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.

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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.

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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

Medical Marijuana Reform: What Does The US House Vote Postponement Mean For MMJ?

The current pandemic has caused a lot of government operations to come to a standstill. Many sectors have been hyper-focused on addressing the rising numbers of COVID-19 and efforts to slow transmission of the virus.

One such reform that has taken a back seat is medical marijuana. A planned vote that was supposed to take place in September has been postponed, and it’s possible that it won’t be back on the table until after the much-anticipated 2020 election. So, what does this mean for medical marijuana reform in the United States?

Federal legalization 2020 could have some roadblocks

Prior to the onset of the pandemic, many states had introduced a bill to decriminalize marijuana that would allow for reform on the punishments received for those in possession. With the virus causing many committees to adjourn, it’s not clear when they will be available for the vote.

Medical cannabis programs had also been introduced in states including Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Caroline, Tennessee, and Wisconsin, but all have adjourned early, with some bills dying before they could even get off the ground.

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Image by Matthew Ansley on Unsplash: Many people are awaiting reform to have prior and pending marijuana convictions overturned. 

The MORE Act

The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act was proposed in 2019 in efforts to take cannabis out of the Controlled Substances Act, thus leading to lessened criminal punishments for use and possession for both the future and for those with prior or pending convictions. It would also pave the way for funding and grant programs for small businesses in the industry.

As of writing, 33 states have opted into allowing the use of medical marijuana for a variety of conditions, but with the stall of the marijuana legalization vote, it’s not certain when the others will follow suit.   

What the new marijuana legislation will mean

For many Americans, especially people of color or those in certain disenfranchised communities, the need for legalization of marijuana is particularly important. Statistics have shown that certain communities are more susceptible to facing harsher penalties for marijuana related offences, which in turn threatens their ability to progress throughout their life. For those with drug-related offenses surrounding the use of marijuana, this could mean serving prison time. The new legislation aims to eliminate the chance of that altogether and impose fines instead.

Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez found the delay of the vote was based on fear and that the choice to push this particular bill could be racially motivated, and that it’s possible that there are more nefarious actions at play on behalf of the Republican party.

Why is marijuana legalization important?

Studies have shown that the use of medical marijuana can be of great benefit for people suffering from certain ailments such as cancer, chronic pain, mood disorders, and digestive dysfunction. When states continue to keep cannabis on the criminalized list of substances, it’s hard for people to access something that would help them greatly in their battle to a better quality of life.

It’s also important for certain demographics to be unafraid of the use of small amounts of marijuana, because in its current state, many people are convicted of serious offences when it is not necessary. This increase in both fear and risk leads to less regulation, more opportunity for harmful chemicals to be added to marijuana, and increased danger when purchasing. Research has also found that the use of marijuana recreationally among adults was less of a risk in terms of long-term effects than the long-term recreational use of alcohol.

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Image by Justin Cron on Unsplash: The current racial divide in the United States could benefit from measures such as medical marijuana reform.

Because there is no definitive timeline for when the COVID-19 pandemic will be over, especially with cases still on the rise in many areas, it’s not likely that the bills will be introduced prior to election day. This delay in voting has also had an impact on the tension between the Republic and Democratic parties, as well the racial divide that the country currently finds itself in. Many communities who fall victim to the unfair marijuana laws are predominantly people of color, as are many people who have already been convicted for cannabis-related offences.

Medical marijuana reform is needed in all states to ensure that there is racial equality and access to proper medical care if someone so requires it, and these bills, if passed, will help bridge those gaps.

Image by Quick PS on Unsplash

Can A State Recriminalize Medical Marijuana?

Marijuana has come a long way in the United States over the past decade. A mere handful of years ago, there was nowhere in the U.S. you could purchase marijuana legally. Today, you can get medical and recreational marijuana in 11 states as well as Washington D.C. And more are sure to be on the way, with several other states putting measures to further legalize marijuana in many states. But can a state recriminalize medical marijuana?

If you’ve been wondering “Can my state make MMJ illegal again?”, here’s what you need to know about where things are likely headed regarding legal marijuana in the current climate.

A Brief History of Marijuana

Back when the United States first came into being, cannabis was widely grown for hemp. As other crops such as cotton became more popular, hemp fell out of fashion and cannabis plants were no longer encouraged to be farmed. But marijuana from the cannabis plant was increasing in popularity. In fact, by the end of the Civil War in the United States, marijuana was a popular addition to tinctures and medicines. By the 1930s, marijuana was quite popular in many communities.

So, when did it start to become criminalized? After the prohibition of alcohol had come and gone, a movement to outlaw marijuana gained traction in the 1930s. By 1937, the Marijuana Tax Act had been passed, essentially making marijuana illegal throughout the United States.

Since the prohibition in the 1930s, the pendulum has begun to swing the other way. More and more states are decriminalizing marijuana, while a few others have made medical marijuana legal. Several have even made marijuana legal for everyone, medical condition or not. But as far as the federal government is concerned, marijuana is still illegal. And that leads to some interesting questions about its legality overall, even if you live in a state that has totally legalized it.

 

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Image by Christina Walker on Unsplash: Many people might be wondering “Will MMJ always be legal in my state?”

Medical Marijuana vs. Marijuana: What’s the Difference?

Conflicts between the federal government and state laws may lead you to think that there’s a difference between medical marijuana and marijuana, but the truth is that they really only differ by legal definitions.

Medical marijuana is used by people with certain qualifying medical conditions and is purchased at MMJ dispensaries that are overseen by the state government. “Regular” marijuana, on the other hand, is simply marijuana for non-medical use. It’s also called “recreational marijuana” since users do not need to have proof of a medical condition to use it.

Legalization, Decriminalization, and Medical Marijuana

There’s really no set definition to any term regarding the use or legalization of marijuana in the United States. However, there’s a broad way to understand the difference between the terms:

  • Decriminalization – Many states do not allow medical or recreational marijuana, but they have decriminalized it. That means that there is generally no prison or jail time for those who possess limited quantities of marijuana. That doesn’t mean there are no legal penalties in place; it simply means you may not go to jail for having possession of marijuana.
  • Legalization – For the states that have totally legalized marijuana, there are no government-enforced penalties for possessing or using marijuana. This often includes growing it in your own home, but rules vary from state to state.
  • Medical marijuana – States that have approved marijuana for medical use allows doctors to recommend the use of marijuana to treat certain conditions, which differ from state to state.

Can MMJ Be Made Illegal Again In My State?

It’s important to understand that, as previously mentioned, the federal government still considers marijuana illegal. In fact, according to the federal government, marijuana is a Schedule 1 drug, which means it has, in their eyes, no medical use with an increased potential for abuse. That puts it in the same category as other drugs such as heroin, and in a more restrictive category than drugs such as methamphetamines and cocaine, which are Schedule 2.

 

MMJ Recs - recreational marijuana

Image by Wesley Gibbs on Unsplash: Will I always have access to MMJ in my state, you may ask? Chances are good that many states will only continue to move forward with MMJ legislation.

 

At any time, Congress could legalize marijuana, but as it stands now it’s a question answered state by state. If you live in a state with medical marijuana, legal marijuana, or even decriminalized marijuana, the laws can change at any time with a bill approved by the state’s government.

Marijuana has an interesting history. So can a state recriminalize medical marijuana? Well, while there’s always a chance of history repeating itself and local and state laws sliding backward, the current climate points toward more states getting on the legalization train.

Featured image by Roberto Valdivia on Unsplash

Which States Have The Highest Percentage Of Medical Marijuana Users In The U.S.?

Is MMJ use common in the U.S.? The answer is an emphatic yes! Medical marijuana is bringing life-enhancing symptom relief to people who suffer from a wide variety of medical conditions, including insomnia, anxiety, migraines, chronic pain, muscle spasms, cancer symptoms, and glaucoma. The popularity of MMJ is increasing steadily, with new MMJ states coming on board regularly. So which states have the highest percentage of medical marijuana users in the U.S.?

Which states consume the most MMJ is an interesting topic, because the answers provide an interesting insight into how cultural mores and attitudes, as well as legislative and business practices, differ state by state. Finding out which state has the highest percentage of medical marijuana users in the U.S. is a valuable learning experience that can teach us a lot about life in America in 2020.

What Is Marijuana?

Marijuana is a psychoactive drug derived from the cannabis plant. It consists of the dried fruit, flowers, leaves, and stalks of the cannabis plant. Marijuana has been taken for thousands of years for medicinal, recreational, and spiritual purposes. The drug has mind-altering properties as well as physically relaxing and energizing properties. Many forms of marijuana are available that have different effects, generally dictated by the amounts and ratios of the most active compounds, THC and CBD, present in the strain.

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Image by StayRegular on Pixabay: MMJ use is common in the U.S.

A Brief History Of The Legal Status Of Marijuana In The U.S.

How popular is MMJ use in America? The answer to this question has varied greatly over time – mainly because legal status, and therefore availability, has changed over time.

The cannabis plant is native to central Asia and the Indian subcontinent and it has been used in and around that part of the world for at least 5,500 years. Marijuana was introduced to the western world by an Irish doctor called William Brooke O’Shaunessey, who brought it to Britain from Bengal in 1842.

Marijuana was used commonly in the United States for medicinal purposes until 1911, when states began to make it illegal. The 1937 Marijuana Tax Act essentially prohibited marijuana use at the federal level. In 1973, states began to tentatively decriminalize the use of marijuana while maintaining its illegal status. After this, more and more states began to decriminalize the drug. But it wasn’t until 1996 that the first state legalized marijuana for medical use, and not until 2012 that the first state finally made marijuana fully legal for all purposes again.

Which States Legalized MMJ First?

California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996. The first state to fully legalize recreational marijuana, in 2012, was Washington State, closely followed in the same year by Colorado.

Medical Marijuana Qualifying Conditions

As of 2020, 33 states and the District of Columbia have fully legalized medical marijuana, and 11 states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana. In medical marijuana states, the qualifying conditions and available product ranges vary state by state. They range from the highly liberal – such as Oklahoma, which allows MMJ usage for any medical condition for which a doctor deems it beneficial – to the more restricted, such as Delaware and Alaska.

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Image by Voltamax on Pixabay: MMJ qualifying conditions vary state by state.

Which States Have The Highest Numbers Of MMJ Users?

How popular is MMJ use in America? This is a question that depends greatly on which state you are talking about. California has the highest number of medical marijuana users in the U.S. by a long way, with approximately one million users. Michigan comes in second place with over a quarter of a million users. Oklahoma, which only recently legalized MMJ, deserves an honorable mention because it has a very high per capita usage, which is growing all the time thanks to its liberal, well-implemented and competitive medical marijuana program.

Which States Will Legalize Marijuana Next?

Several states seem to be near to fully legalizing marijuana in the next few years. The most likely to fully legalize next are Florida, Arizona, Arkansas, and Missouri. The states that seem most likely to legalize medical marijuana in the near future are Wyoming and Kentucky.

Is There Any Progress Towards the Legalization Of MMJ On A Federal Level?

Legalization on a federal level is a matter of when, not if. It’s not a huge political issue at the moment, and probably won’t ever be again, because states have made their own marijuana laws, and so legalization on a federal level is really not essential anymore. However, the disparity between out-of-date federal law and the reality that well over half of all states have legalized medical marijuana (and an increasing amount of states also have legal recreational marijuana) means that legalization on a federal level is certainly on the horizon.

How To Apply For A Medical Marijuana Letter

The best way to apply for a medical marijuana letter is to arrange an online consultation with an MMJ doctor in your state on MMJRecs.com.

Featured image by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash

Can A State Recriminalize Recreational Marijuana?

The laws surrounding both recreational and medical marijuana (MMJ) are constantly changing. Just about every major election sees alterations to which states currently allow their citizens to use marijuana recreationally and/or for medicinal purposes. Because of this perpetual flux, many people are often left wondering, “Can a state recriminalize recreational marijuana?” The answer is (potentially) yes. At this time, cannabis is still illegal on a federal level, which means there’s always the possibility that currently “legalized” states can revert to criminalizing marijuana usage. Keep reading for more information about the laws surrounding recreational marijuana.

What are the current marijuana laws?

Marijuana (or cannabis) is a mixture of dried flowers of the Cannabis sativa plant. It can create psychoactive or mind-altering effects because of a chemical called THC and can be consumed in a variety of different ways (such as cigarettes, water pipes, vaporizers, and edibles). When using marijuana products, people can experience feelings of euphoria and relaxation.

There are currently 11 states in the U.S. where recreational marijuana is legal:

  • Washington
  • Alaska
  • California
  • Oregon
  • Colorado
  • Nevada
  • Illinois
  • Michigan
  • Vermont
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts

Currently, most states still have certain restrictions on using and growing marijuana even though it’s legal. For example, recreational users are permitted to carry one ounce of flower or eight grams of cannabis at a time. There are still some acts that can result in criminal charges (including some selling activities or unlicensed growing operations), depending on the state. As for MMJ usage, there are 33 states that have made medical marijuana usage legal. MMJ can be used in the treatment of a large variety of conditions – everything from post-traumatic stress disorder and eating disorders to glaucoma and nausea.

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Image by Greta Scholderle Moller on Unsplash: There’s always a possibility that states could recriminalize recreational marijuana.

Can my state make recreational marijuana illegal again?

Because of the changing laws, you might be wondering if the state you live in could potentially revert to making recreational marijuana illegal again. There is always the chance that laws could be passed to make marijuana illegal if lawmakers think it’s in the public’s best interest or if voters decide to vote out these laws. In 2018, the governor of Colorado (one of the first states to make recreational cannabis legal in the US) said the state would always be open to considering reversing the law if it was deemed necessary.

So if you’re pondering, “Can recreational marijuana be made illegal again in my state?” there’s always the chance this could happen. However, because of the general public’s support of passing these laws in the first place, it would be somewhat unlikely for a state to completely reverse its policy regarding recreational marijuana use.

Should I get an MMJ card instead of using recreationally?

If you have the question “Will recreational marijuana always be legal in my state?”, it makes sense that you’re concerned you might not always have access to legal cannabis in the future. If that fear is there, you might want to consider getting an MMJ card. If you have physical or emotional symptoms that could be alleviated with the use of MMJ products, you could be eligible for an MMJ card (if it’s legal in your state).

There are lots of benefits to having an MMJ card versus just using marijuana recreationally, including:

  • The option of possessing larger amounts of product
  • Getting to skip sales tax on MMJ products in some states
  • Having fewer restrictions for growing your own MMJ

These benefits are great if you’re going to be traveling or if you can’t get to a licensed dispensary very easily. It’s also helpful if you need to try multiple strains or different forms in order to most effectively treat your medical condition. There’s also an added advantage of having more rights with an MMJ letter. If you’re always carrying your MMJ card with you when you’re in possession of MMJ products, it’s likely that you won’t face any serious issues with law enforcement, since you can show your card as proof of your rights.

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Image by Add Weed on Unsplash: There are many benefits to owning an MMJ card when it comes to buying cannabis.

How do you apply for an MMJ card?

Having to constantly worry “Will I always have access to recreational marijuana in my state?” can lead to a lot of stress. To avoid any possible future changes in the law, if you’re eligible, apply for an MMJ card so that you’ll still have continuous access to marijuana products. Look for specific regulations surrounding MMJ usage in your state and then head to MMJRecs to get evaluated virtually by a medical professional. If your medical condition allows you to qualify, you can receive an official medical marijuana recommendation, ID card, and grower’s permit for one reasonable flat rate from MMJRecs. It’s unlikely that medical marijuana laws will be rolled back, so having access to these products means you’re more likely to be protected going forward.

There’s always a chance that your individual state could go back and recriminalize recreational marijuana. If this happens, don’t worry – you still have options! Consider applying for an MMJ card so you’ll continue to have access to cannabis products that can help treat a variety of physical or emotional issues. Just make sure to keep paying attention to the laws in your state so that your recreational or MMJ use will always fall within the legal realm.

Featured image by Roberto Valdivia on Unsplash

Oklahoma And MMJ In 2019: The Story So Far

An OK MMJ card has finally become available. Oklahoma was a slow adopter of medical marijuana, and only a short while ago many pro-MMJ advocates in the state believed legalization may never come. But, in the space of only twelve months, everything has changed. Oklahoma has now joined the MMJ revolution… and it has done so with gusto!

“Is MMJ legal in Oklahoma yet?” has been a much-asked question throughout the country over the past few years. The question might originally have seemed ironic, the implication being that the traditionally conservative state would be the last state likely to legalize MMJ – and if it ever did that would be evidence that MMJ had become thoroughly accepted.

Over the past decade, a cascade of American states have been legalizing medical cannabis, but many Oklahomans were not holding their breath. But things changed with surprising speed. In June of 2018 Oklahomans were asked to vote on State Question 788. The citizens of Oklahoma voted to legalize MMJ in the Sooner State.

The history of medical marijuana in Oklahoma is barren. Cannabis has tended to be viewed largely as a recreational substance in the state. But the mountains of evidence that show how beneficial MMJ is for patients, as well as the copious business opportunities that legal MMJ can open up, have changed the minds of many Oklahomans.

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Read on for all you need to know about Oklahoma and MMJ!

When was MMJ Legalized in OK?

As mentioned, there is very little history of medical marijuana in Oklahoma. The state has always tended to take a conservation stance on such matters. An OK MMJ card seemed unlikely to ever come into existence at many times over the last few years. Despite the canvassing of pro-MMJ patients, scientists and medical professionals, local politicians, and state legislators were slow to be convinced of the merits of pushing for legal MMJ.

But while change came slowly, it did come. In June of 2018 Oklahomans were proposed State Question 788. The citizenry spoke and 57% decided that “…the licensed sale, use, and growth of marijuana in Oklahoma for medical purposes” should be allowed.

Once the Yes vote was confirmed, Oklahoma’s MMJ program was rolled out with usual speed. Dispensaries opened their doors just four months after legalization. The state now has one of the country’s most liberal medical cannabis programs, and the MMJ industry in Oklahoma is booming.

What has the Reception for Legal MMJ in OK Been Like?

The attitude of Oklahomans towards medical marijuana in 2019 is mostly positive. The state’s ethos has traditionally been one of independence. Oklahomans do not like to have too much governmental interference in their affairs. Freedom from big government is an important and engrained value in Oklahoma. This attitude has allowed one of the most liberal and non-intrusive MMJ programs in the country to come into effect very quickly.

There are fewer rules and regulations in the Oklahoma MMJ program and a lot of freedom for patients, medical professionals and, the industry to choose how they operate in the MMJ space.

Oklahoma has even been called the “wild, wild West” of the MMJ world!

Will MMJ Stay Legalized in OK?

The 2019 MMJ laws in Oklahoma are very forward-looking and liberal. The state has caught the MMJ ball and is running with it with the gusto of an Oklahoma Sooners running back charging toward the Texas Longhorns’ end zone! Given the speed at which the program has been rolled out, and the enthusiasm of local businesspeople, physicians, and patients, it is very difficult to imagine any backtracking happening on the part of local politicians or legislators.

How Does Legal MMJ Affect the Push for Legalized Recreational Marijuana in OK?

While MMJ is now well and truly legal in Oklahoma, recreational marijuana is still illegal. An OK MMJ card does not qualify a person to obtain cannabis for recreational purposes.

Given the relative flexibility of Oklahoma’s MMJ laws – medical cannabis is available for any medical condition that a medical professional deems it will be helpful – it is possible that the push to legalize recreational cannabis in the state may lose its potency.

However, it is also possible that once Oklahomans get accustomed to having plentiful MMJ, that they will decide that cannabis is harmless and decide to legalize recreational use.

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It’s unknown what the approach to legalizing recreational marijuana will be like, but for the meantime, those wishing to use medical marijuana in Oklahoma have it pretty good.

How Can People Get MMJ in Oklahoma?

It is relatively easy to get MMJ in OK. A patient only needs to have a consultation with a medical professional. This can be done very quickly and easily online. There is no formal list of qualifying medical conditions for use of MMJ in Oklahoma. A medical professional can authorize MMJ use for any medical condition that he or she believes would be improved by the use of medical marijuana.

An OK MMJ card can be used in any dispensary in the state. There are currently plenty of dispensaries in Oklahoma – 1,500 at last count, and rising! Home cultivation of MMJ is allowed in the state.

So, legal MMJ was slow to arrive in Oklahoma. But when it came, it came with a bang! Oklahomans have embraced the MMJ revolution, but now they are lucky to live in a state with one of the most progressive and liberal MMJ programs in the entire United States.

When Will Marijuana Be Legalized In Oklahoma?

One of the most pressing debates of our time surrounds the legalization of marijuana, and while many states are making progress, some still haven’t taken the full leap. Oklahoma recently allowed for medical marijuana – but when, if ever, could we see marijuana legalized in Oklahoma fully, and how would this affect MMJ?

MMJ Laws in Oklahoma

Let’s start with the basics. Is MMJ legal in Oklahoma? The answer is yes – since last year, medical marijuana has been legal in Oklahoma, so long as you have an MMJ card. However, recreational marijuana is absolutely not legal! We’re going to take a look at when complete legalization might happen, how this has impacted other states that have taken the plunge, and what it could mean for MMJ card holders.

Since the legalization of medical marijuana in Oklahoma last year, the reception seems to have been pretty positive, with 151,000 residents having applied for MMJ cards and more than 170 dispensaries licensed. This actually means that Oklahoma has more MMJ cards per capita than any other state.

However, despite the relatively warm reception medical marijuana has received, Oklahoma still seems pretty strongly opposed to recreational marijuana as a whole. In fact, a recent SoonerPoll survey found that 59% of Oklahoma residents would oppose expanding legalization to include recreational use. That said, there are still considerable policy changes being implemented to safeguard medical users – such as the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana and Patient Protection Act, which means that an employer cannot deny work to, discipline, or fire an employee based on the grounds that they are a medical marijuana patient. Nor can businesses fire a patient for a positive marijuana test, unless it has safety implications (such as the operation of heavy equipment).

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Will we ever see marijuana legalized in Oklahoma for recreational use?

What Are The Pros/Cons Of Legal Marijuana In Oklahoma?

There is much debate over whether both medical and recreational marijuana should be legalized in each state, but looking at complete legalization, what are some of the pros and cons that Oklahoma could face?

One of the biggest arguments given for complete legalization is that it will take the marijuana trade out of the hands of criminals. This will lessen the flow of money to organized crime and hopefully reduce violence. Additionally, it means that the money that would have gone to criminals can instead be levied as a tax to help benefit the state and, of course, fund small businesses (like the 170+ dispensaries now in Oklahoma for medical marijuana). Additionally, legalization means less burden on the state, since the number of arrests and court fillings will fall, along with the associated costs. This was clearly seen in Colorado, where marijuana arrests decreased by roughly 52% between 2012 and 2017.

On the other hand, legalization could make marijuana use more prevalent and have a knock-on effect for other crimes – DUIs, for example. This was also found in Colorado, where marijuana-related DUIs jumped from 12% to 15% of all DUIs between 2014 to 2017. Additionally, while having marijuana legalized in Oklahoma would reduce the bureaucracy of unwarranted court proceedings, it would open up a whole new issue of regulation. The overall debate is undoubtably far more complex than this, but is often focused around recreational use. The use of medical marijuana in Oklahoma is far more stable, but could this be changed by complete legalization? 

How Could Full Legalization Affect MMJ?

Complete legalization will of course make marijuana more ubiquitous in the state, but the real impact on MMJ card holders would be minimal. This is because the restrictions and options for card holders would probably remain the same, giving you the same benefits under complete legalization as you have now. Some of these include being able to use reputable dispensaries to acquire the best products for your condition as well as not having to pay tax on medical marijuana, which you’d likely have to do for recreational marijuana. Furthermore, the age restrictions would vary, with an MMJ card allowing anyone over to 18 access the products they need – not so likely with recreational marijuana.

How can you get an MMJ card in Oklahoma?

Whether we see marijuana legalized in Oklahoma entirely or not, the best option for most people will still be an MMJ card due to savings, higher-quality products, and fewer restrictions. In Oklahoma, you’ve been able to apply for an MMJ card since August of last year, and can do so if you suffer from a qualifying condition. These include cancer, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and many more, so first check whether you fit into one of these categories.

If you meet the qualifying conditions, an MMJ card can be procured from your doctor. However, many people opt to get their card online, since it allows you to complete the whole process without the hassle of travel, which can be difficult for many people seeking MMJ. Online applications also allow for instant recommendations once the evaluation is completed by qualified professionals.

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MMJ laws in Oklahoma will stand strong, no matter what happens with recreational legalization.

Overall, medically legal marijuana in Oklahoma has had a pretty positive reception, and with new legislation giving greater protections to MMJ card holders every month, it seems likely that its medical use will only become more common. That said, the state still seems adamantly against the complete legalization of marijuana. Luckily, those who need it can still access it by applying for an MMJ card and using a registered dispensary. Regardless of whether Oklahoma goes for complete legalization, this is still the best option and is unlikely to change.

Why 2018 Is Already The Best Year For MMJ Patients

Medical marijuana has had a long and difficult road to get to where it finds itself in 2018. Although MMJ has many proven health benefits, and can ease symptoms of a wide variety of illnesses and afflictions, the progressive drug therapy has seen itself radically criminalized in some circles, and continues to be a point of contention for many conservative governors, senators, and councilmen/women.  However, the outlier medicine has made fantastic strides over the last decade or so, which means that 2018 is looking to be the year the pendulum swings fully in favor of MMJ and its assorted infrastructure.

The tide started to turn way back in 1996, when California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana. This was a big deal 22 years ago, and although it wasn’t the first state to complete the circle and legalize recreational marijuana (that particular accolade goes to Colorado and Washington simultaneously), the Golden State has continued to be a frontrunner in marijuana advocation and legislation throughout the past two decades. The state legalized recreational marijuana the day after a tumultuous presidential election, and can (in theory) start selling the drug this year. More on that later.

MMJRecs - Marijuana Plant

Will 2018 be a turning point for medical marijuana in the U.S.? We think so.

Currently, 29 states (and Washington D.C.) have legalized medical marijuana, so we’re well past the halfway threshold in terms of cumulative state legislation. Signs are strong that the 30th state won’t be too far off, and several more look set to follow throughout 2018, meaning that this year could potentially see the biggest turnover of states to pro-green status since California ruled in MMJ’s favor 22 years ago. However, because medical marijuana doesn’t constitute a federal initiative, the way these 29-and-counting states are approaching MMJ is wildly different, and can have consequences for patients depending on their location.

Evidence of these interstate discrepancies can be found in the case of New York. The East Coast state has long been considered a liberal bastion, and can usually stand toe-to-toe with the large liberal stronghold on the West Coast that is California. However, when it comes to medical marijuana, New York seemed to stumble; this is largely due to the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, being highly against marijuana in general, and seeing it as a “gateway drug,” even in a medicinal capacity. This didn’t stop MMJ being legalized in New York in 2014, but it was introduced as one of the most restrictive and conservative programs anywhere in the country, which surprised many people. One obvious example of this restrictiveness is that patients could not consume the drug in its leaf form, which has been regarded as the most potent form, and the most likely to help ease symptoms.

Fortunately, in 2018, patients could see the situation change for the better, courtesy of NY’s neighbours, New Jersey. Intense advocation has already seen the qualifying condition “chronic pain” added to the list, which has opened up MMJ care to  whole host of patients who could previously not access it. 2018 will more than likely see recreational marijuana legalized in New Jersey, as well as Massachusetts and even Connecticut, surrounding New York with liberal marijuana laws. Under that kind of pressure, Cuomo and the conservative elements of New York are sure to crack, paving the way for recreational marijuana, and helping the cause of medical marijuana in the process.

MMJRecs - Marijuana Buds

The legalization of recreational marijuana is in fact helping the cause of medical marijuana in several ways.

You might wonder why medical marijuana has a place at all if recreational marijuana is taking the country by storm. In fact, the opposite is proving to be true; the legalization of recreational marijuana only serves to heighten the importance, and provide advantages to, the cause of MMJ. Take California as an example. Recreational marijuana was due to start being legally sold in the state as of January 1st, 2018. However, due to intense concerns about expanding a previously black market-based operation into the full light of legality, it has yet to occur, and looks like it won’t for some time.

What has occurred is a sales tax break for patients using medical marijuana, which is fantastic news for those who are committed to using the drug to treat their ailments. Also, the specialist care that doctors provide to patients when it comes to selecting the correct strain of marijuana for their conditions is still paramount; self-medicating with recreational marijuana is a very poor idea indeed.

So, the advancement of medical marijuana and recreational marijuana laws go hand in hand; instead of one eclipsing the other, they in fact work in tandem. This has already been proven at the start of the year in California, and as 2018 goes on and both causes are furthered simultaneously, the future looks bright for medical marijuana. Even though it’s only March, it’s easy to see why many people are considering this year the best year yet for MMJ; and with many months still to go, it could shine brighter yet.