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Status of Medical Programs with Continued Recreational Legalization

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Status of Medical Programs with Continued Recreational Legalization

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Most U.S. states that have completely legalized cannabis first began with a medical marijuana program. As more territories pass recreational or adult-use into law, medical programs continue to be updated including laws pertaining to medical marijuana dispensaries. Find below the most current news pertaining to medical cannabis in states with legalized recreational use.

Arizona

The state Court of Appeals has ruled anyone who births a baby with cannabis in its system cannot be accused of child neglect, as long as a physician’s recommendation to legally use cannabis is up-to-date. This overturns a move made by the Arizona Department of Child Safety to put a mother on the agency’s registry of parents found to have committed neglect and child abuse. “Under Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, then, she is presumed to have taken marijuana for ‘medical use,’ which means taking it to treat or alleviate her medical condition or symptoms,’’ ruling Judge Randall Howe wrote. “And her marijuana use is the equivalent of taking any other medication under the direction of a physician.’’

California

Recently, the governor signed a bill requiring hospitals to allow medical marijuana use by certain patients. The bill’s sponsor pushed for allowance of cannabis use in medical facilities for terminally ill patients.

“It is inconceivable to me that, in a state where medical cannabis was legalized more than 25 years ago, those in deepest suffering receiving treatment in our state’s healthcare facilities cannot access this proven, effective and prescribed treatment,” Sen. Ben Hueso said in a press release. “Instead, terminally-ill patients in California healthcare facilities are given heavy opiates that rob them of their precious last moments with family and friends,” he said.

The new law does have a few restrictions: patients receiving emergency care are not covered, hospitals are not required to provide or dispense cannabis, and neither smoking nor vaping is allowed.

Colorado

Gov. Jared Polis has signed legislation to expand access to medical cannabis for students within schools. Current law gives principals discretion to set policies allowing or preventing schools to store and administer cannabis-based medicines. However, under the new law, school boards will now be required to craft policies regarding storage as well as personnel volunteers to administer it to qualifying students as needed.

Maine

Maine’s First Circuit Court of Appeals is currently involved in a lawsuit challenging a state law that prevents out-of-state ownership of for-profit medical marijuana dispensaries. An appeal was filed in an attempt to keep the residency requirements, but judges hearing the appeal seemed unmoved. In 2021, a federal judge ruled the state could not inhibit out-of-state companies from operating a medical cannabis dispensary.

Michigan

The governor signed a bill in late 2021 allowing persons with marijuana-related felonies or misdemeanor convictions to obtain a medical cannabis dispensary license, with the exception of those found to have distributed to a minor. The bill also noted elected officials and employees of federally-recognized tribes can obtain a state cannabis license. This new law is already in effect.

New Mexico

The New Mexico Supreme Court has ruled medical marijuana dispensary purchases in the state cannot be taxed. Industry figures estimate the state has collected $25 to $30 million from producers. Charlie Moore, a spokesman for the Taxation and Revenue Department, said the agency was disappointed with the decision to not hear the case against the ruling but would “respect the decision and will move forward to issue refunds to the affected taxpayers once the court’s decision is mandated to become final.”

New York

Doctors in New York are now able to issue medical marijuana recommendations for any condition they feel could be treated by cannabis, as opposed to relying on a list of eligible ailments. Further, the Cannabis Control Board approved revised regulations to allow medical marijuana patients to grow their own plants for personal use. Registered patients may grow up to 6 plants, of which only 3 can be mature. From these plants, patients may possess up to 5 pounds of cannabis. Caregivers can grow for up to 4 patients, and could have a maximum of 12 plants for those patients at any one time.

Virginia

State requirements for Virginia medical cannabis patients to register with the state Board of Pharmacy will be no more, as of July 1, 2022. This amendment will assist with the backlog of 8,000 patient registration requests. Del. Roxann Robinson said “by eliminating the Board of Pharmacy registration, patients will have quicker access to acquiring their therapeutic prescriptions of medical cannabis.” Registration comes with a fee, as well as a 60-day waiting period.

Should I Open a Medical Marijuana Dispensary?

How do these updates impact your part of the cannabis industry? Just how many medical marijuana dispensaries are currently open in the United States? Are you debating between opening a medical cannabis dispensary or a recreational dispensary? Come to CannaCon and learn more! This event is the nation’s leading business-to-business cannabis conference.

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