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State of the Nation: Which States Allow Medical Cannabis?

February 2, 2023

The United States is turning green. And it has been for a while. State legislators have been passing laws over the last three decades that allow the medical use of marijuana.

Medical marijuana is being approved at the state level to alleviate a wide variety of adverse health symptoms. Common qualifying conditions for a medical cannabis card include chronic pain, wasting syndrome, or even PTSD. Qualifying conditions vary greatly from state to state and we’ll be covering each one in greater detail in future articles.

This article covers the state of the nation when it comes to the legalization of medical marijuana. Wondering where your state stands on marijuana and whether you can get a medical cannabis card where you live? Find out below.

Which States Can You Get a Medical Cannabis Card From?

Medical cannabis has been legalized in most states in the US. So, to answer the question of which states allow medical cannabis cards, it might be simpler to list those states that do not currently allow it.

Medical Cannabis Cards are Not Allowed in These States (Yet)

Only ten states in the United States currently do not have laws legalizing medical marijuana. Of these, multiple states are in the process of passing legislation that will legalize medical cards for cannabis in the near future. So, as of January 2023, the only states you cannot get a medical cannabis card are the following:

  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Mississippi
  • Nebraska
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Medical Cannabis Cards are Allowed in These States

So, where can you get a medical cannabis card? Below is the lengthy list of states where you can currently get a medical cannabis card as a resident living in that state.

  • Alabama (2021)
  • Alaska (1999)
  • Arizona (2010)
  • Arkansas (2016)
  • California (1996)
  • Colorado (2001)
  • Connecticut (2012)
  • Delaware (2011)
  • District of Columbia (2010)
  • Florida (2017)
  • Georgia* (2019)
  • Hawaii (2000)
  • Idaho (2017)
  • Illinois (2014)
  • Iowa* (2017)
  • Louisiana (2016)
  • Maine (1999)
  • Maryland (2014)
  • Massachusetts (2013)
  • Michigan (2008)
  • Minnesota (2014)
  • Missouri (2018)
  • Montana (2004)
  • Nevada (2001)
  • New Hampshire (2013)
  • New Jersey (2010)
  • New Mexico (2007)
  • New York (2014)
  • North Dakota (2016)
  • Ohio (2016)
  • Oklahoma (2018)
  • Oregon (1998)
  • Pennsylvania (2016)
  • Rhode Island (2006)
  • South Dakota (2021)
  • Texas (2015)
  • Utah (2022)
  • Vermont (2004)
  • Virginia (2015)
  • Washington (1998)
  • West Virginia (2019)

How Long Has Medical Marijuana Been Legal?

It all started back in 1996. California was the first state in the nation to legalize marijuana for medical treatment. Within two years, Oregon and Washington state followed suit, joining California as the first group of states in the nation to allow medical cannabis use. Maine and Alaska joined in 1999, just before the turn of the century.

Over the next decade (2000 to 2010), nearly a dozen more states added legislation to allow medical cannabis cards, including Michigan, Rhode Island, and Nevada, along with several others. By the time that states began legalizing recreational marijuana, over a third of the country’s states had legalized medical cannabis.

From 2012 to 2022, that number grew exponentially, adding another 24 states to the list of states where you can get a medical card for cannabis. The most recent states to pass legislation approving medical marijuana include Utah, Alabama, and South Dakota within the past two years.

A few states are still working today to pass legislation to legalize medical cannabis.

How Long Has Recreational Marijuana Been Legal?

States began allowing recreational marijuana in 2012, with Washington state and Colorado being first. Today, nearly 20 states have legalized recreational marijuana, with three more states pending.

Below are the states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use (or have pending laws allowing it).

  • Alaska (2015)
  • Arizona (2021)
  • California (2016)
  • Colorado (2014)
  • Connecticut (pending)
  • District of Columbia (2015)
  • Illinois (2020)
  • Maine (2017)
  • Massachusetts (2016)
  • Michigan (2020)
  • Missouri (pending)
  • Montana (2021)
  • Nebraska (pending)
  • Nevada (2017)
  • New Jersey (2021)
  • New Mexico (2021)
  • New York (2021)
  • Oregon (2016)
  • Rhode Island (2022)
  • Vermont (2018)
  • Virginia (2021)
  • Washington (2012)

Getting a Medical Cannabis Card Vs. Buying Recreational

If you live in a state that allows both medical marijuana cards and recreational use, you may be wondering—why would you still get a medical cannabis card?

Here are a few reasons that people choose to get a medical cannabis card rather than depending on recreational use alone:

  • Tax benefits: Medical marijuana is often taxed less than recreational marijuana.
  • Legal protections: Medical marijuana laws generally provide more protections from discrimination (employers, housing, etc.) than recreational use laws.
  • Allowances: Medical marijuana laws often permit higher possession quantities and potencies than recreational use laws.

Since medical cannabis is being legalized at the state level (rather than the national level), the process to get your cannabis medical card will look different depending on where you live. Let us help you navigate your state’s requirements.

Apply for Your Medical Cannabis Card Today

If your state is on the list above for allowing marijuana medical cards—and you have a qualifying condition—My Virtual Physician can help. We can provide physician certifications to patients for their state’s medical cannabis card applications. Get started now!

*These states have limited legalization and may only include THC oils for medical use.

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