International Cannabis Business Conference

Maine Tops ASA's List of Medical Marijuana States

In its report, Medical Marijuana Access in the U.S., ASA rates the 34 states with any kind of medical cannabis law. No state receives an A (four receive Bs) and 12 get Fs, included every state that recently enacted so-called "CBD-only" legislation.

Two New England states, Maine and Rhode Island, lead the B-grade pack, followed by Washington and California. Maine impressed ASA by continually improving the law since its passage in 1998.

“Maine kind of hit the sweet spot between over- and under-regulated systems,” says Becky DeKeuster of Wellness Connection of Maine, which operates half of the state's eight dispensaries. Maine allows home growing (six plants) and offers "better patient privacy," ASA touts.

marijuanadoctorsmaine.com

Here's ASA's State-by-State Report Card (points and grades):

Maine 339, B; Rhode Island 324, B-; Washington 322, B-; California 320, B-; Arizona 317, C+; Oregon 315, C+; Colorado 314, C+; New Mexico 303, C; Nevada 300, C; Massachusetts 296, C; Vermont 291, C; Michigan 281, C-; Delaware 263, D; New Hampshire 263, D; Illinois 259, D; Connecticut 250, D; Hawaii 246, D; Montana 246, D; Maryland, 245, D; Alaska 244, D-; New Jersey 244, D-; Minnesota 240, D-; District of Columbia 240, D; New York 195, F+; Kentucky 59,  F; Florida 57, F; Alabama  56, F; North Carolina 54, F; Iowa 51, F; Mississippi 47, F; Missouri 47, F; Wisconsin 46, F; Utah, 43, F; South Carolina 41, F; Tennessee 40, F.

In the preface, ASA takes issue with the current state of medical marijuana legislation, writing: "As of 2014, none of the state laws adopted thus far can be considered ideal from a patient's standpoint." They single out Delaware for taking "years to implement their medical cannabis laws," chastise Minnesota and New York for prohibiting "qualified patients from using the actual plant," and question the validity of "CBD-only laws that apply only to a small set of patients and continue to criminalize other patients and other therapeutic chemical compounds in the plant." Such laws, they say, are "functionally deficient."

The report concludes: "The intransigence of the federal government in maintaining cannabis as a Schedule I substance is at the root of our patchwork system in which many legislators pride themselves on passing the 'most restrictive law'… Only once a comprehensive policy is in place will the needs of patients across the country be met."

Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of CelebStoner.com, editor-in-chief of Freedom Leaf, co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness, and the former editor of High Times.