State Medical Marijuana Laws Growing Stricter: a Positive Move?

Opponents of marijuana legalization would have you believe medical marijuana legislation opens the door to eventual recreational legalization—and they might be right. But in an effort to combat that progression, they are digging in their heels with stricter and stricter medical marijuana laws. Though these laws, vying to be the “strictest in the nation”, make it very difficult for many of those who would benefit from the plant to get their medicine legally, they are still a step in the right direction.

Strict medical marijuana programs are better than no medical marijuana programs at all. And the tighter the regulations, the more likely they are to gain conservative support.

The latest states set to pass such laws are Illinois and New Hampshire, the latest to join the ranks as having the “toughest” medical pot laws. But had the proposed legislation not been written with tight regulations and strict rules, they wouldn’t be getting the support needed to pass.

medical marijuana plantWith states like California, Colorado, and Oregon—whose medical marijuana laws were the first to be enacted, the laws were more ambiguous and “made acquiring medical-marijuana prescription relatively simple,” in some cases, according to the Wall Street Journal. In these states, patients could get doctor’s approval for “pain” as their number one complaint and could opt to grow their own medicine. In states that are newer to the medical pot industry, such freedoms are simply not there.

“It’s clear that if I had proposed a California-type law, I would’ve had no chance of passing it,” said Illinois Rep. Lou Lang who is sponsoring the medical marijuana legislation currently on Gov. Pat Quinn’s desk.

Conservative lawmakers and those that would normally be on the fence about medical pot can be swayed towards approval when the legislation is written with them in mind. It has to be tightly controlled from production, to prescription and use. Though this can seem like a downer to all-out-legalization advocates in the states where such medical laws are enacted, they need to be seen as progress nonetheless.

The idea is that a well-crafted medical marijuana program will open the eyes of pot-opponents to the effectiveness of marijuana as a healer, the revenue generating ability of marijuana, and the potential for such responsible legislation to work and run smoothly.

So, when a state says their new medical marijuana system will be the “toughest in the nation”, rest assured that having any medical marijuana program is one step closer to the end of prohibition.


About Elizabeth

Elizabeth Renter is a freelance writer and editor who writes about criminal justice issues.

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