These days, few people would note that California was the first state to pass medical marijuana laws in the United States. Medical marijuana California has existed since the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 was enacted, paving the way for more legislation to be passed concerning the use, culture, manufacturing, distribution and sales of the remedy. Of this SB 420 successfully followed, although by the end of 2010, a measure which would have effectively legalized the possession of marijuana called Proposition 19, failed to get the required the number of votes. Now more than 2,500 dispensaries exist in the whole state, which has the world’s 8th largest economy.
Revenue has been estimated to be over $2 billion dollars annually. The use of medical marijuana California has been derided by experts and some critics as a failure due to the incessant instances of abuse. The Arizona Health Department noted that California’s system and laws have paved the way for substance abuse citing the fact that 90% of the patients who enrolled in California’s Medical Marijuana Program used “chronic pain” as a reason for getting permission to use medical marijuana. Arizona’s recently passed Medical Marijuana Act wanted to steer away from California’s model by imposing guidelines and strict limitations on the number of dispensaries that could exist in the state.
Nevertheless, the national government has yet to amend or replace the law that makes marijuana possession illegal. Observers note that the national government may be observing the 15 states if the passing of a medical marijuana law is proving to be adverse or positive for the state as a whole. The other states that have similar medical marijuana programs are Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington and Washington DC. Other states are contemplating whether similar measures would be adapted.