News » States That Allow Medical Marijuana In 2011 2012

January 10, 2011 by

UPDATE: – there were no changes to the marijuana laws as it was not an election year, so this post is also valid for states that allow medical marijuana in 2012.

With the new year comes new laws, including those that apply to medical marijuana in the United States. With the rapidly changing social and political landscape more and more states are passing pro-marijuana legislation.

States that approved of marijuana friendly ballot initiatives (orange on the map), but who may not have officially approved marijuana for medical use include Arizona (Prop 203), Vermont (Governor Shumlin helped pass existing MMJ laws), Connecticut (Governor Malloy supports decriminalizing pot), and Massachusetts (all 9 jurisdictions in which the question was asked support taxing and regulating marijuana like cigarettes and alcohol).

On the other side of the table, states failing to move forward in support of marijuana law reform (in gray on the map) include South Dakota, which failed to pass Measure 13, allowing medical marijuana in the state. Similarly, Oregon did not expand their existing laws with lack of support for Measure 74. New Mexico elected a stated anti-marijuana advocate to to post of governor, and in California Proposition 19 did not pass, preventing the legalization of pot in the state.

States that do allow medical marijuana are listed below, and are shown in beige on the map.

As always it is important to remember that marijuana remains illegal federally, and if you use medical marijuana in your state, it is best to consult an attorney who is familiar with the most up to date legal standings. Below you can find the current states that allow medical use of cannabis and what the current law permits.

  • Alaska – Nov 3, 1998.

    Initiative 8 passed with 58% of the vote and took effect Mar 4, 1999.
    Allows 1 oz usable; 6 plants (3 mature, 3 immature)
    Approved for: Cachexia, cancer, chronic pain, epilepsy and other disorders characterized by seizures, glaucoma, HIV or AIDS, multiple sclerosis and other disorders characterized by muscle spasticity, and nausea.

  • Arizona – Nov 2, 2010.

    Proposition 203 passed, just barely, with 50.15% of the vote.
    Allows 2.5 oz usable; 0-12 plants
    Approved for: Cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, ALS, Crohn’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cachexia or wasting syndrome, severe and chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures, severe or persistent muscle spasms.

  • California – Nov 5, 1996.

    Proposition 215 was the first in the country to allow medical marijuana and took effect Nov 6, 1996. SB1449 was signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger in October and took effect Jan 1, 2011 decriminalizing possession of less than 1 ounce of marijuana. Proposition 19 failed to pass, and would have legalized marijuana for personal use.

    The current law allows: 8 oz usable; 18 plants (6 mature, 12 immature).
    Approved for: AIDS, anorexia, arthritis, cachexia, cancer, chronic pain, glaucoma, migraine, persistent muscle spasms, including spasms associated with multiple sclerosis, seizures, including seizures associated with epilepsy, severe nausea; Other chronic or persistent medical symptoms.

  • Colorado – Nov 7, 2000.

    Ballot Amendment 20 garnered 54% support, and took effect Jun 1, 2001.
    Allows 2 oz usable; 6 plants (3 mature, 3 immature).
    Approved for: Cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS positive, cachexia; severe pain; severe nausea; seizures, or persistent muscle spasms.

  • Hawaii – Jun 14, 2000.

    Senate Bill 862 passed the House 32-18, and more narrowly in the Senate 13-12. It took effect Dec 28, 2000.
    Allows 3 oz usable; 7 plants (3 mature, 4 immature).
    Approved for: Cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, conditions producing cachexia or wasting syndrome, severe pain, severe nausea, seizures, or severe and persistent muscle spasms (multiple sclerosis & Crohn’s disease.)

  • Maine – Nov 2, 1999.

    Ballot Question 2 legalized medical marijuana, taking effect Dec 22, 1999.
    Allows 2.5 oz usable; 6 plants.
    Approved for: cancer, glaucoma, HIV, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, Alzheimer’s, nail-patella syndrome, chronic intractable pain, cachexia or wasting syndrome, severe nausea, seizures (epilepsy), severe and persistent muscle spasms, and multiple sclerosis.

  • Maryland – 2003.

    While technically illegal, the Medical Marijuana Affirmative Defense Law has been in place since 2003. Medical marijuana is considered a mitigating factor in state trials, and the maximum penalty for medical use is a $100 fine.

  • Michigan – Nov 4, 2008.

    Proposal 1 passed with 63% of the vote and took effect Dec 1, 2008.
    Allows 2.5 oz usable; 12 plants.
    Approved for: “debilitating medical conditions” – cancer, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, nail patella, cachexia or wasting syndrome, severe and chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures, epilepsy, muscle spasms, and multiple sclerosis.

  • Montana – Nov 2, 2004.

    Initiative 148 legalized medical marijuana with 65% approval and took effect that day.
    Allows for 1 oz useable and 6 plants.
    Approved for: Cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, conditions which produce cachexia or wasting syndrome, severe or chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures, severe or persistent muscle spasms, (multiple sclerosis or Chrohn’s disease)

  • Nevada – Nov 7, 2000.

    Ballot Question 9/Assembly Bill 453 legalizing medical marijuana passed with 65% of the vote, and took effect Oct 1, 2001.
    Allows 1 oz usable; 7 plants (3 mature, 4 immature).
    Approved for: AIDS; cancer; glaucoma; and any medical condition or treatment to a medical condition that produces cachexia, persistent muscle spasms or seizures, severe nausea or pain

  • New Jersey – Jan 18, 2010.

    The New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act took effect Oct 1, 2010.
    Allows 2 oz usable.
    Approved for: Seizures, intractable skeletal muscular spasticity, glaucoma; severe or chronic pain, severe nausea or vomiting, cachexia, or wasting syndrome resulting from HIV/AIDS or cancer; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), multiple sclerosis, terminal cancer, muscular dystrophy, or inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease. Maybe prescribed for any condition which leaves the patient less than one year to live.

  • New Mexico – Apr 2, 2007.

    Senate Bill 523 took effect on Jul 1, 2007.
    Allows 6 oz usable; 16 plants (4 mature, 12 immature).
    Approved for: severe chronic pain, painful peripheral neuropathy, intractable nausea/vomiting, severe anorexia/cachexia, hepatitis C infection, Crohn’s disease, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), cancer, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with intractable spasticity, epilepsy, HIV/AIDS, and hospice patients.

  • Oregon – Nov 3, 1998.

    Measure 67 legalized medical marijuana and passed with 55% of the vote and took effect Dec 3, 1998. Measure 74 would have expanded the scope of the existing laws, but failed to pass.
    Current law allows: 24 oz usable; 24 plants (6 mature, 18 immature).
    Approved for: cancer, glaucoma, positive status for HIV/AIDS. Any medical condition or treatment for a medical condition that produces cachexia, severe pain, severe nausea, seizures (epilepsy), or persistent muscle spasms (multiple sclerosis)

  • Rhode Island – Jan 3, 2006.

    The Edward O. Hawkins and Thomas C. Slater Medical Marijuana Act passed the state House (52-10) and Senate (33-1) with a super majority, enough to override the governor’s veto. Another super majority vote (House 51-12, Senate 28-5) gave the amendment permanent status as state law Jul 21, 2007.
    Allows 2.5 oz usable; 12 plants.
    Approved for: cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, any ailment that produces cachexia or wasting syndrome, chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures (epilepsy), or severe and persistent muscle spasms

  • Vermont – May 26, 2004.

    Senate Bill 76 (passed 22-7) and House Bill 645 (passed 82-59) went into effect Jul 1, 2004.
    Allows 2 oz usable; 9 plants (2 mature, 7 immature).
    Approved for: Cancer, AIDS, HIV, multiple sclerosis, or a disease, medical condition, or its treatment that is chronic, debilitating and produces severe, persistent.

  • Washington – Nov 3, 1998.

    Measure 692 legalized medical marijuana passed with 59% of the vote and took effect immediately.

    Allows 24 oz usable; 15 plants.
    Approved for: Cachexia, cancer, HIV/AIDS, epilepsy, glaucoma, intractable pain, and multiple sclerosis.

  • Washington, DC – 1998.

    Medical marijuana was first passed in the federal district in 1998 with a record high vote of a approval coming in at 69%, however funding for the program was blocked by an act of Congress. A new measure was passed in May, 2010 and with the Democratically controlled Congress failing to intervene within 30 days, plans for 8 approved dispensaries are now in progress.
    Allows for 2 oz useable, other forms TBD.
    Approved for: HIV, AIDS, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, cancer, other chronic conditions, or medical conditions for which the use of medical marijuana is beneficial (chemotherapy)

[source Oakland North]

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33 Responses

  1. So New Jersey is the only one that passed medical marijuana legislation recently (early 2010 and becoming effective late 2010).

    Wonder when the federal government will recognize the medical value after a % of state turns to med. I mean, how long can you deny it?

    The Midwest and South are really bare…

  2. Is California still the only state where a doctor can actually prescribe it for something without the ailment being on a whitelist of fatal diseases?

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  3. Looove living in the bible belt….

  4. What is the deal in CT and Az? They are orange but not mentioned in the article.

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  5. nofix via Reddit on

    Sad to see Iowa still isn’t listed. Iowa used to be all about firsts. What a joke.

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  6. Live in WA, getting my card soon. =D

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  7. Um it’s Utah that will NEVER be on that list.

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  8. My mother lives in RI and is still not fully diagnosed on what her disease is but it’s either lupus or lyme disease. She is in constant debilitating pain and is prescribed an array of narcotics and other drugs including oxycontin which make her sick.

    On several occasion with multiple doctors they all told her just to “smoke pot” which she does but no doctor will prescribe her making it “legal”. Her understanding is no one is willing to put their neck out on the line even though it is legal. There is a lot more going on than just legality…

    The law supports it, doctors say to do it, but why the fuck can’t she get a script for it?

  9. So Im going to ask the question, isnt this (kind of) beside the point? Im glad that in these states people who are suffering can find some solace in the sweet green buxom of Mary Jane, and that people who arent really suffering can pretend they are and get high as well. But is medical marijuana actually a step towards legalization? Or is it another means of stalling actual legalization? I guess over all its a good thing, and like I said I am glad these states are enlightened enough to allow patients to use pot to ease their pain, but I feel skeptical sometimes that this is really helping or if its a way for politicians to step around the real issue (which is the suffering, pain, and social and financial toll of our draconian drug laws).

    • Well, since cannabis is **Schedule I** on the Controlled Substances Act, which claims **no known medical use**, medical cannabis is an important step toward full legalization and regulation. Once you get rid of the stigma that cannabis has no medical use (which is clearly wrong), that will hopefully lead to more widespread acceptance of cannabis itself. Even though Prop 19 failed in CA, I saw a lot more actual debate in the news and elsewhere, and eventually facts will overpower lies. I’m hesitant to say it, but I feel like, in the very least, a re-Scheduling of cannabis is a decade away…and then, just maybe, full on legalization.

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  10. Whats orange mean? Why is MA orange?

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  11. California’s details are not very clear on this page. SB420 limits are quoted as if they are standard for everyone, but that’s not the case.

    In the People v. Kelly, the limits imposed by SB420 were found to be unconstitutional when applied to a patient who did not opt-in to the state medical marijuana card program. Patients who choose to opt-in for a state medical marijuana card are permitting the restriction to be placed on them unless otherwise noted by a doctor on their MMJ card. Some people don’t like this configuration because it creates a two tier system.

    The limit in California for CUA (Compassionate Use Act) patients remains as it was in 1996 – whatever is reasonably necessary for their needs – and for SB420 MMJ cardholders it is 6/12 & 8.

    Doctors can recommend Marijuana for :
    > the treatment of cancer, anorexia, AIDS, chronic pain, spasticity, glaucoma, arthritis, migraine, **or any other illness for which marijuana provides relief.**

    It is misleading to say that your condition must be chronic.

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  12. Hopefully North Carolina will be on that list soon. We have a bill in the General Assembly for medical marijuana, but unfortunately it’s been stalled in committee since 4/21/09.

  13. Problem is, even if you live in a state with a medical clause, almost no doctors would ever dare prescribe it since they fear getting the reputation of a pot doc, or getting scrutinized by their peers or the board. Not to mention a lot of them are still brainwashed to think if it’s not from Pfizer it’s not an option.

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  14. Going after it the wrong way folks. Not medical not recreational…..this

    This is what they are afraid of!

  15. Live Florida look to relocate New Mexico, Oragone, michigan, Vermont & Maine look good too.

  16. Cris Carr via Facebook on

    looks like i gota move weat but MD in Beige looks good but a felony for an 8th wth

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  17. The south dont look very good when it comes to legalization. We need new people in office. LOL!! The way I see it, there is such a bad pill epidemic in the south. They could start prescribing cannibus for chronic pain in FL and possibly reduce their presciption drug problem on powerful pain killers.

  18. […] Malawi And Over-sexed South Africa News » States That Allow Medical Marijuana In 2011 January 10, 2011 by justin 163 shares 61 reddits 8 tweets 0 diggs 0 stumbles Photo: Abby […]

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  19. I don’t smoke it,but I can see the prophet the GOV. will receive.I see people able to pass drug tests,and a huge reduction on prescription drug costs.Although,I have never heard of an associated crime I can assure you that there would be a reduction of petty arrests.I just don’t see why alcohol, prescription drugs and tobacco which are known killers were legalized before Pot.We as a Nation must make better choices and stop hiding facts.I’m just saying,we have to do what only seems right.

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