17 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana. In the second half of 2012, seven more states will decide, either in the state legislature or via ballot initiatives, whether they will join them in legalizing the use of marijuana, in whole or in part.Currently,
1. Illinois – House Bill 0030, the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, would legalize medical marijuana on a trial basis. Physicians who diagnose their patients with debilitating conditions could prescribe medical marijuana. Patients, who would have to register with the Department of Health, would be able to possess up to 6 marjiuana plants and up to 2 ounces of usable marijuana. After three years, the Act would expire, meaning that the legislature would have the chance to decide whether to keep it in place.
2. Massachussetts – Two house bills, one to legalize marijuana for adults over 21 and the other to legalize only medical marijuana, failed to pass the state legislature. Bay Staters have gotten to work getting the Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Initiative on the ballot. Their deadline for the 68,911 signatures is right after the July 4 holiday.
3. Missouri – House Bill 1421 would allow Missourians with debilitating conditions to grow up to three marijuana plants with a yield of up to one ounce per plant. It also legalizes medical marijuana dispensaries in the state. It has not yet been voted on.
4. New York – The State Assembly will soon vote on Senate Bill 7283, which would legalize “the possession, manufacture, use, delivery, transfer, transport or administration of marihuana by a certified patient or designated caregiver for a certified medical use”.
5. New Hampshire – Senate Bill 409, authored by Republican Jim Forsythe, legalizes medical marijuana for patients who meet state-mandated criteria. In early June, the bill passed the state legislature, becoming the first medical marijuana bill to pass a Republican-led state senate. However, Gov. Jim Lynch has said he will veto the bill, necessitating further action from its supporters.
6. Ohio – In Ohio, citizens gathered enough signatures to get the Ohio Medical Cannabis Act of 2012 on the ballot in November, which would create a state commission to regulate medical marijuana, functioning much like liquor controlling commissions.
7. Pennsylvania – The state senate will soon vote on SB 1003, which would legalize medical marijuana in the state. The bill may be renamed “The Governor Raymond Shafer Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act” in honor of moderate Republican governor Raymond Shafer (1967-1971).