16 J. Health Care L. & Pol'y 39 (2013)
State Medical Marijuana Implementation and Federal Policy

handle is hein.journals/hclwpo16 and id is 43 raw text is: STATE MEDICAL MARIJUANA
IMPLEMENTATION AND
FEDERAL POLICY
KAREN O'KEEFE*
Since 1996, eighteen states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws
removing their own criminal sanctions for qualifying patients possessing marijuana
for medical purposes and for cultivation of marijuana by qualifying patients,
dispensaries, or both.' Polling shows that more than seventy percent of Americans
support allowing the use of medical marijuana with doctors' approval, so it is
expected that the number of medical marijuana states will continue to grow.2
Meanwhile, with the exception of approved research, the medical use of marijuana
remains illegal under federal law.3
Copyright 0 2013 by Karen O'Keefe.
* Director of State Policies, Marijuana Policy Project. J.D., Loyola University College of Law (New
Orleans).
1. Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia,
Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island,
Vermont, and Washington have enacted such laws. ALASKA STAT.  17.37 (2010); ARIZ. REV. STAT.
ANN.  36-2801-19 (Supp. 2012); CAL. HEALTH & SAFETY CODE  11362.5 (West 2007),  11362.7-
.9; COLO. CONST. art. XVIII,  14; COLO. REV. STAT. ANN.  12-43.3-101-106 (West 2012),  18-18-
406.3 (West 2012),  25-1.5-106 (West 2012); 2012 Conn. Acts 55 (Reg Sess.); DEL. CODE ANN. tit. 16,
 4901a-4926a (2011); D.C. CODE  7-1671 (Supp. 2012); HAW. REV. STAT. ANN.  329-121-128
(LexisNexis 2008 & Supp. 2011); ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 22,  2421-2430-B (Supp. 2011); 2012
Mass. Legis. Serv. 369 (West); MICH. COMP. LAWS ANN.  333.26421-.26430 (West Supp. 2012);
MONT. CODE ANN.  50-46-301-344 (2011); NEV. CONST. art IV,  38; NEV. REV. STAT. ANN. 
453A.010-.810 (LexisNexis Supp. 2011); N.J. STAT. ANN.  24:61-1-16 (West Supp. 2012); N.M.
STAT. ANN.  26-2B-1-7 (LexisNexis Supp. 2011); OR. REV. STAT. ANN.  475.300-.346 (2011); R.I.
GEN. LAWS  21-28.6-1-12 (2011); VT. STAT. ANN. tit. 18,  4472-741 (LexisNexis Supp. 2012);
WASH. REV. CODE ANN.  69.51A.005-.903 (West 2012). In addition, Maryland has a law that does
not include home cultivation or dispensary access to medical marijuana, but that does include a defense
for simple possession. MD. CODE ANN., CRIM. LAW  5-601(c)(3)(iii) (West Supp. 2012). The Maryland
General Assembly also recently passed legislation allowing for some medical centers to distribute
medical marijuana. H.B. 1101, 433rd Leg., Ist Sess. (Md. 2013).
2. PEW RESEARCH CTR., BROAD PUBLIC SUPPORT FOR LEGALIZING MEDICAL MARIJUANA 1
(2010), available at http://www.people-press.org/files/legacy-pdf/602.pdf.
3. Compare 21 U.S.C.  812(b), (c) (2011) (defining Schedule I controlled substances and
classifying marijuana as such), 21 U.S.C.  841(a)(1) (prohibiting the manufacture, distribution,
dispensing, and possession of controlled substances), and 21 U.S.C.  844(a) (2011) (imposing civil
sanctions for possession of small amounts of controlled substances), with 21 U.S.C.  823(f) (2011)
(providing that health care practitioners who wish to conduct research on Schedule I controlled
substances shall apply to the Secretary of Health and Human Services for such registration), and United

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