The road to the legalization of medical marijuana in the United States hasn’t been an easy path. Today, there are 24 states that have successfully legalized medical marijuana. As of May 20, 2016 there are 3 states with pending medical marijuana legalization. Those states are Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina.
Medical Marijuana Legalization In Florida
Florida can become the first Southern state to legalize medical marijuana, which would break the resistance of the South towards legalization. Since 2014, Florida has been attempting to pass an amendment. That time around, legalization received 58 percent of the vote, but even though the majority was in favor of legalization, it still wasn’t enough to meet the state's 60 percent of vote requirement.
This time around, the amendment has added a few more guidelines in hopes of putting those against more at ease, such as:
Restricting use to only those with “debilitating illness”
Minors not being able to receive medical marijuana without parental consent
Caregivers will have patient limits
Caregivers will be held liable for malpractice
As of today, there are over 700,000 signatures and over 600,000 more needed to put the proposed amendment on the November 6 ballot.
Medical Marijuana Legalization in Louisiana
In Louisiana, medical marijuana legalization has been attempted a few times dating back to 1978. This year, a new set of bills were introduced as a legalization program with strict limitations. Senate Bill 271 would require doctors to “recommend” medical marijuana rather than “prescribe,” since doctor prescriptions for medical marijuana are still considered federally illegal. Senate Bo;; 180 would protect patients in possession of medical marijuana from any lawful prosecution.
SB 271 was passed on May 11, 2016 on a 62-31 House vote. SB 180 is awaiting a vote in the House. Both bills must pass in order for qualified patients to be able to legally receive and use medical marijuana in Louisiana.
Medical Marijuana Legalization in South Carolina
On April 7, 2016 a bill that would have made medical marijuana legal in South Carolina was rejected. Since then, several new bills have been introduced -- SB 672, HB 4003, H 4037, & H 3140. One with context that authorizes marijuana use by individuals with certain diseases and medical conditions, another giving authorization to physicians to recommend cannabis, all generally in cohesion with the South Carolina Medical Marijuana Program Act.
Pennsylvania has most recently successfully legalized medical marijuana (in 2016), so it is only a matter of time that the people and politicians of other non-legalized states will agree on a program that meets their expectations and hopefully gives patients the opportunity to use medical marijuana legally.