Published: Mar 15, 2018, 5:00 am • Updated: Mar 15, 2018, 11:42 am
None of the state medical marijuana laws adopted thus far in the U.S. can be considered ideal from a patient’s standpoint, and because of their patchwork nature, those laws do not function equitably and are often poorly designed, according to a new report by Americans for Safe Access.
The advocacy group’s new 2018 annual report, “Marijuana Access in the United States, A Patient-Focused Analysis of the Patchwork of State Laws,” evaluates every state with any medical marijuana laws on a 500-point scale.
Of the 46 states and three U.S. territories with some form of a medical marijuana program — covering about 95 percent of the country’s population — none received an “A” rating.
There is reason for patients and advocates to have optimism in seven states awarded a “B+” in 2017: California, Hawaii, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio and Oregon. That’s a 133 percent improvement compared to 2016, according to ASA.
But there’s still a long way to go in the 16 states received an “F” this year, a grade given to the states that limit their medical cannabis programs to cannabidiol, one of the compounds found in cannabis.
That’s still better than the states that received no grade at all — Idaho, Nebraska, Kansas and South Dakota have no medical cannabis protections on the books.
“We want lawmakers to use this report to see that there are gaps in their medical cannabis programs. Even programs that have been around for decades like California still have room for improvement,” Steph Sherer, ASA’s executive director, said in a statement.
This year, ASA calls on the states to improve their medical cannabis programs in order to combat the opioid epidemic.