18 States Considering Medical Marijuana Laws in 2012 Despite Pressure on Cannabis Business

Medical marijuana raids in California, Colorado, Washington and other states make newspaper headlines seemingly every morning. Pot dispensary bans, moratoriums on weed dispensaries and community protests lead the nightly newscast. Speculation about what the federal government might do next fills online MMJ chat rooms.

Given all the negative news, one would think that medical marijuana is on its way out in the United States, and in a hurry.

Only that’s not the case at all.

Roughly 18 states across the country – form the Midwest to the Northeast to the Deep South – are weighing some form of medical marijuana legislation.

The heavy interest in medical cannabis flies in the face of the federal government’s moves to rein in – and in some cases even destroy – the industry. The recent raids and threatening letters from the government have done little to dissuade other states from exploring medical pot laws, which is a very good sign for the MMJ movement at large.

Currently, 16 states plus the District of Columbia have medical pot laws on the books, though only about half actually allow medical marijuana to be sold via dispensaries and/or cooperatives.

If several more states come on board this year, it will push the country closer to the tipping point. Some medical marijuana observers say that once half of all U.S. states have approved the use of medical pot, the federal government will have to strongly reconsider its position on the drug (which it now deems illegal).

The list of states that are considering marijuana legislation – or could put it to voters in the fall – covers conservative and liberal regions alike. It includes big, influential states on the East Coast as well as some unusual suspects.

Lawmakers have introduced bills calling for the legalization of medical marijuana (though not necessarily dispensaries) in 16 states: Alabama, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Efforts are underway in two other states – Florida and Missouri – to put the issue to voters on the fall ballot.

To be sure, the chances of passage are slim in some of these states. But if even a handful adopt medical marijuana laws, it will be harder for the government and the Drug Enforcement Agency to justify shutting down pot businesses and cracking down on the industry.

For a rundown of what’s going on in each of these states, check out this excellent document compiled by the Marijuana Policy Project. As an FYI, the list doesn’t include Idaho – where a medical pot bill was introduced this month – or Missouri, where cannabis advocates are gathering signatures for a proposed medical marijuana ballot measure.

12 comments on “18 States Considering Medical Marijuana Laws in 2012 Despite Pressure on Cannabis Business
  1. Jackie Price on

    North Carolina should have Medical Cannabis there are alot of people that could benefit from the medical use , my husband suffers from diabeties type 2 he is in alot of pain and he also has nerve damage , I also have nerve damage for a disk in my back the fifith verterbra is twisted it causes back pain and headaches , .

    Reply
  2. josh m on

    If the state legislatures would realize legalizing marijuana for medicinal purpouses would benefit us more than hurting us, the crime across the United States would go down dramatically. This would give people the chance to feel normal in society and not be afraid of leaving their own home. Me personally, i have chronic back pain and am slightly bipolar from time to time. But wait isnt half the United States also? Im sorry to say that everybody has anger issues and i know for a fact that marijuana IS a calming relaxant for the human mind. It allows your body to “relax” and take a “chill pill”. This is why independant studies must properly be done and taken into effect.

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  3. Wade on

    I am a resident of North Carolina, I suffer from extreme migraine headaches due to scoliosis in my back and neck. I can barely sleep at night because of the crippling pain. The only drug that I feel comfortable using is cannabis. Im not a “pot head” or a “drug addict” I am a patient in need. Legal or not, I will always use cannabis because it makes my life somewhat enjoyable.

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  4. Dawn on

    My ailment is chronic severe insomnia…cannabis works wonderfully for it. With no side effects the next day. I’ve taken ambien for years but am afraid it will eventually do liver damage. At least that’s what my doc checks everytime i need a new script of it. Plus I feel its giving me short term memory loss. Cannabis does not have these effects.

    Reply
  5. Eric Eckenberger on

    I am a double amputee, my right leg is amputated six inches below my right knee and all the toes on my left foot were amputated. I’ve been in and out of psychologists my whole life; being diagnosed with P.T.S.D., depression, high anxiety, insomnia, and mild bi-polar. Thru the use of medical marijuana I have been able to stop taking pain pills all together and even refuse to take over the counter pain medicine. My life on pain pills was boring to say the least but as of last year I began snowboarding and riding BMX again; just last month I began wake-boarding. Medical marijuana brought life back to My life and I know could help so many other individuals be productive and outgoing once again. Medical marijuana may not be for everybody but that goes likewise for prescription medicine that is currently legal.

    Reply
  6. Donald Cunningham on

    I have been on what some would call “heavy” pain medications for over 8 years for severe neck pain due to, I think, football injuries but the docs say it’s degenerative disc disease — I’ve been on hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone, morphine, methadone and none of these work “great”. You are treated like some scum bag because you don’t want to chance being cut on when at best the success rate is around 50 percent, not to mention the bull crap hoops one has to jump through because of our wonderful government. I’ve never tried cannabis but from what I hear the dependency or addiction can’t be anywhere near as bad plus the other side effects. What about the people who made riches off cannabis when it was legal — was it their constitutional right to seek life, liberty and pursue happiness by growing cannabis. George Washington enjoyed his pot fields. Same story with alcohol and the Kennedy’s wealth. Our government needs serious change and seriously soon, if not too late. I would like to try cannabis for pain relief but then I live in Alabama too..

    Reply
  7. Mary on

    They should just legalize it period! That includes regulating it also. I like beer but if I liked marijuana then as an adult I should be able to smoke it.

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  8. A burdsall on

    I qualify for medical marijuana for insomnia and arthritis. Both help. But the biggest relief i get is for depression anxiety attacks & panic attacks. If you go to a good dispensary they’ll have an educated staff. They can suggest strains and products suitable for ypur needs. Right strain of medical marijuana can take me from suicidal to not in five minutes. America benefits. More jobs less crime legal medical marijuana reduce deficit and most homeless people have mental illness! Not a cure-all but should definately be an option!!!

    Reply
  9. Gil54 on

    Marijuana is a plant for medicinal puposes it’s been mentioned in Genesis in the bible about our Lord giving it to us .Why is the federal government against something that was given to us by God.

    Reply
  10. Nancy Gallagher on

    I am a disabled ex-Police Officer who suffers from PTSD
    Bi-Polar Disorder with aggressive tendencies, a ruined back and right side, left bad hip and fibromialgia. I do take medication for all of these but I have noticed if I do not smoke on a regular basis, I suffer insomnia and manic episodes that I have a hard time controlling with a prescription. If North Carolina does not make a move to legalize in this state, I will be moving to Washington. My house is already up for sale. Being 60 this year makes me even more aggressive about keeping my body and mind comfortable. That is all I ask out of life at this point. And if I am considered a pot head, well all Imcan say is I have been called worse. NG

    Reply

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