10 States with Pending Legislation to Legalize Medical Marijuana (as of May 13, 2011)

As Posted by ProCon.org

I. States with Pending Legislation to Legalize Medical Marijuana
1. Alabama Summary History (last action date)
House Bill:
HB 386 (1.5 MB)
“This bill would authorize the medical use of marijuana only for certain qualifying patients who have been diagnosed by a physician as having a debilitating condition.” Allows for the creation of registered compassion centers. Introduced by Rep. Patricia Todd (D) and referred to the House Committee on Health (Mar. 31, 2011)
2. Connecticut Summary History (last action date)
House Bill:
HB 5139 (180 KB)
“An act authorizing the medical use of marijuana” as directed by a physician. Introduced by House Republican Caucus Leader Penny Bacchiochi and referred to Joint Committee on Judiciary (Jan. 10, 2011)
House Bill:
HB 5900 (185 KB)
Allows “state residents with certain debilitating medical conditions to possess and use marijuana for medical purposes in accordance with a physician’s prescription, and licenses [the creation of] alternative treatment centers where patients can obtain prescribed marijuana.” Introduced by Rep. Marie Lopez Kirkley-Bey (D) and referred to Joint Committee on Judiciary (Jan. 24, 2011)
House Bill:
HB 6566 (185 KB)
“A qualifying patient shall not be subject to arrest or prosecution… for the compassionate use of marijuana if: (1) The qualifying patient has been diagnosed by a physician as having a debilitating medical condition; (2)The qualifying patient’s physician has issued a written
certification…”
Introduced by the Judiciary Committee and referred to the Joint Committee on Judiciary on Mar. 9, 2011. Public hearing held (Mar. 14, 2011)
Senate Bill:
SB 329 (180 KB)
Bill would “permit the palliative use of marijuana for individuals with debilitating medical conditions.” Introduced by Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney (D) and referred to Joint Committee on Judiciary (Jan. 20, 2011)
Senate Bill:
SB 345 (180 KB)
Bill would “allow the prescriptive use of marijuana for the relief of pain and suffering related to serious medical conditions.” Introduced by Sen. Gary D. LeBeau (D) and referred to Joint Committee on Judiciary (Jan. 20, 2011)
Governor’s Bill:
SB 1015 (250 KB)
“A qualifying patient shall not be subject to arrest or prosecution… for the palliative use of marijuana if: (1) The qualifying patient has been diagnosed by a physician as having a debilitating medical condition; (2) The qualifying patient’s physician has issued a written certification…; (3) The combined amount of marijuana possessed by the qualifying patient and the primary caregiver for palliative use does not exceed four marijuana plants, each having a maximum height of four feet, and one ounce of usable marijuana…” Drafted by the office of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, introduced by Sen. Donald Williams (D), Sen. Martin Looney (D), Rep. Christopher Donovan (D), and Rep. Brendan Sharkey (D), and referred to the Joint Committee on Judiciary on Feb. 17, 2011; Public hearing held on Mar. 14, 2011; Referred to Office of Legislative Research and Office of Fiscal Analysis on Apr. 14, 2011; Referred by Senate to Committee on Public Health and received a favorable report (May 4, 2011)
4. Idaho Summary History (last action date)
House Bill:
HB 19 (100 KB)
“The purpose of [the Idaho Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act] is to protect from arrest, prosecution, property forfeiture, and criminal and other penalties, those patients who use marijuana to alleviate suffering from debilitating medical conditions, as well as their physicians, primary caregivers and those who are authorized to produce marijuana for medical purposes.” lntroduced by Rep. Tom Trail (R) on Jan. 19, 2011; Sent to Health and Welfare committee on Jan. 20, 2011; Informational hearing held (Mar. 30, 2011)
5. Illinois Summary History (last action date)
House Bill:
HB 0030 (100 KB)
“Creates the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act,” allowing state-registered patients diagnosed by a physician as having a debilitating medical condition to cultivate medical marijuana or to obtain it from state-regulated dispensaries.”

Amendment 1 repeals the program after three years and prohibits patients from driving for 12 hours after consuming marijuana.

Amendment 2 makes it illegal for dispensaries to make campaign contributions.

Amendment 3 sets a $5,000 non-refundable application fee and $20,000 certificate fee for dispensaries.

Amendment 4 “Excludes from the definition of ‘qualifying patient’ active public safety personnel.”

Pre-filed with clerk by Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang (D) on Dec. 28, 2010; First reading in the House and referral to Rules Committee on Jan. 12, 2011; Added chief co-sponsor Rep. Angelo Saviano (R) on Jan. 20, 2011; Added chief co-sponsor Rep. Ann Williams (D) on Jan. 21, 2011; Assigned to Human Services Committee on Feb. 8, 2011; House Committee Amendment No.1 filed, referred to Rules Committee, referred to Human Services Committee on Mar. 8, 2011; Adopted by voice vote in Human Services (6-5) and placed on calendar for 2nd reading on Mar. 9, 2011; Amendment 2 filed Apr. 12, 2011; Amendment 3 filed Apr. 22, 2011; Amendment 4 filed May 3, 2011; Third reading held May 4, 2011; Added chief co-sponsors Rep. Kenneth Dunkin (D) and Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D) on May 5, 2011; Consideration postponed and final action deadline extended to May 20, 2011 (May 5, 2011)
6. Massachusetts Summary History (last action date)
House Bill:
HB 625 (100 KB)
“The Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Act. It is the purpose of this act to protect patients with debilitating medical conditions, as well as their practitioners and designated caregivers, from arrest and prosecution, criminal and other penalties, and property forfeiture if such patients engage in the medical use of marijuana.” Introduced by Rep. Frank I. Smizik (D) on Jan. 14, 2011; Referred to Joint Committee on Public Health and hearing scheduled for June 28, 2011 (Jan. 24, 2011)
Senate Bill:
SB 1161 (275 KB)
“‘The Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Act.’ It is the purpose of this act to protect patients with debilitating medical conditions, as well as their practitioners and designated caregivers, from arrest and prosecution, criminal and other penalties, and property forfeiture if such patients engage in the medical use of marijuana.” Introduced by Sen. Stanley Rosenberg (D) on Jan. 20, 2011; Referred to the Joint Committee on Public Health (Jan. 24, 2011)
7. New Hampshire Summary History (last action date)
House Bill:
HB 442 (115 KB)
“The purpose of this act is to protect patients with debilitating medical conditions, as well as their physicians and designated caregivers, from arrest and prosecution, criminal and other penalties, and property forfeiture if such patients engage in the medical use of marijuana.” lntroduced by Rep. Evalyn Merrick (D) and referred to the Health, Human Services, and Elderly Affairs Committee on Jan. 6, 2011; Hearing held and bill received a vote of “ought to pass” (14-3) from the committee on Mar. 1, 2011; Passed by House with a vote of 221-96 (Mar. 16, 2011)

Introduced to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on Mar. 23, 2011; Hearing held with majority report “ought to pass amended” on Apr. 14, 2011; “Laid on table” to delay vote, and would require a 2/3 vote to be brought back for consideration (May 11, 2011)
8. New York Summary History (last action date)
Senate Bill:
S2774 (150 KB)
“Legalizes the possession, manufacture, use, delivery, transfer, transport or administration of marihuana by a certified patient or designated caregiver for a certified medical use;… directs the department of health to monitor such use and promulgate rules and regulations for registry identification cards.” Sets possession limit of 2.5 ounces. Introduced by Senate Health Committee Chair Tom Duane (D) and referred to Health Committee (Feb. 1, 2011)
9. North Carolina Summary History (last action date)
House Bill:
HB 577 (200 KB)
“A qualified patient shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner… for the possession or purchase of cannabis for medical use by the qualified patient if the quantity of usable cannabis possessed or purchased does not exceed an adequate supply…” Prohibits a school, employer, or landlord for penalizing qualified patients for “the presence of cannabis metabolites in the individual’s bodily fluids.” Establishes a registry identification card program and a medical cannabis supply system Introduced by Rep. Kelly Alexander (D), Rep. Patsy Keever (D), and Rep. Pricey Harrison (D) on Mar. 21, 2011; Passed 1st reading in the House and referred to the Committee on Rules, Calendar, and Operations of the House (Apr. 4, 2011)
10. Ohio Summary History (last action date)
House Bill:
HB 214 (250 KB)
“There is a presumption that a registered qualifying patient or visiting qualifying patient is engaged in the medical use of cannabis if the patient is in possession of a valid registry identification card or valid visiting qualifying patient identification card.” Introduced by Rep. Kenny Yuko (D) and Rep. Robert Hagan (D) and assigned to the Health & Aging committee (Apr. 26, 2011)
11. Pennsylvania Summary History (last action date)
House Bill:
SB 1003 (75 KB)
The Governor Raymond Shafer Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act provides “for the medical use of marijuana; and repealing provisions of law that prohibit and penalize marijuana use.” Introduced by Sen. Daylin Leach (D) and referred to the Public Health and Welfare committee (Apr. 25, 2011)

 

II. States with Pending Legislation Favorable to Medical Marijuana But Not Legalizing Its Use
1. Florida Summary History (last action date)
House Joint Resolution:
HJR 1407 (100 KB)
A joint resolution that would put a medical marijuana state constitutional amendment on the ballot in 2012. Filed by Rep. Jeff Clemens (D) and first reading held Mar. 8, 2011; Referred to Criminal Justice Subcommittee, Health & Human Services Committee, Judiciary Committee and Criminal Justice Subcommittee (Mar. 14, 2011)
2. Texas Summary History (last action date)
House Bill:
HB 1491 (50 KB)
Provides an affirmative defense for people being prosecuted for possession of marijuana, if they have a recommendation from a physician to use it “for the amelioration of the symptoms or effects of a bona fide medical condition.” Introduced by Rep. Elliott Naishtat (D) on Feb. 17, 2011; Read and referred to Public Health Committee (Mar. 2, 2011)

 

III. Passed 2011 Legislation Regarding Medical Marijuana
1. Delaware Summary History
Senate Bill:
SB 17 (100 KB)

[Read more about Delaware on our 16 Medical Marijuana States and DC page.]

“The purpose of this act is to protect patients with debilitating medical conditions, as well as their physicians and providers, from arrest and prosecution, criminal and other penalties, and property forfeiture if such patients engage in the medical use of marijuana.”

Allows people 18 and older with certain debilitating conditions to possess up to six ounces of marijuana with a doctor’s written recommendation.

Amendments prohibit smoking in privately owned vehicles and require marijuana to be dispensed in sealed, tamperproof containers.

lntroduced by Senate Majority Whip Margaret Rose Henry (D) and assigned to Health & Social Services Committee on Jan. 25, 2011; hearing held and reported out of Committee on Mar. 23, 2011; Passed by Senate with a vote of 18-3 (Mar. 31, 2011)

Introduced and Assigned to Health & Human Development Committee in the House on Apr. 5, 2011; Amendments added and bill passed by House with a vote of 27-14 (May 5, 2011)

Returned to the Senate for a vote on the House amendments and passed the Senate with a vote of 17-4 (May 11, 2011)

The bill was signed into law by Governor Jack Markell (D) on May 13, 2011 and will become effective July 1, 2011.

2. Maryland Summary History
Senate Bill:
SB 308 (500 KB)

[This legislation does not legalize medical marijuana in Maryland although it is considered favorable to it.]

“Synopsis: Making marijuana a Schedule II controlled dangerous substance; requiring the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to issue a specified request for proposals to select authorized growers of marijuana for medical use; providing for specified requirements of authorized growers…” Introduced by Sen. David Brinkley (R) and Sen. Jamie Raskin (D) with 20 co-sponsors; first reading held in Judicial Proceedings Committee on Feb. 2, 2011; Hearing held on Mar. 3, 2011; Favorable with amendments report by Judicial Proceedings Committee on Mar. 21, 2011; Passed by Senate with a vote of 41-6 on Mar. 24, 2011; Senate concurred with House amendments and passed with a vote of 38-6 (Apr. 7, 2011)

First reading in the House Health and Government Operations and Judiciary Committees on Mar. 22, 2011; Hearings held in both committees on Apr. 1, 2011; Passed by House with a vote of 83-50 (Apr. 6, 2011)

Signed into law by Governor Martin O’Malley on May 10, 2011.

 

 

IV. Failed 2011 Legislation
1. Iowa Summary History (date failed)
Senate Bill:
SF 266 (100 KB)
“An Act relating to the creation of a medical marijuana Act including the creation of nonprofit dispensaries… A qualifying patient who has been issued and possesses a registry identification card shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner.” Introduced and referred to the Human Resources committee on Feb. 21, 2011; Referred to Human Resources Subcommittee under Senators Bolkcom, Hatch, and Seymour on Feb. 22, 2011. Bill failed because it did not advance out of committee by Mar. 18, 2011 deadline, but it will carry over to the 2012 legislative session (Mar. 18, 2011)
2. Kansas Summary History (date failed)
House Bill:
HB 2330 (150 KB)
“An Act enacting the cannabis compassion and care act; providing for the legal use of cannabis for certain debilitating medical conditions; providing for the registration and functions of compassion centers; authorizing the issuance of identification cards.” Introduced Feb. 11, 2011; Referred to the Committee on Health and Human Services on Feb. 14, 2011. Bill failed because it did not advance out of committee by Feb. 25, 2011 deadline, but it will carry over to the 2012 legislative session (Feb. 25, 2011)
3. Mississippi Summary History (date failed)
Senate Bill:
SB 2672 (165 KB)
“An act to authorize the medical use of marihuana by seriously ill patients under a physician’s supervision… [and] to transfer marihuana from Schedule I to Schedule II under the Controlled Substances Law… The purpose of this act is to ensure that physicians are not penalized for discussing marihuana as a treatment option with their patients, and that seriously ill people who engage in the medical use of marihuana upon their physicians’ advice are not arrested and incarcerated…” lntroduced by Sen. Deborah Dawkins (D) and referred to Drug Policy committee on Jan. 17, 2011; Died in committee (Feb. 1, 2011)
4. Oklahoma Summary History (date failed)
Senate Bill:
SB 573 (20 KB)
The Compassionate Use Act of 2011 removes Oklahoma’s criminal penalties for a patient who “possesses or cultivates marijuana for the personal medical purposes of the patient upon the written or oral recommendation or approval of a physician.” Introduced by Sen. Constance Johnson (D); First reading held Feb. 7, 2011; Second Reading and referral to Health and Human Services committee on Feb. 8, 2011. Bill failed because it did not advance out of committee by Mar. 17, 2011 deadline, but it will carry over to the 2012 legislative session (Mar. 17, 2011)
5. West Virginia Summary History (date failed)
House Bill:
HB 3251 (100 KB)
“A qualifying patient shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege… for the medical use of marijuana, provided that the patient possesses a registry identification card and no more than six marijuana plants and one ounce of usable marijuana.”

Also allows for affirmative defense, immunity for registered primary caregivers, protection for physicians, and the creation of compassion centers.

Introduced by Rep. Mike Manypenny (D) and referred to House Judiciary committee on Feb. 21, 2011. Bill failed because it did not advance out of committee before the legislature adjourned on Mar. 18, 2011, but it will carry over to the 2012 le

16 Legal Medical Marijuana States and DC Laws, Fees, and Possession Limits

As Posted on ProCon.org

I. Summary Chart: 16 states and DC that have enacted laws to legalize medical marijuana
State Year Passed How Passed
(Yes Vote)
Fee Possession Limit Accepts other states’ registry ID cards?
1. Alaska
1998

Ballot Measure 8 (58%)
$25/$20

1 oz usable; 6 plants (3 mature, 3 immature)

unknown1
2010 Proposition 203 (50.13%) $150/$75 2.5 oz usable; 0-12 plants2 Yes3
3. California
1996

Proposition 215 (56%)
$66/$33

8 oz usable; 18 plants (6 mature, 12 immature)4 No
4. Colorado
2000

Ballot Amendment 20 (54%)
$90

2 oz usable; 6 plants (3 mature, 3 immature)

No
5. DC 2010 Amendment Act B18-622 (13-0 vote) * 2 oz dried; limits on other forms to be determined unknown
6. Delaware 2011 Senate Bill 17 (27-14 House, 17-4 Senate) ** 6 oz usable Yes5
7. Hawaii
2000

Senate Bill 862 (32-18 House; 13-12 Senate)
$25

3 oz usable; 7 plants (3 mature, 4 immature)

No
8. Maine
1999

Ballot Question 2 (61%) $100/$75
2.5 oz usable; 6 plants

Yes6
9. Michigan 2008 Proposal 1 (63%) $100/$25 2.5 oz usable; 12 plants Yes
10. Montana
2004

Initiative 148 (62%)
$25/$10

1 oz usable; 6 plants

Yes
11. Nevada
2000

Ballot Question 9 (65%)
$150+

1 oz usable; 7 plants (3 mature, 4 immature)

No
12. New Jersey
2010

Senate Bill 119 (48-14 House; 25-13 Senate) $200/$20
2 oz usable

unknown
13. New Mexico 2007 Senate Bill 523 (36-31 House; 32-3 Senate) $0
6 oz usable; 16 plants (4 mature, 12 immature)
No
14. Oregon
1998

Ballot Measure 67 (55%)
$100/$20

24 oz usable; 24 plants (6 mature, 18 immature)

No
15. Rhode Island
2006

Senate Bill 0710 (52-10 House; 33-1 Senate)
$75/$10

2.5 oz usable; 12 plants

Yes
16. Vermont
2004

Senate Bill 76 (22-7) HB 645 (82-59)
$50

2 oz usable; 9 plants (2 mature, 7 immature)

No
17. Washington
1998

Initiative 692 (59%)

24 oz usable; 15 plants

No
Notes:
  1. Residency Requirement – 13 of the 16 states require proof of residency to be considered a qualifying patient for medical marijuana use. Only Oregon and Montana have announced that they will accept out-of-state applications. It is unknown if Delaware will accept applications from non-state residents once the program is established.

  2. Home CultivationKaren O’Keefe, JD, Director of State Policies for Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), told ProCon.org in a May 13, 2011 email that “Patients and/or their caregivers can cultivate in 14 of the 16 states. Home cultivation is not allowed in Delaware, New Jersey, or the District of Columbia and a special license is required in New Mexico. In Arizona, patients can only cultivate if they lived 25 miles or more from a dispensary when they applied for their card.”

  3. Patient Registration – Karen O’Keefe stated the following in a May 13, 2011 email to ProCon.org:

    Affirmative defenses, which protect from conviction but not arrest, are or may be available in several states even if the patient doesn’t have an ID card: Rhode Island, Montana, Michigan, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, and, in some circumstances, Delaware. Hawaii also has a separate ‘choice of evils’ defense. In California, ID cards are voluntary, but they offer the strongest legal protection. In Delaware, the defense will only be available until the state has an ID card program up and running and between when a patient submits a valid application and receives their ID card. In addition, Montana’s affirmative defense was repealed by the legislature effective July 1, 2011, but a referendum campaign has been launched to reverse the law and put it on hold.

    The states with no protection unless you’re registered are: Alaska (except for that even non-medical use is protected in one’s home due to the state constitutional right to privacy), Arizona, Maine, Vermont, New Mexico, and New Jersey. Washington, D.C. also requires registration.

  1. Maryland – Maryland passed two laws that, although favorable to medical marijuana, do not legalize its use. Senate Bill 502 (72 KB), the “Darrell Putman Bill” (Resolution #0756-2003) was approved in the state senate by a vote of 29-17, signed into law by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. on May 22, 2003, and took effect on Oct. 1, 2003. The law allows defendants being prosecuted for the use or possession of marijuana to introduce evidence of medical necessity and physician approval, to be considered by the court as a mitigating factor. If the court finds that the case involves medical necessity, the maximum penalty is a fine not exceeding $100. The law does not protect users of medical marijuana from arrest nor does it establish a registry program.

    On May 10, 2011, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley signed SB 308 (500 KB), into law. SB 308 removed criminal penalties for medical marijuana patients who meet the specified conditions, but patients are still subject to arrest. The bill provides an affirmative defense for defendants who have been diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition that is “severe and resistant to conventional medicine.” The affirmative defense does not apply to defendants who used medical marijuana in public or who were in possession of more than one ounce of marijuana. The bill also created a Work Group to “develop a model program to facilitate patient access to marijuana for medical purposes.”

II. Details by State: 16 states and DC that have enacted laws to legalize medical marijuana
State

Program Details

Contact and Other Info

1. Alaska Ballot Measure 8 (100 KB) — Approved Nov. 3, 1998 by 58% of voters
Effective: Mar. 4, 1999

Removed state-level criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by patients who possess written documentation from their physician advising that they “might benefit from the medical use of marijuana.”

Approved Conditions: 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. Other conditions are subject to approval by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.

Possession/Cultivation: Patients (or their primary caregivers) may legally possess no more than one ounce of usable marijuana, and may cultivate no more than six marijuana plants, of which no more than three may be mature. The law establishes a confidential state-run patient registry that issues identification cards to qualifying patients.

Amended: Senate Bill 94
Effective: June 2, 1999

Mandates all patients seeking legal protection under this act to enroll in the state patient registry and possess a valid identification card. Patients not enrolled in the registry will no longer be able to argue the “affirmative defense of medical necessity” if they are arrested on marijuana charges.

Update: Alaska Statute Title 17 Chapter 37 (36 KB)

Creates a confidential statewide registry of medical marijuana patients and caregivers and establishes identification card.

Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics
Marijuana Registry
P.O. Box 110699
Juneau, AK 99811-0699
Phone: 907-465-5423

BVSSpecialServices@health.state.ak.us

AK Marijuana Registry Online

Information provided by the state on sources for medical marijuana:
None found

Patient Registry Fee:
$25 new application/$20 renewal

Accepts other states’ registry ID cards?
1: Unknown [Editor’s Note: Four phone calls made Jan. 5-8, 2010 and an email sent on Jan. 6, 2010 by ProCon.org to the Alaska Marijuana Registry have not yet been returned and the information is not available on the state’s website (as of Jan. 11, 2010).]

Registration:
Mandatory

2. Arizona Ballot Proposition 203 (300 KB) “Arizona Medical Marijuana Act” — Approved Nov. 2, 2010 by 50.13% of voters

Allows registered qualifying patients (who must have a physician’s written certification that they have been diagnosed with a debilitating condition and that they would likely receive benefit from marijuana) to obtain marijuana from a registered nonprofit dispensary, and to possess and use medical marijuana to treat the condition.

Requires the Arizona Department of Health Services to establish a registration and renewal application system for patients and nonprofit dispensaries. Requires a web-based verification system for law enforcement and dispensaries to verify registry identification cards. Allows certification of a number of dispensaries not to exceed 10% of the number of pharmacies in the state (which would cap the number of dispensaries around 124).

Specifies that a registered patient’s use of medical marijuana is to be considered equivalent to the use of any other medication under the direction of a physician and does not disqualify a patient from medical care, including organ transplants.

Specifies that employers may not discriminate against registered patients unless that employer would lose money or licensing under federal law. Employers also may not penalize registered patients solely for testing positive for marijuana in drug tests, although the law does not authorize patients to use, possess, or be impaired by marijuana on the employment premises or during the hours of employment.

Approved Conditions: Cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, ALS, Crohn’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cachexia or wasting syndrome, severe and chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures (including epilepsy), severe or persistent muscle spasms (including multiple sclerosis).

Possession/Cultivation: Qualified patients or their registered designated caregivers may obtain up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana in a 14-day period from a registered nonprofit medical marijuana dispensary. 2: If the patient lives more than 25 miles from the nearest dispensary, the patient or caregiver may cultivate up to 12 marijuana plants in an enclosed, locked facility.

Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS)
Medical Marijuana Program
150 North 18th Avenue
Phoenix, Arizona 85007
Phone: 602-542-1023

Prop 203 Information Hub

Information provided by the state on sources for medical marijuana:
“Qualifying patients can obtain medical marijuana from a dispensary, the qualifying patient’s designated caregiver, another qualifying patient, or, if authorized to cultivate, from home cultivation. When a qualifying patient obtains or renews a registry identification card, the Department will provide a list of all operating dispensaries to the qualifying patient.”
ADHS, “Qualifying Patients FAQs, (150 KB) Mar. 25, 2010

Patient Registry Fee:
$150 / $75 for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program participants

Accepts other states’ registry ID cards?
3: Yes, but does not permit visiting patients to obtain marijuana from an Arizona dispensary

Registration:
Mandatory

3. California Ballot Proposition 215 (45 KB) — Approved Nov. 5, 1996 by 56% of voters
Effective: Nov. 6, 1996

Removes state-level criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by patients who possess a “written or oral recommendation” from their physician that he or she “would benefit from medical marijuana.” Patients diagnosed with any debilitating illness where the medical use of marijuana has been “deemed appropriate and has been recommended by a physician” are afforded legal protection under this act.

Approved Conditions: 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.

Amended: Senate Bill 420 (70 KB)
Effective: Jan. 1, 2004

Imposes statewide guidelines outlining how much medicinal marijuana patients may grow and possess.

Possession/Cultivation: Qualified patients and their primary caregivers may possess no more than eight ounces of dried marijuana and/or six mature (or 12 immature) marijuana plants. However, S.B. 420 allows patients to possess larger amounts of marijuana when recommended by a physician. The legislation also allows counties and municipalities to approve and/or maintain local ordinances permitting patients to possess larger quantities of medicinal pot than allowed under the new state guidelines.

S.B. 420 also grants implied legal protection to the state’s medicinal marijuana dispensaries, stating, “Qualified patients, persons with valid identification cards, and the designated primary caregivers of qualified patients … who associate within the state of California in order collectively or cooperatively to cultivate marijuana for medical purposes, shall not solely on the basis of that fact be subject to state criminal sanctions.”

4: [Editor’s Note: On Jan. 21, 2010, the California Supreme Court affirmed (S164830 (300 KB)) the May 22, 2008 Second District Court of Appeals ruling (50 KB) in the Kelly Case that the possession limits set by SB 420 violate the California constitution because the voter-approved Prop. 215 can only be amended by the voters.

ProCon.org contacted the California Medical Marijuana Program (MMP) on Dec. 6, 2010 to ask 1) how the ruling affected the implementation of the program, and 2) what instructions are given to patients regarding possession limits. A California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Office of Public Affairs representative wrote the following in a Dec. 7, 2010 email to ProCon.org: “The role of MMP under Senate Bill 420 is to implement the State Medical Marijuana ID Card Program in all California counties. CDPH does not oversee the amounts that a patient may possess or grow. When asked what a patient can possess, patients are referred to www.courtinfo.ca.gov, case S164830 which is the Kelly case, changing the amounts a patient can possess from 8 oz, 6 mature plants or 12 immature plants to ‘the amount needed for a patient’s personal use.’ MMP can only cite what the law says.”

According to a Jan. 21, 2010 article titled “California Supreme Court Further Clarifies Medical Marijuana Laws,” by Aaron Smith, California Policy Director at the Marijuana Policy Project, the impact of the ruling is that people growing more than 6 mature or 12 immature plants are still subject to arrest and prosecution, but they will be allowed to use a medical necessity defense in court.]

Attorney General’s Guidelines:
On Aug. 25, 2008, California Attorney General Jerry Brown issued guidelines for law enforcement and medical marijuana patients to clarify the state’s laws. Read more about the guidelines here.

California Department of Public Health
Office of County Health Services
Attention: Medical Marijuana Program Unit
MS 5203
P.O. Box 997377
Sacramento, CA 95899-7377
Phone: 916-552-8600
Fax: 916-440-5591

mmpinfo@dhs.ca.gov

CA Medical Marijuana Program

Guidelines for the Security and Non-diversion of Marijuana Grown for Medical Use (55 KB)

Information provided by the state on sources for medical marijuana:
“Dispensaries, growing collectives, etc., are licensed through local city or county business ordinances and the regulatory authority lies with the State Attorney General’s Office. Their number is 1-800-952-5225 .” (accessed Jan. 11, 2010)

Patient Registry Fee:
$66 non Medi-Cal / $33 Medi-Cal, plus additional county fees (varies by location)

Accepts other states’ registry ID cards?
No

Registration:
Voluntary

4. Colorado Ballot Amendment 20 — Approved Nov. 7, 2000 by 54% of voters
Effective: June 1, 2001

Removes state-level criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by patients who possess written documentation from their physician affirming that he or she suffers from a debilitating condition and advising that they “might benefit from the medical use of marijuana.” (Patients must possess this documentation prior to an arrest.)

Approved Conditions: Cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS positive, cachexia; severe pain; severe nausea; seizures, including those that are characteristic of epilepsy; or persistent muscle spasms, including those that are characteristic of multiple sclerosis. Other conditions are subject to approval by the Colorado Board of Health.

Possession/Cultivation: A patient or a primary caregiver who has been issued a Medical Marijuana Registry identification card may possess no more than two ounces of a usable form of marijuana and not more than six marijuana plants, with three or fewer being mature, flowering plants that are producing a usable form of marijuana.

Patients who do not join the registry or possess greater amounts of marijuana than allowed by law may argue the “affirmative defense of medical necessity” if they are arrested on marijuana charges.

Amended: House Bill 1284 (236 KB) and Senate Bill 109 (50 KB)
Effective: June 7, 2010

Colorado Governor Bill Ritter signed the bills into law and stated the following in a June 7, 2010 press release:

“House Bill 1284 provides a regulatory framework for dispensaries, including giving local communities the ability to ban or place sensible and much-needed controls on the operation, location and ownership of these establishments.

Senate Bill 109 will help prevent fraud and abuse, ensuring that physicians who authorize medical marijuana for their patients actually perform a physical exam, do not have a DEA flag on their medical license and do not have a financial relationship with a dispensary.”

Medical Marijuana Registry
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
HSVR-ADM2-A1
4300 Cherry Creek Drive South
Denver, CO 80246-1530
Phone: 303-692-2184

medical.marijuana@state.co.us

CO Medical Marijuana Registry

Information provided by the state on sources for medical marijuana:
“The Colorado Medical Marijuana amendment, statutes and regulations are silent on the issue of dispensaries. While the Registry is aware that a number of such businesses have been established across the state, we do not have a formal relationship with them.” (accessed Jan. 11, 2010)

Patient Registry Fee:
$90

Accepts other states’ registry ID cards?
No

Registration:
Voluntary

5. District of Columbia (DC) Amendment Act B18-622 (80KB) “Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Treatment Amendment Act of 2010” — Approved 13-0 by the Council of the District of Columbia on May 4, 2010; signed by the Mayor on May 21, 2010|

Effective: July 27, 2010 [After being signed by the Mayor, the law underwent a 30-day Congessional review period. Neither the Senate nor the House acted to stop the law, so it became effective when the review period ended.]

Approved Conditions: HIV, AIDS, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, cancer, other conditions that are chronic, long-lasting, debilitating, or that interfere with the basic functions of life, serious medical conditions for which the use of medical marijuana is beneficial, patients undergoing treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Possession/Cultivation: The maximum amount of medical marijuana that any qualifying patient or caregiver may possess at any moment is two ounces of dried medical marijuana. The Mayor may increase the quantity of dried medical marijuana that may be possessed up to four ounces; and shall decide limits on medical marijuana of a form other than dried.

Medical Marijuana Program

The law establishes a medical marijuana program to “regulate the manufacture, cultivation, distribution, dispensing, purchase, delivery, sale, possession, and administration of medical marijuana and the manufacture, possession, purchase, sale, and use of paraphernalia. The Program shall be administered by the Mayor.”

Patient Registry Fee:
*
[Editor’s Note: Although the law took effect on July 27, 2010, the Mayor and the Department of Health have yet to determine how the medical marijuana program will be run. A DC Department of Health spokesperson told ProCon.org by phone on Jan. 19, 2011 that no announcement has been made regarding when the program will begin.]

Accepts other states’ registry ID cards?
Unknown

Registration:
Program not yet established (as of Jan. 19, 2011)

6. Delaware Senate Bill 17 (100 KB) — Signed into law by Gov. Jack Markell (D) on May 13, 2011
Approved: By House 27-14, by Senate 17-4
Effective: July 1, 2011

Under this law, a patient is only protected from arrest if his or her physician certifies, in writing, that the patient has a specified debilitating medical condition and that the patient would receive therapeutic benefit from medical marijuana. The patient must send a copy of the written certification to the state Department of Health and Social Services, and the Department will issue an ID card after verifying the information. As long as the patient is in compliance with the law, there will be no arrest.

The law does not allow patients or caregivers to grow marijuana at home, but it does allow for the state-regulated, non-profit distribution of medical marijuana by compassion centers.

Approved Conditions: Approved for treatment of debilitating medical conditions, defined as cancer, HIV/AIDS, decompensated cirrhosis, ALS, Alzheimer’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder; or a medical condition that produces wasting syndrome, severe debilitating pain that has not responded to other treatments for more than three months or for which other treatments produced serious side effects, severe nausea, seizures, or severe and persistent muscle spasms.

Possession/Cultivation: Patients 18 and older with certain debilitating conditions may possess up to six ounces of marijuana with a doctor’s written recommendation. A registered compassion center may not dispense more than 3 ounces of marijuana to a registered qualifying patient in any fourteen-day period, and a patient may register with only one compassion center.

The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services is responsible for authorizing three not-for-profit compassionate care centers and establishing a registry program for patients.

Patient Registry Fee:
**Program not yet established (as of May 13, 2011)

Accepts other states’ registry ID cards?
5: Yes (a visiting qualifying patient is not subject to arrest)

Registration:
Mandatory

7. Hawaii Senate Bill 862 (40 KB) — Signed into law by Gov. Ben Cayetano on June 14, 2000
Approved: By House 32-18, by Senate 13-12
Effective: Dec. 28, 2000

Removes state-level criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by patients who possess a signed statement from their physician affirming that he or she suffers from a debilitating condition and that the “potential benefits of medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the health risks.” The law establishes a mandatory, confidential state-run patient registry that issues identification cards to qualifying patients.

Approved conditions: Cancer, glaucoma, positive status for HIV/AIDS; A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces cachexia or wasting syndrome, severe pain, severe nausea, seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy, or severe and persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis or Crohn’s disease. Other conditions are subject to approval by the Hawaii Department of Health.

Possession/Cultivation: The amount of marijuana that may be possessed jointly between the qualifying patient and the primary caregiver is an “adequate supply,” which shall not exceed three mature marijuana plants, four immature marijuana plants, and one ounce of usable marijuana per each mature plant.

Not Amended

Narcotics Enforcement Division
3375 Koapaka Street, Suite D-100
Honolulu, HI 96819
Phone: 808-837-8470
Fax: 808-837-8474

HI Medical Marijuana Application info

Information provided by the state on sources for medical marijuana:
“Hawaii law does not authorize any person or entity to sell or dispense marijuana… Hawaii law authorizes the medical use of marijuana, it does not authorize the distribution of marijuana (Dispensaries) other than the transfer from a qualifying patient’s primary caregiver to the qualifying patient.” (accessed Jan. 11, 2010)

Patient Registry Fee:
$25

Accepts other states’ registry ID cards?
No

Registration:
Mandatory

8. Maine Ballot Question 2 — Approved Nov. 2, 1999 by 61% of voters
Effective: Dec. 22, 1999

Removes state-level criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by patients who possess an oral or written “professional opinion” from their physician that he or she “might benefit from the medical use of marijuana.” The law does not establish a state-run patient registry.

Approved diagnosis: epilepsy and other disorders characterized by seizures; glaucoma; multiple sclerosis and other disorders characterized by muscle spasticity; and nausea or vomiting as a result of AIDS or cancer chemotherapy.

Possession/Cultivation: Patients (or their primary caregivers) may legally possess no more than one and one-quarter (1.25) ounces of usable marijuana, and may cultivate no more than six marijuana plants, of which no more than three may be mature. Those patients who possess greater amounts of marijuana than allowed by law are afforded a “simple defense” to a charge of marijuana possession.

Amended: Senate Bill 611
Effective: Signed into law on Apr. 2, 2002

Increases the amount of useable marijuana a person may possess from one and one-quarter (1.25) ounces to two and one-half (2.5) ounces.

Amended: Question 5 (135 KB) — Approved Nov. 3, 2009 by 59% of voters

List of approved conditions changed to include 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.

Instructs the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to establish a registry identification program for patients and caregivers. Stipulates provisions for the operation of nonprofit dispensaries.

[Editor’s Note: An Aug. 19, 2010 email to ProCon.org from Catherine M. Cobb, Director of Maine’s Division of Licensing and Regulatory Services, stated:

“We have just set up our interface to do background checks on caregivers and those who are associated with dispensaries. They may not have a disqualifying drug offense.”]

Department of Health and Human Services
Division of Licensing and Regulatory Services
Catherine M. Cobb, Director
11 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333
207-287-9300

Maine Medical Marijuana Program

catherine.cobb@maine.gov

Information provided by the state on sources for medical marijuana:
ID cards being issued to patients who grow their own medical marijauna. State licensing program (as of Jan. 11, 2009)

Patient Registry Fee:
$100 / $75 with Medicaid Card
Caregivers pay $300/patient (limit of 5 patients; if not growing marijuana, there is no fee)

Accepts other states’ registry ID cards?
Yes
6: “Law enforcement will accept appropriate authorization from a participating state, but that patient cannot purchase marijuana in Maine without registering here. That requires a Maine physician and a Maine driver license or other picture ID issued by the state of Maine. The letter from a physician in another state is only good for 30 days.” (Aug. 19, 2010 email from Maine’s Division of Licensing and Regulatory Services)

Registration:
Voluntary until Dec. 31, 2010
“Patients using marijuana under the old informal system will have their ‘affirmative defense’ expire on that date. Thereafter, they will need a patient card issued in Maine.” (Aug. 19, 2010 email from Maine’s Division of Licensing and Regulatory Services)

9. Michigan Proposal 1 (60 KB) “Michigan Medical Marihuana Act” — Approved by 63% of voters on Nov. 4, 2008
Approved: Nov. 4, 2008
Effective: Dec. 4, 2008

Approved Conditions: Approved for treatment of debilitating medical conditions, defined as cancer, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, agitation of Alzheimer’s disease, nail patella, cachexia or wasting syndrome, severe and chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures, epilepsy, muscle spasms, and multiple sclerosis.

Possession/Cultivation: Patients may possess up to two and one-half (2.5) ounces of usable marijuana and twelve marijuana plants kept in an enclosed, locked facility. The twelve plants may be kept by the patient only if he or she has not specified a primary caregiver to cultivate the marijuana for him or her.

 

 

Michigan Medical Marihuana Program (MMMP)
Bureau of Health Professions, Department of Community Health
611 W. Ottawa St.
Lansing, MI 48933
Phone: 517-373-0395

bhpinfo@michigan.gov

MI Medical Marihuana Program

Information provided by the state on sources for medical marijuana:
“The MMMP is not a resource for the growing process and does not have information to give to patients.” (accessed Jan. 11, 2010)

Patient Registry Fee:
$100 new or renewal application / $25 Medicaid
patients

Accepts other states’ registry ID cards?
Yes

Registration:
Mandatory

10. Montana Initiative 148 (76 KB) — Approved by 62% of voters on Nov. 2, 2004
Effective: Nov. 2, 2004

Approved Conditions: Cancer, glaucoma, or positive status for HIV/AIDS, or the treatment of these conditions; a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces cachexia or wasting syndrome, severe or chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures, including seizures caused by epilepsy, or severe or persistent muscle spasms, including spasms caused by multiple sclerosis or Chrohn’s disease; or any other medical condition or treatment for a medical condition adopted by the department by rule.

Possession/Cultivation: A qualifying patient and a qualifying patient’s caregiver may each possess six marijuana plants and one ounce of usable marijuana. “Usable marijuana” means the dried leaves and flowers of marijuana and any mixture or preparation of marijuana.

Not Amended

Medical Marijuana Program
Montana Department of Health and Human Services
Licensure Bureau
2401 Colonial Drive, 2nd Floor
P.O. Box 202953
Helena, MT 59620-2953
Phone: 406-444-2676

jbuska@mt.gov

MT Medical Marijuana Program

Information provided by the state on sources for medical marijuana:
“The Medical Marijuana Act… allows a patient or caregiver to grow up to six plants or possess up to one ounce of usable marijuana. The department cannot give advice or referrals on how to obtain a supply of marijuana… State law is silent on where grow sites can be located.” (accessed Jan. 11, 2010)

Patient Registry Fee:
$25 new application/$10 renewal
(reduced from $50 as of Oct. 1, 2009)

Accepts other states’ registry ID cards?
Yes

Registration:
Mandatory

11. Nevada Ballot Question 9 — Approved Nov. 7, 2000 by 65% of voters
Effective: Oct. 1, 2001

Removes state-level criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by patients who have “written documentation” from their physician that marijuana may alleviate his or her condition.

Approved Conditions: 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. Other conditions are subject to approval by the health division of the state Department of Human Resources.

Possession/Cultivation: Patients (or their primary caregivers) may legally possess no more than one ounce of usable marijuana, three mature plants, and four immature plants.

Registry: The law establishes a confidential state-run patient registry that issues identification cards to qualifying patients. Patients who do not join the registry or possess greater amounts of marijuana than allowed by law may argue the “affirmative defense of medical necessity” if they are arrested on marijuana charges. Legislators added a preamble to the legislation stating, “[T]he state of Nevada as a sovereign state has the duty to carry out the will of the people of this state and regulate the health, medical practices and well-being of those people in a manner that respects their personal decisions concerning the relief of suffering through the medical use of marijuana.” A separate provision requires the Nevada School of Medicine to “aggressively” seek federal permission to establish a state-run medical marijuana distribution program.

Amended: Assembly Bill 453 (25 KB)
Effective: Oct. 1, 2001

Created a state registry for patients whose physicians recommend medical marijuana and tasked the Department of Motor Vehicles with issuing identification cards. No state money will be used for the program, which will be funded entirely by donations.

Nevada State Health Division
1000 E William Street
Suite 209
Carson City, Nevada 89701
Phone: 775-687-7594
Fax: 775-687-7595

NV Medical Marijuana Program (NMMP)

Information provided by the state on sources for medical marijuana:
“The NMMP is not a resource for the growing process and does not have information to give to patients.”

Patient Registry Fee:
$150, plus $15-42 in additional related costs

Accepts other states’ registry ID cards?
No

Registration:
Mandatory

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12. New Jersey Senate Bill 119 (175 KB)
Approved: Jan. 11, 2010 by House, 48-14; by Senate, 25-13
Signed into law by Gov. Jon Corzine on Jan. 18, 2010
Effective: Six months from enactment [Editor’s Note: S119 was supposed to become effective six months after it was enacted on Jan. 18, 2010, but the legislature, DHHS, and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie did not agree on the details of how the program would be run. The DHHS website FAQs section indicates that medical marijuana will be available to patients in July 2011.]

Protects “patients who use marijuana to alleviate suffering from debilitating medical conditions, as well as their physicians, primary caregivers, and those who are authorized to produce marijuana for medical purposes” from “arrest, prosecution, property forfeiture, and criminal and other penalties.”

Also provides for the creation of alternative treatment centers, “at least two each in the northern, central, and southern regions of the state. The first two centers issued a permit in each region shall be nonprofit entities, and centers subsequently issued permits may be nonprofit or for-profit entities.”

Approved Conditions: Seizure disorder, including epilepsy, 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; terminal illness, if the physician has determined a prognosis of less than 12 months of life or any other medical condition or its treatment that is approved by the Department of Health and Senior Services.

Possession/Cultivation: Physicians determine how much marijuana a patient needs and give written instructions to be presented to an alternative treatment center. The maximum amount for a 30-day period is two ounces.

The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services released draft rules (385 KB) outlining the registration and application process on Oct. 6, 2010. A public hearing to discuss the proposed rules was held on Dec. 6, 2010 at at the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, according to the New Jersey Register.

On Dec. 20, 2011, Senator Nicholas Scutari (D), lead sponsor of the medical marijuana bill, submitted Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) 140 (25 KB) declaring that the “Board of Medical Examiners proposed medicinal marijuana program rules are inconsistent with legislative intent.” The New Jersey Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens committee held a public hearing to discuss SCR 140 and a similar bill, SCR 130, on Jan. 20, 2010.

On Feb. 3, 2011, DHHS proposed new rules (200 KB) that streamlined the permit process for cultivating and dispensing, prohibited home delivery by alternative treatment centers, and required that “conditions originally named in the Act be resistant to conventional medical therapy in order to qualify as debilitating medical conditions.”

S119 becomes effective six months after the law was enacted on Jan. 18, 2010. The program will be run by the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHHS).

Medicinal Marijuana Program

Information provided by the state on sources for medical marijuana:
Patients are not allowed to grow their own marijuana. On Mar. 21, 2011, the New Jersey DHHS announced the locations of six nonprofit alternative treatment centers (ATCs) (100 KB) from which medical marijuana may be obtained. ATCs are anticipated to be open in the Northern, Central, and Southern Regions of the state by summer 2011.

Medical marijuana is not covered by Medicaid.

Patient Registry Fee:
$200 (valid for two years). Reduced fee of $20 for patients qualifying for state or federal assistance programs

Accepts other states’ registry ID cards?
Unknown

Registration:
Mandatory

 

13. New Mexico Senate Bill 523 (71 KB) “The Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act”
Approved: Mar. 13, 2007 by House, 36-31; by Senate, 32-3
Effective: July 1, 2007

Removes state-level criminal penalties on the use and possession of marijuana by patients “in a regulated system for alleviating symptoms caused by debilitating medical conditions and their medical treatments.” The New Mexico Department of Health designated to administer the program and register patients, caregivers, and providers.

Approved Conditions: The 15 current qualifying conditions for medical cannabis are: 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.

Possession/Cultivation: Patients have the right to possess up to six ounces of usable cannabis, four mature plants and 12 seedlings. Usable cannabis is defined as dried leaves and flowers; it does not include seeds, stalks or roots. A primary caregiver may provide services to a maximum of four qualified patients under the Medical Cannabis Program.

New Mexico Department of Health
1190 St. Francis Drive
P.O. Box 26110
Santa Fe, NM 87502-6110
Phone: 505-827-2321

medical.cannabis@state.nm.us

NM Medical Cannabis Program

Information provided by the state on sources for medical marijuana:
“Patients can apply for a license to produce their own medical cannabis… Once a patient is approved we provide them with information about how to contact the licensed producers to receive medical cannabis.” (accessed Jan. 11, 2010)

Patient Registry Fee:
$0

Accepts other states’ registry ID cards?
No

Registration:
Mandatory

14. Oregon Ballot Measure 67 (75 KB) — Approved by 55% of voters on Nov. 3, 1998
Effective: Dec. 3, 1998

Removes state-level criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by patients who possess a signed recommendation from their physician stating that marijuana “may mitigate” his or her debilitating symptoms.

Approved Conditions: Cancer, glaucoma, positive status for HIV/AIDS, or treatment for these conditions; A medical condition or treatment for a medical condition that produces cachexia, severe pain, severe nausea, seizures, including seizures caused by epilepsy, or persistent muscle spasms, including spasms caused by multiple sclerosis. Other conditions are subject to approval by the Health Division of the Oregon Department of Human Resources.

Possession/Cultivation: A registry identification cardholder or the designated primary caregiver of the cardholder may possess up to six mature marijuana plants and 24 ounces of usable marijuana. A registry identification cardholder and the designated primary caregiver of the cardholder may possess a combined total of up to 18 marijuana seedlings. (per Oregon Revised Statutes ORS 475.300 — ORS 475.346) (52 KB)

Amended: Senate Bill 1085 (52 KB)
Effective: Jan. 1, 2006

State-qualified patients who possess cannabis in amounts exceeding the new state guidelines will no longer retain the ability to argue an “affirmative defense” of medical necessity at trial. Patients who fail to register with the state, but who possess medical cannabis in amounts compliant with state law, still retain the ability to raise an “affirmative defense” at trial.

The law also redefines “mature plants” to include only those cannabis plants that are more than 12 inches in height and diameter, and establish a state-registry for those authorized to produce medical cannabis to qualified patients.

Amended: House Bill 3052
Effective: July 21, 1999

Mandates that patients (or their caregivers) may only cultivate marijuana in one location, and requires that patients must be diagnosed by their physicians at least 12 months prior to an arrest in order to present an “affirmative defense.” This bill also states that law enforcement officials who seize marijuana from a patient pending trial do not have to keep those plants alive. Last year the Oregon Board of Health approved agitation due to Alzheimer’s disease to the list of debilitating conditions qualifying for legal protection.

In August 2001, program administrators filed established temporary procedures further defining the relationship between physicians and patients. The new rule defines attending physician as “a physician who has established a physician/patient relationship with the patient;… is primarily responsible for the care and treatment of the patients;… has reviewed a patient’s medical records at the patient’s request, has conducted a thorough physical examination of the patient, has provided a treatment plan and/or follow-up care, and has documented these activities in a patient file.”

[Editor’s Note: On Jul 16, 2010 the Oregon Secretary of State certified a ballot measure (100 KB) to appear on the ballot in the Nov. 2010 general election. The measure would allow for the creation of state-regulated dispensaries. The measure defines dispensaries as nonprofit organizations, and would require them to pay licensing fees. Patients would still be allowed to grow their own marijuana supply.]

Oregon Department of Human Services
Medical Marijuana Program
PO Box 14450
Portland, OR 97293-0450
Phone: 971-673-1234
Fax: 971-673-1278

OR Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP)

Information provided by the state on sources for medical marijuana:
“The OMMP is not a resource for the growing process and does not have information to give to patients.” (accessed Jan. 11, 2010)

Patient Registry Fee:
$100 for new applications and renewals, $20 for applicants enrolled in the Oregon Health Plan or who receive federal Supplementary Social Security Income or monthly food stamp benefits

Accepts other states’ registry ID cards?

No

Registration:
Mandatory

15. Rhode Island Senate Bill 0710 — Approved by state House and Senate, vetoed by the Governor. Veto was over-ridden by House and Senate.

Timeline:

  1. June 24, 2005: passed the House 52 to 10
  2. June 28, 2005: passed the State Senate 33 to 1
  3. June 29, 2005: Gov. Carcieri vetoed the bill
  4. June 30, 2005: Senate overrode the veto 28-6
  5. Jan. 3, 2006: House overrode the veto 59-13 to pass the Edward O. Hawkins and Thomas C. Slater Medical Marijuana Act (48 KB) (Public Laws 05-442 and 05-443)
  6. June 21, 2007: Amended by Senate Bill 791 (30 KB) Effective: Jan. 3, 2006

Approved Conditions: Cancer, glaucoma, positive status for HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, or the treatment of these conditions; A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces cachexia or wasting syndrome; severe, debilitating, chronic pain; severe nausea; seizures, including but not limited to, those characteristic of epilepsy; or severe and persistent muscle spasms, including but not limited to, those characteristic of multiple sclerosis or Crohn’s disease; or agitation of Alzheimer’s Disease; or any other medical condition or its treatment approved by the state Department of Health.

If you have a medical marijuana registry identification card from any other state, U.S. territory, or the District of Columbia you may use it in Rhode Island. It has the same force and effect as a card issued by the Rhode Island Department of Health.

Possession/Cultivation: Limits the amount of marijuana that can be possessed and grown to up to 12 marijuana plants or 2.5 ounces of cultivated marijuana. Primary caregivers may not possess an amount of marijuana in excess of 24 marijuana plants and five ounces of usable marijuana for qualifying patients to whom he or she is connected through the Department’s registration process.

Amended: H5359 (70 KB) – The Edward O. Hawkins and Thomas C. Slater Medical Marijuana Act (substituted for the original bill)

Timeline:

  1. May 20, 2009: passed the House 63-5
  2. June 6, 2009: passed the State Senate 31-2
  3. June 12, 2009: Gov. Carcieri vetoed the bill (60 KB)
  4. June 16, 2009: Senate overrode the veto 35-3
  5. June 16, 2009: House overrode the veto 67-0

    Effective: June 16, 2009Allows the creation of compassion centers, which may acquire, possess, cultivate, manufacture, deliver, transfer, transport, supply, or dispense marijuana, or related supplies and educational materials, to registered qualifying patients and their registered primary caregivers.

Rhode Island Department of Health
Office of Health Professions Regulation, Room 104
3 Capitol Hill
Providence, RI 02908-5097
Phone: 401-222-2828

RI Medical Marijuana Program (MMP)

Information provided by the state on sources for medical marijuana:
“The MMP is not a resource for marijuana and does not have information to give to patients related to the supply of marijuana.” (accessed Jan. 11, 2010)

Patient Registry Fee:
$75/$10 for applicants on Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Accepts other states’ registry ID cards?
Yes, but only for the conditions approved in Rhode Island

 

Registration:
Mandatory

16. Vermont Senate Bill 76 (45 KB) — Approved 22-7; House Bill 645 (41 KB) — Approved 82-59
“Act Relating to Marijuana Use by Persons with Severe Illness” (Sec. 1. 18 V.S.A. chapter 86 (41 KB) passed by the General Assembly) Gov. James Douglas (R), allowed the act to pass into law unsigned on May 26, 2004
Effective: July 1, 2004

Amended: Senate Bill 00007 (65 KB)
Effective: May 30, 2007

Approved Conditions: Cancer, AIDS, positive status for HIV, multiple sclerosis, or the treatment of these conditions if the disease or the treatment results in severe, persistent, and intractable symptoms; or a disease, medical condition, or its treatment that is chronic, debilitating and produces severe, persistent, and one or more of the following intractable symptoms: cachexia or wasting syndrome, severe pain or nausea or seizures.

Possession/Cultivation: No more than two mature marijuana plants, seven immature plants, and two ounces of usable marijuana may be collectively possessed between the registered patient and the patient’s registered caregiver. A marijuana plant shall be considered mature when male or female flower buds are readily observed on the plant by unaided visual examination. Until this sexual differentiation has taken place, a marijuana plant will be considered immature.

Marijuana Registry
Department of Public Safety
103 South Main Street
Waterbury, Vermont 05671
Phone: 802-241-5115

VT Marijuana Registry Program

Information provided by the state on sources for medical marijuana:
“The Marijuana Registry is neither a source for marijuana nor can the Registry provide information to patients on how to obtain marijuana.” (accessed Jan. 11, 2010)

Patient Registry Fee:
$50

Accepts other states’ registry ID cards?
No

Registration:
Mandatory

17. Washington Chapter 69.51A RCW (4KB) Ballot Initiative I-692 — Approved by 59% of voters on Nov. 3, 1998
Effective: Nov. 3, 1998

Removes state-level criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by patients who possess “valid documentation” from their physician affirming that he or she suffers from a debilitating condition and that the “potential benefits of the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the health risks.”

Approved Conditions: Cachexia; cancer; HIV or AIDS; epilepsy; glaucoma; intractable pain (defined as pain unrelieved by standard treatment or medications); and multiple sclerosis. Other conditions are subject to approval by the Washington Board of Health.

Possession/Cultivation: Patients (or their primary caregivers) may legally possess or cultivate no more than a 60-day supply of marijuana. The law does not establish a state-run patient registry.

Amended: Senate Bill 6032 (29 KB)
Effective: 2007 (rules being defined by Legislature with a July 1, 2008 due date)

Amended: Final Rule (123 KB) based on Significant Analysis (370 KB)
Effective: Nov. 2, 2008

Approved Conditions: Added Crohn’s disease, Hepatitis C with debilitating nausea or intractable pain, diseases, including anorexia, which result in nausea, vomiting, wasting, appetite loss, cramping, seizures, muscle spasms, or spasticity, when those conditions are unrelieved by standard treatments or medications.

Possession/Cultivation: A qualifying patient and designated provider may possess a total of no more than twenty-four ounces of usable marijuana, and no more than fifteen plants. This quantity became the state’s official “60-day supply” on Nov. 2, 2008.

[Editor’s Note: On Jan. 21, 2010, the Supreme Court of the State of Washington ruled that Ballot Initiative “I-692 did not legalize marijuana, but rather provided an authorized user with an affirmative defense if the user shows compliance with the requirements for medical marijuana possession.” State v. Fry (125 KB)

ProCon.org contacted the Washington Department of Health to ask whether it had received any instructions in light of this ruling. Kristi Weeks, Director of Policy and Legislation, stated the following in a Jan. 25, 2010 email response to ProCon.org:

“The Department of Health has a limited role related to medical marijuana in the state of Washington. Specifically, we were directed by the Legislature to determine the amount of a 60 day supply and conduct a study of issues related to access to medical marijuana. Both of these tasks have been completed. We have maintained the medical marijuana webpage for the convenience of the public.

The department has not received ‘any instructions’ in light of State v. Fry. That case does not change the law or affect the 60 day supply. Chapter 69.51A RCW, as confirmed in Fry, provides an affirmative defense to prosecution for possession of marijuana for qualifying patients and caregivers.”]

Department of Health
PO Box 47866
Olympia, WA 98504-7866
Phone: 360-236-4700
Fax: 360-236-4768

MedicalMarijuana@doh.wa.gov

WA Medical Marijuana website

Information provided by the state on sources for medical marijuana:
“The law allows a qualifying patient or designated provider to grow medical marijuana. It is not legal to buy or sell it. The law does not allow dispensaries.” (accessed Jan. 11, 2010)

Patient Registry Fee:
***No state registration program has been established

Accepts other states’ registry ID cards?
No

Registration:
None

Medical Marijuana Civil & Human Rights


Civil and Human Rights Medical Marijuana

  1. “Black and Hispanic Americans, and other minority groups as well, are victimized by disproportionate targeting and unfair treatment by police and other front-line law enforcement officials; by racially skewed charging and plea bargaining decisions of prosecutors; by discriminatory sentencing practices; and by the failure of judges, elected officials and other criminal justice policy makers to redress the inequities that become more glaring every day.”

    Source:

    Weich, Ronald H., and Angulo, Carlos T., Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, “Justice on Trial: Racial Disparities in the American Criminal Justice System” (Washington, DC: Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, May 2000), p. vi.
    http://www.civilrights.org/publications/justice-on-trial/

  2. Civil Rights – Data

    (2008) “The number of wiretaps reported decreased 14 percent in 2008. A total of 1,891 applications were reported as authorized in 2008, including 386 submitted to federal judges and 1,505 to state judges. No applications were denied. Compared to the number approved during 2007, the number of applications reported as approved by federal judges in 2008 fell 16 percent. The number of applications approved by state judges declined 14 percent. Wiretap applications in New York (433 applications), California (418 applications), New Jersey (175 applications), and Florida (102 applications) accounted for 75 percent of all applications approved by state judges.”

    Source:

    Administrative Office of the United States Courts, 2008 Wiretap Report (Washington, DC: USGPO, April 2007), p. 7.
    http://www.uscourts.gov/wiretap08/2008WTText.pdf

  3. (2006) “Violations of drug laws and homicide/assault were the two most prevalent types of offenses investigated through communications intercepts. Racketeering was the third most frequently recorded offense category, and gambling the fourth. Table 3 indicates that 80 percent of all applications for intercepts (1,473 wiretaps) authorized in 2006 cited a drug offense as the most serious offense under investigation.”

    Source:

    Administrative Office of the United States Courts, 2006 Wiretap Report (Washington, DC: USGPO, April 2007), p. 9.
    http://www.uscourts.gov/wiretap06/2006WT.pdf

  4. (2006) “The average cost of intercept devices installed in 2006 was $52,551, down 5 percent from the average cost in 2005. For federal wiretaps for which expenses were reported in 2006, the average cost was $67,044, a 5 percent decrease from the average cost in 2005. The average cost of a state wiretap increased 3 percent to $46,687 in 2006.”

    Source:

    Administrative Office of the United States Courts, 2006 Wiretap Report (Washington, DC: USGPO, April 2007), p. 12.
    http://www.uscourts.gov/wiretap06/2006WT.pdf

  5. (2005) “In both 2002 and 2005, white, black, and Hispanic drivers were stopped by police at similar rates, while blacks and Hispanics were more likely than whites to be searched by police. About 5% of all stopped drivers were searched by police during a traffic stop. Police found evidence of criminal wrong-doing (such as drugs, illegal weapons, or other evidence of a possible crime) in 11.6% of searches in 2005.”

    Source:

    Durose, Matthew R., Smith, Erica L., and Langan, Patrick A., PhD, “Contacts Between Police and the Public, 2005,” (NCJ215243) (Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics, April 2007), p. 1.
    http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/cpp05.pdf

  6. (2005) “In both 2002 and 2005, about 5% of stopped drivers were searched by police during the traffic stop. The 5% includes searches of the vehicle only, the driver only, and both the vehicle and the driver.

    “In both years, male drivers were more likely than female drivers to be searched by police during a traffic stop.

    “In 2005 black (9.5%) and Hispanic (8.8%) motorists stopped by police were searched at higher rates than whites (3.6%). The likelihood of experiencing a search did not change for whites, blacks, or Hispanics from 2002 to 2005.”

    Source:

    Durose, Matthew R., Smith, Erica L., and Langan, Patrick A., PhD, “Contacts Between Police and the Public, 2005,” (NCJ215243) (Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics, April 2007), p. 7.
    http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/cpp05.pdf

  7. (2005) “Of the 43.5 million persons who had contact with police in 2005, an estimated 1.6% had force used or threatened against them during their most recent contact, a rate relatively unchanged from 2002 (1.5%). In both 2002 and 2005, blacks and Hispanics experienced police use of force at higher rates than whites. Of persons who had force used against them in 2005, an estimated 83% felt the force was excessive.”

    Source:

    Durose, Matthew R., Smith, Erica L., and Langan, Patrick A., PhD, “Contacts Between Police and the Public, 2005,” (NCJ215243) (Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics, April 2007), p. 1.
    http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/cpp05.pdf

  8. (2005) “In 11.6% of searches conducted during a traffic stop in 2005, police found drugs, an illegal weapon, open containers of alcohol, or other illegal items. Consent and nonconsent searches turned up evidence of criminal wrong-doing at similar rates.”

    Source:

    Durose, Matthew R., Smith, Erica L., and Langan, Patrick A., PhD, “Contacts Between Police and the Public, 2005,” (NCJ215243) (Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics, April 2007), p. 7.
    http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/cpp05.pdf

  9. (2005) “Police issued tickets to more than half of all stopped drivers and arrested about 2.4% of drivers. Male drivers were 3 times more likely than female drivers to be arrested, and black drivers were twice as likely as white drivers to be arrested.”

    Source:

    Durose, Matthew R., Smith, Erica L., and Langan, Patrick A., PhD, “Contacts Between Police and the Public, 2005,” (NCJ215243) (Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics, April 2007), p. 1.
    http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/cpp05.pdf

  10. (2005) “The differences found among gender, race, and age groups who experienced force in 2005 were consistent with the 2002 PPCS [Police-Public Contact Survey]. Among the persons who had police contact in 2005, females (1.0%) were less likely than males (2.2%) to have had contact with police that resulted in force (table 9). Males accounted for a larger percentage (72.4%) of contacts involving force compared to their percentage of all contacts (53.6%) (table 10).

    “Blacks (4.4%) and Hispanics (2.3%) were more likely than whites (1.2%) to experience use of force during contact with police in 2005. Blacks accounted for 1 out of 10 contacts with police but 1 out of 4 contacts where force was used.

    “Persons age 16 to 29 (2.8%) who had contact with police were more likely than those over age 29 (1.0%) to have had force used against them. Persons age 16 to 29 made up a smaller percentage of persons who had a police contact (34.5%) compared to the percentage of persons experiencing force during a contact (60.3%). The median age of those experiencing force was 26.”

    Source:

    Durose, Matthew R., Smith, Erica L., and Langan, Patrick A., PhD, “Contacts Between Police and the Public, 2005,” (NCJ215243) (Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics, April 2007), p. 8.
    http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/cpp05.pdf

  11. (2005) “Of persons who had contact with the police in 2005, about 9 in 10 felt the officer or officers behaved properly (table 4). Blacks (82.2%) were less likely than whites (91.6%) to feel the police acted properly during a contact. Racial differences in opinion about police behavior were not found across all types of contacts. No differences were found in the percentages of whites and blacks who felt the police behaved properly when helping with a traffic accident or providing assistance, such as giving directions. Blacks were less likely than whites to believe law enforcement acted properly during traffic stops and contacts occurring because police were investigating a crime or suspected the person of wrong-doing.”

    Source:

    Durose, Matthew R., Smith, Erica L., and Langan, Patrick A., PhD, “Contacts Between Police and the Public, 2005,” (NCJ215243) (Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics, April 2007), p. 3.
    http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/cpp05.pdf

  12. (2005) “Reports of sexual violence varied across systems and sampled facilities, with every State prison system except New Mexico reporting at least one allegation of sexual violence. Among the 347 sampled local jails, 131 (38%) reported an allegation. About 42% of the 36 sampled privately operated prisons and jails reported at least one allegation.

    “Combined, the 2005 survey recorded 5,247 allegations of sexual violence. Taking into account weights for sampled facilities, the estimated total number of allegations for the Nation was 6,241. Expressed in terms of rates, there were 2.83 allegations of sexual violence per 1,000 inmates held in 2005, up from 2.43 per 1,000 inmates held in prisons, jails, and other adult correctional facilities in 2004. Prison systems reported 74% of all allegations; local jails, 22%; private prisons and jails, 3%; and other adult facilities, 1%.”

    Source:

    Beck, Allen J., PhD, and Harrison, Paige M., Sexual Violence Reported by Correctional Authorities, 2005 (NCJ214646) (Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics, July 2006), p. 4.
    http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/svrca05.pdf

  13. (1997 – 2004)
    “• Since 1997, 16 states have implemented reforms to their felony disenfranchisement policies

    “• These reforms have resulted in the restoration of voting rights to an estimated 621,400 persons

    “• By 2004, the total number of people disenfranchised due to a felony conviction had risen to 5.3 million

    “• Among those disenfranchised, 74% are currently living in the community

    “• In 2004, 1 in 12 African Americans was disenfranchised because of a felony conviction, a rate nearly five times that of non-African Americans

    “• Voting is linked with reduced recidivism; one study shows that 27 percent of non-voters were rearrested, compared with 12 percent of voters”

    Source:

    King, Ryan S., “A Decade of Reform: Felony Disenfranchisement Policy in the United States” (Washington, DC: Sentencing Project, 2006), p. 2.
    http://www.sentencingproject.org/doc/publications/fd_decade_reform.pdf

  14. (2001) “Of the 16 State police agencies with procedures that require the collection of race data for each stop, 7 agencies responded to a State law or executive order, 7 implemented an internal policy, 1 (Maryland) responded to both an internal policy and a court action, and 1 State police agency (New Jersey) was acting in accordance with both internal police agency policy and a Federal consent decree.”

    Source:

    Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Traffic Stop Data Collection” (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, December 2001), p. 2.
    http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/tsdcp01.pdf

  15. (2001) “As of March 2001, 16 of the 49 State police agencies with patrol duties required officers to collect the race or ethnicity of all drivers involved in a traffic stop (table 1). Thirty-seven State agencies collected the race or ethnicity of motorists when an arrest was made, and 22 agencies did so following a vehicle or occupant search. Ten State police agencies — Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Illinois, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Utah — did not require their State troopers to collect race or ethnicity data.”

    Source:

    Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Traffic Stop Data Collection Policies for State Police, 2001” (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, December 2001), NCJ 191158 , p. 2.
    http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/tsdcp01.pdf

  16. (2000) “In December 2000, the Prison Journal published a study based on a survey of inmates in seven men’s prison facilities in four states. The results showed that 21 percent of the inmates had experienced at least one episode of pressured or forced sexual contact since being incarcerated, and at least 7 percent had been raped in their facility. A 1996 study of the Nebraska prison system produced similar findings, with 22 percent of male inmates reporting that they had been pressured or forced to have sexual contact against their will while incarcerated. Of these, over 50 percent had submitted to forced anal sex at least once. Extrapolating these findings to the national level gives a total of at least 140,000 inmates who have been raped.”

    Source:

    Human Rights Watch, “No Escape: Male Rape in US Prisons,” (New York, NY: April 2001), p. 10.
    http://news.findlaw.com/hdocs/docs/hrw/hrwmalerape0401.pdf

  17. (1999) “blacks are just 12 percent of the population and 13 percent of the drug users, and despite the fact that traffic stops and similar enforcement yield equal arrest rates for minorities and whites alike, blacks are 38 percent of those arrested for drug offenses and 59 percent of those convicted of drug offenses. Moreover, more frequent stops, and therefore arrests, of minorities will also result in longer average prison terms for minorities because patterns of disproportionate arrests generate more extensive criminal histories for minorities, which in turn influence sentencing outcomes.”

    Source:

    Welch, Ronald H., and Angulo, Carlos T., Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, “Justice on Trial: Racial Disparities in the American Criminal Justice System” (Washington, DC: Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, May 2000), p. 7.
    http://www.civilrights.org/publications/justice-on-trial/race.html

  18. (1999) “Our research shows that blacks comprise 62.7 percent and whites 36.7 percent of all drug offenders admitted to state prison, even though federal surveys and other data detailed in this report show clearly that this racial disparity bears scant relation to racial differences in drug offending. There are, for example, five times more white drug users than black. Relative to population, black men are admitted to state prison on drug charges at a rate that is 13.4 times greater than that of white men. In large part because of the extraordinary racial disparities in incarceration for drug offenses, blacks are incarcerated for all offenses at 8.2 times the rate of whites. One in every 20 black men over the age of 18 in the United States is in state or federal prison, compared to one in 180 white men.”

    Source:

    Human Rights Watch, “Racial Disparities in the War on Drugs” (Washington, DC: Human Rights Watch, 2000).
    http://www.hrw.org/legacy/reports/2000/usa/Rcedrg00.htm#P54_1086

  19. (1998) “Because of their extraordinary rate of incarceration, one in every 20 black men over the age of 18 is in a state or federal prison, compared to one in every 180 whites.” In five states, between one in 13 and one in 14 black men are in prison.

    Source:

    Human Rights Watch, “Racial Disparities in the War on Drugs” (Washington, DC: Human Rights Watch, 2000).
    http://www.hrw.org/legacy/reports/2000/usa/Rcedrg00-01.htm#P149_24292

  20. (1996) “Thirteen percent of all adult black men — 1.4 million — are disenfranchised, representing one-third of the total disenfranchised population and reflecting a rate of disenfranchisement that is seven times the national average. Election voting statistics offer an approximation of the political importance of black disenfranchisement: 1.4 million black men are disenfranchised compared to 4.6 million black men who voted in 1996.”

    Source:

    Fellner, Jamie and Mauer, Mark, “Losing the Vote: The Impact of Felony Disenfranchisement Laws in the United States” (Washington, DC: Human Rights Watch & The Sentencing Project, 1998), p. 8.
    http://www.sentencingproject.org/doc/File/FVR/fd_losingthevote.pdf
    Election data cited comes from the US Census Bureau, Voting and Registration in the Election of November 1996 (P20-504) (Washington, DC: US Census Bureau, July 1998).

  21. Civil Rights – Research

    “In addition to the increase in the number of States that required State law enforcement agencies to collect race and ethnicity statistics during traffic stops, States have recently enacted statutes that prohibit law enforcement officers from engaging in racial profiling (California, Connecticut, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Rhode Island). these statutes generally defined racial profiling as stopping a person based solely on race or ethnicity instead of an individualized suspicion arising from the person’s behavior.”

    Source:

    Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Traffic Stop Data Collection Policies for State Police, 2001” (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, December 2001), NCJ 191158, p. 1.
    http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/tsdcp01.pdf

  22. “It is evident that certain prisoners are targeted for sexual assault the moment they enter a penal facility: their age, looks, sexual orientation, and other characteristics mark them as candidates for abuse. Human Rights Watch’s research has revealed a broad range of factors that correlate with increased vulnerability to rape. These include youth, small size, and physical weakness; being white, gay, or a first offender; possessing ‘feminine’ characteristics such as long hair or a high voice; being unassertive, unaggressive, shy, intellectual, not street-smart, or ‘passive’; or having been convicted of a sexual offense against a minor. Prisoners with any one of these characteristics typically face an increased risk of sexual abuse, while prisoners with several overlapping characteristics are much more likely than other inmates to be targeted for abuse. Yet it would be a mistake to think that only a minority of extremely vulnerable individuals face sexual abuse. In the wrong circumstances, it should be emphasized, almost any prisoner may become a victim.”

    Source:

    Human Rights Watch, “No Escape: Male Rape in US Prisons,” (New York, NY: April 2001), p. 11.
    http://news.findlaw.com/hdocs/docs/hrw/hrwmalerape0401.pdf

  23. In his book No Equal Justice, Georgetown Law Professor David Cole notes “A Lexis review of all federal court decisions from January 1, 1990, to August 2, 1995, in which drug-courier profiles were used and the race of the suspect was discernible revealed that of sixty-three such cases, all but three suspects were minorities: thirty-four were black, twenty-five were Hispanic, one was Asian, and three were white.”

    Source:

    Cole, David, “No Equal Justice: Race and Class in the American Criminal Justice System” (New York: The New Press, 1999), p. 50.
    http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/Abstract.aspx?id=179184

  24. The Mollen Commission was appointed to investigate corruption in the New York City Police Department. The Commission “found that police corruption, brutality, and violence were present in every high-crime precinct with an active narcotics trade that it studied, all of which have predominantly minority populations. It found disturbing patterns of police corruption and brutality, including stealing from drug dealers, engaging in unlawful searches, seizures, and car stops, dealing and using drugs, lying in order to justify unlawful searches and arrests and to forestall complaints of abuse, and indiscriminate beating of innocent and guilty alike.”

    Source:

    Cole, David, “No Equal Justice: Race and Class in the American Criminal Justice System” (New York: The New Press, 1999), pp. 23-4.
    http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/Abstract.aspx?id=179184

  25. In Maryland, a state survey of police traffic stops — ordered by the state court in response to state troopers’ use of racial profiling — found that from January 1995 through December 1997, 70 percent of the drivers stopped on Interstate 95 were African Americans. According to an ACLU survey conducted around that time, only 17.5 percent of the traffic and speeders on that road were African American.

    Source:

    Cole, David, “No Equal Justice: Race and Class in the American Criminal Justice System” (New York: The New Press, 1999), p. 36.
    http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/Abstract.aspx?id=179184

  26. In his book No Equal Justice, Georgetown Law Professor David Cole notes “The (Supreme) Court’s removal of meaningful Fourth Amendment review allows the police to rely on unparticularized discretion, unsubstantiated hunches, and nonindividualized suspicion. Racial prejudice and stereotypes linking racial minorities to crime rush to fill the void.”

    Source:

    Cole, David, “No Equal Justice: Race and Class in the American Criminal Justice System” (New York: The New Press, 1999), p. 53.
    http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/Abstract.aspx?id=179184

  27. At the start of the 1990s, the U.S. had more Black men (between the ages of 20 and 29) under the control of the nation’s criminal justice system than the total number in college. This and other factors have led some scholars to conclude that, “crime control policies are a major contributor to the disruption of the family, the prevalence of single parent families, and children raised without a father in the ghetto, and the ‘inability of people to get the jobs still available.'”

    Source:

    Craig Haney, Ph.D., and Philip Zimbardo, Ph.D., “The Past and Future of U.S. Prison Policy: Twenty-five Years After the Stanford Prison Experiment,” American Psychologist, Vol. 53, No. 7 (July 1998), p. 716.
    http://www.csdp.org/research/haney_apa.pdf

Corruption

seized cash... is it all there?

Police Corruption

  1. A 1998 report by the General Accounting Office notes, “…several studies and investigations of drug-related police corruption found on-duty police officers engaged in serious criminal activities, such as (1) conducting unconstitutional searches and seizures; (2) stealing money and/or drugs from drug dealers; (3) selling stolen drugs; (4) protecting drug operations; (5) providing false testimony; and (6) submitting false crime reports.”

    Source:

    General Accounting Office, Report to the Honorable Charles B. Rangel, House of Representatives, “Law Enforcement: Information on Drug-Related Police Corruption: (Washington, DC: USGPO, May 1998), p. 8.
    http://www.ethicsinstitute.com/pdf/Drug%20Corruption%20Report.pdf

  2. “In addition to protecting criminals or ignoring their activities, officers involved in drug-related corruption were more likely to be actively involved in the commission of a variety of crimes, including stealing drugs and/or money from drug dealers, selling drugs, and lying under oath about illegal searches. Although profit was found to be a motive common to traditional and drug-related police corruption, New York City’s Mollen Commission identified power and vigilante justice as two additional motives for drug-related police corruption. The most commonly identified pattern of drug-related police corruption involved small groups of officers who protected and assisted each other in criminal activities, rather than the traditional patterns of non-drug-related police corruption that involved just a few isolated individuals or systemic corruption pervading an entire police department or precinct.”

    Source:

    General Accounting Office, Report to the Honorable Charles B. Rangel, House of Representatives, “Law Enforcement: Information on Drug-Related Police Corruption” (Washington, DC: USGPO, May 1998), p. 3.
    http://www.ethicsinstitute.com/pdf/Drug%20Corruption%20Report.pdf

  3. The United Nations Drug Control Program noted the inevitable risk of drug-related police corruption in 1998, when it reported that “wherever there is a well-organized, illicit drug industry, there is also the danger of police corruption.”

    Source:

    United Nations International Drug Control Program, “Technical Series Report #6: Economic and Social Consequences of Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking” (New York, NY: UNDCP, 1998), p. 38.
    http://www.unodc.org/pdf/technical_series_1998-01-01_1.pdf

  4. In its 2007 U.S. Money Laundering Threat Assessment, the U.S. Department of the Treasury described the movement of cash smuggled from drug transactions: “Cash associated with illicit narcotics typically flows out of the United States across the southwest border into Mexico, retracing the route that illegal drugs follow when entering the United States.82 Upon leaving the country, cash may stay in Mexico, continue on to a number of other countries, or make a U-turn and head back into the United States as a deposit by a bank or casa de cambio. Illicit funds leaving the United States also flow into Canada, which, like Mexico, is a source of illegal narcotics.”

    Source:

    U.S. Department of the Treasury. “2007 National Money Laundering Strategy” (Washington, DC: 2007), p. 50.
    http://www.treas.gov/press/releases/docs/nmls.pdf

  5. “The magnitude of funds under criminal control poses special threats to governments, particularly in developing countries, where the domestic security markets and capital markets are far too small to absorb such funds without quickly becoming dependent on them.160 It is difficult to have a functioning democratic system when drug cartels have the means to buy protection, political support or votes at every level of government and society.161 In systems where a member of the legislature or judiciary, earning only a modest income, can easily gain the equivalent of some 20 months’ salary from a trafficker by making one “favourable” decision, the dangers of corruption are obvious.162″

    Source:

    United Nations International Drug Control Program, “Technical Series Report #6: Economic and Social Consequences of Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking” (New York, NY: UNDCP, 1998), p. 39.
    http://www.unodc.org/pdf/technical_series_1998-01-01_1.pdf

  6. (2006-2007) “Afghanistan currently ranks in the second lowest percentile on the World Bank’s corruption index.293 A significant component of this index is based on the activities of corruption prone government agencies. Survey after survey reveals the Afghan perception of law enforcement and courts as among the most corrupt institutions in the country.294 A 2006 poll by the Asia Foundation found that 77 per cent of Afghans believed corruption was a problem at the national level.295”

    Source:

    United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, “Addiction, Crime and Insurgency: The transnational threat of Afghan opium” (Vienna, Austria: October 2009), p. 137.
    http://www.unodc.org/documents/data-and-analysis/Afghanistan/Afghan_Opiu…

  7. (2002) According to the international monitoring group Transparency International, “Colombia has suffered the tragic consequences of endemic theft by politicians and public officials for decades. Entwined with the production and trafficking of illegal drugs, this behaviour exacerbated underdevelopment and lawlessness in the countryside, where a brutal war continues to claim the lives of some 3,500 civilians a year. A World Bank survey released in February 2002 found that bribes are paid in 50 per cent of all state contracts.27 Another World Bank report estimates the cost of corruption in Colombia at US $2.6 billion annually, the equivalent of 60 per cent of the country’s debt.28”

    Source:

    Herrera, Eduardo Wills, and Cortés, Nubia Urueña, “Global Corruption Report 2003: South America” Transparency International (Berlin, Germany: Transparency International, 2003), p. 108.
    http://www.transparency.org/content/download/4378/26541/file/11_South_America_(Wills_Uruena).pdf

  8. (2000) “The Presidential Programme Against Corruption in Colombia specifically addresses ‘narco-corruption’.36 Colombia, with a capacity to produce 580 tonnes of pure cocaine in 2000,37 is particularly poisoned by the interplay of narcotics and violence, with an estimated one million people internally displaced as a result of battles for territorial control by rebel groups and paramilitary forces. ‘The corruptive effect of this kind of profit is devastating, since it has penetrated to perverse levels in the judiciary and the political system,’ the official report of the Presidential Programme concluded, adding that the rapid accumulation of wealth from illegal drugs ‘has fostered codes and behaviours which promote corruption, fast money and the predominance of private welfare over general interest’.”

    Source:

    Luzzani, Thelma, Transparency International, “Global Corruption Report 2001: South America” (Berlin, Germany: Transparency International, 2001), p. 176.
    http://www.transparency.org/content/download/4302/26311/file/rr_s_americ…

  9. (1999) According to the international monitoring group Transparency International, “Another problem occurs when officials turn a blind eye to a narcotics trade that looms large in the region. ‘Central America has become the meat in the sandwich’ – as a trans-shipment point, storehouse and money laundering centre – in the drug traffic from Colombia to the US, said Costa Rican parliamentarian Belisario Solano. The Costa Rican Defence Ministry estimates that between 50 and 70 tonnes of cocaine travel through Costa Rica to the US every year.”

    Source:

    Gutiérrez, Miren, Transparency International, “Global Corruption Report 2001: Central America, the Caribbean and Mexico” (Berlin, Germany: Transparency International, 2001), p. 160.
    http://www.transparency.org/content/download/4289/26272/file/rr_c_am_car…

  10. (1998) Corruption caused by the illicit trade in narcotics is especially prevalent in some foreign countries. “In 1998, DEA reported that drug-related corruption existed in all branches of the [Colombian] government, within the prison system, and in the military… In November 1998, U.S. Customs and DEA personnel searched a Colombian Air Force aircraft in Florida and found 415 kilograms of cocaine and 6 kilograms of heroin.”

    Source:

    United States General Accounting Office, “Drug Control: Narcotics Threat from Colombia Continues to Grow” (Washington, DC: USGPO, 1999), p. 15.
    http://www.gao.gov/archive/1999/ns99136.pdf

  11. (1993-1997) On average, half of all police officers convicted as a result of FBI-led corruption cases between 1993 and 1997 were convicted for drug-related offenses.

    Source:

    General Accounting Office, Report to the Honorable Charles B. Rangel, House of Representatives, “Law Enforcement: Information on Drug-Related Police Corruption” (Washington, DC: USGPO, May 1998), p. 35.
    http://www.ethicsinstitute.com/pdf/Drug%20Corruption%20Report.pdf

  12. (2009) “Of the US$ 65 billion turnover of the global market for opiates, only 5-10 per cent (US$ 3-5 billion) are estimated to be laundered by informal banking systems. The rest is laundered through legal trade activities (including smuggling of legal goods into Afghanistan) and the banking system.”

    Source:

    United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, “Addiction, Crime and Insurgency: The transnational threat of Afghan opium” (Vienna, Austria: October 2009), p. 7.
    http://www.unodc.org/documents/data-and-analysis/Afghanistan/Afghan_Opiu…

  13. According to the international monitoring group Transparency International, “Mexico’s police and armed services are known to be contaminated by multimillion dollar bribes from the transnational narco-trafficking business. Though the problem is not as pervasive in the military as it is in the police, it is widely considered to have attained the status of a national security threat.”

    Source:

    Gutiérrez, Miren, Transparency International, “Global Corruption Report 2001: Central America, the Caribbean and Mexico” (Berlin, Germany: Transparency International, 2001), p. 158.
    http://www.transparency.org/content/download/4289/26272/file/rr_c_am_car…

  14. A 1998 report by the General Accounting Office cited specific examples of publicly disclosed drug-related police corruption in the following cities: Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, Savannah, and Washington, DC.

    Source:

    General Accounting Office, Report to the Honorable Charles B. Rangel, House of Representatives, “Law Enforcement: Information on Drug-Related Police Corruption” (Washington, DC: USGPO, May 1998), p. 36-37.
    http://www.ethicsinstitute.com/pdf/Drug%20Corruption%20Report.pdf

Deaths from Cannabis vs 17 FDA-Approved Drugs (Jan. 1, 1997 to June 30, 2005)


Deaths from Marijuana v. 17 FDA-Approved Drugs
(Jan. 1, 1997 to June 30, 2005)
  1. Background
  2. Cause of Death Categories & Definitions
  3. FDA Disclaimer of Information
  4. Summary of Deaths by Drug Classification
  5. Deaths from Marijuana & 17 FDA-Approved Drugs
  6. Sources & Disagreement on Marijuana Deaths
  7. Full Text of All 17 FDA “Adverse Event” Reports

I. Background

Much of the medical marijuana discussion has focused on the safety of marijuana compared to the safety of FDA-approved drugs. On June 24, 2005 ProCon.org sent a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to find the number of deaths caused by marijuana compared to the number of deaths caused by 17 FDA-approved drugs. Twelve of these FDA-approved drugs were chosen because they are commonly prescribed in place of medical marijuana, while the remaining five FDA-approved drugs were randomly selected because they are widely used and recognized by the general public.

We chose Jan. 1, 1997 as our starting date as it is the beginning of the first year following the Nov. 1996 approval of the first state medical marijuana laws (such as California’s Proposition 215). The FDA reports we read from Sep. 13, 2005 to Oct. 14, 2005 included drug deaths “to present”, which was the date each report was compiled for our request. We cut off the counting as of June 30, 2005 to provide a uniform end-date to the various reports.

On Aug. 25, 2005 the FDA sent us 12 CDs and five printed reports containing copies of their Adverse Event Reporting System (AERS) report on each drug requested. These reports included all adverse events reported to the FDA, only a portion of which included deaths. We manually counted the number of deaths reported on each drug from the FDA-supplied information.

A review of the FDA Adverse Events reports also revealed some deaths where marijuana was at least a concomitant drug (a drug also used at the time of death) in some cases. On Oct. 14, 2005 we used the Freedom of Information Act to request a copy of the adverse events reported deaths for marijuana/cannabis. We received those reports on Aug. 3, 2006 in the form of three additional CDs.

II. Cause of Death Categories & Definitions

The FDA AERS reports rely on health professionals to detect an “adverse event” and attribute that event to the drug, and then to voluntarily report that effect to either the FDA or the drug manufacturer. The drug firm, by law, must report that event to the FDA. The FDA states “ninety percent of the FDA’s reports are received from drug manufacturers” on page one of its “Adverse Event Reporting System (AERS) Brief Description with Caveats of System.” (PDF 2.7 MB)

Select instructions on how to report adverse events, as per the FDA’s AERS Form Instructions (PDF 65 KB), are provided below:

  • Adverse Event: Any incident where the use of a medication (drug or biologic, including HCT/P), at any dose, a medical device (including in vitro diagnostics) or a special nutritional product (e.g., dietary supplement, infant formula or medical food) is suspected to have resulted in an adverse outcome in a patient.
  • Death: Check only if you suspect that the death was an outcome of the adverse event, and include the date if known. Do not check if:
    • The patient died while using a medical product, but there was no suspected association between the death and
    • A fetus is aborted because of a congenital anomaly (birth defect), or is miscarried
  1. Suspect Product(s): A suspect product is one that you suspect is associated with the adverse event.

    Up to two (2) suspect products may be reported on one form (#1=first suspect product, #2=second suspect product). Attach an additional form if there were more than two suspect products associated with the reported adverse event.

  2. To report: it is not necessary to be certain of a cause/effect relationship between the adverse event and the use of the medical product(s) in question. Suspicion of an association is sufficient reason to report. Submission of a report does not constitute an admission that medical personnel or the product caused or contributed to the event.

III. FDA Disclaimer of Information

III. FDA Disclaimer of Information

Included in the 15 CDs and five printed reports from the FDA was the following disclosure:

“The information contained in the reports has not been scientifically or otherwise verified. For any given report there is no certainty that the suspected drug caused the reaction. This is because physicians are encouraged to report suspected reactions. The event may have been related to the underlying disease for which the drug was given to concurrent drugs being taken or may have occurred by chance at the same time the suspected drug was taken.

Numbers from these data must be carefully interpreted as reported rates and not occurrence rates. True incidence rates cannot be determined from this database. Comparisons of drugs cannot be made from these data.”
— July 18, 20/05 – FDA Office of Pharmacoepidemiology and Statistical Science, “Adverse Event Reporting System (AERS) Brief Description with Caveats of System”

[Editor’s Note – ProCon.org makes no claim that the data below reflects occurrence rates. The information is presented for our readers’ benefit who may feel that the relative comparisons have value. ProCon.org attempted to find the total number of users of each of these drugs by contacting the FDA, pharmaceutical trade organizations, and the actual drug manufacturers. We either did not receive a response or were told the information was proprietary or otherwise unavailable]

IV. Summary of Deaths by Drug Classification

DRUG CLASSIFICATION
Specific
Drugs per
Category
Primary
Suspect of the Death
Secondary Suspect (Contributing to death)
Total Deaths Reported
1/1/97 – 6/30/05
A. MARIJUANA
also known as: Cannabis sativa L

Marijuana
Cannabis
Cannabinoids

0
279
279
B. ANTI-EMETICS
(used to treat vomiting)
Compazine
Reglan
Marinol
Zofran
Anzemet
Kytril
Tigan
196
429
625
C. ANTI-SPASMODICS
(used to treat muscle spasms)
Baclofen
Zanaflex
118
56
174
D. ANTI-PSYCHOTICS
(used to treat psychosis)
Haldol
Lithium
Neurontin
1,593
702
2,295
E. OTHER POPULAR DRUGS
(used to treat various conditions including ADD, depression, narcolepsy, erectile dysfunction, and pain)
Ritalin
Wellbutrin
Adderall
Viagra
Vioxx*
8,101
492
8,593
F. TOTALS of A-E
Number
of Drugs
in Total
Primary
Suspect of the Death
Secondary Suspect (Contributing to death)

Total Deaths Reported
1/1/97 – 6/30/05
  • TOTAL DEATHS FROM MARIJUANA
1
0
279
279
  • TOTAL DEATHS FROM 17 FDA-APPROVED DRUGS
17
10,008
1,679
11,687

V. Chart of Deaths from Marijuana and 17 FDA-Approved Drugs

A. Marijuana

DRUG (Year Approved)
Primary Suspect of the Death
Secondary Suspect (Contributing to death)

Total Deaths Reported
1/1/97 – 6/30/05
1. Marijuana (not approved)
also known as: Cannabis sativa L
0
109
109
2. Cannabis (not approved)
also known as: Cannabis sativa L
0
78
78
3. Cannabinoids
(unclear if these mentions include non-plant cannabinoids)
0
92
92
Sub-Total – Anti-Emetics
0
279
279

FDA-Approved Drugs Prescribed in Place of Medical Marijuana

B. Anti-Emetics

DRUG (Year Approved)
Primary Suspect of the Death
Secondary Suspect (Contributing to death)

Total Deaths Reported
1/1/97 – 6/30/05
1. Compazine (1980)
also known as: Phenothiazine, prochlorperazine
15
30
45
2. Reglan (1980)
also known as: Metaclopramide, Paspertin, Primperan
37
278
315
3. Marinol (1985)
also known as: Dronabinol
4
1
5
4. Zofran (1991)
also known as: Ondansetron hydrochloride
79
76
155
5. Anzemet (1997)
also known as: Dolasetron mesylatee
22
5
27
6. Kytril (1999)
also known as: Granisetron hydrochloride
36
24
60
7. Tigan (2001)
also known as: Trimethobenzamide
3
15
18
Sub-Total – Anti-Emetics
196
429
625

C. Anti-Spasmodics
DRUG (Year Approved)

Primary Suspect of the Death

Secondary Suspect (Contributing to death)

Total Deaths Reported
1/1/97 – 6/30/05

1. Baclofen (1967)
also known as: Lioresal, 4-amino-3-(4-chlorophenyl)-butanoic acid
72

33

105

2. Zanaflex (1996)
also known as: Tizanidine hydrochloride, Sirdalud, Ternelin

46

23

69

Sub-Total – Anti-Spasmodics

118

56

174

D. Anti-Psychotics
DRUG (Year Approved)
Primary Suspect of the Death
Secondary Suspect (Contributing to death)

Total Deaths Reported
1/1/97 – 6/30/05
1. Haldol (1967)
also known as: Haloperidol, Haldol Decanoate, Serenace, Halomonth
450
267
717
2. Lithium (1970)
also known as: Lithium Carbonate, Eskalith, Lithobid, Lithonate, Teralithe, Lithane, Hypnorex, Limas, Lithionit, Quilonum
175
133
308
3. Neurontin (1994)
also known as: Gabapentin
968
302
1,270
Sub-Total – Anti-Psychotics
1,593
702
2,295

E. Other Well-Known and Randomly Selected FDA-Approved Drugs
DRUG (Year Approved)
Primary Suspect of the Death
Secondary Suspect (Contributing to death)

Total Deaths Reported
1/1/97 – 6/30/05
1. Ritalin (1955)
also known as: Methylphenidate, Concerta, Medadate, Ritaline
(used to treat ADD and ADHD)
121
53
174
2. Wellbutrin (1997)
also known as: Bupropion Hydrochloride, Zyban, Zyntabac, Amfebutamone
(used to treat depression & anxiety)
1,132
220
1,352
3. Adderall (1966)
also known as: Dextroamphetamine Saccharate, Amphetamine Aspartate, Dextroamphetamine Sulfate USP, Amphetamine Sulfate USP
(used to treat narcolepsy or to control hyperactivity in children)
54
12
66
4. Viagra (1998)
also known as: Sildenafil Citrate
(used to treat erectile dysfunction)
2,254
40
2,294
5. Vioxx* (1999)
also known as: Rifecixub, Arofexx
(used to treat osteoarthritis and pain)
4,540
167
4,707
Sub-Total – Other Popular Drugs
8,101
492
8,593

F. TOTALS of A-E
Primary Suspect
Secondary Suspect (Contributing to death)

Total Deaths Reported
1/1/97 – 6/30/05
  • TOTAL DEATHS FROM MARIJUANA
0
279
279
  • TOTAL DEATHS FROM 17 FDA-APPROVED DRUGS
10,008
1,679
11,687
*[Editor’s Note: Merck, the maker of Vioxx, publicly announced its voluntary withdrawal of Vioxx from the global market on September 30, 2004. In 2005, advisory panels in both the US and Canada encouraged the return of Vioxx to the market, stating that Vioxx’s benefits outweighed the risks for some patients. The FDA advisory panel voted 17-15 to allow the drug to return to the market despite being found to increase heart risk. The vote in Canada was 12-1, and the Canadian panel noted that the cardiovascular risks from Vioxx seemed to be no worse than those from ibuprofen. Notwithstanding these recommendations, Merck has not returned Vioxx to the market as of July 8, 2009.]

VI. Sources & Disagreement on Marijuana Deaths
Has marijuana caused any deaths?
General Reference (not clearly pro or con)

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) 2003 report Mortality Data from the Drug Abuse Warning Network, 2001 (1.5 MB) stated:

“Marijuana is rarely the only drug involved in a drug abuse death. Thus … the proportion of marijuana-induced cases labeled as ‘One drug’ (i.e., marijuana only) will be zero or nearly zero.”
2003 – Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration 

PRO (Yes)
CON (No)
Thomas Geller, MD, Associate Professor of Child Neurology at the Saint Louis University Health Sciences Center, et al., wrote the following in their Apr. 4, 2004 article titled “Cerebellar Infarction in Adolescent Males Associated with Acute Marijuana Use,” (560 KB) published in the journal Pediatrics:

“Each of the 3 cannabis-associated cases of cerebellar infarction was confirmed by biopsy (1 case) or necropsy (2 cases)… Brainstem compromise caused by cerebellar and cerebral edema led to death in the 2 fatal cases.”
Apr. 4, 2004 – Thomas Geller, MD

Liliana Bachs, MD, Senior Medical Officer at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, et al., wrote the following in their Dec. 27, 2001 article titled “Acute Cardiovascular Fatalities Following Cannabis Use,” published in the journal Forensic Science International:

“Cannabis is generally considered to be a drug with very low toxicity. In this paper, we report six cases where recent cannabis intake was associated with sudden and unexpected death. An acute cardiovascular event was the probable cause of death. In all cases, cannabis intake was documented by blood analysis… Further investigation of clinical, toxicologial and epidemiological aspects are needed to enlighten causality between cannabis intake and acute cardiovascular events.”
Dec. 27, 2001 – Liliana Bachs, MD

[Editor’s Note: Dr. Bachs clarified the findings from her Dec. 27, 2001 study reported above in a Nov. 28, 2005 email to ProCon.org, as quoted below.

“Causality is a difficult assessment in forensic toxicology. It is often an ‘exclusion diagnosis,’ and so it is in our cases. I’m therefore not sure about how to classify those deaths.

At the time I published that study I would probably not classify [the cannabis] as primary causation because it was not broadly accepted that [a death from cannabis] could occur at all. Today I see reports coming all the time that acknowledge cannabis cardiovascular risks, and the situation may be different.”]

Stephen Sidney, MD, Associate Director for Clinical Research at Kaiser Permanente, wrote the following in his Sep. 20, 2003 article titled “Comparing Cannabis with Tobacco — Again,” published in the British Medical Journal:

“No acute lethal overdoses of cannabis are known, in contrast to several of its illegal (for example, cocaine) and legal (for example, alcohol, aspirin, acetaminophen) counterparts…

Although the use of cannabis is not harmless, the current knowledge base does not support the assertion that it has any notable adverse public health impact in relation to mortality.”
Sep. 20, 2003 – Stephen Sidney, MD 

Joycelyn Elders, MD, former US Surgeon General, wrote the following in her Mar. 26, 2004 editorial published in the Providence Journal:

“Unlike many of the drugs we prescribe every day, marijuana has never been proven to cause a fatal overdose.”
Mar. 26, 2004 – Joycelyn Elders, MD

VII. Full Text of All 20 FDA “Adverse Event” Reports

[Please note that some of these PDF files exceed 5 megabytes and may take several minutes to load]

  1. Adderall (PDF 495 KB)

  2. Anzemet (PDF 1.5 MB)

  3. Baclofen (PDF 755 KB)

  4. Cannabinoids (PDF 65 KB)

  5. Cannabis (PDF 330 KB)

  6. Compazine (PDF 1.6 MB)

  7. Haldol (PDF 1.5 MB)

  1. Kytril (PDF 2.2 MB)

  2. Lithium (PDF 2.4 MB)
  3. Marijuana (PDF 220 KB)
  4. Marinol (PDF 535 KB)
  5. Neurontin (PDF 6.3 MB)
  6. Ritalin (PDF 1.6 MB)
  7. Reglan (PDF 1.5 MB)
  1. Tigan (PDF 2.4 MB)
  2. Viagra (PDF 7.6 MB)
  3. Vioxx (PDF 31.5 MB)
  4. Wellbutrin (PDF 8.3 MB)
  5. Zanaflex (PDF 6556 KB)
  6. Zofran (PDF 1 MB)

Addictive Properties

Addictive Properties of Popular Drugs

Comparing Addictive Qualities of Popular Drugs

Withdrawal: Presence and severity of characteristic withdrawal symptoms.

Reinforcement: A measure of the substance’s ability, in human and animal tests, to get users
to take it again and again, and in preference to other substances.

Tolerance: How much of the substance is needed to satisfy increasing cravings for it, and the level of stable need that is eventually reached.

Dependence: How difficult it is for the user to quit, the relapse rate, the percentage of people who eventually become dependent, the rating users give their own need for the substance
and the degree to which the substance will be used in the face of evidence that it causes harm.

Intoxication: Though not usually counted as a measure of addiction in itself, the level of intoxication is associated with addiction and increases the personal and social damage a substance may do.

Source:

Jack E. Henningfield, PhD for NIDA, Reported by Philip J. Hilts, New York Times, Aug. 2, 1994 “Is Nicotine Addictive? It Depends on Whose Criteria You Use.”

Drug War Facts

Crime

  1. “The data are quite consistent with the view that Prohibition at the state level inhibited alcohol consumption, and an attempt to explain correlated residuals by including omitted variables revealed that enforcement of Prohibitionist legislation had a significant inhibiting effect as well. Moreover, both hypotheses about the effects of alcohol and Prohibition are supported by the analysis. Despite the fact that alcohol consumption is a positive correlate of homicide (as expected), Prohibition and its enforcement increased the homicide rate.”

    Source:

    Jensen, Gary F., “Prohibition, Alcohol, and Murder: Untangling Countervailing Mechanisms,” Homicide Studies, Vol. 4, No. 1 (Sage Publications: Thousand Oaks, CA, February 2000), p. 31.
    http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/Publications/abstract.aspx?ID=170654

  2. South Bank University’s Criminal Policy Research Unit conducted a detailed study of the policing of cannabis in England. The study found that:

    “One in seven of all known offenders in England and Wales were arrested for the possession of cannabis.

    “There has been a tenfold increase in the number of possession offences since the mid-1970s. There is no evidence that this increase has been an intended consequence of specific policy.

    “Possession offences most often come to light as a by-product of other investigations.

    “A minority of patrol officers ‘specialise’ in cannabis offences: 3 per cent of officers who had made any arrests for possession accounted for 20 per cent of all arrests.

    “Arrests for possession very rarely lead to the discovery of serious crimes.

    “Officers often turn a blind eye to possession offences, or give informal warnings.

    “Of the 69,000 offenders who were cautioned or convicted in 1999, just over half (58 per cent) were cautioned.

    “The financial costs of policing cannabis amount to at least £50 million a year (including sentencing costs), and absorb the equivalent of 500 full-time police officers.

    “The researchers conclude that:

    “- re-classification of cannabis to a Class C drug will yield some financial savings, allowing patrol officers to respond more effectively to other calls on their time;
    “- the main benefits of reclassification would be non-financial, in removing a source of friction between the police and young people;
    “- there would be a very small decline in detection of serious offences, but this should readily be offset by the savings in police time.”

    Source:

    “Findings: The Policing of Cannabis as a Class B Drug,” (London, England: Joseph Rowntree Foundation, March 2002), p. 1.
    http://www.jrf.org.uk/sites/files/jrf/332.pdf

  3. “Contrary to conventional wisdom and popular myth, alcohol is more tightly linked with more violent crimes than crack, cocaine, heroin or any other illegal drug. In state prisons, 21 percent of inmates in prison for violent crimes were under the influence of alcohol–and no other substance–when they committed their crime; in contrast, at the time of their crimes, only three percent of violent offenders were under the influence of cocaine or crack alone, only one percent under the influence of heroin alone.”

    Source:

    Califano, Joseph, Behind Bars: Substance Abuse and America’s Prison Population, Forward by Joseph Califano, The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (1998).
    http://www.casacolumbia.org/absolutenm/articlefiles/379-Behind%20Bars.pd…

  4. Crime – Data

    (2008) Although people may think that the Drug War targets drug smugglers and ‘King Pins,’ in 2008, 49.8 percent (half) of the 1,702,537 total arrests for drug abuse violations were for marijuana — a total of 847,863. Of those, 754,224 people were arrested for marijuana possession alone. By contrast in 2000 a total of 734,497 Americans were arrested for marijuana offenses, of which 646,042 were for possession alone.

    US Arrests
    Year Total Arrests Total Drug Arrests Total Marijuana Arrests Marijuana Trafficking/Sale Arrests Marijuana Possession Arrests Total Violent Crime Arrests Total Property Crime Arrests
    2008 14,005,615 1,702,537 847,863 93,640 754,224 594,911 1,687,345
    2007 14,209,365 1,841,182 872,720 97,583 775,137 597,447 1,610,088
    2006 14,380,370 1,889,810 829,627 90,711 738,916 611,523 1,540,297
    2005 14,094,186 1,846,351 786,545 90,471 696,074 603,503 1,609,327
    2004 14,004,327 1,745,712 771,605 87,286 684,319 590,258 1,649,825
    2003 13,639,479 1,678,192 755,186 92,300 662,886 597,026 1,605,127
    2002 13,741,438 1,538,813 697,082 83,096 613,986 620,510 1,613,954
    2001 13,699,254 1,586,902 723,628 82,519 641,109 627,132 1,618,465
    2000 13,980,297 1,579,566 734,497 88,455 646,042 625,132 1,620,928
    1999 14,355,600 1,532,200 704,812 84,271 620,541 644,770 1,676,100
    1998 14,528,300 1,559,100 682,885 84,191 598,694 675,900 1,805,600
    1997 15,284,300 1,583,600 695,201 88,682 606,519 717,750 2,015,600
    1996 15,168,100 1,506,200 641,642 94,891 546,751 729,900 2,045,600
    1995 15,119,800 1,476,100 588,964 85,614 503,350 796,250 2,128,600
    1990 14,195,100 1,089,500 326,850 66,460 260,390 705,500 2,217,800
    1980 10,441,000 580,900 401,982 63,318 338,664 475,160 1,863,300
    Source:

    Crime in America: FBI Uniform Crime Reports 2008 (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, 2008), Table 29, from the web at http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2008/data/table_29.html and Arrest Table: Arrests for Drug Abuse Violations, from the web http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2008/arrests/index.html last accessed Sept. 19, 2009; Crime in America: FBI Uniform Crime Reports 2007 (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, 2008), Table 29, from the web at http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2007/data/table_29.html and Arrest Table: Arrests for Drug Abuse Violations, from the web http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2007/arrests/index.html last accessed Sept. 18, 2008; Crime in America: FBI Uniform Crime Reports 2006 (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, 2007), Table 29, from the web at http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2006/data/table_29.html and Arrest Table: Arrests for Drug Abuse Violations, from the web http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2006/arrests/index.html last accessed Sept. 24, 2007; Crime in America: FBI Uniform Crime Reports 2005 (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, 2006), Table 29, from the web at http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/05cius/data/table_29.html and Arrest Table: Arrests for Drug Abuse Violations, from the web http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/05cius/arrests/index.html last accessed Sept. 20, 2006; Crime in the United States: FBI Uniform Crime Reports 2004 (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 2005), p. 278, Table 4.1 & p. 280, Table 29; Federal Bureau of Investigation, Crime in America: FBI Uniform Crime Reports 2003 (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 2004), p. 269, Table 4.1 & and p. 270, Table 29; Federal Bureau of Investigation, Crime in America: FBI Uniform Crime Reports 2002 (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 2003), p. 234, Table 4.1 & and p. 234, Table 29; Federal Bureau of Investigation, Crime in America: FBI Uniform Crime Reports 2001 (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 2002), p. 232, Table 4.1 & and p. 233, Table 29; Uniform Crime Reports for the United States 2000 (Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 2001), pp. 215-216, Tables 29 and 4.1; Uniform Crime Reports for the United States 1999 (Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 2000), pp. 211-212; Federal Bureau of Investigation, Uniform Crime Reports for the United States 1998 (Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 1999), pp. 209-210; Crime in America: FBI Uniform Crime Reports 1997 (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1998), p. 221, Table 4.1 & p. 222, Table 29; Crime in America: FBI Uniform Crime Reports 1996 (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1997), p. 213, Table 4.1 & p. 214, Table 29; FBI, UCR for the US 1995 (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1996), pp. 207-208; FBI, UCR for the US 1990 (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1991), pp. 173-174; FBI, UCR for the US 1980 (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1981), pp. 189-191; Bureau of Justice Statistics, Chart of arrests by age group, number and rates for total offenses, violent offenses, and property offenses, 1970-2003, Dec. 2004.

  5. (2007) In 1973, there were 328,670 arrests logged in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) for drug law violations. In 2007, that number rose to 1,841,182 arrests for drug law violations logged in the UCR. Also in 2006, there were a reported 597,447 arrests for all violent crimes and 1,610,088 arrests for all property crimes, out of a total 14,209,365 arrests for all offenses.

    Source:

    FBI Uniform Crime Reports 1973 (Note: 1973 data supplied by the National Criminal Justice Reference Service); Crime in America: FBI Uniform Crime Reports 2007 (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, 2008), Table 29, from the web at http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2007/data/table_29.html and Arrest Table: Arrests for Drug Abuse Violations, from the web at http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2007/arrests/index.html last accessed Sept. 18, 2008.

  6. (2007) Of the 1,841,182 arrests for drug law violations in 2007, 82.5% (1,518,975) were for possession of a controlled substance. Only 17.5% (322,207) were for the sale or manufacture of a drug.

    Source:

    Crime in America: FBI Uniform Crime Reports 2007 (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, 2008), Table 29, from the web at
    http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2007/data/table_29.html
    Arrest Table: Arrests for Drug Abuse Violations, from the web at
    http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2007/arrests/index.html last accessed Sept. 18, 2008.

  7. (2007) “During 2007, about 1 in 5 large law enforcement agencies had a specialized aviation unit operating at least one fixedwing plane or helicopter. These 201 aviation units, located in departments of 100 or more sworn officers, employed about 3,400 persons, operated almost 900 aircraft in 46 states and the District of Columbia, and logged an estimated 363,000 flight hours.

    “Aviation units spent an estimated total of $300 million in 2007 on aircraft purchases, leasing and financing, and maintenance and fuel.

    “Among aviation units operating planes, the three most common functions performed by 80% or more of all units were pilot training (87%), surveillance (84%), and personnel transport (80%). By contrast, over 80% of aviation units using a helicopter engaged in the following seven functions: photographic flights (99%), surveillance (97%), routine patrol or patrol support (93%), fugitive searches (91%), pilot training (90%), search and rescue (90%), and drug location and interdiction (89%).”

    Source:

    Langston, Lynn, “Aviation Units in Large Enforcement Agencies, 2007” (Washington, DC: USDOJ, Bureau of Justice Statistics, July 2009), NCJ 226672. pp. 1, 10.
    http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/aullea07.pdf

  8. (2005) “Increases in admissions to substance abuse treatment are associated with reductions in crime rates. Admissions to drug treatment increased 37.4 percent and federal spending on drug treatment increased 14.6 percent from 1995 to 2005. During the same period, violent crime fell 31.5 percent. Maryland experienced decreases in crime when jurisdictions increased the number of people sent to drug treatment.”

    Source:

    Justice Policy Institute, “Substance Abuse Treatment and Public Safety,” (Washington, DC: January 2008), p. 1.
    http://www.justicepolicy.org/images/upload/08_01_REP_DrugTx_AC-PS.pdf

  9. (Sum of 2000-2004) “Table 9 provides the reported instances in each offense record in which the offenders were suspected of using alcohol, computers, and/or drugs.22 The data show that such use was minimal in situations occurring at schools during the 5-year study period. Of the 589,534 offense records, reports of offenders suspected of using drugs totaled 32,366, while reports of alcohol use totaled 5,844.”

    Source:

    Noonan, James H., Vavra, Malissa C., “Crime in Schools and Colleges: A Study of Offenders and Arrestees Reported via National Incident-Based Reporting System Data,” United States Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Criminal Justice Information Services Division (Washington DC: October 2007), p. 14.
    http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/schoolviolence/2007/schoolviolence.pdf

  10. (2004) “The DEA employed about 4,400 officers with the authority to make arrests and carry firearms as of September 2004. These DEA agents primarily investigate major narcotics violators, enforce regulations governing the manufacture and dispensing of controlled substances, and perform various other functions to prevent and control drug trafficking.

    “The FBI employed 12,242 full-time personnel with arrest and firearm authority. These agents investigate more than 200 types of federal crimes. The FBI has concurrent jurisdiction with the DEA over drug offenses under the Controlled Substances Act.”

    Source:

    Reaves, Brian, “Federal Law Enforcement Officers, 2004” (Washington, DC: USDOJ, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Jan. 2009), NCJ222984, Table 1, p. 2. As quoted from the web on 10/29/09 at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/dcf/enforce.htm
    http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/pdf/fleo04.pdf

  11. (2003) “In 2003 an estimated 47% of sheriffs’ offices had one or more officers assigned full time to a multi-agency drug enforcement task force (table 31), including 89% of sheriffs’ offices serving 1 million or more residents. About 71% of all officers worked for a department that assigned officers to a drug task force.

    “Nationwide, an estimated 3,477 officers were assigned full time to a drug task force. The average number assigned full time ranged from 9 in sheriffs’ offices serving a population of 1 million or more to 1 in those serving fewer than 10,000 residents.”

    Source:

    Hickman, Matthew J.. and Reaves, Brian A., “Sheriffs’ Offices 2003” (Washington, DC: USDOJ, Bureau of Justice Statistics, May. 2006), NCJ 211361.
    http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/pdf/so03.pdf

  12. (2003) “Nine in 10 sheriffs’ offices regularly performed drug enforcement functions (table 29). Sheriffs’ offices with drug enforcement responsibilities employed 90% of all local police officers.

    Thirty-six percent of sheriffs’ offices operated a special unit for drug enforcement with one or more officers assigned full-time (table 30). A majority of sheriffs’ offices serving a population of 250,000 or more residents had a fulltime drug enforcement unit. There were an estimated 4,031 officers assigned full time to drug enforcement units nationwide. The average number of officers assigned ranged from 27 in jurisdictions with 1 million or more residents to 2 in those with fewer than 50,000 residents.”

    Source:

    Hickman, Matthew J.. and Reaves, Brian A., “Sheriffs’ Offices 2003” (Washington, DC: USDOJ, Bureau of Justice Statistics, May. 2006), NCJ 211361. p. 15. As quoted from the web on 10/30/09 at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/dcf/enforce.htm
    http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/so03.pdf

  13. Murder in America (1998) The chart at the right illustrates the homicide rate in the United States from 1900 to 1998. It is important to note that each of the most violent episodes in this century coincide with the prohibition on alcohol and the escalation of the modern-day war on drugs. In 1933 the homicide rate peaked at 9.7 per 100,000 people, which was the year that alcohol prohibition was finally repealed. In 1980, the homicide rate peaked again at 10 per 100,000.

    Source:

    US Census Data and FBI Uniform Crime Reports.

  14. (1996) Federal statistics show that a large percentage of criminal offenders were under the influence of alcohol alone when they committed their crimes (36.3%, or a total of 1,919,251 offenders). Federal research also shows for more than 40% of convicted murderers being held in either jail or State prison, alcohol use was a factor in the crime.

    Source:

    Greenfield, Lawrence A., Alcohol and Crime: An Analysis of National Data on the Prevalence of Alcohol Involvement in Crime (Washington, DC: US Department of Justice, April 1998), pp. 20-21.
    http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/ac.pdf

  15. (2006) “According to law enforcement reporting, some individuals and criminal groups divert CPDs through doctor-shopping and use insurance fraud to fund their schemes. In fact, Aetna, Inc. reports that nearly half of its 1,065 member fraud cases in 2006 (the latest year for which data are available) involved prescription benefits, and most were related to doctor-shopping, according to the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud (CAIF). CAIF further reports that diversion of CPDs collectively costs insurance companies up to $72.5 billion annually, nearly two-thirds of which is paid by public insurers. Individual insurance plans lose an estimated $9 million to $850 million annually, depending on each plan’s size; much of that cost is passed on to consumers through higher annual premiums.”

    Source:

    National Drug Intelligence Center, Drug Enforcement Administration, “National Prescription Drug Threat Assessment,” (Washington DC, April 2009), p. 20.
    http://www.justice.gov/ndic/pubs33/33775/33775p.pdf

  16. Crime – Legal Issues

    The Controlled Substances Act of 1970:

    “(a) Establishment There are established five schedules of controlled substances, to be known as schedules I, II, III, IV, and V ….”

    “(b)…. The findings required for each of the schedules are as follows:

    “(1) Schedule I. – (A) The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse. (B) The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. (C) There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.

    “(2) Schedule II. – (A) The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse. (B) The drug or other substance has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States or a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions. (C) Abuse of the drug or other substances may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.

    “(3) Schedule III. – (A) The drug or other substance has a potential for abuse less than the drugs or other substances in schedules I and II. (B) The drug or other substance has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. (C) Abuse of the drug or other substance may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychologicaldependence.

    “(4) Schedule IV. – (A) The drug or other substance has a low potential for abuse relative to the drugs or other substances in schedule III. (B) The drug or other substance has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. (C) Abuse of the drug or other substance may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to the drugs or other substances in schedule III.

    “(5) Schedule V. – (A) The drug or other substance has a low potential for abuse relative to the drugs or other substances in schedule IV. (B) The drug or other substance has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. (C) Abuse of the drug or other substance may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to the drugs or other substances in schedule IV.”

    Source:

    The Controlled Substances Act of 1970, 21 U.S.C. §§ 812 et seq. http://www.justice.gov/dea/pubs/csa/812.htm

  17. Sec. 844. Penalties for simple possession [of Controlled Substances – also called the Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity]

    STATUTE
    (a) Unlawful acts; penalties
    “…. Notwithstanding the preceding sentence, a person convicted under this subsection for the possession of a mixture or substance which contains cocaine base shall be imprisoned not less than 5 years and not more than 20 years, and fined a minimum of $1,000, if the conviction is a first conviction under this subsection and the amount of the mixture or substance exceeds 5 grams, if the conviction is after a prior conviction for the possession of such a mixture or substance under this subsection becomes final and the amount of the mixture or substance exceeds 3 grams, or if the conviction is after 2 or more prior convictions for the possession of such a mixture or substance under this subsection become final and the amount of the mixture or substance exceeds 1 gram.”

    Source:

    Title 21 – Food and Drugs, Chpater 13 – Drug Abuse Prevention and Control, Subchapter I – Control and Enforcement, Part D – Offenses and Penalties. 21 U.S.C. §§ 844 et seq. http://www.justice.gov/dea/pubs/csa/844.htm

  18. “Initial schedules of controlled substances Schedules I, II, III, IV, and V shall, unless and until amended (FOOTNOTE 1) pursuant to section 811 of this title, consist of the following drugs or other substances:”

    SCHEDULE I
    (b): (10) Heroin
    (c): (2) 5-methoxy-3,4-methylenedioxy amphetamine [MDMA]. (8) Ibogaine. (9) Lysergic acid diethylamide [LSD] . (10) Marihuana [marijuana, cannabis]. (11) Mescaline. (12) Peyote. (15) Psilocybin. (16) Psilocyn. (17) Tetrahydrocannabinols.
    Sec. 3: Gamma hydroxybutyric acid (GHB)

    SCHEDULE II
    (a): (1) Opium and opiate, and any salt, compound, derivative, or preparation of opium or opiate. (3) Opium poppy and poppy straw. (4) coca (FOOTNOTE 3) leaves, except coca leaves and extracts of coca leaves from which cocaine, ecgonine, and derivatives of ecgonine or their salts have been removed; cocaine, its salts, optical and geometric isomers, and salts of isomers …
    (b:): (6) Fentanyl. (4) Dihydrocodeine. (11) Methadone.

    SCHEDULE III
    (a): (1) Amphetamine
    (e): Anabolic steroids

    SCHEDULE IV
    (1) Barbital. (7) Meprobamate [Milltown].

    Source:

    The Controlled Substances Act of 1970, 21 U.S.C. §§ 812 et seq. http://www.justice.gov/dea/pubs/csa/812.htm

  19. “The 5-part test for fulfilling the accepted medical use criteria of Schedule II is now comprised of the following:

    • the drug’s chemistry must be known and reproducible;
    • there must be adequate safety studies;
    • there must be adequate and well-controlled studies proving efficacy;
    • the drug must be accepted by qualified experts; and
    • the scientific evidence must be widely available.

    A drug must meet all 5 criteria to be considered for rescheduling by the DEA.”

    Source:

    American Medical Association, Council on Science and Public Health, “Report 3 of the Council on Science and Public Health: Use of Cannabis for Medicinal Purposes” (December 2009) p. 8.
    http://americansforsafeaccess.org/downloads/AMA_Report.pdf

  20. Crime – Sec. 844. Penalties for simple possession [of Controlled Substances]

    STATUTE
    (a) Unlawful acts; penalties
    It shall be unlawful for any person knowingly or intentionally to possess a controlled substance unless such substance was obtained directly, or pursuant to a valid prescription or order, from a practitioner, while cting in the course of his professional practice, or except as otherwise authorized by this subchapter or subchapter II of this chapter.”

    “Any person who violates this subsection may be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not more than 1 year …..”

    “if he commits such offense after a prior conviction under this subchapter or subchapter II of this chapter, or a prior conviction for any drug, narcotic, or chemical offense chargeable under the law of any State, has become final, he shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment for not less than 15 days but not more than 2 years, and shall be fined a minimum of $2,500 ….”

    “if he commits such offense after two or more prior convictions under this subchapter or subchapter II of this chapter, or two or more prior convictions for any drug, narcotic, or chemical offense chargeable under the law of any State, or a combination of two or more such offenses have become final, he shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment for not less than 90 days but not more than 3 years, and shall be fined a minimum of $5,000.”

    Source:

    Title 21 – Food and Drugs, Chpater 13 – Drug Abuse Prevention and Control, Subchapter I – Control and Enforcement, Part D – Offenses and Penalties. 21 U.S.C. §§ 844 et seq. http://www.justice.gov/dea/pubs/csa/844.htm

  21. Crime – Studies and Research

    “Generalizing from the findings on Prohibition, we can hypothesize that decriminalization would increase the use of the previously criminalized drug, but would decrease violence associated with attempts to control illicit markets and as resolutions to disputes between buyers and sellers. Moreover, because the perception of violence associated with the drug market can lead people who are not directly involved to be prepared for violent self-defense, there could be additional reductions in peripheral settings when disputes arise (see Blumstein & Cork, 1997; Sheley & Wright, 1996).”

    Source:

    Jensen, Gary F., “Prohibition, Alcohol, and Murder: Untangling Countervailing Mechanisms,” Homicide Studies, Vol. 4, No. 1 (Sage Publications: Thousand Oaks, CA, February 2000), pp. 33-4.
    http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/Abstract.aspx?id=180958

  22. “While it may seem obvious that locking up more people would lower the crime rate, the reality is much more complicated. Sentencing and release policies, not crime rates, determine the numbers of persons in prison. This point is illustrated by examining what happened to incarceration rates and crime rates nationally in the period from 1991-1998. … The three largest states offer useful examples: Texas experienced a 144% increase in incarceration with a 35% drop in crime rates, and California had a 44% rise in its incarceration rate with a 36% drop in crime rates. In contrast, New York saw its incarceration rate increase by only 24%, yet nonetheless experienced a drop in crime rates of 43%.”

    Source:

    Alexander, Elizabeth, “Michigan Breaks the Political Logjam: A New Model for Reducing Prison Populations,” American Civil Liberties Union (November 2009), p. 4.
    http://www.aclu.org/files/assets/2009-12-18-MichiganReport.pdf

  23. The average “dealer” holds a low-wage job and sells part-time to obtain drugs for his or her own use. “Earnings for drug selling were positively correlated (though weakly) with legitimate earnings. Drug selling seemed to be a complement to, rather than a substitute for, legitimate employment.”

    Source:

    Reuter, P., MacCoun, R., & Murphy, P., Money from Crime: A Study of the Economics of Drug Dealing in Washington DC (Santa Monica, CA: The RAND Corporation, 1990), pp. 49-50.
    http://www.rand.org/pubs/reports/2005/R3894.pdf

  24. The Canadian Medical Association Journal published research on the impact of a police crackdown on a public illicit drug market in the Downtown Eastside (DTES) section of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The researchers found that: “Our results probably explain reports of increased injection drug use, drug-related crime and other public-order concerns in neighbourhoods where activities related to illicit drug use and the sex trade emerged or intensified in the wake of the crackdown. Such displacement has profound public-health implications if it “normalizes” injection drug use among previously unexposed at-risk youth. Furthermore, since difficulty in obtaining syringes has been shown to be a significant factor in promoting syringe sharing among IDUs in Vancouver, displacement away from sources of sterile syringes may increase the rates of bloodborne diseases. Escalated police presence may also explain the observed reduction in willingness to use a safer injection facility.33 It is unlikely that the lack of benefit of the crackdown was due to insufficient police resources. Larger crackdowns in the United States, which often involved helicopters to supplement foot and car patrols, have not had measurable benefits and have instead been associated with substantial health and social harms.”

    Source:

    Wood, Evan, Patricia M. Spittal, Will Small, Thomas Kerr, Kathy Li, Robert S. Hogg, Mark W. Tyndall, Julio S.G. Montaner, Martin T. Schechter, “Displacement of Canada’s Largest Public Illicit Drug Market In Response To A Police Crackdown,” Canadian Medical Association Journal, May 11, 2004: 170(10), pp. 1554-1555.
    http://www.ecmaj.ca/cgi/reprint/170/10/1551

  25. “As this paper demonstrates, the pharmacological effect of a drug does not necessarily determine how a drug will be governed. Rather, it is the way a drug is framed that determines how the drug will be popularly understood and ultimately regulated. According to the Regulatory Regime / Norms model, the meaning of any drug (how it is perceived or understood) is initially ambiguous and indeterminate. As a result, the project of getting a drug into a particular regulatory regime is about allocating specific meaning and significance to the drug in order to prompt individuals to think and feel about the drug in a way that allows for regime placement. This is accomplished by framing a drug to match the norms of a particular regime. Thus, the critical work at the level of regulation is in the framing.”

    “Once a group has persuasively framed a drug in a way that resonates with the norms of its regime of choice, then the drug may be placed in that regime, regardless of whether the designation decision is supported by scientific or medical evidence. As we have seen with cocaine, marijuana and anabolic steroids, however, if a drug in the criminal regulatory regime is closely associated with socially maligned groups or racial minorities, then it is substantially more difficult for the drug to eventually migrate out of the regime.”

    Source:

    Paul-Emile, Kimani, “Making Sense of Drug Regulation: A Theory of Law for Drug Control Policy,” Fordham University School of Law, Cornell Journal of Law and Policy (December 2009), p. 52.
    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1523401

  26. The Canadian Medical Association Journal published research on the impact of a police crackdown on a public illicit drug market in the Downtown Eastside (DTES) section of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The researchers found that: “We detected no reduction in druguse frequency or drug price in response to a large-scale police crackdown on drug users in Vancouver’s DTES. The evidence that drugs became more difficult to obtain was consistent with reports of displacement of drug dealers and was supported by the significantly higher rates of reporting that police presence had affected where drugs were used, including changes in neighbourhood and increases in use in public places. These observations were validated by examination of needle-exchange statistics.

    “Our findings are consistent with those showing that demand for illicit drugs enables the illicit drug market to adapt to and overcome enforcement-related constraints. Although evidence suggested that police presence made it more difficult to obtain drugs, this appeared to be explained by displacement of drug dealers.”

    Source:

    Wood, Evan, Patricia M. Spittal, Will Small, Thomas Kerr, Kathy Li, Robert S. Hogg, Mark W. Tyndall, Julio S.G. Montaner, Martin T. Schechter, “Displacement of Canada’s Largest Public Illicit Drug Market In Response To A Police Crackdown,” Canadian Medical Association Journal, May 11, 2004: 170(10), p. 1554.
    http://www.cmaj.ca/cgi/content/full/170/10/1551

  27. Adolescents and Crime

    (2007) There were an estimated 195,700 arrests of young people for drug abuse violations in 2007.

    “Between 1990 and 1997, the juvenile arrest rate for drug abuse violations increased 145%. The rate declined 21% between 1997 and 2007, but the 2007 rate was still almost double the 1990 rate.

    “Over the 1980–2007 period, the juvenile drug arrest rate for whites peaked in 1997 and then held relatively constant through 2007 (down 10%). In contrast, the rate for blacks peaked in 1995, then fell 49% by 2002. Despite the recent increase—23% since 2002—the rate in 2007 was 37% less than the 1995 peak.”

    Source:

    Puzzanchera, Charles, “Juvenile Arrests 2007” (Washington, DC: US Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, April 2009), p. 10.
    http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/225344.pdf

  28. (2007) The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention estimated that in 2007 there were 195,700 arrests of juveniles for drug abuse violations out of a total 2,180,500 juvenile arrests. By comparison, there were 97,100 violent crime index offense arrests and 419,000 property crime index offense arrests of juveniles that year.

    Source:

    Puzzanchera, Charles, “Juvenile Arrests 2007” (Washington, DC: US Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, April 2009), p. 3.
    http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/225344.pdf

  29. (2004) “Table 10 shows the offense for which the arrestee was apprehended. The most common offense code reported in arrestee records was simple assault–a crime against persons, followed by drug/narcotic violations–a crime against society. These two arrest offense codes were reportedly associated with more than half (52.2 percent) of the total arrestees.” These values were 51,462 “Simple Assaults” and 43,294 “Drug/Narcotics Violations” in Schools and Colleges over a five year period from 2000 through 2004. Other related counts during the same time frame were 5,108 “Drug Equipment Violations”, 594 “Liquor Law Violations”, 202 for “Drunkenness”, and 95 for “Driving Under the Influence”.

    Source:

    Noonan, James H., Vavra, Malissa C., “Crime in Schools and Colleges: A Study of Offenders and Arrestees Reported via National Incident-Based Reporting System Data,” United States Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Criminal Justice Information Services Division (Washington DC: October 2007), pp. 14-16.
    http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/schoolviolence/2007/schoolviolence.pdf

  30. (2004) “Under the UCR Program, the FBI requires law enforcement agencies to classify an arrest by the most serious offense charged in that arrest. For example, the arrest of a youth charged with aggravated assault and possession of a controlled substance would be reported to the FBI as an arrest for aggravated assault. Therefore, when arrest statistics show that law enforcement agencies made an estimated 193,900 arrests of young people for drug abuse violations in 2004, it means that a drug abuse violation was the most serious charge in these 193,900 arrests. An unknown number of additional arrests in 2004 included a drug charge as a lesser offense.”

    Source:

    Snyder, Howard N., “Juvenile Arrests 2004” (Washington, DC: US Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, December 2006), p. 2.
    http://www.noys.org/Juvenile%20Arrests%202004.pdf

  31. (2003) “In contrast to the 1980-1993 period, the overall juvenile drug arrest rate increased by 77% in the short period between 1993 and 1997. Large increases were also seen in the rates of juvenile subgroups: male (72%), female (119%), white (109%), American Indian (160%), and Asian (105%). The black juvenile arrest rate for drug abuse violations, which had increased dramatically in the earlier period, increased an additional 25% between 1993 and 1997. Between 1997 and 2003, the juvenile drug arrest rate fell marginally (22%), with most of the overall decline attributable to a drop in arrests of blacks (41%) and males (24%).”

    Source:

    Snyder, Howard N., and Sickmund, Melissa, “Juvenile Offenders and Victims: 2006 National Report” (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, March 2006), p. 144.
    http://ojjdp.ncjrs.org/ojstatbb/nr2006/downloads/NR2006.pdf

  32. (2003) “In 1980, there were an estimated 1,476 arrests of persons ages 10-12 for every 100,000 persons in this age group in the U.S. population. By 2003, this arrest rate had fallen to 1,296, a decline of 12%. In 1980, 9.5% of all juvenile arrests were arrests of persons under age 13; in 2003, this percentage had decreased to 8.5% — with the majority of the decrease occurring during the mid-1990s.”

    Source:

    Snyder, Howard N., and Sickmund, Melissa, “Juvenile Offenders and Victims: 2006 National Report,” (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, March 2006), p. 130.
    http://ojjdp.ncjrs.org/ojstatbb/nr2006/downloads/NR2006.pdf

  33. (2003) “Juveniles using drugs or alcohol committed 1 in 10 of the nonfatal violent victimizations against older teens. This was 2-1/2 times higher than the percentage of victimizations against younger teens perceived to be committed by a juvenile who was using drugs or alcohol.

    “Younger teens were more likely than older teens to report that their juvenile offender was not using drugs or alcohol. In about 4 in 10 victimizations against younger and older teens committed by juveniles, the victim could not ascertain whether or not the offender was using drugs or alcohol.”

    Source:

    Baum, Katrina, PhD, “Juvenile Victimization and Offending, 1993-2003” (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Aug. 2005), p. 8.
    http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/jvo03.pdf