Medical Marijuana Overview
Medical marijuana has been making inroads into mainstream medical care for years and each state handles it differently. While some have meticulous guidelines that lay out exactly how much is allowed and where it can be obtained while other states leave almost everything open to interpretation.
The only thing that these states really have in common in regards to medical marijuana is that they allow it but it is still verboten in the workplace (even in states where it’s been legalized and states that have a strong medical marijuana lobby). There are groups of states that have things in common but there is no one common medical marijuana regulation that runs through all of these states.
Because marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I Drug by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), all state medical laws — and recreational marijuana laws — are at odds with federal laws. The DEA does not recognize marijuana or any other drug administered primarily by smoking as medication. Also, no drug administered by smoking has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Drugs that are classified as Schedule I Drugs meet the following criteria:
- The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse.
- The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.
- There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.
Medical marijuana usage also contravenes Department of Transportation (DOT) guidelines for maintaining drug free workplaces and drug testing. These guidelines are used for many safety sensitive jobs at the federal level and have been adopted by many private companies, as well.
The Department of Transportation’s Drug and Alcohol Testing Regulation – 49 CFR Part 40, at 40.151(e) – does not authorize “medical marijuana” under a state law to be a valid medical explanation for a transportation employee’s positive drug test result.
It has also released a definitive statement saying that legalized recreational use of marijuana in some states will not affect the DOT’s drug testing policy.
States that have medical marijuana laws must consider:
- Who the law applies to
- •The quantity of marijuana permitted
- How the marijuana may be obtained or accessed, such as Medical Marijuana Dispensaries, growing one’s own or by some other means
- The liability protections
- The statutory requirements for authorized use and the illnesses/medical conditions covered by each statute as applicable
Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have medical marijuana. These laws all permit the medical use of smoked marijuana to some degree. Maryland also has a statute, though limited in scope, that references Medical Marijuana.
The states that have medical marijuana laws are:
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- Rhode Island
- District of Columbia
- Maryland (refers to use relative to criminal defense only)
There are also 14 cities within the United States that address medical marijuana:
- Columbian, Missouri
- Ann Arbor, Michigan
- Detroit, Michigan
- Flint, Michigan
- Ferndale, Michigan
- Traverse City, Michigan
- Arcata, California
- Berkeley, California
- Oakland, California
- San Diego, California
- San Jose, California
- Santa Cruz, California
- Santa Rosa, California
- Sebastopol, California
For an overview of medical marijuana laws per state, please visit TestCountry’s state drug laws pages.
Medical Marijuana Overview
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