Update on States with Pending Medical Marijuana Legislation

There are currently six states with pending legislation that could legalize marijuana for its citizens. The six states are Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Although they all will do the same thing, each bill has a few different specifications. Let’s take a quick look and summarize all six states and their pending legislation.

The Illinois State Legislature has a two year session so the bill for legalizing marijuana has been carried over to the session for 2012. As of now the legalization of marijuana has not officially been dressed in the Illinois State House or Senate but is expected to be sometime this year. The Illinois Senate Bill details a pilot program that will issued identification card to any patient with a medical condition that qualifies for marijuana.

The state of Massachusetts has been very aggressive with both their House and Senate in getting a bill for marijuana passed. These bills were introduced on two major dates: July 12, 2011 and May 14, 2012. The bill in Massachusetts is expected to be heard in year two of the legislative session and also will relieve caregivers, practitioners, and any other designated family members from prosecution if they are distributing or helping a debilitated person with their medical marijuana use. This bill sort of makes a little more sense when you think of it because if a person is too debilitated to use the marijuana which will help them, it makes sense to certify or give others a pass in the eyes of the law when they’re helping those in need.

Missouri introduced a bill rather recently on March 21, 2012 and there has been little action since then. These bills usually take a long time to get heard officially before Congress or before the House, so that comes as no surprise. The Missouri House Bill really stresses that it’s only to be used for medicinal purposes and only under certain conditions. The House Crime Prevention and Public Safety committee will be taking a further look at this one later on this year.

It doesn’t look as though that the New York bill for legalizing marijuana will be heard this year. It was thought earlier this year that it may be heard and actually approved, but that does not look like it will be the case. It will be carried over to next year’s legislation and will hopefully then be heard. New York’s law is a little wider in scope and includes specific language that protects anyone transporting or transferring marijuana as well as caregivers and obviously the medical patients that need it.

Ohio’s legal marijuana bill was introduced April 26, 2011, and again, just like the other states it has not been formally heard yet and will probably not be so until year two of the legislative session. The Ohio bill forces medical marijuana users to be formally registered and carry a valid qualifying patient card with them at all times.

The State of Pennsylvania also has some pending legislation and the governor has come out in support of such a bill. This will probably only help this legislation get passed in Pennsylvania specifically while this governor is an office. It too is expected to be heard sometime in 2012, but there’s no firm date set on the hearing.

As you can see the more states actually approve the use of medical where marijuana in some cases like Connecticut did this year, more states will be considering it as we go along. These six states could possibly mark a crucial turning point though in the legalization of medical marijuana. If these six states can get it passed the others will follow suit, but on the flipside if they don’t it could deter other states from even trying. Let’s hope that the state governments realize the importance in getting people to help they need from a medical perspective and realize the benefits marijuana can give them.