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.

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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

Ways Medical Marijuana Laws Have Changed In Response To Coronavirus

Sales of medical marijuana have not died down amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, many medical marijuana patients have stocked up on supplies as many people have stocked up on toilet paper and other important household goods. Understandably, they’re afraid of a disruption in the supply chain that would keep them from accessing the MMJ they use for treatment. Some are even exploring growing their own medical marijuana for the first time.

There are certainly tough decisions ahead for many communities. If you’re a medical marijuana user, you may be wondering, “How has COVID-19 affected the medical marijuana industry?”. While the information is constantly changing, there are some important things to be aware of. Here’s how medical marijuana laws have changed in response to coronavirus.

COVID-19 Response In States With Medical Marijuana

What has changed depends largely upon where you live and your state’s answer to the question, “Are MMJ dispensaries an essential service?” In California, for example, many local governments consider marijuana an essential medicine for residents. Dispensaries are continuing to operate as essential businesses as long as they have a medicinal cannabis license. The same is true in places such as Colorado and Illinois.

In Michigan, medical marijuana laws surrounding delivery restrictions have been loosened, and the state is allowing for temporary curbside pickup in an effort to reduce contact between people. And in Nevada, medical marijuana dispensaries are allowed to stay open but must adhere to a precise set of social distancing protocols established by the state. However, in Iowa, dispensaries are allowing temporary curbside pickup, but home delivery is still not an option.

To check what is happening in your state and stay up to date with current information, you should check the website of the governmental body that oversees medical marijuana licensing and distribution.

 

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Image by WildOne on Pixabay: Make sure to check into how medical marijuana laws have changed in response to coronavirus in your state.

Can You Still Apply For An MMJ Card During Lockdown?

What if you’re in the process of applying for a medical marijuana card? The good news is that in many states, this process has not been shut down either.

Arkansas, for example, is still processing medical marijuana applications and extending expiration dates due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Maryland has taken steps to authorize telehealth sessions for those seeking written certification renewal and extending the agent registrations that have been set to expire within 30 days of the state’s emergency order.

It seems as if states with legal medical marijuana are doing what they can to ensure that patients still have access to licenses. Again, you should check with the local licensing agency in your state to find out exactly what you must do to qualify for an MMJ card.

I Have A Compromised Immune System – Can I Still Get MMJ During The COVID-19 Lockdown?

If you are a medical marijuana patient and you need access to supplies but are considered high risk for COVID-19 because of a compromised immune system, there still may be ways to get what you need.

As mentioned, many states with MMJ have addressed this concern, allowing for delivery or curbside pickup. Some options that may be available in your state include:

  • Online ordering and delivery. Many states allow you to order over the phone to arrange for pickup or delivery. Jump online to find out what is available to you in your area.
  • Telemedicine. If you need to consult with a medical provider, many places allow you to skip face-to-face visits with medical providers for renewals or even new MMJ cards.

Better Sanitation Protocols

The answer to “Have MMJ laws been relaxed during coronavirus lockdown?” is yes in a lot of cases – but when it comes to sanitation, things have been taken up a level. Dispensaries across the board have been stepping up their sanitation protocols during the pandemic.

If you need to physically go to a dispensary to access your MMJ, you can bet that social distancing is enforced along with increased cleaning of frequently touched surfaces and the use of personal protective equipment by staff and other patrons. Many dispensaries have even implemented special hours for the elderly and those that are at higher risk during the pandemic. Check to see if your local dispensary is among those that offer this service.

 

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Image by Cheifyc on Pixabay: MMJ dispensaries are an essential service during the COVID-19 pandemic

How To Take Care Of Yourself During COVID-19 Lockdown

During the COVID-19 pandemic, you’re not expected to go without your medical marijuana, but you should also do what you can when you go out to protect yourself and your health. Make sure to stay at least six feet from people when entering a dispensary and wear a mask or facial covering if it’s been deemed essential in your state in order to go out in public. Make sure to wash your hands frequently as well – this is one of the best things you can do to limit your exposure.

Featured image by Mylene2401 on Pixabay

What’s The Legal Amount Of Medical Marijuana Buds I Can Possess?

“How many MMJ buds can I legally possess?” is a question every medical marijuana patient needs to know the answer to. Possession of medical marijuana buds is legal in an ever-growing number of states. Colorado blazed a trail with early legalization of MMJ, and by 2018 even more traditionally conservative states such as Oklahoma have legalized medicinal marijuana and implemented liberal MMJ programs. But the law on possession of MMJ buds is not uniform across all legal MMJ states.

Laws On Possession Of MMJ Buds Vary From State To State

The legal amount of marijuana buds for possession can be a tricky subject, as information is always very state-specific. The rules about the amount of MMJ buds you can possess at a time are different in each state and range from only 1 ounce in Alaska to 24 ounces in Oregon and Washington. A majority of states allow 2 ounces, but it is always important to check with the authorities in your home state to find out exactly how many MMJ buds you can legally possess at a time.

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Image by futurefilmworks on Pixabay: Law on possession of MMJ buds varies state by state.

What Is The Law On Possession Of Medical Marijuana Buds?

The law on possession of MMJ buds can be complex. The various laws cover issues such as how many buds a person can possess; how many plants a person can cultivate at home; where dispensaries can be located and what specific products they can sell; what medical conditions qualify a person for legal cannabis buds possession; and when and how an MMJ card needs to be renewed.

Each state’s MMJ program has different rules and regulations on these topics. When you become a medical marijuana card holder, it is essential that you educate yourself on the specific MMJ laws in your home state, as they are sure to have their own nuances and bespoke elements. A clear understanding of the law on possession of medical marijuana buds will make using your state’s MMJ program easy and hassle-free.

How Is The Law On Possession Of MMJ Buds Different To Laws For Recreational Marijuana?

Some states, such as California, have legalized medical marijuana and recreational marijuana. If you live in one of these states, it is still beneficial to have a medical marijuana card if you have a qualifying health condition. This is because laws on possession amounts, the number of plants you can legally cultivate at home, and even the types of products available can be different for MMJ card holders.

Traveling With Your Medical Marijuana Buds

Traveling with your medical marijuana buds is complicated. There are many legal grey areas that can trip people up. Marijuana is still illegal at a federal level, and MMJ is still illegal in almost half the states in the country.

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Image by JESHOOTS on Pixabay: Traveling with your MMJ can be a legal minefield.

Are There Any Rules On Crossing State Lines With MMJ Buds?

Crossing state lines with your medical marijuana buds means you are breaking federal law, even if you are traveling between two legal MMJ states. Confusingly, some airports in legal MMJ states do not confiscate marijuana, while others do. If you are traveling and you would like to take your medical marijuana with you, it is very important that you contact the relevant authorities in all of the locations you will be passing through. Failing to check before you travel could result in you losing your medical marijuana or, even worse, having to pay a fine or even being prosecuted.

Remember To Stay Within The Legal Amount Of Marijuana Buds For Possession

All states have a limit to the amount of medical marijuana you can possess at any given time. Even states with legal recreational marijuana have limits on how much marijuana a person can possess, how much they can cultivate, what age a person has to be in order to use marijuana, where it is legal to use marijuana, and what forms of marijuana can be used.

Not staying on the right side of these medical marijuana laws can result in, at best, having your marijuana consisted, and at worst, prosecution. Always do your homework and keep abreast of the details of the medical marijuana laws in your home state.

How To Get A Medical Marijuana Card

Getting a medical marijuana card is a simple process in most states. Although some have tighter rules regarding who qualifies to get an MMJ card, the process of getting a medical marijuana card is the same in all states. The easiest way to go about it is to have an online consultation with a local licensed medical professional who can recommend you for an MMJ card.

What Are The Qualifying Conditions For An MMJ Card?

The qualifying conditions for an MMJ card vary state by state. In the majority of states there is a list of qualifying conditions that commonly includes: cachexia; cancer; glaucoma; hepatitis C; chronic pain; nausea; epilepsy; seizures; multiple sclerosis; Crohn’s disease; and Alzheimer’s disease. In the most liberal MMJ states, such as Oklahoma, a doctor can recommend MMJ for any medical condition that they believe will benefit from MMJ use.

MMJ can massively improve your quality of life. But it is essential that you stay on the right side of your state’s MMJ laws, and this involves knowing exactly how many MMJ buds it is legal to possess. So always consult with your local authorities, because the legal amount of MMJ buds, as well as many other MMJ laws, is unique in each state.

Featured image by gjbmiller on Pixabay

4 Reasons Why MMJ Patients Are Allowed To Possess More Marijuana Than The General Public

The laws surrounding marijuana, both for medicinal and recreational use, are constantly changing and differ from state to state. However, there are still some very straightforward advantages to having a medical marijuana (MMJ) card. One of the biggest benefits is that typically, MMJ patients can possess more marijuana than those who are using it recreationally. That means that an MMJ card increases legal possession of marijuana in states where recreational marijuana is now legal (such as in the state of California).

Medical marijuana recommendation and possession

There are currently 11 states that have legalized recreational marijuana in the US:

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

These states have also legalized medical cannabis possession with a recommendation from a physician. In these states, even though recreational marijuana use is legal, there’s still a benefit to owning an MMJ card, because it means you’re allowed to possess more cannabis product than the general public. For example, in California, recreational users are only permitted to carry one ounce of flower or eight grams of cannabis concentrates at one time. Edibles are restricted to only 10mg of individual doses being carried at a time. However, with an MMJ card, patients are able to buy and carry up to eight ounces of flower and no limit on concentrates. Medical marijuana users also don’t have to pay sales tax on their MMJ purchases. Some of these regulations can differ from state to state, so it’s crucial that an individual interested in becoming an MMJ card holder looks into these laws before buying or possessing cannabis products.

MMJ Recs - MMJ dispensary

Image by Get Budding on Unsplash: MMJ patients can possess more marijuana product than recreational users.

In the remaining states that still have a ban on recreational marijuana use, MMJ patients have the benefit of having access to and growing their own cannabis products legally. In Oklahoma, MMJ possession with a card is legal, and people are permitted to possess up to three ounces of marijuana, six mature plants, six seedling plants, one ounce of concentrated marijuana, 72 ounces of edible marijuana, and up to eight ounces of marijuana in their residence. Individuals without an MMJ card are prohibited from possessing any marijuana.

Why MMJ patients can possess more marijuana

There are many reasons why MMJ patients are afforded more benefits by having an MMJ card. Here are some examples of why MMJ card holders need to have access to more marijuana products than other recreational users.

1. For travel purposes

Because MMJ users consume marijuana products for help with specific medical conditions, they need to be able to take their MMJ products with them if they’re going to be gone for an extended period of time. Thus, they often need to stock up and possess larger quantities of marijuana to pack for their trip. It’s crucial that they have enough product to help with their medical symptoms while they’re traveling.

2. In case they can’t get to a dispensary

Folks struggling with physical illnesses often find it difficult to make it in-person to a dispensary. They also might have issues with mobility because of their medical condition or don’t have proper transportation that can get them to a dispensary. Dispensaries might also be far in distance, have inconvenient hours, or are just generally inaccessible. For these reasons, MMJ cardholders can benefit from purchasing larger quantities of product than a recreational user would need. That way they can stock up on the products they need without having to worry about when they can get back to a dispensary in person.

3. Need to try multiple strains

MMJ patients often need to try several different strains to figure out which is the most effective in alleviating their symptoms. They might need to sample more than one strain before they arrive at the right one for the treatment of their particular ailments. Having larger quantities of product makes it much easier for them to sample different strains at one time without having to keep going back to a dispensary for other strain options.

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Image by Shane Rounce on Unsplash: Individuals may need to try different MMJ strains to determine which one is right for them.

4. Need to try different forms

There’s also a trial-and-error process for patients to determine which form of MMJ product (tincture, vaping, edibles, etc.) is the best for their specific needs. MMJ cardholders often need to experiment with different forms of MMJ and being allowed to possess larger quantities of cannabis lets them do this without any legal repercussions.

If individuals have a medical condition that could qualify them for an MMJ card, they can head to MMJRecs to get evaluated by a doctor. The team can do the whole assessment virtually, so the patient doesn’t have to worry about the inconvenience of leaving the house. If the patient does qualify, MMJRecs can provide an official medical marijuana recommendation, ID card, and grower’s permit all for one flat rate. With a valid MMJ card, patients can have access to all of the many benefits of being a card holder, including the right to possess more marijuana than the general public. This can make things easier for all of the reasons listed above. Even in states with legal recreational marijuana use, having an MMJ card can be a huge lifesaver!

Featured image by Ndispensable on Unsplash

What’s The Legal Amount Of Medical Marijuana I Can Grow?

Medical marijuana is now legal in 33 states. Well, we say legal, but in fact marijuana is still defined as a Schedule 1 drug, making it an illegal substance under federal law. Luckily, though, each state has been given leeway in deciding how marijuana – both medical and recreational – can be grown and used. So you can rest assured that if you know the rules that apply in your particular state, and you obey them, there won’t be any feds knocking at your door. If you live in a state where MMJ is legal, then you might be wondering how to grow medical cannabis and asking yourself questions like, “How much marijuana can I legally grow?”

What is the legal amount of MMJ to grow?

Unfortunately, there is no straightforward answer when it comes to the legal amount of marijuana to grow. Firstly, you are obviously not allowed to grow MMJ at all in a state where it’s illegal. In the states where marijuana is legal for medical purposes, the rules vary quite considerably. The following are some examples of rules from several different states: anyone over the age of 21 can grow up to 6 marijuana plants, where only 3 of the 6 can be mature and flowering at any one time; a house containing several adults over the age of 21 can only grow a maximum of 12 plants; medical marijuana is legal, but it can only be bought from a dispensary and not home-grown; a qualifying patient may grow his or her own medical marijuana, but only if you live more than 25 miles from the nearest dispensary.

So, to be clear, these are just some of the rules from only a handful of states. Therefore, it’s important that you determine exactly the legal amount of MMJ to grow in your own state so that you are not breaking the law. We’ve said that the feds are pretty laidback about the rules, but many marijuana arrests are made under state law. It’s a fairly general rule that you can’t grow more than 12 plants per household adult over the age of 21.

MMJRecs - how to grow medical cannabis

Image by Aphiwat chuangchoem on Pexels: If you’re wondering “How much marijuana can I legally grow?”, it’s always best to check your particular state’s rules and regulations.

How to grow medical cannabis

It’s a good idea to learn a few basics about how to grow medical cannabis before you begin. First of all, it’s important to choose the right strain. Hopefully the medical expert who recommended you for your MMJ card will have suggested the best strain for your particular condition, but if not, do seek out advice on this before you purchase your seeds. Outdoor planting and cultivation is easier, cheaper, and better for the seeds, as they will respond quickly to the sun during the day and the dark at night. Some states, however, don’t allow you to grow your MMJ outdoors, so again check the situation in your own state.

If you have to grow the plants indoors, you will need to invest in a light of some sort. It’s true that medical marijuana can grow in total darkness, but the plants respond best to plenty of light and hydration. They also respond well to fertilizer, particularly during the initial growth period. Using a fertilizer with a high nitrogen content during this phase will result in speedy growth. Once the plant starts to flower, change to a phosphate and potassium fertilizer, which will encourage the buds to grow. For more tips on how to grow medical cannabis, the rules governing growing MMJ in California may be of help.

Are there different laws for growing MMJ versus recreational marijuana?

In some states where marijuana has been legalized for recreational as well as medical purposes, you may be allowed to grow it for both uses. Again, you will need to check the rules pertaining to your own particular state, but if you wish to grow cannabis with MMJ recommendation, you’re generally allowed to grow more than you would for recreational use. This is because the states in question recognize the need for MMJ and wish to take care of their legitimate MMJ card holders. Growing marijuana for medical purposes means that you are far more likely to just want it for your own use, whereas recreational users might be more tempted to sell it if they’re given free rein on how much they can cultivate.

MMJRecs - MMJ plant

Image by Quinn Kampschroer from Pixabay: Be sure you know the best practice for how to grow medical cannabis.

Do I need an MMJ card to grow marijuana for medical use?

If you wish to take advantage of your state’s rules governing the cultivation of MMJ, then you must have a valid MMJ card. There are many conditions that qualify people for a card, including but not limited to: anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and various chronic illnesses such as Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and arthritis. You can check out a full list of qualifying disorders here on MMJRecs.

If you don’t already have a card and think you might qualify, we can offer you a relaxed, stress-free assessment with one of our medical experts. These assessments generally take less than 20 minutes and can be done via telemedicine, so you don’t have to worry about leaving your house or enduring a face-to-face evaluation. If our expert decides that you qualify, your card will be dispatched immediately so you can start purchasing your MMJ from a dispensary or begin the process of cultivation, once you have determined the legal amount of marijuana to grow in your state.

Growing your own MMJ is definitely a more convenient and economic way of ensuring that you always have your favorite strain to hand. Just be sure that you are knowledgeable about the absolute best way to grow medical cannabis and of the legal amount of marijuana to grow, so that you stay on the right side of the law.

Featured image by cytis from Pixabay

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.

MMJ Recs - MMJ plant
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.

What Strength of MMJ is Legal in Oklahoma?

If you’re considering using medical marijuana (MMJ) to help ease symptoms of a health problem you’re dealing with, you might be wondering, “Is MMJ legal in Oklahoma?”. The answer is yes! It can be a relatively easy process to use medical marijuana after obtaining an MMJ card. However, not being familiar with the different strengths and strains of marijuana products out there can cause confusion. Well, here’s some helpful information to help take the guesswork out of determining the legal marijuana strength in Oklahoma and which products you should be using.

First, MMJ products are typically divided into three categories:

  1. Indica – originates from the Hindu Kush mountains in India and has a relaxing effect; can also be used for chronic pain and insomnia
  2. Sativa – has more energizing effects; boosts energy levels and creativity
  3. Hybrid – a combination of these two types

From there, dispensaries can divide these three types into specific strains. The strains most popular in Oklahoma include Acapulco Gold, Panama Red, Durban Poison, Hindu Kush, Mazar Sharif, and Afghan Kush.

MMJ Recs - medical marijuana
Now the authorities have made MMJ legal in Oklahoma, there are plenty of varieties available to patients.

If you’re wondering “How strong is Oklahoma MMJ?”, you should get informed about the general strength of MMJ products. Unfortunately, determining the strength of MMJ products isn’t always completely straightforward. Although there should be a “total THC” number on the label of the product you’re buying (or what the dispensary lists it as), there’s no standard for calculating this and some dispensaries calculate the number in different ways. You just need to check out the actual amount of THC or CBD in the product, which can depend on the content of the product and the method you use to consume it. The highest strengths are usually between 10 and 35 total THC level (out of a percentage of the dry weight). The most common MMJ strength in Oklahoma ranges from 8% to 20% THC. However, if you decide you need something stronger, your local dispensary can probably assist you in finding the right strain and strength for your medical needs. Bottom line: the MMJ strength in Oklahoma that you need can be found pretty easily, especially as more state-licensed dispensaries are popping up throughout the state.

The MMJ laws in Oklahoma are pretty similar to the ones in other states in the U.S. where medical marijuana usage is legal. With a valid MMJ card, you are allowed to have:

  • Up to 8 ounces of marijuana in your home
  • Up to 3 ounces of marijuana on your person when you leave your residence
  • Up to 1 ounce of concentrated marijuana
  • Up to 72 ounces of edibles
  • Up to 6 mature plants
  • Up to 6 seedling plants

This means that you’re permitted to grow and cultivate your own marijuana plants if you have an MMJ license. Please note: you are only legally allowed to purchase from state-licensed dispensaries in Oklahoma, which means you’re prohibited from buying any marijuana products from a dealer or another MMJ cardholder.

So, how do you figure out which plants to grow or which products to purchase? Your best bet is to have a consultation with someone who works at the nearest dispensary. Most employees are very knowledgeable about their products, including which particular strains and strengths would work the best to help with your symptoms. You can let them know exactly what you want to use MMJ for (everything from relief from nausea or inflammation to reduction of symptoms of glaucoma or Parkinson’s). They’ll be able to point you towards products that won’t be too strong for you, but that will still help alleviate your symptoms.

MMJ Recs - weighing MMJ
Dispensary employees can usually help answer questions like “Which strand of MMJ is right for me?” and “How strong is Oklahoma MMJ?”

There are also some websites out there (like Leafly) that offer MMJ products that can be delivered to your home. This site is helpful because it allows you to easily compare various strains and strengths side by side. By seeing the THC content of each option, you can better tell which products will work best for you. Even just spending a little time doing research online can help point you towards the strength/strain that other people with your ailments have found helpful in the past.

The good thing about there being different strengths and strains of marijuana is that you don’t have to commit to just one. Experimenting with a variety of products can help you narrow down your search for the right product for your specific needs. Because pretty much all strengths and strains are legal in Oklahoma, you’re free to use whatever you wish as long as you have an MMJ card. If you don’t have an MMJ card already, you can apply for one through the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) at omma.ok.gov. You’ll also need to consult with a medical professional who can verify that you do have a health condition with symptoms that could be alleviated with the usage of MMJ. If you don’t have a medical professional to help with this, you can use the services of MMJRecs. They can connect you virtually to a licensed physician who can help you complete your application. You’ll also be required to pay a $100 application fee (or a discounted fee of $20 if you are on Medicaid SoonerCare or Medicare). As soon as you receive your official MMJ card, you can legally purchase MMJ products in Oklahoma.

Although it can be tricky to figure out which strain and strength of marijuana is right for you, you always have the option of getting advice from a local dispensary or try experimenting with different products. Once you find the perfect option for you, you’ll get all of the benefits of using MMJ in the great state of Oklahoma.

Oklahoma and Medical Marijuana: Everything You Need to Know

More and more people across the country are getting to experience the benefits of using medical marijuana (MMJ). Since August 2018, residents of Oklahoma have been able to legally apply for an MMJ card. As of this month, more than 151,000 patients have turned in applications to the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (or OMMA, the agency that issues MMJ cards). That means that Oklahoma has more MMJ patients per capita than any other state in the U.S., with more than 3.5% of the state’s population applying for MMJ cards. Plus, with more licenses being issued for growers and dispensaries, there’s never been a better time to get an Oklahoma MMJ card. So, if you’re asking yourself, “Where can I get an Oklahoma medical marijuana card?”, look no further – we’ve got everything you need to know right here.

What is an MMJ patient license?

The legal status of MMJ in Oklahoma means that you can fill out an application with the state and then obtain a license in order to lawfully buy, use, and grow medical marijuana and related products. The license comes in the form of an identification card (or an MMJ card) that can show you’re legally permitted to possess medical marijuana. The card will have your name, photo, date of birth, city and county of residence, the type of license, the date the license expires, and your unique MMJ license number on it.

What are the qualifying conditions for an Oklahoma medical marijuana card?

There are a wide variety of qualifying conditions that can help you qualify for an MMJ card. These can include but are not limited to:

● Chronic pain
● Severe nausea (often due to chemotherapy)
● Epilepsy or other seizure disorders
● Cancer
● Terminal illness
● Spasticity
● Muscle spasms
● Glaucoma
● Inflammation
● HIV/AIDS
● Crohn’s disease

You will need to be evaluated by a physician who can then attest to your condition on the application. Your doctor must indicate that they have a physician/patient relationship with you and that they’ve determined that your medical condition means you can receive therapeutic or palliative benefits from the use of medical marijuana. You can also work with a medical professional online through consultations with MMJRecs. This can be a great option if you don’t have a doctor you trust, or if it’s difficult for you to make it to a doctor’s office.

MMJRecs - signing papers
The process of applying for an Oklahoma MMJ card is pretty straightforward.

How do I apply for an MMJ card?

You’ll need to fill out an application to start the process of obtaining an MMJ card. The applications can be found online at omma.ok.gov. On the application, you’ll be required to provide the following information:

● Your full name
● Residence and mailing address
● Date of birth
● Telephone number and email address
● Physician information (with a physician signature)
● Patient signature (which must be dated within 30 days of the application date)

You’re also required to submit valid documentation to show proof of Oklahoma residency. This can be a digital, color copy of one of the following:

● Oklahoma driver’s license
● Oklahoma identification card
● Oklahoma voter identification card
● A utility bill for the calendar month preceding the date of application (cell phone or Internet bills are not valid)
● A residential property deed
● A current rental agreement for residential property

You’ll also need to provide proof of identity, which can be your driver’s license, ID card, US passport, or tribal identification card, as well as a clear, color, full-face digital photograph of yourself. Plus, you’ll be required to include the Adult Patient Physician Recommendation Form that your doctor must fill out with their information.

How much does the Oklahoma MMJ card cost?

Your application fee will be $100; however, if you can provide proof of Medicaid (SoonerCare) or Medicare enrollment, you can pay a reduced fee of $20. You must pay with a Visa, MasterCard, or Discover credit or debit card. There will be an additional credit card processing fee added to the transaction as well. Please note that if your application is not approved, you won’t be able to receive a refund for this money.

What happens after I submit my application?

After submitting your application, the OMMA will review it. If you’ve met all the requirements, you’ll be issued an approval letter and your MMJ card within 14 days of sending in your application. From then on, your approved MMJ card will be valid for two years (unless your license is revoked for some reason). You will need to renew your license when the two years is up by submitting another application at that time (which you can also do using MMJRecs services).

MMJRecs - medical marijuana
These days, Oklahoma and medical marijuana go hand in hand!

What are the laws surrounding MMJ in Oklahoma?

There are several laws in place to make sure that Oklahoma MMJ cards aren’t being misused. With a license, you may possess:

● Up to 8 ounces of marijuana in your residence
● Up to 1 ounce of concentrated marijuana
● Up to 72 ounces of edible marijuana
● Up to 6 mature plants
● Up to 6 seedling plants
● Up to 3 ounces of marijuana with you outside of your residence

If you don’t have a valid MMJ card, you could possess a fine-only misdemeanor for having up to 1.5 ounces of herbal cannabis. You are permitted to obtain your medical marijuana from your own cultivation of plants or from state-licensed dispensaries. Even if you have a valid MMJ card, you’re still not permitted to legally buy marijuana from a dealer or from another MMJ cardholder in Oklahoma.

To get all of the health benefits and to alleviate symptoms from a variety of medical conditions, join the growing number of people in your state, and apply for an Oklahoma medical marijuana card today.

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.

Now That Recreational Marijuana Is Legalized, What Does That Mean For MMJ Patients?

Marijuana in America is a tale of two strains. On the one hand, there is medical marijuana, or MMJ for short, which has been gaining traction as a progressive new health care option for the last two decades. On the other hand, there’s recreational marijuana, which has recently seen an upsurge in support, and has been legalized in nine states and Washington D.C. The question on many users’ minds, especially MMJ patients, is do they hurt or help each other? And while it might be still too early in the game to say definitively, we can make some educated guesses based on the states that have incorporated both so far.

Recreational marijuana is set to have its biggest year in 2018. It started out on the wrong foot, when President Trump’s Department of Justice, headed up by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, announced that it was repealing a key Obama-era memo that prevented federal meddling in each individual state’s marijuana laws. Marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, meaning that the feds can still come down hard on the drug, even in states where it’s legal to use it recreationally.

MMJRecs - Street Signs

Many MMJ users might be wondering how newly introduced recreational marijuana laws affect them.

However, as with much of our current administration, the rescinding seemed to amount to posturing and nothing more. There is little evidence so far that the government will do anything to combat marijuana on a federal level; it seems content to leave it well enough alone in states that have already legalized the drug. If you think it seems contradictory that the drug can be prosecuted on a federal level while legal on a state level, don’t worry; the majority of the Justice Department might just think so too. Federal prosectors around the country released vague statements soon after the rescinding, stating that there would be no new crackdown in recreationally legal states.

This is great news for California, the state that opened the world’s largest legal marijuana market to date on January 1st. California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana way back in 1996. Since that time, it’s always had a remarkably liberal policy towards marijuana in general, and cemented that status on November 9th, 2016, when it took the plunge and made recreational marijuana fully legal too. The state gave itself fourteen months to get the legislation together and prepare its citizens for a full move to legality, culminating in the January 1st, 2018 deadline.

Though California was certainly not the first state to legalize marijuana recreationally, it is definitely the most important yet. The state constitutes the world’s sixth largest economy, and of course, is the largest state in the U.S. Some four hundred businesses were approved to licence, and many cities all over the state have passed laws allowing local businesses to sell marijuana. Despite this, there have been some teething problems with the new legislature, and it’s with these discrepancies that we can measure the impact of recreational marijuana against medical marijuana.

Essentially, despite all the good will in the world, California is not ready to implement such a large recreational program of marijuana. Medical marijuana has been legal for 22 years, and although it’s largely been smooth sailing, there are still some lingering issues. It’s a tall ask for a state to bring together a previously black market industry (which, despite being a black market, is undoubtedly huge), and signs are that it’s not as straightforward as some in government would have hoped. For a start, every city in the state has to come up with its own distinct rules on what exactly can be sold and where, and to what degree. This makes for a confusing situation, as there’s no one rule to bind them all.

MMJRecs - Downtown Los Angeles

Marijuana laws for both medical and recreational use still differ from state to state.

In terms of MMJ patients who might be worried that their medical marijuana ID card is invalid because recreational marijuana is legalized, there’s a simple answer: don’t be. MMJ, procured from licenced dispensaries, is still the safest and most effective way to alleviate the symptoms it has been prescribed to you for. Your doctor will know which strain is best suited to your particular ailment. It’s not a good idea to attempt to self-medicate, nor is it a sure thing that all MMJ strains will be legally or immediately available in a recreational capacity.

As if to underline the importance of MMJ, the government of California has introduced a sales tax break to medical marijuana patients, indicating its continued commitment to the MMJ cause and legislature. If we take what’s currently happening in California as a microcosm for the whole of the U.S. we see that MMJ and recreational marijuana will undoubtedly continue to co-exist simultaneously, and even benefit from each other as they do. While the future is a little cloudy, especially when it comes to the number of states that have legalized medical but not recreational marijuana, there is no doubt that both strains will continue to exist harmoniously in the U.S. for a long time to come.

Is America the Most Progressive Medical Marijuana Country in the World?

As Americans, we like to think that our country is the most forward-thinking nation out there. We like the idea of allowing our citizens to have more freedoms than they might be awarded in other countries. But is the U.S. the most progressive country when it comes to the usage of medical marijuana?

As more states in the U.S. are legalizing recreational marijuana, the whole country is looking to see how the regulations of cannabis (both medicinal or not) are being enforced and utilized. Because the U.S. is at the forefront of this, many outside countries are paying close attention to see how the laws are implemented. The use of MMJ cards was first established in California in 1996. Several states followed suit, including Hawaii and Colorado. Currently, the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes is legal in 29 states (as well as the U.S. territories of Guam, Puerto Rico, and Washington D.C.). Although medical marijuana use is legal in many states, the actual regulations can vary greatly from state to state.

So, how does the U.S. compare to other countries? Here’s some info on medical marijuana policies around the world.

MMJRecs - Smoking

How does the U.S. compare with other countries when it comes to recreational and medical marijuana laws?

Colombia

Colombia has legalized MMJ usage, and citizens are permitted to possess up to 22 grams at a time. They also have a very relaxed law that states that one person can grow up to 20 marijuana plants if it’s for personal consumption. This number is a lot higher than most countries, like the U.S., which only permits six plants to be grown at one time for recreational use.

The Czech Republic

The Czech Republic is fairly new to the MMJ game with legislation only being passed in 2013. There have been regulations instated to decriminalize marijuana usage, with Czech citizens being allowed to grow up to five plants at a time. Also, individuals can possess up to 15 grams of marijuana and up to five grams of hashish. The nation even hosts a big festival named Cannafest, which celebrates marijuana.

Italy

Medical marijuana has been permitted in Italy for quite some time, and the country has progressed to become one of the most unrestricted marijuana areas in the world. Italians voted for the decriminalization of possession of drugs (so individuals with small quantities of five grams or less are no longer subject to criminal charges). Citizens are also permitted to grow a reasonable amount of marijuana plants, as long as they are not used for trafficking purposes.

Jamaica

Although medical marijuana is legal in Jamaica, recreational use is still against the law. However, the country has recently relaxed its laws on possession and has decriminalized it for medical use and for the purpose of Rastafarian religious ceremonies (where cannabis or “ganja” is used as a sacred herb that allows the soul to rise).

The Netherlands

The Netherlands (especially Amsterdam) has gotten the reputation of being a major marijuana-friendly region. There are even “coffee shops” that allow consumers to take part in marijuana sales. In 2017, the Dutch government even legalized the production of cannabis. Additionally, MMJ products can be purchased without a prescription.

Portugal

Portugal has decriminalized marijuana since 2001, when they decided that the possession of any drug found in small quantities would not be considered illegal. Portugal is very progressive in the fact that they believe drug use should be deemed a health issue, not a criminal one. Instead of arresting their citizens for drug possession, those found with drugs are sent to medical panels (with a psychologist, social worker, and legal adviser) who all work to come up with an appropriate treatment plan for that individual.

Spain

Spain actually has relatively relaxed laws since medical marijuana can be purchased without a prescription. Consumption by adults in private locations is legal, which means citizens can grow marijuana plants for personal consumption (as long as they’re kept hidden from public view). However, the selling and trading of cannabis products is still illegal.

Uruguay

In 2013, Uruguay made history by becoming the first (and only) country in the world to fully legalize marijuana (including the possession, selling, transportation, and growing of cannabis). The marijuana market is still strictly regulated since citizens are only allowed to grow up to six marijuana plants at their residence, and each individual can only buy a maximum of 10 grams per week. However, the main upside is that prices of marijuana products are cheaper than in other countries. Plus, MMJ products can be purchased without a prescription.

MMJRecs - Pot in Jars

MMJ laws differ greatly between countries, but luckily the U.S. can still be considered among the most progressive.

Once you learn about how other countries are controlling the usage of marijuana products, you’ll find that the U.S. is right up there in terms of being forward-thinking. Although different states have a variety of laws regarding consumption of recreational marijuana, those with MMJ cards in the U.S. face less restrictions with your cannabis. Although recreational users are limited to one ounce of flower (or eight grams of cannabis concentrates) at one time, MMJ cardholders can purchase and possess as much cannabis as the treatment of their medical condition requires. These limitations also apply to edibles; recreational consumers can have a maximum of 10mg doses at a time, while those with a medical marijuana card don’t have this restriction.

So, while there are many countries working towards positive changes with both recreational and medical marijuana, America is one of the most progressive countries out there – striving for laws that permit MMJ users to purchase and possess the cannabis products that will be the most obtainable and effective for them. And maybe the U.S. can take some ideas of what has worked in other progressive countries to help move us even further along.

Medical Marijuana Is Now Legal In Australia: Which Country Will Be Next To Legalize MMJ?

Early in 2017, Victoria became the first Australian state to legalize medical marijuana. Other states and territories in the country quickly followed suit. As with many countries worldwide, the discussion surrounding this important issue was long and protracted. Australia currently has to import medical cannabis from overseas, once a patient has been prescribed it by an authorized medic. The change in the law means that not only will the importation process be sped up, but also that Australia is now allowed to start growing its own medical cannabis. This means obviously that waiting time for patients prescribed with medical marijuana will be cut. Good news indeed!

Portugal was the first actual country to legalize medical marijuana, in 2001. The U.S. state of California, though, was way ahead of the game, legalizing MMJ way back in 1996. The next few countries to follow where Portugal blazed a trail were the Czech Republic, Finland, Holland, Spain, and Greece. Many more countries have since jumped on the increasingly popular bandwagon. California and a few more states – including Washington D.C. – have just recently legalized marijuana for recreational as well as medicinal use. No doubt other countries will keep a close eye on California to see how this legalization plays out and will then probably, in time, do the same. If you’re interested to know which countries currently allow marijuana for medical purposes, have a read here.

MMJ Recs - doctor with child patient

With many children suffering from debilitating illnesses that can be treated with medical marijuana, several countries seem to be changing their attitude towards MMJ.

So which country might be the next one to legalize medical marijuana? Let’s take a look at Ireland first. This little country is taking big steps towards legalization. It’s a slow process though – any proposed bills have to pass through long and drawn out parliamentary procedures before they have a chance of becoming law. The bill for legalization did pass its second reading in Parliament at the end of 2017, though, so progress is being made. The current law states that the Minister for Health can grant a special license for the use of MMJ, if he sees fit. The first such license was awarded in 2016 to a two-year-old boy with Dravet Syndrome, which allowed the treatment that he’d started in Colorado to be continued. A more recent case in Ireland made headlines when Ava Twomey’s mother – Vera – set out on a walk from her home in Cork to Dublin (some 186 miles) in order to raise awareness of her child’s plight. Ava (7) suffers from Dravet Syndrome, too, which meant that she was having several, severely debilitating epileptic seizures a day. Shortly before Christmas 2017, Ava was granted a license for the medical cannabis she needed and so the family was able to return home to Ireland from the Netherlands, where they’d been living in order to access the cannabis oil Ava needed. Since taking the cannabis oil on a regular basis, Ava’s seizures have stopped completely. A heart-warming story indeed and one which will surely increase the chances of Ireland being one of the next countries to legalize medical marijuana.

Ireland’s geographical neighbor, the U.K., could also well be in the race for the next country to legalize MMJ.  Like Ireland, the U.K. currently has very strict rules under which CBD oil can be given to patients. Cannabidiol was recently re-classified as a medicine by the Medicines & Healthcare Regulatory Agency. An 11-year-old boy named Billy Caldwell was the first child to benefit from this change in law. Billy had been suffering from epileptic seizures every day since he was baby; sometimes as many as 100 fits in one day. He was first given cannabis oil in California (where, of course, medical marijuana had been legal for some time), which resulted in a dramatic reduction in his number of seizures and then a complete cessation of them. Back in the U.K. (Northern Ireland, actually, but it’s part of the U.K. rather than Ireland), his own GP saw the wisdom in continuing with Billy’s treatment and so prescribed him the cannabidiol. Research is currently ongoing in the form of clinical trials around a pure form of cannabis, which is specifically engineered for medicinal purposes. If these trials prove successful, the U.K. will almost certainly be well on the way to fully legalizing medical marijuana.

MMJ Recs - world map

Many more countries seem set to follow in the footsteps of Australia and the U.S. when it comes to legalizing MMJ.

France is often seen as a fairly laid-back, enlightened, and libertarian country in many respects, but to date it’s somewhat behind its European counterparts when it comes to marijuana. Sativex, a cannabis-based prescription mouth spray, was only approved in France in 2014; it was the sixteenth European country to legalize this particular treatment, which is mainly prescribed for MS sufferers. However, with a newly elected liberal-minded president – Emmanuel Macron – word is that France could well be one of the next countries to legalize MMJ. He has already eliminated compulsory prison sentences for petty marijuana offenses and, during his campaign to become president, Macron professed a desire to relax other French laws relating to marijuana. So this country does have a bit of way to go yet, but if the new president follows through with his promises, we could certainly see France as one of the next countries to legalize medical marijuana.

With so many countries now following the example set by the state of California, surely it’s only a question of time before most of the world accepts that MMJ is the way forward in the treatment and relief of many acute diseases.

Which State Will be the 30th to Join the MMJ Revolution?

The medical marijuana revolution has gained some serious traction in the last few years. It started with a slow trickle all the way back in 1996, but as of the end of 2017, 29 states have legalized MMJ, with the majority of those laws coming into effect within the last decade. The trend seems to be very much in favour of legalization, with recreational use also coming up fast behind. But the question many advocates across the country are asking is: who will be next in line to pass the crucial legislation?

West Virginia was the most recent place to make the leap, and was the only state to join the cause in 2017. Because each state has their own laws, and because the process of introducing medical marijuana is a hot topic in most places, with plenty of debate and strong positions on both sides, it takes a long time to see the process through to completion. Fortunately, the majority of states now have turned the tide in favour of medical marijuana, so the rest should follow sooner or later. That’s the good news.

MMJ Recs - American Flag

29 states down; 21 to go.

The bad news is that it’s taken over 20 years to get to 29 states, and among the remaining 21 are some hard-line conservative areas that are against marijuana legalization of any kind, let alone decriminalization. So while the figures and statistics might look encouraging, and 29 states in the bag is certainly an encouraging number, it should be remembered that for West Virginia’s lone passing of their MMJ bill, there were 13 states who postponed or denied the legislation in 2017. These were Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Virginia.

Included in that number are a few unsurprising states, who traditionally take a conservative stance against the more liberal leanings of MMJ pioneers like California and Colorado. But there were also some surprises in there; Utah, with its proximity to both the aforementioned states, is surrounded by relaxed MMJ laws, and was thought to be a frontrunner in the race for the next state to sign up. Nebraska also looked all set to be a serious competitor in that race, much to the surprise of the rest of the country, as it’s traditionally seen as a Republican stronghold. However, their bill fell through in May of this year, when it was no longer viable for the 2017 session; though it will carry over to 2018.

The good part of all this failed legislature is that people are at least talking about MMJ laws in states all across the country. These bills are up for debate, with residents and governments taking their meanings and implications seriously. Those who advocate for medical marijuana will no doubt see the legislature pushed through again, hopefully next time with a different, more positive result. But among all the stalling was one state who technically put an MMJ bill through this year, and will more than likely see some form of the medicine go statewide in 2018: Iowa.

Technically, the state passed the bill in May 2017, making medical marijuana legal in Iowa. But the MMJ laws have yet to be implemented, and the state is still trying to figure out the exact specifics of the law, such as what forms of MMJ will be allowed, and who exactly will be allowed to produce and dispense the drug. Despite this delay, plans are being implemented for widespread dispersal, with the state selecting the first official state medical marijuana manufacturer at the end of November. However, this is with a view to solely legalize the oil variant of MMJ, a form of medical marijuana that has been proven to be less effective than smoking.

MMJ Recs - Iowa Sign

Iowa might be the next state to board the medical marijuana train.

Hot on Iowa’s heels are two other states that could potentially be the 30th state to legalise MMJ. They are Wisconsin and North Carolina. Both states have pending MMJ legislation with their governments that will carry over into 2018. Studies show that 74% of North Carolina citizens support the legalization of MMJ, a strong, significant majority that might help to convince politicians and push the bill over the edge.

So whether it’s North Carolina, Wisconsin, or Iowa, or indeed any of the other states who are close to passing an MMJ bill, it’s clear the MMJ revolution will certainly not end with only 29 states on the board. There will be a thirtieth, and a thirty-first beyond that, and so on and so forth. The real question is whether the country can unite all 50 states under the medical marijuana banner, and if that mammoth task can be managed, how liberal each legislature will be. Whatever the outcome, it’s clear the medical marijuana tide is turning and turning fast; and that can only be good news for the millions of patients across the country who can benefit from its multi-faceted properties.

Why New York Medical Marijuana Laws Are Stricter Than in California

Why would anyone choose to leave sunny California? The weather is amazing, the people are chill and most importantly, the medical marijuana laws are pretty relaxed.

The Golden State was the first to bring MMJ laws onto its books. While many states have followed suit, not many have as relaxed laws as California does. There is also a great rivalry between the east and west coasts, so how do Californian medical marijuana laws measure up to those in New York state?

MMJ Laws in New York and California

MMJ Recs - Marijuana Buds

The main difference between New York medical marijuana laws and California medical cannabis laws are the forms that are legal to consume.

The short answer is that New York has far stricter rules on medical marijuana than California. While California has had MMJ laws on the books since 1996, New York only brought in limited medical marijuana laws on 2014.

The main difference between MMJ in the states is the forms that are legal. In California, you can consume smoking cannabis, edibles, tinctures and pretty much any kind of medical marijuana. However, in New York, there are strict laws in place relating to what can be consumed. Patients may only consume MMJ via oils or sprays to be vaporized or consumed orally. Edibles and cannabis cigarettes are still strictly illegal.

You are also not permitted to grow medical marijuana for your own use, whereas this is permitted in California. This can present issues for patients who experience the best results from cannabis cigarettes or edibles, as opposed to tinctures, oils or vapes.

Medical marijuana benefits different people in different ways, and the forms that you consume them in can often have differing effects. It’s unfortunate that New York state cannot cater to all of its medical marijuana patients, some of which live with chronic and unmanageable pain, but a broader law may come into effect with continued campaigning.

Obtaining Medical Marijuana in New York and California

MMJ Recs - golden-gate-bridge

In California, the process of obtaining an MMJ card is much easier than obtaining one in New York.

The ways in which you obtain a medical marijuana card in both states are also slightly different. In California, you can visit a medical marijuana professional for an in-person or online consultation. They will ask you the nature of your condition and prescribe medical cannabis to you based on your needs. You then receive your MMJ card and go to your dispensary to pick the form and strain of medical marijuana you need.

In New York, things are far stricter. Patients must suffer from a specified condition that appears on a list that has been ratified by the Commissioner. These conditions include Alzheimer’s Disease, chronic pain (which is very strictly defined) HIV/AIDS, cancer or epilepsy. This means that you need to fit very strict medical criteria before you can even consider seeking a medical marijuana card.

After you have deemed yourself suitable for medical marijuana treatment, you have to visit a registered medical marijuana practitioner. All medical marijuana practitioners must be registered with New York State and noted on a public register. When you visit an MMJ practitioner in New York, they will also decide the appropriate dosage and strain for you, as well as the form you consume it in.

MMJ Recs - Cannabis Plant

When you visit an MMJ practitioner in California, you get to decide your appropriate dosage and strain.

In California, that decision is left up to the patient. For example, you can go to a medical marijuana practitioner in New York State, who will decide you need a certain strain, in a certain amount to be administered and consumed in a certain form. You then bring the “prescription” to a dispensary, who can only give you the medical cannabis that the registered practitioner has decided is most appropriate for you.

As medical marijuana practitioners must register with the state, so too must patients. When you receive your MMJ certificate from your practitioner, you must register as a medical marijuana patient online. You will then be sent a card, which will allow you to receive your treatment. You cannot receive any treatment without your identification card.

Dispensaries in New York are also required to be fully registered and can only carry pre-approved products that can be designated to patients. While there is a wide variety of ways to take medical marijuana in California, practitioners in New York are only allowed to certify patients to take certain types and brands, with varying rates of THC and CBD.

As you can see, the measures in New York are far stricter than those in California, and this mostly just comes down to stigma. In California, MMJ has been around for over twenty years, and most citizens are comfortable with the concept, as it has changed so many lives for the better. New York is still coming around to the idea, and is being incredibly strict so as not to be seen to be condoning recreational drug use.

Hopefully, with time, New York will be able to relax its incredibly strict MMJ laws and allow more people access to a lifeline that has changed people from being in so much pain that they cannot function, to being functional members of society.