California's Proposition 215 was the
statewide medical marijuana
initiative to pass in the USA (1996).
It's still the law. Cannabis (marijuana) was listed in
medical texts to treat over 100 different health conditions, prior
to its ban in 1937 over the objections of the AMA. Medical
use is still allowed under the UN Single Convention Treaty
on Narcotic Drugs.
The National Academy of Science did a scientific review
in 1999 for the federal Office of Narcotics Control Policy
and documented legitimate medical uses for cannabis, but the
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) still forbids its use.
Meanwhile, the US government gives cannabis to seven
patients in the Compassionate IND (Investigational New Drug)
program. Eight states have legalized medical marijuana and
allow patients to obtain, use and cultivate the herb. In May
of 2001, the US Supreme Court ruled that state and federal
laws do not need to conform with each other, leaving
patients in legal Limbo. Prop 215 and all other state
medical marijuana laws remain in effect.
Other States have followed suit. Since its
passage, voters in five other states legalized medical
marijuana through similar initiatives. These all require a
doctor's recommendation and include the right for patients
to cultivate marijuana for their own use. Two elections were
undermined by government officials and have not allowed the
votes to be counted. See explanation below for more
States: Medical marijuana laws
California, 1996, 56% yes vote on Prop 215 to add
11362.5 to the Health and Safety Code, legalizing medical
marijuana for seriously ill patients. Arizona passed
Prop 200 by an even higher 65% majority. That law moved all
drugs to a situation that would allow doctors to recommend
them. The state legislature repealed the popular election
vote, and voters promptly put it back onto the ballot as a
referendum for 1998. It won there again in 1998, and voters
in Alaska, Washington, Oregon
and Nevada also legalized
medical use of marijuana through the initiative process.
Since this map was prepared, Maine voters
legalized medical marijuana, as did the Hawaii
legislature. Colorado will vote on the issue again in
November, 2000. A broader medical marijuana law is also
included in Alaska's Prop 5, which is on the November
ballot, as well.
Voters in Colorado and Washington DC were
both deprived of thier right to be counted. In Colorado it
was a voter's registrar's adminitstrative decision to
discount voter petitions, and in Washington DC it took an
act of Congress by the Republican dominated House to forbid
that the votes be counted. Exit polls in both areas showed
healthy margins of victory for medical marijuana.
Apparently, the Drug War is not healthy for democracy.