The Four Most MMJ Friendly States In America

As it stands in 2018, medical marijuana sits at a distinctive crossroads in American society. Over half of the country has embraced it; 29 states have legalized the drug for medicinal purposes, with the 30th state almost sure to follow this year. Across the remaining 20 states, however, medical marijuana remains a contentious issue. Some are dead set on never leaglazing it at all. The problem is that a medical marijuana initiative would not be a federal law; each state has to make their own laws when it comes to MMJ, hence the wildly varying results and surprising outcomes.

Take New York for instance. Many thought that due to its liberal leanings, New York would be a flagship state for the legalization of MMJ. On the contrary, NY’s initial attempt at medical marijuana was one of the most conservative in the country, coming a full 18 years after California first legalized MMJ in the U.S. in 1996. There have since been concerted efforts to overturn some of the more restrictive legislature, with varying degrees of success. What it does prove is that MMJ law is a tricky subject to get a handle on for many state governments, and it could be a while before we see a U.S. with 50 MMJ friendly states. That doesn’t mean there aren’t areas of the country that are fully pro-medical marijuana; there certainly are. If you’re wondering where exactly they are, then luckily you have to look no further than this handy article!

MMJ Recs - Golden Gate Bridge

Colorado is one of the most progressive MMJ friendly states in the country.

1. California

California places number one on this list of MMJ friendly states, as it was the first to take the leap and legalize medical marijuana way back in 1996. The Compassionate Use Act, or Proposition 215, was a revolutionary piece of legislature that paved the way for future states to lay their own groundwork. In the 22 years since it pioneered MMJ law, California’s enthusiasm for the treatment has not waned. Recently, the state passed a law that aimed to legalize recreational marijuana from the beginning of 2018. While some thought that the introduction of this legislature might make medical marijuana obsolete in California, in fact, the exact opposite turned out to be true. The government reaffirmed its commitment to its MMJ program by introducing a sales tax rebate for all medical marijuana patients or holders of a medical marijuana card. As recreational marijuana is slowly introduced into the Sunshine State, it looks as though MMJ will remain as strong as ever.

2. Colorado

Colorado was hot on California’s heels, and was one of the first states to legalize medical marijuana in the country; their legislature passed in 2000. Most marijuana advocates will recognise Colorado as the pioneer of recreational marijuana legalization, however. The state took that previously unheard-of initiative back in 2012. It makes sense that a state that has been committed to medical marijuana since the early days was also keen to legalize recreational marijuana, and like California, their initiatives go hand-in-hand. When it comes to MMJ, however, the Colorado market is startlingly robust, based on over seventeen years of experience. The MMJ industry is worth around $450 million to the state, so it’s no surprise that they’re keeping it in tip-top shape.

3. Washington

Colorado is often thought of as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana and is often seen as the poster state for the cause. However, Washington was equally pioneering, and legalized at exactly the same time as Colorado in 2012, paving the way for recreational marijuana laws to be loosened across the country. In fact, Washington is AHEAD of Colorado when it comes to medical marijuana. The state passed Initiative 692 in November 1998, just two short years after California trailblazed the initiative. The list of Washington’s qualifying conditions is also pretty extensive, making medical marijuana available to all sorts of patients who may be able to benefit from the medicine. Through the years Washington has seen extensive amendments to their medical marijuana bill, and in 2018, it proudly stands as one of the most inclusive and progressive MMJ friendly states in the country.

MMJ Recs - Maine Coastline

Maine has been committed to advancing its MMJ policies.

4. Maine

Maine might seem like an odd entry on this list, but it’s certainly doing its part to progress the MMJ cause. Medical marijuana became legal in 1999 (so even before Colorado), but under very strict regulations. This rules were relaxed significantly in 2005 with the passing of Question 5, which aimed to explicitly establish a Maine Medical Marijuana Act. Since then, the state has gone from strength to strength when it comes to MMJ; the most recent example of this advocation came just at the beginning of this year, when the state’s health care body approved progressive new legislature. These new remits will see an increase in the number of dispensary licenses across the state, while also loosening requirements under which medical marijuana can be used.

The above MMJ friendly states are shining examples of progressive medical marijuana treatment, but they are by no means the only states doing great work to advocate the cause. Hopefully their leadership on this important cause can inspire other states to investigate legalizing MMJ in their own territories.

California Vs. Colorado: Which Is The Best MMJ State?

When it comes to the continuing legalization of marijuana, in both its medical and recreational forms, two states are leading the charge, and have been for some time. They are California and Colorado, two major game-changers when it comes to medical marijuana, who adopted the beneficial legalization policies very early, and set a precedence that 27 other states have chosen to follow in the years leading up to 2018. What the future will bring for MMJ is unclear, but the ideal is to have all 50 states on board, with medical marijuana fully legalized across the whole of the United States. The remaining 21 states who have yet to sign MMJ into legislation would do well to look to California and Colorado as shining examples. But how do the two MMJ titans stack up against each other?

Let’s take a look at California first. The West Coast state has the honour of being the first state to legalize medical marijuana in legislation, during a critical vote on Proposition 215, also known as the Compassionate Use Act, which took place all the way back in 1996. Since that time, governments in California have been working to redefine and stabilize the legalization, resulting in one of the most liberal MMJ states in the country, a distinction California wears with pride. When contrasted with some of the more restrictive MMJ programs of other states, like New York (which, despite having a liberal-leaning reputation, surprisingly adopted an extremely harsh MMJ legislature), California’s progressive stance stands out even more.

California is leading the charge when it comes to marijuana legalization.

There are MMJ clinics and dispensaries all around the state, serving a large number of people suffering from a diverse number of illnesses. The wide range of qualifying conditions outlined in Proposition 215, most notably “chronic pain,” which refers to a wide number of patients’ grievances, has allowed people all over the state to benefit from medical marijuana’s therapeutic effects. As MMJ has been proven to reduce pain in many areas, resulting from many different conditions, the qualifying condition of “chronic pain” is an extremely important one, and is a caveat that many other states would do well to implement in their own legislature, both present and future.

On November 9, 2016, the day after a tumultuous presidential election, California became the eighth state to legalize recreational marijuana. However, the law only came into being on January 1, 2018, and as the state quickly discovered, 14 months was not enough lead in time to fully implement the legalization of a widespread, previously underground industry. Cities and counties up and down the state were not ready to sell recreational marijuana by January 1, despite significant progress being made in the rollout. For now, and for the foreseeable future, a medical marijuana card is still required to avail of marijuana in California, primarily because it’s not available anywhere else as it stands.

In light of the lengthy recreational legalization process, and as a nod to the state’s significant and well-established MMJ community, the Californian government introduced a measure whereby MMJ patients don’t pay any sales tax whatsoever on their medicine. This is a significant incentive and a show of commitment to the long-running MMJ program set up in 1996, and proves that the government are focused on incorporating recreational marijuana harmoniously alongside medical marijuana.

Colorado was hot on the heels of California when it came to legalizing MMJ, passing its own bill, Amendment 20, in 2000. Both Colorado and California decriminalized marijuana way back in 1975, so have always been at the forefront of marijuana laws in the U.S. In 2012, Colorado continued that trend by becoming the first state to legalize recreational marijuana, a revolutionary move that paved the way for marijuana legislation across the country, and also made America’s various MMJ programs more robust by legitimizing MMJ in the eyes of many citizens.

Colorado follows closely in California’s footsteps with its progressive MMJ policies.

Like California, Colorado medical marijuana is taxed differently to recreational marijuana, so it is still extremely beneficial to own a Colorado medical marijuana card. Also, the selection offered to medical marijuana patients is far superior than the recreational spectrum, and will be tailor-made for a patient’s specific condition, making them the optimum choice for marijuana taken medicinally. There is also the option of edibles for MMJ patients, which is not afforded to recreational users. For both states, the option of a medical marijuana card, even in the face of recreational legalization, is still the optimum choice for patients suffering from marijuana-treatable conditions.  MMJ cards can be acquired over the internet, via telemedicine, and don’t take long to arrive at your door.

When it comes to differentiating the two pro-marijuana states, there’s little difference when it comes to their MMJ programs. Both have tax rebates stemming from the legalization of recreational marijuana, and both have a range of qualifying conditions that allow a wide variety of patients from across the state to avail of the many benefits of MMJ. No doubt both California and Colorado will continue to bear the torch for medical marijuana in the years to come.

Why an MMJ Card Will Probably Always Be Necessary in the US

Medical marijuana has a long and fascinating history in the United States of America. It was first legalized in California in 1996, and since then, 29 states across the country have embraced the legalization of it by residents owning an MMJ card. It’s been a tough road, but if the trend continues, more and more states across the country will vote the medicine though in due course; many of the twenty nine swinging to legalization in the last few years.

The process by which a patient can avail of medical marijuana differs in each state, but one thing that unites all medical marijuana procedure is the crucial MMJ card; you have to procure one if you want to avail of the medicine.

These MMJ cards can be obtained from a registered healthcare professional like your GP, or even online, from professional health outlets on the internet. It’s quite a straightforward process in most states to sign up for the MMJ card, and it doesn’t take too long to start using medical marijuana legally.

But interestingly, running parallel to the country-wide debate about MMJ legality is a debate about recreational marijuana legality. Indeed, Colorado, Alaska, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and California have all legalized recreational MJ as well as medical MJ; the question now becomes: If marijuana is legal, do patients have to bother with an MMJ card at all?

MMJ Laws and Medical Marijuana Cards

The good thing about an MMJ card is that it can be obtained from a registered healthcare professional and even online.

Like every controversial topic, the answer isn’t straightforward. In Colorado for example, the answer is no and yes. You aren’t required to have an MMJ card to buy marijuana in the state of Colorado; anyone over the age of 21 is allowed to purchase the drug for recreational use (which of course, can include medical by default) in doses of 1/4 ounces maximum.

However, without an MMJ card, you can only purchase marijuana from recreational stores and not the licensed dispensaries. So the onus is on you to ‘self-medicate’ as it were, and forgo the insight and advice that you might avail of at medical dispensaries.

California MMJ Laws

In California, the issue as it stands in mid-2017 is even more thorny. Cali legalized recreational marijuana last November 8th, on the same night that Donald Trump was voted President-elect. Some thought that they could throw their MMJ cards out of the window and immediately start availing of recreational marijuana, but things didn’t prove to be so simple.

Though the recreational bill passed, it’s going to take the guts of a year to set up, with the first marijuana being projected to be sold legally in early 2018. So until that time, it’s MMJ cards all the way; though when the law does kick in down in California, the same logic as Colorado applies. It’s much better to have an MMJ card and avail of the medical practicalities that one affords, rather than dish out recreational doses to yourself.

What Cannabis Cards Are Used For

An MMJ card is strictly for state-use only, and is exclusively available to those residing in the state in question. All you need is a qualifying condition as described by each state’s respective MMJ bill, proof of residence in the state, and a doctor who can sign your forms and validate you.

If you suffer from a serious condition, it is absolutely worth availing of an MMJ card, even if you live in a state where recreational marijuana is legal. This is one of the big reasons why an MMJ card will probably always be necessary in the U.S.; the fact that it’s used to treat such a large range of conditions – some which require large doses and some which require separate carers to procure or even home-grow medical marijuana for their patients.

MMJ Recs - Weed

Medical marijuana cards will always be useful for those with qualifying conditions like anxiety, cancer, glaucoma and so much more.

This spectrum of ailments goes all the way from the vague and mild of ‘chronic pain’ (or in California’s exceptionally lax case, ‘any condition for which marijuana provides relief’) to the specific and severe of Parkinson’s or cancer.

When you’re dealing with that amount of ailments, you should absolutely consult with a doctor before procuring any medicine and get licensed up with a legitimate MMJ card. That way you know you’re benefitting the most from the medicine, rather than self-medicating with recreational stock.

It’s also useful to know what form to take MMJ in; smoking, oil and edible forms can all be prescribed and covered under an MMJ card. Again, your personal doctor is the best person to advise you.

So ultimately, for the eight states and counting that have legalized recreational marijuana, the question is not really ‘Will an MMJ card always be necessary?’ but something more like, ‘Am I better off with an MMJ card?’ The answer is almost always yes.

So if you live in a legalized state and suffer from a condition that you suspect MMJ can help with, then talk to your doctor as soon as you can about registering for a legitimate and simple-to-procure medical marijuana card.