Americans For Safe Access press conference detroit michigan
Medical Marijuana Policy

New Report Evaluates Medical Marijuana Programs Nationwide

Americans For Safe Access press conference detroit michiganAmericans for Safe Access (ASA) issued “Medical Marijuana Access in the US: A Patient-Focused Analysis of the Patchwork of State Laws,” today. The annual report evaluates the array of differing state medical cannabis programs across the country from a perspective often overlooked in policy debates: the patients’ and provides policy makers with model legislation and regulations. With dozens of states already seeing legislative and regulatory proposals in 2016, this  groundbreaking report will provide state lawmakers with timely tools they need to improve their medical cannabis programs to truly meet the needs of the patients they are meant to serve.

Eighty-one percent  of Americans favor the legalization of medical marijuana according to a May 7, 2015, Harris Poll.  This broad support has led to unprecedented progress in state medical marijuana programs in 2015.  Nineteen states introduced legislation to legalize medical marijuana during the year. In addition, many of the twenty three states with current medical marijuana laws passed legislation to expand or improve their programs in 2015, including New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Connecticut, Oregon, California, Washington, Maryland, Hawaii, Illinois, Delaware, and the District of Columbia. Other states, like Nevada and Vermont, expanded and improved their programs through new regulations.

This report comes at a perfect time to inform improvements to existing medical marijuana programs and guide legislators who are creating or expanding laws and programs. “Too often, patients are denied life-saving treatments solely because they are using medical cannabis,” said California Assemblymember Marc Levine, champion of the Medical Cannabis Organ Transplant Act (AB 258), “It is imperative for state lawmakers to take advantage of vital resources like ASA’s report to improve their state programs.”

The report uses a point system to grade each medical marijuana law on: 1) patients’ rights and protection from discrimination, 2) access to medicine, 3) ease of navigation, 4) functionality, and 5) product safety protocols. The report  found that while many states have important elements helpful to patients, no state has yet established an ideal, comprehensive program.

The most notable trend  in 2015 was the adoption and implementation of comprehensive product safety regulations. With Maryland’s medical marijuana program projected to begin serving patients in 2017, the state received the highest grade for product safety by working with ASA to combine its own stringent safety and quality control measures with those of the American Herbal Product Association’s (AHPA) Recommendations to Regulators in the areas of: cultivation, distribution and manufacturing. “The tools provided by Americans for Safe Access and the Patient Focused Certification program have been tremendously helpful in creating product safety regulations that will ensure Maryland patients are receiving the highest quality products and medicine possible” said Hannah Byron, executive director of the Natalie M. LaPrade Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission.

Maryland is not the only state adopting the best practices and AHPA recommendations and standards.  New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Washington have also done so.  Michael McGuffin,  President of AHPA, notes, “The report highlights how best practice guidance such as the Cannabis Committee’s Recommendations to Regulators documents can assist states in establishing regulations that ensure the quality and safety of cannabis products.”

The report takes a patient-centered approach, evaluating programs on how effective they are in meeting patients’ needs. ASA is asking their members to share the report with their state representatives. “With the increased interest in medical cannabis access around the country, it is imperative that we ensure that new and existing programs adopt regulations and standards that provide patients with safe medicine while protecting their rights,” said ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer. “This report will help policymakers create and maintain programs that put the patients first.”

Letter-grades for all 23 state laws and Washington, D.C.: Alaska (D-), Arizona (B-), California (B+), Colorado (B), Connecticut (C+), Delaware (C), Hawaii (B), Illinois (B+), Maine (B-), Maryland (B), Massachusetts (B), Michigan (D+), Minnesota (C), Montana (D-), Nevada (B), New Hampshire (C), New Jersey (C), New Mexico (B+), New York (C), Oregon (B), Rhode Island (C-), Vermont (D+), Washington (B), and the District of Columbia (C).

Further Information:

2016 Report Press Kit

2016 State of the States Report: Medical Marijuana Access in the U.S.

Source: Americans for Safe Accessmake a donation

  • purplediamond

    Nevada gets a B? We should get a D it’s been 2 years & we just barely got some of the dispensaries open. Having been involved with helping to get the law passed, we were very saddened when we saw how the legislature neglected many of our needs. Like this last session when they made it illegal for us to make our own oil to eat. Now they are planning to take away our right to grow. Sad, so very sad.

  • peoriadude

    I’m sorry, ASA, but this is complete horsepoop. California and Illinois both with a B+? Were you drunk when you did this?

    Two years after Illinois’ program passed, they’ve barely approved 4,000 patients. I’d guess that two weeks after it was approved in California they had more than 4,000 patients.

    Access to medicine in Illinois versus California? Not even close. Ease of navigation in Illinois versus California? Well, for starters you have to pay to get fingerprinted and for a background check in Illinois, so again, not even close. Functionality? Illinois has 4,000 patients and a population of about 13 million. That is not functional.

    Illinois should be a D-. The last thing we should be doing is propping up horrible state laws, like in Illinois, for other states to copy. “Well, the ASA gave Illinois a B+, so it must be a good medical marijuana program.” Think about what that does to your credibility, ASA, because right now, to me, you look like fools.

  • Closet Warrior

    Johnny, you often speak in hyperbole rather than the truth buddy, you really need to fact check w/the patients if your article is mostly about patient’s programs. If we’re talking about politics and you ask me what I think about surfing or fishing, well then I’m gonna be a little confused. Just as I am now.

  • Sinclair

    Look at my home state michigan way down at the bottom. Not surprised there.

  • PhDScientist

    We need change at the federal and international levels now.

    Cancer is the #1 cause of death in the world and it mercilessly tortures, maims and kills it victims — Cancer is the worst torture of all.

    Marijuana is a “Gift from God” and a “Wonder Drug” for Cancer Patients.

    Every Cancer Patient in the world deserves the right to have safe, legal, access to Medical Marijuana.

    Every. Single. One.

    This isn’t a Republican or Democrat issue.

    This is a Human Rights issue.

    Every Cancer Patient in the world deserves the right to have safe, legal, access to Medical Marijuana.

    Every. Single. One.

  • Kathleen Chippi

    lol, ASA gives CO a B when the CO State audit gave CO an F as in FAILED-TWICE for MMJ and A64. The state rules don’t even require testing for pesticides/molds on medicinal after 16 years! The state is successfully enabling the poisoning of all the cannabis patients. They say over and over in the paper that the ‘patients’ are all really just (A64) tax evading lairs or under 21. The state wants revenge.
    And the lab guy testing A64 stores said 80% of what he tested was poisoned…

    And the state BLATANTLY spent over 4 million (it unlawfully over-collected from patients who registered to be on the confidential registry) to BREACH our Constitutionally protected, voluntary patient registry with the CBI Criminal database (CCIC) which is linked to the NSA Criminal database (NCIC).

    Have we even decriminalized cannabis in Colorado SINCE all of our qualifying patients and the A64 customer info/purchases is stored in CRIMINAL databases? And Soros funded ASA gives this BS a B? PUKE! The only benefit I get from ASA is severe nausea, which in CO qualifies one for medicinal…..