Medical marijuana refers to the possession, use and cultivation of marijuana that is used for medical purposes.
Medical marijuana is generally used by those that are suffering from a terminal illness or suffer from painful or long term symptoms that are caused by certain disease like AIDS, epilepsy, cancer and glaucoma. Medical marijuana is prescribed to these people to help them with treatment or to find relief from pain.
Medical marijuana is no different to standard marijuana and is classified by the Federal Controlled Substance Act as a schedule 1 drug. This means that it has the potential to be abused, has a lack of accepted safety under medical supervision and has no accepted medical use for treatment in the US.
This has created a debate over the legality of medical marijuana and its use.
One side of the debate you have law enforcement and politicians that want to combat the use and sale of marijuana that is being used under the guise of medical purposes. On the other side of the debate you have those that include drug legalization groups and health advocates sating that they believe marijuana can be used in the treatment of a number of medical conditions.
Medical Marijuana Laws
The laws surrounding medical marijuana are always changing and also vary depending on where you are. Federal state laws have made it illegal to grow, sell, possess and use marijuana.
However, there are a number of states that have now legalized the cultivation and use of marijuana for medical purposes. This then removes any penalties from doctors that prescribe medical marijuana and from patients that use it within the laws of the sate.
The first state to legalize marijuana was California in 1996. The law allows the cultivation and possession of marijuana for medical use when a doctor has prescribed it.
Other states that have legalized medical marijuana include Colorado, Alaska, Hawaii, Michigan, Connecticut, Maine, Montana, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Nevada, Vermont, Oregon, Washington and Rhode Island.
These states have implemented boundaries in terms of the use, cultivation and possession of medical marijuana. Patients will need to present documentation that proves that the marijuana they posses are for medical purposes.
Medical Marijuana Penalties
Medical marijuana penalties can include fines, prison time or both, but this will depend on the offence and the state where the offence occurred. If a violation occurs in a state that has not legalized medical marijuana then the charges will be that of a felony drug charge.
Violations of medical marijuana can include possession of a certain amount, the sale to others, and cultivation of the drug in states where it is not allowed and possession of marijuana paraphernalia.
It is then important for medical marijuana users to know their rights and the laws that govern medical marijuana so that they know what is and is not acceptable.
Medical marijuana is a highly debated topic that affects health care providers, patients, lawyers and law enforcement. The laws in regards to medical marijuana differ from state to state so it is important to know these.