How many states now have medical marijuana laws? It depends on what you consider a “medical marijuana law.” With Minnesota passing the first no-plant, no-home-grow medical marijuana law and a few states passing laws that only address the use of cannabidiol extracts, we thought it was time to uncover some of the facts about medical marijuana, by the numbers.
34 = states that have passed some version of marijuana reform, including decriminalization, cannabidiol-only, and medical marijuana laws. These states contain over 200 million people as of the 2010 Census and represent almost two-thirds of Americans.
23 = states (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington) plus Washington DC that have passed laws allowing for medical use of cannabis. These states contain over 125 million people and represent 41 percent of the United States’ population.
13 = medical marijuana states that have also decriminalized the personal possession of marijuana (usually one ounce) by all adults (Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington).
12 = medical marijuana states that allow every patient to grow their own cannabis at home (Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington). Three states -- Arizona, Massachusetts, and as of July 1, Nevada -- only allow home grow under hardship exemptions, such as living farther than 25 miles from a dispensary. The rest require patients to shop at dispensaries.
11 = medical marijuana states that enacted their law through ballot initiative (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington). Nevada registered the greatest voter support at 65.4 percent, while Arizona’s law barely squeaked by with 50.13 percent support.
10 = medical marijuana states that only allow patients to possess two ounces or less of usable marijuana (Alaska, Colorado, Maryland*, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Vermont and Washington DC)
9 = medical marijuana states where patients must register with the state to receive any protection from arrest and prosecution (Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Montana, New Hampshire, Vermont, New Mexico, New Jersey and Washington DC).
8 = medical marijuana states where patients have an affirmative defense or “choice of evils” defense upon receiving their doctor’s recommendation (Colorado, Delaware**, Hawaii, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon and Rhode Island).
7 = medical marijuana states that recognize post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a qualifying condition (California, Delaware, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, and Oregon).
6 = medical marijuana states that will accept a card or recommendation from another medical marijuana state (Arizona, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island). Also, six states have passed laws allowing for the medical use of high-CBD / low-THC oil extracts from cannabis (Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin).
5 = states that passed symbolic medical marijuana laws that depend on a doctor’s prescription, thereby making the laws inoperable without violating federal laws (Virginia, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Wisconsin and Louisiana).
4 = medical marijuana states that won’t recognize glaucoma (Delaware, Maryland, Minnesota and Vermont) or nausea (Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts and Washington DC,) as a qualifying condition.
3 = medical marijuana states that won’t recognize any form of pain as a qualifying condition (Connecticut, Massachusetts and Washington DC).
2 = medical marijuana states that have no in-state residency requirement to register for medical marijuana (Illinois and Oregon). Also the number of states where every patient is covered without a doctor’s recommendation thanks to legalization of marijuana (Colorado and Washington).
1 = medical marijuana states that don’t allow patient access to the marijuana plant itself (Minnesota). Also the number of medical marijuana states that allow doctors to recommend for any condition they believe marijuana will help (California).
* based on Maryland’s presumptive “30 day supply” of usable cannabis. Massachusetts and Connecticut have mandated a “60-day supply,” which in previous medical marijuana states has been determined to be 2.5 ounces of usable cannabis.
** only if the patient has submitted a medical marijuana application.
"Radical" Russ Belville is the host of The Russ Belville Show.