The United States of Cannabis

by | Nov 15, 2016 | Industry Updates

The Land of the free and the home of the… cannabis? That’s right, we can now say that 56% of the country has access to marijuana in some way. Medical marijuana can be found in 28 states, while full legalization can be seen in eight states. Colorado can pat itself on the back for setting the stage for how full cannabis legalization is done.

It’s no secret that this year’s election was a nail biter, but those in the cannabis industry, as well as those benefiting from cannabis, can breathe a sigh of relief that we never thought was possible. So what’s next for those states that just turned green? There’s still a lot of work to be done before these states can begin to light up.

Medically Speaking


A first for the South, thanks to the passing of Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment, also known as Issue 6.

The hard facts: “The state constitution to permit qualified patients who possess a physician’s recommendation may legally possess and obtain medical cannabis provided by state licensed dispensaries. The home cultivation of cannabis is not permitted under the law. Under the law, regulators will license up to 40 dispensary providers and up to eight marijuana cultivators,” NORML explained. Those with cancer, glaucoma, Tourette’s syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease and Hepatitis-C are among the 18 illnesses listed under Issue 6.

The long road: Arkansas Online states that “The governor, the Senate president pro tempore and the House speaker must appoint five people to the newly created Medical Marijuana Commission. The commission will administer and regulate the licensing of dispensaries and cultivation facilities. It would allow at least 20 but not more than 40 dispensary licenses, and at least four but not more than eight cultivation facility licenses.” The commission would begin accepting applications by June 1.


Third times a charm. This seems like a long time coming for the Sunshine State.

The hard facts:
Right now if you suffer from cancer, epilepsy, chronic seizures and chronic muscle spasms CBD is available for you right now. Patients suffering with glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, PTSD, ALS, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis or other debilitating illnesses will have to wait a little longer until they can receive the medicine they need.

The long road:
The Tallahassee Democrat goes on to explain that “it will go to the Florida Legislature. Amendment 2 will have to be implemented – meaning the rules on how it will work will have to be decided by the Legislature. Current law mandates a 90-day waiting period and third-party certification of a doctor who recommends medical cannabis.

The Florida Department of Health has until July 2017 to hammer out specific regulations for the other illness that were recently voted in. Patients will receive I.D. cards and the Department of Health will start accepting applications for suppliers and growers in October.


Second chances don’t come often but thanks to I-182, the Treasure State has a chance to rebuild the medical marijuana program that was once started back in 2004 and was nearly repealed in 2011 thank to SB-423.

The hard facts: The Independent Record explains that “providers of the drug will not be limited to the number of patients they can serve. The previous restriction imposed a limit of three, which was sharply opposed by patients and providers in the program.

The long road: According to the Montana Standard, “dispensaries that promised to see their patients in November if 182 passed have kept their doors shut as a clerical error in the marijuana reform initiative means the provisions that return access to patients won’t go into effect until June 30 of next year.” This raises a big issue for patients that have been being treated for various illnesses such as arthritis, Crohn’s Disease, multiple sclerosis and the newly added PTSD, are now placed on hold without their medicine.

North Dakota

A pleasant surprise. Supporters of amendment, Measure 5 were just as shocked when it received 65 percent approval in last week’s election.

The hard facts: “Under the North Dakota Compassionate Care Act, those who receive a doctor’s permission to use marijuana for medicine can possess up to 3 ounces that’s from either a state-licensed dispensary or a personally grown supply. The qualifying conditions include cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder, glaucoma and other illnesses, including chronic back pain,” explains The Cannabist.

The long road: The new law will take 90 days before it goes into effect. Which gives legislatures plenty of time to appropriate the money for the Department of Health. It will probably be a year before it’s fully implemented. Valley News Live reports that, “There’s still quite a bit of uncertainty surrounding this measure. For example, only non-profits will be allowed to operate dispensaries in the state. We don’t know yet if any are forming or are stepping up to start the process.”

Recreational Activities


A milestone indeed. Being one of the largest states to legalize marijuana for recreational use, it rings true that “the west coast is the best coast.”

The hard facts: Prop 64 allows Californians who are 21 and older to possess, transport and buy up to an ounce of marijuana and to use it for recreational purposes. That expands the law that 20 years ago legalized marijuana for medical use in California,” reported The Los Angeles Times.

The long road: “The state would have until Jan. 1, 2018 to come up with a system for licensing those who would grow, transport and sell marijuana for recreational use. Supporters say a change in the law could allow temporary licenses before then but even then it would not likely be until mid-2017 that such sales could begin,” The Los Angeles Times also reported.


Just think of all of the infused butter that could exist for your crab legs. So much butter. But don’t go to your kitchen just yet. Those who’re opposed to Question 1 have started the process of requesting a recount.

The hard facts: According to Regulate Maine, “The initiative allows adults 21 years of age and older to possess a limited amount of marijuana, grow a limited number of marijuana plants in their homes, and possess the marijuana produced by those plants. It will remain illegal to use marijuana in public.” There will also be an implemented sales tax of 10%.

The long road: The proposal barely passed, so there should be no surprise to the pushback from those who opposed it from the get go. To learn more about the continuing battle that Maine has ahead of them, check out what the Portland Press Herald had to say.


The East Coast is getting greener, and it’s about time. Get ready for bubblah (water fountain) to take on a whole new meaning.

The hard facts: Mass Live reported that the “ballot measure known as Question 4, would allow people 21 years and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana outside their residence and possess up to 10 ounces inside the residence. That goes into effect on Dec. 15, 2016.”

The long road: Similar to Nevada, existing dispensaries will get a leg up on the competition when it comes to issuing licenses by January 1, 2018, to the dispensaries with “the most experience operating medical marijuana treatment centers and then by lottery among qualified applicants,” Mass Live added.


Three cheers for our Clinic Fam in Nevada.

The hard facts: “The passing of Question 2 allows for the legal purchase of up to 1 ounce of marijuana or up to one-eighth ounce of marijuana concentrates such as wax, carbon dioxide oil and shatter. Under the law, recreational users will also be allowed to buy marijuana paraphernalia such as bongs and glass pipes. Those living outside a 25-mile radius of the closest Nevada marijuana dispensary will be permitted to cultivate up to six marijuana plants at home for personal use, as long as it’s away from public view,” the Las Vegas Sun stated.

The long road: The Las Vegas Sun goes on to explain, “the first 18 months after recreational marijuana goes into law, current medical marijuana state registration certificate holders (dispensary owners) will have priority on building new facilities for recreational marijuana. That includes new dispensaries, cultivation and testing facilities as well as manufacturing facilities for paraphernalia. After the 18-month period for dispensary owners to get their crack at the new licenses, the general public will also be able to join the industry and build their own facilities.”

Come Together

Yes, these states have legalized cannabis in some capacity. As explained above, it’s not going to be a change that happens overnight. If you’re living in any of these states, don’t just sit back and wait for things to happen. Patients should call their local representatives and encourage them to think of the patients first. Continue to do you research and don’t give up. Legal cannabis is here; but the fight isn’t over.

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