New requirements for medical marijuana patients and dispensaries now in effect

 

Last update: July 5, 2016

 

Voters adopted a medical marijuana program in 1998, followed by a vote to legalize cannabis for adults 21 and over in 2012. Reconciling the differences between these two state programs has been an ongoing effort by lawmakers in recent years, and July 1, 2016 began the state’s first major overhaul.

S.B. 5052, referred to as the Cannabis Patient Protection Act, was passed during the 2015 legislative session. While parts of it had already taken effect, most of the biggest changes did not begin until the start of July. Among other things, the bill establishes a medical marijuana registry, similar to other states with medical programs. Patients are not required to register, but those who do are given greater legal protections with law enforcement and may purchase a greater amount of cannabis or cannabis products and grow more at home. Another major shift in policy relates to businesses: Medical marijuana shops must now be state-licensed to continue to operate, and non-medical retail shops can get approval to serve medical patients.

The transition has been very controversial, particularly among the patient community. Patients and medical marijuana providers are concerned about increased cost and potentially less selection and availability at retail shops.

 


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Pending Legislation