This year there are 5 states projected to legalize weed. These states may have adequate cannabis products and industries for 420nurses to promote. Those five states are:
1. California made history in 1996, when it became the first state to legalize medical marijuana; next November, it will vote to allow recreational weed, and polls indicate the amendment will likely pass.
2. Maine‘s legislators may have rejected recreational marijuana this summer, but the state’s voters have taken measures into their own hands. A signature drive to put legalization on the 2016 ballot is underway, and in the past two years, voters in two of its biggest cities, Portland and South Portland, went ahead and passed referendums in favor of legislation.
3. Massachusetts opened its first medical dispensary this summer, and many believe the state will legalize weed by referendum in 2016.
4. Vermont‘s attorney general is predicting legalization in 2016. If the marijuana-friendly legislators pass recreational marijuana, they will be the first lawmakers with the political courage to directly challenge federal prohibition, rather than use a ballot initiative to legalize weed. Bernie 2016!!
5. Nevada will almost certainly go green. A legalization initiative has already qualified for the 2016 ballot and seems like a lock in a state where self-indulgence is a tourist attraction.
However, there is still much activism left to do in the states where medical marijuana is legal but not very accessible. These are the states, barring an abundance of cannabis industries employing 420nurses exclusively, where the 420nurses are needed to improve the cannabis situation and gain needed publicity for the organization as the G0-To Girls for all things medically cannabis, hence 420nurses.
In 2012, Massachusetts’s voters approved via ballot initiative the legalization of medical marijuana and state-regulated dispensaries, but over-complicated licensing procedures allowed not a single dispensary to open. Two dozen lawsuits followed a two-and-a-half-year wait for the law to be enforced.
This May, Gov. Charlie Baker overhauled the overzealous licensing protocol of the previous administration to speed up the regulatory process. Things in Massachusetts were looking up, with the first dispensary set to open in June, but then unprecedented requirements on marijuana’s lead levels proved to be an impossible standard that even grocery store vegetables couldn’t meet. As residents wait for a viable program, confusion about the law has led to the arrest of doctor-certified medical marijuana patients, despite state regulations allowing them to grow and possess their own supply.
Enrollment in Minnesota’s medical marijuana program just kicked off, and patients were legally able to purchase the plant when dispensaries opened on July 1. But with a short list of qualifying conditions for patients (nine) and a low maximum number of dispensaries (eight), the program is one of the strictest in the country. Home growing is banned, along with the smoke-able marijuana (but not vaping); rather than allowing the raw cannabis plant, only extracts like oils and pills are OK under the law. Patients face a stiff $200 annual enrollment fee for the program, and a host of regulations may deter physicians from involvement.
Expected to help treat 5,000 people in Minnesota – 0.1 percent of the state’s population – Minnesota’s law has become a template for stringent medical marijuana policies that advocates say place political expediency over patients’ needs. The Minnesota model is reflected in New York’s medical marijuana law, which – among other rules – also bans smoke-able, raw cannabis and similarly limits the number of qualifying conditions and licensed dispensaries.
After legalizing medical marijuana in 2013, Illinois is in its second year of a four-year medical marijuana pilot program, but with no existing dispensaries to assess. Gov. Pat Quinn left office without issuing any licenses for medical marijuana distribution, prompting his replacement, Bruce Rauner, to swiftly condemn Quinn’s inaction and issue a slew of licenses for providers in January. Still, dispensaries were not expected to open until this fall.
In the meantime, home-grow marijuana is not allowed – now or ever, as the law stands – and less than 2,500 patients have applied for the program. Gov. Rauner is currently sitting on a bill that Congress has approved to extend the trial period up to four years after dispensaries open.
After Delaware legalized medical marijuana back in 2011, the state’s governor, Jack Markell, suspended implementation of the program for years, citing fear of federal intervention and a threatening letter the U.S. Attorney’s Office sent the state in 2012. (Congress banned federal funds from being used to intervene in state-authorized medical marijuana programs this past December.) The law requires one medical marijuana dispensary per county, but authorized patients – there are only 200 of them – are still waiting for the first and only licensed dispensary (a pilot program) to open. It will grow only 150 marijuana plants.
In January of 2010, the New Jersey legislature approved a medical marijuana program set to go into effect six months after enactment, but Gov. Chris Christie‘s hard-line objections prompted stifling disagreements between him, the state’s Department of Human Services and the legislature. The first dispensary didn’t open until three years later, in 2013, and its role as the sole provider of medical marijuana in the state prompted complaints from registered patients about limited access and long waits. Today, the state’s program remains only half operational, with just three of the six dispensaries allowed by the law open for business.
Marijuana policy reformers point to New Jersey’s failures as a cautionary tale, especially when discussing other states with similarly restrictive policies. The law prevents patients from cultivating marijuana at home, lists only nine qualifying conditions for patients and has stifled doctor participation with licensing regulations. With patient costs reaching $500 per ounce of marijuana, New Jersey’s weed is the most expensive in the country, and largely cannot compete with the cheaper black market.
In 2013, New Hampshire passed legislation allowing just four state-licensed dispensaries to treat patients suffering from only five qualifying medical conditions. The law mandated that the state Department of Health and Human Services approve at least two dispensaries by the end of January 2015. So far it has approved zero. Without legal home grows or a process to even apply for a medical marijuana card, New Hampshire residents who would be covered under the law have no protection from prosecution. Dispensaries are not expected to open until January of 2016; qualifying patients will be able to register for the program a few months before they open shop.
May, 2015, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill legalizing treatment of severe forms of epilepsy with cannabis oils low in etrahydrocannabinol (THC) and high in cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive component of marijuana. To qualify, patients must have unsuccessfully experimented with two traditional epilepsy medications, and secured the approval of two doctors.
Texas joins more than a dozen states that, since early 2014, have passed legislation legalizing marijuana with high CBD levels and low or no THC levels for the treatment of devastating seizure disorders. This form of marijuana legalization is rarely functional, often because states fail to build the regulations to provide the medicine, or because they rely on federal permission they will not receive while marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug.
All these states demonstrate that, as momentum builds for the increasingly popular yet still relatively new policy reform that is medical marijuana legislation, a variety of factors – from lack of experience to political resistance to logistical failures – leave reality lagging behind the law. Exactly why the 420Nurses are called for.
Courses of political action next in Part 2.
End of Part 1 – 420Nursing Needed Here; story source, Rolling Stone magazine