The November 8 ballots produced a solid victory for medical marijuana proponents, with several states passing new medical marijuana laws.
Four states – Arkansas, Florida, Montana and North Dakota – will all now allow those seeking pain relief and treatment for numerous illnesses to have access to the healing benefits of the cannabis plant.
Before Tuesday, only 25 states had passed medical marijuana measures, so the results represent something of a symbolic victory as the tide turns in favor of sane medicinal marijuana laws.
In three of the states – Arkansas, Florida and North Dakota – similar measures were defeated in the past – a fact that suggests a slow but steady change in attitudes regarding the use of cannabis as medicine.
A state-by-state analysis of the newly-approved measures
State by state, here are the details of the newly-approved initiatives:
Arkansas – The passage of Issue 6 makes Arkansas the first Bible Belt state to legalize cannabis for medicinal use. The new law will allow those with certain illnesses – including cancer, Alzheimer’s, hepatitis C and a list of 15 other ailments – to have access to marijuana dispensaries. Patients will not be allowed to grow their own cannabis.
“The state health department has 120 days to develop regulations, establish a department to regulate medical marijuana, and develop a budget… Once things are up and running, the state will issue registry cards to qualified patients and designated caregivers and maintain a listing of approved dispensaries.”
Florida – Amendment 2 passed by a landslide in Florida on Tuesday after a similar measure was defeated two years ago. Florida already had strict medical marijuana laws on the books that allowed cannabis treatment for only terminally-ill patients and those with epilepsy. Under the new legislation, some 450,000 Floridians will now have access to cannabis for treating a wider range of illnesses.
From The Washington Post:
“The new amendment states that patients with illnesses of the ‘same kind or class as, or comparable to’ serious illnesses, such as cancer, HIV, post-traumatic stress disorder, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy would be eligible to access medical marijuana.”
Montana – The passage of Initiative 182 will expand access to medicinal marijuana in Montana. The main change in policy involves the removal of restrictions on how many patients a marijuana provider can serve.
From The Independent Record:
“The previous restriction imposed a limit of three, which was sharply opposed by patients and providers in the program.
“Most medical marijuana patients were left without a registered provider under the restrictions. Since they went into effect, patients have left the program.”
The initiative adds PTSD to the list of conditions that can be treated under the state’s regulations, and also allows for lab testing of marijuana.
North Dakota – Measure 5 passed in North Dakota on Tuesday, which means that patients will now be allowed to possess up to three ounces of medical cannabis for the treatment of a “nearly a dozen” medical conditions, according to The Bismarck Tribune. Patients will receive their cannabis from state-licensed facilities operated by nonprofit organizations.
“I believe that the North Dakota population voted for caring,” said Riley Ray Morgan, chairman of the committee which sponsored the measure.
A victory for holistic freedom in America
The passage of these measures is a leap forward in terms of holistic freedom in the United States and a victory for those who support plant-based natural medicine in favor of pharmaceutical drugs which cure no one and only create more sickness.
Among its many other benefits, marijuana offers at least a partial solution to the nation’s opioid crisis, which was largely created by the over-prescription of highly addictive pharmaceutical painkillers.
And that’s just one example of the medicinal value of this all-natural, easy-to-grow plant that offers so much to so many.
by: Daniel Barker