The Best And Worst States For Medical Marijuana
A new report catalogs the highs (and lows) of America's medical cannabis process
Medicinal marijuana, man. Eighty five percent of the U.S. population, in 23 different states, should technically have the option to access the healing herb safely and legally. But since it’s a relatively new development in the U.S. with wide-ranging laws (and several states that just won’t get hip with the times), we still have a long way to go.
While access to medical cannabis is improving, there are only a handful of states that follow best practices set by the American Herbal Products Association, according to a new study from Americans For Safe Access, a member-based organization of patients, medical professionals, and scientists. Further, the study states that there is no single state that can be considered “ideal” from a patient’s perspective.
While that’s a bummer, the report does delve into the best states for accessing safe, healthy medicinal marijuana, giving grades to each state for patient rights, access, ease of navigation, functionality, and consumer safety. Though most states received failing grades, Washington, Oregon, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Maine came closest to meeting the AFSA’s high standards.
The biggest issue outlined in the report is states’ failure to safeguard patient rights. Only eight states received a score over 80 percent in this regard, and even some of the best states for legal cannabis overall (such as Colorado and Maryland) received failing marks for laws which protect users of medical marijuana from prosecution or discrimination (in areas like employment, housing, child custody, organ transplant recipiency, etc). Protection from DUI and arrest were also considered in this determination. Another way the report found most states to be lacking is proper in-state production and distribution, meaning there’s simply not enough to go around, forcing people back to their dealers to purchase illegal weed.