Medical Marijuana Laws and Lawyers
How Do State Laws Vary for Users of Medical Marijuana?
State laws vary greatly as to the legality of medical marijuana. Some states provide no protection for the users of medical marijuana. In other states medical marijuana has been legalized, but even among these states, there remain differences as to the specific criteria for being a legal user of medical marijuana. There are two main policy determinations for determining the ultimate scope of state medical marijuana laws:
- Types of Programs - Currently, there are four types of state programs that determine whether medical marijuana is legal. States may follow only one or all of the following programs:
- Therapeutic Research Program (TRP): Medical marijuana use is allowed after the enlistment into a state program, with treatment and use monitored and studied by doctors and scientists. These programs offer the least protection for users of medical marijuana, and are typically very rare even in states with an active program. (14 states).
- Rescheduling: Most states mirror the federal scheduling system by naming marijuana a Schedule I drug, which designates marijuana as a drug which has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Some states have begun to reschedule marijuana as a Schedule II drug, which limits the sentences and penalties users can face on drug charges. (three states).
- Physician Prescription: While similar to the rescheduling law, this program allows doctors to both discuss the benefits of marijuana as an alternate treatment and prescribe it as a treatment at the request of a patient. (13 states).
- Medical Necessity: Medical necessity compliments the physician prescription program, but extends protection to criminal prosecution, wherein a medical marijuana user may raise the issue of medical necessity as a defense for possession or use. (nine states).
- Types of Illness Recognized by States for Medial Marijuana Use - State laws vary widely as to what illnesses are treatable with medical marijuana. Common illnesses are cancer, glaucoma, pain, chronic illnesses, HIV/AIDS. Some states to not limit the types of illnesses for which medical marijuana may be prescribed.
Should I Contact a Lawyer about My Use of Medical Marijuana?
Because medical marijuana laws vary so much between the states, it is important to understand the law in your state. If you are a user of medical marijuana and are unclear on the law, or have been charged with possession or use of marijuana and think you may have a medical defense, it would be beneficial to talk to a criminal defense attorney about your situation.
Consult a Lawyer - Present Your Case Now!
Last Modified: 05-10-2011 11:29 AM PDT