Marijuana is to date one of the world’s most controversial drugs. This is as a result of the dissonance between the federal states which believe that it’s harmful to humans hence ought to be criminalized and, the medical practitioners and citizens who believe that it has lots of medical values. So far, medical marijuana has been legalized in 24 states / regions. In order of the first, to the most recent, these include:
California – The state was the first to pass an initiative to legalize medical marijuana – in November 1996. As of today, California has the largest number of dispensaries and wellness clinics (over 2,100).
Alaska – Although Alaska legalized cannabis in November 1998, it wasn’t until March 1999 that law became effective.
Oregon – In Oregon, legalization took place in November 1998.
Washington – Cultivation and possession of cannabis was legalized in November 1998. To qualify, one has to have a medical certificate.
Maine – Legalization of the drug took place in November 1999.
Colorado – Decriminalization of medical cannabis came to effect in November 2000. However, one should never take it within a place where the public can see them.
Hawaii – Legalization of marijuana in Hawaii came into being in June 2000.
Nevada – In the state of Nevada, legalization took place in November 2000.
Vermont – The senate bill which legalized cannabis in the state went into effect in July 2004.
Montana – In November 2, 2004, Montana legalized medical cannabis. The initiative took effect immediately.
Rhode Island – The law to legalize medical cannabis took place in January 2006 and came into effect immediately. However, certain conditions have to be met.
New Mexico – The state authorized New Mexico patients to use cannabis in April 2007.
Michigan – The state passed an initiative to legalize the drug in November 2008. Under the same law, it was recommended that a patient be issued with a card within 20 days after application.
Arizona – The state legalized marijuana in November 2010 under the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act. Though it allows someone with a doctor’s recommendation to possess a given amount of cannabis, it shouldn’t be used within child care facilities and/or educational institutions.
New Jersey – In New Jersey, patients with severe chronic illnesses were let to use cannabis starting January 2010.
Delaware – Legalization of medical cannabis came into effect on May 2011 after Jack Markell, the governor, signed the bill.
Washington, DC – In DC, marijuana became legal in Jan 2011. The signed bill took effect on July 2014.
Connecticut – Legalization of cannabis in Connecticut took place in June 2012.
Massachusetts – The state legalized medical cannabis on November 6, 2012.
New Hampshire – Access to medical marijuana to all qualified patients was made possible after the state legalized the drug in July 2013.
Illinois – Legalization of cannabis in Illinois took place in August 2013. However, the law went into effect on January 2014.
Maryland – Maryland first passed the medical cannabis affirmative defense law in 2003, which was later amended (in 2011) before decriminalizing the possession of the drug in April 2014.
Minnesota – Even though Minnesota was among the very first states to decriminalize marijuana – in the 70’s, it wasn’t until May 2014 that a medical cannabis program was established.
New York – The state of New York is the latest to legalize the drug. This happened in June 2014.
Despite being legal, in some states (Colorado and Washington), if an employee tests positive for drugs, s/he may get fired. This is irrespective as to whether they have a doctor’s recommendation or not. The luckiest states are Arizona, California, Colorado, Maine, Michigan, Montana, New Mexico and Rhode Island where there are dispensaries specializing in the sale of medical marijuana. Patients living in other states have to rely on the black market to get it.