Medical Marijuana Only to Become More Prevalent in 2014

William Panzer’s latest law blog post.

Since 1972, medical marijuana has been classified under federal law as an illegal drug with no medical value. However, as popular opinion on that matter has changed, laws have needed to change accordingly. According to an article recently completed by WebMD, more than half of the states in the nation have passed laws that permit the use of marijuana for medical concerns. The opinion of the populace has held so much swing, that the article specifically notes that it isn’t simply liberal states taking action; notoriously conservative states are as well.


The article was prompted by several states and Washington, D.C. passing laws this week to allow for the use of medical marijuana. The limits placed on the use of medical marijuana vary from state to state; Minnesota and Washington D.C. are allowing for a broad use of the drug, whereas nine other states specified that marijuana is only to be used in cases of children suffering from seizure disorders.

The progress made on this issue is the result of political pressure from parents of children suffering from these very disorders, which are often cases of a severe form of epilepsy. The restrictive law that allows for the use of this drug with suffering children grants access to a form of marijuana low in THC, an ingredient that is responsible for affecting mood, but high in cannabidiol, the non-mood altering component.

John Hudak, of the Brookings Institution, a think tank located in Washington, D.C., states that he isn’t surprised by this development. He claims that the public has reached a new era in marijuana policy, with the formation of strong interest groups that have the power, funding, and understanding of the political landscape required to move forward on the marijuana initiative. This dedication, according to Hudak, is what driving laws to be passed not only in pliant liberal states, but steadfast conservatives as well.

Several states allow for the use of medical marijuana in children’s cases of seizures. However, actions are being taken to introduce broader medical marijuana laws in Minnesota, Maryland and Florida. Maryland has consented to engage in research on the merits of medical marijuana. The Florida public will have the opportunity to vote on the issue on a ballot in November. In addition to this, comprehensive laws are still pending in Missouri, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

All of this attention combined will eventually catch the attention of Congress, according to Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance, a nonprofit that supports medical marijuana use for adults. In essence, Piper believes the action on the state level will, with time, require positive federal action.

from William Panzer Law


About williampanzer

William Panzer is a lawyer practicing in the Oakland, CA area supporting medical marijuana initiatives.
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