Updated: Mar 21, 2022
Confused by your state’s cannabis laws? Don’t feel bad! Understanding the complexities of these laws, especially how they differ in each state, is exhausting, even to the most experienced cannabis nurse and interpener. Read on as we try to help you make some sense out of your state’s laws.
Cannabis—or “marijuana”— is still illegal in the United States under federal law. However, each state has the right to create a legal medical marijuana program and/or adult-use program. While these programs can be wonderful, the laws and regulating bodies vary from state to state. What are you to do?
First, look at your state program. Chances are, you’re in a state that has a medical program that’s limited to only those with qualifying conditions, or it doesn’t have any kind of program at all. Learn what the qualifying conditions are and find out if you might qualify. Then look to see if the products you can obtain legally contain full-spectrum cannabis that contains amounts of THC higher than 0.3%.
THC – or tetrahydrocannabinol – is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis. The Farm Bill of 2018 limits the amount of THC in hemp to 0.3% or less. Some states claim to have a medical program for marijuana, but they don’t allow consumers access to more THC than what the Farm Bill covers. While hemp-grown cannabis can be helpful in treating some medical conditions, it is not “medical marijuana” any way you cut it.
Next, look to see if there are dispensaries in your state and find out where they are. If you find only hemp-grown cannabis dispensaries and/or stores, then your state doesn’t have a medical program. If you find true medical cannabis “marijuana” dispensaries that only allow those with a medical card to enter, then you are in a medical state. If you live in a state where dispensaries allow members of the general public older than 21 to enter without a medical card, you are in an adult-use or “recreational” state.
Once you know the status of your state, contact a licensed cannabis nurse to teach, guide, and coach you. The staff members of your local dispensary, also known as budtenders, aren’t able to do this. Budtenders are great servants, but they are not healthcare professionals, period. When you’re consuming something for your health and wellness, you need to work with an experienced cannabis nurse. If your physician supports medical cannabis use, he or she can be an excellent resource as well.
At 2 Leaf Nurses we pride ourselves in staying up to date on both evidence-based research as well as real-world evidence of what cannabis can and cannot do. Let us help guide you so that when you go to your local dispensary the budtenders can point you to the right products to meet your needs. 2 Leaf Nurses operates in a compact state that allows us to serve patients in most US states. Click here to learn more about our services, and book your free consultation.
Here is a current listing as of November 2021 of medical, adult-use, and CBD-only states vs those that have not legalized cannabis in any form:
States where Cannabis is Fully Legal: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia (DC), Illinois, New Mexico, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington
States with Legal Medical Marijuana Programs: Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, and West Virginia
States That Have Legalized Hemp or CBD Products Only: Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Texas, and Wisconsin
States where Cannabis is Approved for Medical Reasons but with no Availability: Alabama and Virginia
States where Cannabis is Absolutely Illegal: Idaho, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Wyoming
In addition to knowing if your state has a legal program, you must also find out if possession is legal. It’s hard to believe, but in some states it’s legal to purchase certain products, but possession has not yet been decriminalized. Examples include Nebraska and North Carolina.
At 2 Leaf Nurses, we are licensed cannabis nurse consultants and members of the American Cannabis Nurses Association. We’ll provide you with the most current information about both medical marijuana and hemp-based products so that you are equipped to journey into the medical marijuana dispensary with confidence and understanding. Let us help you with an individual plan to help ensure you are safe and successful.
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