The recent elections not only chose our new leaders, but gave Americans the opportunity to vote on many initiatives that will shape the direction of the country in many ways.

Medical cannabis was on the ballot in many states, and indeed has been in the news throughout 2020 as more states and jurisdictions embrace it as a viable and legal treatment option. As 2020 draws to a close, we thought we would look at some of the advances which are being made across the United States in regards to medical marijuana.

Minnesota: Minnesota has allowed the use of medical cannabis for patients with sickle cell disease; as well as chronic vocal or motor tic disorders. However, the Minnesota Department of Health stopped short of allowing cannabis use for anxiety, citing that anxiety was too broad a term, and encompasses a group of disorders.

Health Commissioner  Jan Malcolm indicated that officials would take a deeper look in the coming months.

New Jersey: In November, New Jersey voters decisively approved a cannabis legalization referendum, and lawmakers are not done yet. Legislators are supporting a new constitutional amendment to ensure that tax revenue from the cannabis sales is given to communities harmed by prohibition enforcement.

Texas: Although medical cannabis is legal in Texas, some feel that the rules surrounding its use are far too restrictive.

As of November 2020, advocates are pressuring state lawmakers to loosen these restrictions, including giving physicians more authority to recommend THC, expanding the list of qualifying conditions, and allowing more dispensaries to be licensed and put into operation.

Mississippi: Voters approved an initiative in the November election, which will establish a medical marijuana program for patients with debilitating conditions.

South Dakota: The voters in South Dakota easily agreed to legalizing cannabis for medical use, but a second initiative for recreational marijuana use is still under debate.

Georgia: Although it has been 5 years since Georgia legalized medical cannabis, the implementation of the program has been a long time coming. As of this writing, Georgia is accepting applications for cannabis manufacturing; meaning that medical cannabis oil, which is legal, will finally be available within state boundaries.

Currently, there are approximately 14,000 registered patients in the state looking to utilize medical cannabis oil as treatment for their condition, but up until now they had to  leave the state to get it. While medical marijuana use in certain circumstances was legalized in 2015, sale of legal cannabis was only legalized in 2019 – and was delayed considerably by the COVID outbreak.

Federally, Pennsylvania Democratic congressman Conor Lamb has aligned with GOP colleagues in criticizing a planned House vote on a bill to federally legalize medical marijuana. Lamb commented on the  House’s upcoming action this week on the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, writing that lawmakers “should be working every minute to get a deal done on coronavirus relief & get money to people who need it.”

Here in Florida, the medical cannabis legislation is established and patients can request cannabis treatment for their qualifying conditions. If you are interested in learning more, please call Dr. Daniel P. Stein in Sarasota at 941-200-3412 for a consultation.