment in the UK, it is only a matter of time before the country widens and improves its MMJ laws.

MMJRecs - MMJ plant
Image by pixundfertig on Pixabay: Which countries will legalize MMJ next?

Countries Where Recreational Marijuana Is Legal

Marijuana laws are somewhat unclear and indecisive in many countries. Some countries have fully legalized recreational marijuana. However, quite a few countries do not have a specific legal marijuana law, but have made marijuana usage effectively legal, with public marijuana consumption common and never punished.

The following is a list of countries in which recreational marijuana is legal, or effectively legal:

  • Argentina: Recreational marijuana use is decriminalized and widely accepted.
  • Australia: Recreational marijuana was legalized in the Australian Capital Territory, which includes the capital city Canberra, in 2019.
  • Belgium: Recreational marijuana use is decriminalized and widely accepted.
  • Cambodia: Technically illegal, but culturally accepted. Cambodia is full of restaurants offering “happy meals” that are infused with marijuana.
  • Canada: Fully legal recreational marijuana.
  • Colombia: Recreational marijuana use is decriminalized and widely accepted.
  • Czech Republic: Recreational marijuana use is decriminalized and widely accepted.
  • Ecuador: Recreational marijuana use is decriminalized and widely accepted.
  • Mexico: Recreational marijuana use is decriminalized and widely accepted.
  • Netherlands: Recreational marijuana use is decriminalized and widely accepted, and products are available to buy in the country’s famous coffee shops.
  • Portugal: Recreational marijuana use is decriminalized and widely accepted.
  • Spain: Recreational marijuana use is decriminalized and widely accepted. Spain’s famous “smoking clubs” are fully legal in Catalonia.
  • United States: Several states have fully legalized recreational marijuana.
  • Uruguay: Fully legal recreational marijuana.

Featured image by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash