Texas is the second-largest state by population and is also home to over a million registered medical marijuana patients. But what does that mean for them?
For many years, marijuana was illegal across most of America until recently. However, since 2014, some states have passed laws legalizing cannabis for medicinal purposes. One of those states is Texas.
In 2015, voters in the state approved an amendment to its constitution allowing residents to vote on whether or not the state should adopt legislation authorizing certain prescription drugs. The prescription drugs included THC [the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana] and other substances to treat pain and symptoms related to cancer or glaucoma.
That same year, lawmakers created the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program, allowing doctors to prescribe low-THC varieties of marijuana to qualifying patients with specific conditions. In 2017, lawmakers expanded this program to allow more types of qualified patients to use cannabis legally.
As of 2018, roughly 1.3 million Texans are registered under the state’s medical-marijuana program. While these figures may sound impressive, they don’t represent how many people use the drug medically. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, nearly 6 percent of Americans 12 and older had used weed within the past month in 2016.
And while only about 2 percent of Texan adults reported using marijuana in 2016, as of 2019, roughly 3,000 dispensaries operated throughout the state. With so much activity around the plant, it’s no wonder why marijuana remains such a hot topic among legislators and citizens alike.
Other countries have closely followed the legalization of pot in several U.S. states. However, Canada became the first country to legalize recreational marijuana when it did so in October 2018. This decision came after decades of debate regarding the merits of cannabis legalization.
Like Uruguay, Chile, and Spain, other countries have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes. However, even though marijuana has been decriminalized in several places around the globe, it hasn’t been completely removed from federal law. As a result, you can still be arrested federally for possessing the substance.
If you’re looking to get your hands on some of the best weed out there, there are plenty of legal ways.
If you think all marijuana products look pretty similar, you might want to check out CBD oil. Unlike regular marijuana plants containing THC and cannabidiol, CBD oil has none of the latter compounds. Cannabidiol, or CBD, doesn’t produce any mind-altering effects in humans — instead, it seems to work more along the lines of an anti-inflammatory agent. Because of this, CBD has become quite popular with consumers seeking alternative treatments for ailments ranging from anxiety to chronic pain.
However, it wasn’t long before unscrupulous individuals began pushing untested and unapproved products onto unsuspecting customers. Some companies sell their wares without proper labeling. Others outright lied about the product being made from true hemp, a type of cannabis grown specifically for industrial uses.
When this happened, the Food and Drug Administration sent warning letters to dozens of businesses selling fraudulent CBD products. The agency also went after large corporations, like Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Johnson & Johnson, illegally marketing non-hemp-based CBD products.
Although these events caused a lot of confusion for consumers, they ultimately helped push forward the legitimacy of CBD products. As a result, many reputable manufacturers market their products with clear labels indicating where their ingredients are sourced.
Because CBD isn’t considered dangerous, unlike THC, you won’t see anyone arrested for possession; however, because it falls outside federal regulations, you’ll need a doctor’s approval to obtain CBD oil legally. But you’ll probably have to travel far away from home to fill your order.
According to the latest data available, approximately 15 people die from overdosing on opioids every day in the United States, such as heroin. That’s almost one death per hour — and since 2000, opioid overdose deaths have increased fivefold.
Maine Cannabis Therapy Program (Mctp)
While most states continue to struggle with the legality of marijuana, Maine finds itself right in the middle. It’s currently the 10th most populated state in the nation and is the only east coast state to embrace medical marijuana fully.
The state legislature passed the Medical Use of Marijuana Law in November 2012. Under the new statute, patients with epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, nausea associated with chemotherapy, muscle spasms, seizures, and AIDS-related dementia must receive a physician’s recommendation to use cannabis.
Additionally, physicians must document how much of the patient’s condition is alleviated after taking the plant. Patients can possess up to 2 ounces of usable marijuana but cannot grow their supply. Instead, patients will have to enroll in the state’s Medical Marijuana Registry, which requires each person to pay $50 annually. Once registered, patients can access their registry cards at participating pharmacies.
Patients cannot consume edibles or vaporize their medicine, but they may take a liquid extract orally. Also, according to the law, police officers and prosecutors aren’t required to recognize the validity of registry cards. If someone tries to share their card with another person, they could face prosecution depending on local ordinances.
While the MCTP’s success varies from patient to patient, there’s little doubt that it significantly reduces the time people spend trying to obtain legal marijuana.
On November 4, 2018, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill to make it easier for terminally ill patients to access medicinal marijuana. The law took effect on December 20, 2018. Previously, Floridians needed a special permit to purchase medical pots. Those hoping to qualify only need a written certification from a licensed healthcare provider stating they suffer from a terminal illness.
Compassionate Use Of Medical Hemp Act
Since 2014, several states have adopted laws permitting the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes. For instance, Colorado amended its constitution to allow medical marijuana to combat diseases such as HIV/AIDS, cancer, and multiple sclerosis. In addition, several other states, including Alaska, California, Hawaii, Nevada, and Oregon, have passed measures expanding the number of qualifying medical conditions.
In addition to the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act, Pennsylvania enacted a separate act in November 2018 that expanded the list of conditions eligible for medical marijuana to include autism spectrum disorder, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease.
But while many states seem to agree on the benefits of medicating with cannabis, the laws vary widely from place to place. At least 30 different states have banned the sale and distribution of cannabis products altogether. The differences between state laws are especially notable when comparing the two most prominent players in the industry: California and New York.
California, which leads the pack in cannabis production, produces less than half the marijuana sold nationwide. Conversely, New York generates a more significant percentage of revenue than any other state, despite having only 1 percent of the national market. Why is this happening?
One reason is that California’s medical marijuana laws are stricter than New York’s. Although Californian patients can buy up to 28 grams of dried flower per week, New Yorkers can only acquire 8 ounces (about 227 milliliters) at once.
Another factor is the price of cultivating cannabis versus buying it from dispensaries. Growing your pot usually costs more money than purchasing it elsewhere. Plus, transporting the raw materials from one location to another adds to the overall expense.
When considering proceeding with a medical marijuana application, it’s important to remember that the rules change frequently. To keep track of the latest developments, you can visit the website of the Marijuana Policy Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to reforming marijuana policy. You can also sign up for alerts via email or text message whenever changes occur.
Even though marijuana is technically classified as a Schedule I controlled substance, that classification may soon undergo significant changes. On May 9, 2020, President Joe Biden announced plans to reschedule marijuana “consistent with existing federal schedules.”
His decision comes after widespread calls to reform federal policies surrounding cannabis. After all, marijuana arrests disproportionately affect minority communities, with black men accounting for 42 percent of marijuana-related convictions in 2010.