Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the medical cannabis patient advocacy group, recently launched its yearly report assigning letter grades to states based on the efficiency of their medical cannabis programs. Fortunately: 39 states improved their medical cannabis laws in 2015. The bad news: Six states have yet to legislate any type of medical cannabis, including CBD products, and numerous others still fight with limiting laws, limited access or daunting prices.
Fortunately: 39 states improved their medical cannabis laws in 2015.
ASA activists were associated with medical cannabis policy improvements in 23 of the 39 states, according to ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer.
» What we’re experiencing is the by-product of a movement of medical professionals, researchers, clients, their households, and policymakers advocating for a clients’ safe access to medical cannabis,» she said in a statement. «Every favorable modification in a law or policy is the result of countless hours of work by these stakeholders.»
In the map below, scroll over each state to discover its ASA-rated medical cannabis patient score and grade. States without any type of medical cannabis legality, such as Idaho and Nebraska, are blank.
This year’s top state for MMJ patients, according to ASA’s criteria, was Illinois. Rounding out the leading 5 were Michigan, California, Oregon, and Maine. The 5 worst states were Wisconsin, Tennessee, Missouri, Utah, and Wyoming.
Best Ten States for Medical Cannabis Patients
Worst Ten States for Medical Cannabis Patients
The ASA utilized five main categories to determine a state’s grade:
— Patient Rights and Civil Protection from Discrimination, which includes arrest and DUI protections
— Access to Medicine, that includes schedule of edibles and other kinds of cannabis
— Ease of Navigation, such as sensible costs and certifying conditions.
— Functionality, that includes reasonable purchase and possession limitations
— Consumer Safety and Provider Requirements, implying personnel at all levels, from the growers to the dispensary, are completely trained.
States receive a rating of 0 to 100 in each area, and were granted benefit points for making significant changes from the year prior, said Sherer. That may assist discuss why some seemingly surprising locations-such as Michigan, Ohio, and Montana-made it into the Top 10. Those states, in addition to Florida, Arkansas, and Pennsylvania, made the most progress from the year prior.
Still, no state in the country received an «A.» More than a lots received the miserable mark of «F-minus.» 19 states received a «B» or above, though. That’s eight states more than scored that grade in 2016.
Illinois was ranked top in the country, clocking in at 89.8 points with a B+ grade, while Colorado, the mother of the cannabis market and a leader on many fronts, didn’t even make the top 10.
Least improved: Washington state
Washington state, generally thought about among the most progressive cannabis states, received a C-minus with simply 72.6 points, a full letter grade lower than the year before. That significant dip was due in large part to the state’s forced marriage of its leisure and medical cannabis systems. With numerous Washington dispensaries shutting their doors in 2015 and few recreational stores granted medical recommendations, cannabis is now less accessible to the patients who need it, said Sherer. They must drive further to get it, have less in-store assistance when selecting a treatment, and need to purchase their cannabis at leisure shops.
In Washington, patients now stand in line beside somebody who might be getting cannabis to go to a performance over the weekend.
«Patients now have to stand in line next to someone who may be getting cannabis to go to a performance over the weekend,» stated Sherer.
On the other end of the spectrum is Illinois, which ASA scorers granted the maximum amount of perk points due to the fact that of the comprehensive enhancements made to its medical cannabis programs.
«Both the legislature and the regulative system made efforts to enhance the law,» Sherer said.
What Illinois did well
Bob Morgan, former organizer of the State of Illinois’ medical cannabis program, assisted develop the system applauded in the report. He wanted to other states’ best practices, a collection of Illinois town hall meetings and more than 10,000 public remarks, to shape Illinois’ own system.
The state’s secret sauce: strong legal protections and clear info.
While Illinois might have scored at the top of its class, the state’s program still faces significant obstacles, stated Morgan. The expense of medicine remains high, and there are a limited number of dispensaries around the state. Illinois is the only state that requires clients to be fingerprinted and pass a criminal background check prior to receiving a state-issued Medical Marijuana Benefits cannabis card. In the ASA report, Illinois received its least expensive score in the Access to Medicine area, where it was docked heavily for not permitting shipment and not enabling person growing or collective gardening.
«The concept that Illinois it the best in the nation to me, raises the concern about what the bell curve is [out] there,» Morgan stated. «It’s a truly low bar, if Illinois is the very best.»
Illinois has carried out some standout strategies though, said Morgan, including extensive civil protections for cannabis users, and extensive requirements for product testing, which indicates patients aren’t consuming polluted cannabis. The state’s regulative firm also has an advanced communications platform to offer Illinois medical cannabis clients with the details they require, such as how-to guides for patient applications and clearly marked places of nearby dispensaries, stated Morgan.
In addition to altering the laws surrounding medical cannabis, ASA’s objective is to encourage physicians to recommend cannabis for patients with chronic conditions at the time they are diagnosed, and «not waiting up until a patient’s kidneys are failing,» stated Sherer. While some think that growth of the recreational cannabis market will likewise enhance access for clients, there can be complications when all cannabis consumers are lumped together, she stated.