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Legal Marijuana in Focus: Montana

Montana legalized medical marijuana in 2004. However, for most of its history after that, the plant is by and large still an inaccessible substance.

Most of the state’s original pot legislation underwent a major overhaul in 2011 with the passage of Senate Bill 423, known as the Montana Marijuana Act. It didn’t actually illegalize pot again, but it made the registration process for qualified pot consumption more difficult. Residents must present a registry ID card issued by the state health service first before they can purchase the plant. Read the rest of this entry


Legal Marijuana in Focus: Washington

Today’s state in focus for our special report on the is Washington State. What makes this state different from others who have allowed for the medicinal use of the drug, however, is that it is just one of two in the country—the other being Colorado— where pot use is also approved for recreational use.

Washington’s journey to join the ranks of pot-legal states began in 1998 with Ballot Initiative I-692. Much like California’s Proposition 215, the fate of pot legalization hinged on the vote of the people, which also resulted in a win for the proponents. More than 1.1 million people, almost 59 percent of the state, voted for pot legalization.

Under the initiative, a patient possessing proper documentation from his physician is eligible for the medical use of marijuana. The initiative also stated specific diseases eligible for medical marijuana, which were updated twice: first in 2008 and second in 2010. Chronic renal failure is the latest condition to be added.

In 2012, Washington became the first state to approve pot for recreational use with Initiative 502, which faced little opposition. According to New Approach Washington, a pro-marijuana legalization movement, the initiative would allow adults aged 21 and older to possess marijuana. It also allowed dispensaries to operate in the state.

As of 2012, there are an estimated 100,000 medical marijuana patients in Washington.

Marijuana and Health: The Unexplored Benefits

Medical marijuana has been under fire for a long time. Groups against any form legalized marijuana have been pointing out that it causes no vital improvements to patients. In response, those who are in favor of limited legislation for medicinal purposes have been gaining ground in several states like California.

A study done to rodents showed that Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), one of the main components of cannabis, decreases the development of tumors in various parts of the body. One advantage of this potential treatment is that it doesn’t have any long term side effects; unlike chemotheraphy that can potentially destroy other cells and render a person extremely weak. This means, to some degree, that marijuana can potentially cure cancer, but many more studies must be taken to be sure; however, it is already showing promise against brain cancer.

Despite all these possible wonders, however, it is important to note that cannabis still has a long way to go as far as research and development is concerned. More confirming data must be gathered before it can be declared officially a cure for various diseases; but so far, for the states that allow it, many people are thanking medical marijuana for saving their lives.