Part Three: The State of Cannabis – How Free are You?

 Where does your state stand on cannabis legislation?

The final part of our series takes us from Ohio to Wyoming (Here are the links to Part 1 and Part 2 if you missed them). Where does your state stand on cannabis legislation? We’ve compiled the latest information on each state to give you the most comprehensive state-by-state listing on the Internet. Keep in mind that this information is ever changing and this list will be updated as new information becomes available. In addition, each state has its own idea as to how to regulate, enforce and tax cannabis legislation so we encourage you to find out more about your state. The only way to keep ahead of the green rush is to stay informed.

Ohio – House Bill 33, currently being debated, could be the first medical cannabis legislation to pass within the state. However, the structure of the bill could actually be a negative as it contains what would become the most restrictive rules surrounding medical cannabis in America. The bill only allows processed cannabis plant extract oil that contains no more than 3% THC, and only for the treatment of epilepsy. 84% Support medical cannabis legalization – 52% Support recreational legalization. – 2015 Survey

Oklahoma – Recently passed House Bill 2154. However, this bill is nearly the same as the aforementioned bill out of Ohio. While a positive step, it leaves behind countless other ailments and severely limits the amount of treatment options. Furthermore, it fails to set up an acceptable supply chain for the medical community. 71% Support medical cannabis legalization for seriously ill patients provided it is obtained via a doctor’s prescription. – 2013 Survey

Oregon – Medically and recreationally legal with restrictions.

Pennsylvania – State Senate approved medical cannabis legislation on May 12, 2015 by a resounding 40-7. Governor Tom Wolf has announced his full support and is ready to sign the document once he gets it. Recreational support remains steady at 51%, but future legislation is uncertain.

Rhode Island – Medically legal with restrictions – 57% Support recreational cannabis legalization provided it is regulated and taxed the same as alcohol. Largest support group comes from ages 18-34 (73% in favor) – 2015 Survey

South Carolina – Multiple bills filed with the State House of Representative that would legalize medical Cannabis. The South Carolina Legislature has adjourned itself for 2015, so these bills will remain in limbo until the debates resume in 2016. Recreationally, cannabis remains criminalized with no immediate legislation in the works.

South Dakota – By far one of the least progressive states relating to Cannabis, there was NO cannabis legislation on the ba lot in 2015, either for medical or recreational purposes. Furthermore, the policing of cannabis throughout the state has produced a hotbed for racial tension. The American Civil Liberties Union found that ‘South Dakota was among the top 10 states with the largest racial disparities in marijuana possession arrest rates. Despite people of all races using marijuana at nearly identical rates, blacks in South Dakota are nearly 4.8 times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana possession. However, there may be light at the end of the tunnel for South Dakota cannabis users as South Dakota’s Medical Marijuana initiative has been introduced, and is now collecting signatures for a measure that would put the legalization of medical cannabis on the ba lot in 2016. This, by far, would be the state’s most progressive legislation to date.

Tennessee – Having passed one of the most impotent bills in the history of cannabis legislation in 2014, the people of Tennessee proposed two, more comprehensive, bills in 2015. However, both bills were rejected by the legislature after stalling in the committees. Currently the law provides protection for patients, but requires them to leave Tennessee to obtain their cannabis medication and then return to the state. Because cannabinoids remains a Schedule 1 controlled substance under federal law, it is illegal to transport it from state to state. Simply put, medical cannabis is legal but unobtainable under this structure. Tennessee remains a top candidate for medical legalization in 2016 as 75% Support Medical Cannabis Legalization provided it is obtained via a doctor’s prescription. – 2014 Survey

Texas – 3 out of 4 proposed Bills involving medical cannabis legalization died as result of the June 1st, 2015 deadline. The lone Bill that passed is a positive step towards future legislative growth, but again is extremely limited and brutally structured. The bill allows only processed cannabis plant extract that contains a very specific ratio of cannabidiol and THC. 58% Support Medical Cannabis Legalization for seriously and terminally ill patients provided it is obtained via a doctor’s prescription. – 2013 Survey

Utah – A bill for medical cannabis legalization died on March 9th, 2015, when it feel one vote short of passing(15-14). The bill would have allowed unprecedented medical cannabis access to patients. Despite the failure of the bill, government officials remain open to future legislation. Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (Rep) remains positive about ongoing legislation despite being head of one of the most conservative states in the country:

“I’m open to the idea of medical marijuana and the discussion of how it can be used as a medicine based on science, and making sure we have good, collaborative efforts so we can answer the questions that are out there.” – Gov. Gary Herbert (Rep)

Vermont – Medically legal with restrictions – Vermont has one of the brightest futures for recreational cannabis legalization. In January 2015, an in depth report conducted by the state revealed approximately 80,000 citizens of Vermont regularly use Cannabis. Those users spend anywhere from $125Mil-$225Mil each year and would generate between $20Mil and $75 per year in taxes. As you would expect, government officials became more interested in recreational legalization upon hearing these numbers. Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin says he favors legalization and Senate committees are currently being held in preparation for 2016 bill proposals.

Virginia – Medically legal with extreme restrictions – 2 Bills passed in 2015, both of which provide little, if any, realistic value. First, House Bill 1445 allows access to extremely limited cannabis medicines and serves only epilepsy, cancer and glaucoma. Senate Bill 1235 protects patients by preventing prosecution for Cannabis possession but NOT arrest. Meaning a patient consuming cannabis with a legal recommendation could still be arrested, jailed and put on trial, all before Bill 1235 kicks in to protect them from prosecution. In addition, just like Tennessee, there is no legal way in to obtain cannabis medicine in Virginia, if and when one is even approved. 84% Support medical cannabis lgalization provided it is obtained via a doctor’s prescription. 70% Support decriminalization of recreational cannabis – 2014 Survey

Washington – Medically and recreationally legal with restrictions.

Washington D.C – Medically and recreationally legal with restrictions – The law, which passed in February, allows cannabis possession and cultivation for persons over 21. However, the law does not permit legal sales. Government officials intend to introduce a regulatory system in the future but no current plans exist. Meaning that unless you cultivate your own supply, obtain a doctors recommendation(to which there are few) or receive a donation(that happens right?), you are left with one option, the black market. As you can imagine there are numerous negatives to this model, including loss of tax revenue, lack of regulation and increase in black market production. Also, it is important to remember that Cannabis is still illegal federally and much of Washington D.C. is federal land.

West Virginia – In each of the past 4 years, medical cannabis legislation was introduced to the West Virginia House of Representatives and, in all cases, failed to make it out successfully. The 2015 version involved identical Bills to both the House of Reps and the Senate, with both political groups failing to take action before the March 14th deadline. This most recent failure was accompanied by frustration because the 2015 Bill proposal was perceived as the most compassionate, well written Bill to date. As has been the trend, advocates plan to come back stronger in 2016. 56% Support medical cannabis legalization for seriously and terminally ill patients provided it is obtained via a doctor’s recommendation. – 2014 Survey

Wisconsin – A 2014 Law attempted (poorly) to create a system for medical cannabis legalization. However, like other poorly constructed legislation on this list, the restrictions surrounding the law make medical cannabis nearly unattainable, so much so that most publications refuse to acknowledge it a medically legal state. The 2015-2016 legislation season is underway in Wisconsin and there appears to be an abundance of upcoming proposals in the works, both relating to medical and recreational use, including a realistic medical cannabis program that could be introduced be the end of summer.

Wyoming – As of 2015, Wisconsin lawmakers are yet to hold a single debate on the medical cannabis issue. However, acts like ‘The Peggy A. Kelly Wyoming Cannabis Act of 2016’ are progressively moving government talks in the right direction. This specific act, which wouldn’t hit the ba lot till November 2016, would legalize cannabis for medical reasons and allow state residents to grow hemp. 70% Support medical cannabis legalization – 30% Support recreational cannabis legalization – 2014 Survey On a scale of 1-America, how free do you feel? Would you like to add to this report? Join the conversation by commenting below!

On a scale of 1-America, how free do you feel? Do you want to add something to the report? Join the conversation by commenting below!

iTunesBar_Cashinbis StitcherBar_Cashinbis
Trafficroots Analysis Pixel