The Legal Issues Concerning State Medical Cannabis Programs

Emerging public health law and policy issues concerning state medical cannabis programs

In summary

As the medical cannabis industry grows and local governments continue to legalize medical cannabis use state programs are forced to set standards without the aid of the federal government. State governments are now facing the challenge of attempting to regulate medical cannabis while maintaining the safety of patients and the general public. States now have to regulate labeling with universal warning symbols, child-resistant packaging, advertising restrictions, and pesticide use while also addressing members of the public’s concern about the safety of medical cannabis. If cannabis is ever rescheduled in the future so that the federal government can standardize the regulation of cannabis practices across the nation it will be interesting to see how local practices change in accordance. 

Despite multiple petitions and new research, the federal government has refused to reschedule cannabis. Cannabis used to be an accepted medication before a few politicians, namely Harry Anslinger began a propaganda campaign, highlighted by the film Reefer Madness (1936), turning the public opinion away from medical cannabis. This was largely thought to be a move to further ostracize minorities, further segregating races as Anslinger connected marijuana to violence to immigrants from Mexico. Cannabis never became medically dangerous in the early 1900s, merely a tool used by politicians to induce public fear and reinforce racist tendencies. In the featured article it was stated that 9 out of 10 Americans support the use of medical marijuana yet cannabis still has yet to be rescheduled and the reasons behind it are unclear but may lead back to the original push to have cannabis outlawed in the first place.

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Benjamin Caplan, MDThe Legal Issues Concerning State Medical Cannabis Programs

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