The Following Chart Summarizes Each Medical Marijuana Program's Timeline for Implementation

Last updated: April 26, 2017

State Year Enacted Date When State Began Accepting ID Card Applications Dispensaries (or the equivalent) and Timelines for Their Implementation Comments
Alaska Nov. 1998 Early June 1999

N/A — Law does not include state dispensary registrations. However, voters approved regulating marijuana for adults' use in Nov. 2014. Regulations became final in Nov. 2015. The first cultivation licenses were issued in June 2016. The first retail licenses are expected in Sept. 2016.

Implementation of the patient and caregiver ID card program took about seven months. The first licenses for adult use businesses are anticipated about 18 months after the law's enactment.

Arizona Nov. 2010 April 14, 2011

The Arizona Department of Health Services published final rules on March 28, 2011. Dispensaries were granted certificates on Aug. 7, 2012, and the first one opened in Dec. 2012. The Department issued additional rules on Dec. 28, 2012.

Implementation of the patient and caregiver ID card program took about 5 1/2 months. An unsuccessful lawsuit by Gov. Jan Brewer delayed the implementation of dispensaries. The first dispensaries opened 25 months after the passage of the state law.

Arkansas Nov. 2016 The Department of Health is not accepting patients’ applications as of April 2017. It is expected to begin doing so by late 2017. The state will begin accepting applications for dispensaries and cultivation facilities on July 1, 2017. The timeline included in the voter-approved measure was delayed by the legislature during its 2017 session.

Nov. 1996; voluntary ID cards enacted in Oct. 2003; funding enacted July 31, 2004; regulatory system enacted Oct. 9, 2015

Each of 58 counties had to implement ID cards, and some delayed. An initial pilot program began in Fall 2005. Two small counties still have not implemented ID cards.

Although there are hundreds of dispensaries in California, the state did not provide for statewide licensing and regulation until October 2015. The existing patchwork of local regulations and collective systems will phase out and statewide licensing will begin by 2018.

The county-by-county implementation of ID cards in California has not been a successful model. Some counties dragged their feet, and three even sued (unsuccessfully) to claim the law was preempted by federal law. The transition from locally regulated dispensaries to state licensing and regulation should take about two and a half years.

Colorado Nov. 2000: Voter amendment to constitution; June 2010: dispensary law June 1, 2001

Dispensaries already existed before the state law passed in June 2010. They had to complete state forms and pay a fee by Aug. 1, 2010. Dispensary regulations were finalized on June 15, 2011 and went into effect on July 30, 2011.

Implementation of the patient and caregiver ID card program took just under seven months. The dispensary regulation bill began phasing in within two months of its passage, with the initial state form and fees due. Dispensary regulations were finalized and went into effect within one year of the law’s passage.
Connecticut May 2012 Temporary registrations became available on Oct. 1, 2012

The state began accepting applications in Sept. 2013, and the deadline was Nov. 15, 2013. As of Aug. 2015, four cultivation centers and six dispensaries have been licensed. The first dispensaries opened in Oct. 2014.

Temporary patient ID cards became available within five months of the law’s passage. The first dispensaries opened about two years and five months after the law's passage.

Delaware Passed May 2011; effective July 1, 2011 July 2, 2012

Final regulations were approved in Jan. 2014. First pilot medical marijuana "compassion center" was approved on Aug. 11, 2014. The First State Compassion Center opened on June 26, 2015.

Gov. Jack Markell significantly delayed implementation in light of a letter he received from Delaware's U.S. attorney in Feb. 2012. Markell decided to re-start the program in Aug. 2013, but with only one pilot compassion center. That center was approved about three years and three months after the law's enactment and opened four years after enactment.

District of Columbia Nov. 1998 initiative. Due to Congressional intervention, the law did not go into effect until 2010. The D.C. Council revised it in May 2010, and it went into effect in July 2010. June 11, 2013

Regulations were published and went into effect on April 15, 2011 and were amended on Aug. 12, 2011. The District granted preliminary approval to several dispensary applicants on June 12, 2012, and the first dispensary opened in July 2013.

Dispensary regulations were drafted within 10 months of the law’s effective date. The application process took longer, and it was just over three years between when the law went into effect and the first dispensary opened.

Florida Nov. 2016, takes effect Jan. 3, 2017 Unknown, but the state has nine months to begin issuing ID cards

Dispensaries (called Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers) must begin to be licensed within nine months.

The Constitution allows a suit to be brought to compel the Department of Health to comply if it fails to meet these deadlines.


June 2000 initial law; dispensary law signed July 14, 2015

Dec. 28, 2000

Hawaii's law did not provide for dispensaries until July 2015. The state approved eight dispensaries to open 16 locations in May 2016.

Implementation of the patient and caregiver ID card program took just over six months. Dispensaries were licensed about nine months after the dispensary law passed.
Illinois Signed into law Aug. 1, 2013; effective Jan. 1, 2014 Qualifying patients with last names beginning with A-L: Sept. 1, 2014; M-Z: Nov. 1, 2014;  year -round applications: Jan. 1, 2015

The Joint Committee on Administrative Rule approved medical marijuana rules on July 15, 2014. The state accepted both dispensary and cultivation center applications from Sept. 8, 2014 until Sept. 22, 2014. In Feb. 2015, the state issued 18 growing licenses and 52 dispensary licenses. The first dispensaries opened on Nov. 9, 2015.

Patient and caregiver ID card applications were first accepted 13 months after enactment. Medical marijuana business licenses were issued about 18 months after enactment. The first dispensaries opened about two years and three months after enactment.

Maine Nov. 1999 initiative; revised by voters in Nov. 2009 and by the legislature in Spring 2010 and Spring 2011 Early July 2009 Six dispensary registrations were issued in July 2010 and two more were issued in Aug. 2010. This was within 10 months of enactment of the law. The first dispensary opened in March 2011. Maine's initial law did not have a patient registry or regulated dispensaries. The 2009 law was fully implemented within a year of its passage, with regulations enacted and ID cards and dispensary registrations issued.  The first dispensary opened less than 17 months after the law's passage.
Maryland Passed April 14, 2014; effective June 1, 2014

The patient registry opened April 10, 2017, nearly three years after the law passed.

Business applications were due in Nov. 2015. Fifteen growers and fifteen processors were given preliminary approval on Aug. 17, 2016. The choices were controversial and resulted in lawsuits. 102 dispensaries were given preliminary approval on Dec. 9, 2016. Businesses are required to be operational within one year of pre-approval.

Maryland enacted a law in 2013 that would have allowed academic medical centers to dispense medical marijuana. None stepped forward, and the law was revised in 2014. The state has been among the slowest to implement a medical marijuana program. Maryland does have an “affirmative defense” for patients caught in possession of marijuana, which can be used in court.
Massachusetts Passed Nov. 2012, effective Jan. 1, 2013 The state began accepting patient ID card applications in Oct. 2014. In addition, until early 2014, patients can use their doctors' written recommendations as ID cards.

On May 8, 2014, the health department issued regulations for medical marijuana. On Jan. 31, 2014, the Department of Public Health announced that it had granted preliminary approval to 20 non-profit dispensaries. However, it rejected nine of those applications subsequently, approving an initial total of 11 on June 27, 2014. Four more were approved in Nov. 2014. Rejected applicants can reapply in 2015, as Question 3 calls for up to 35 dispensaries to be located in the state. The first dispensary opened in June 2015.

Six months after Massachusetts’ law was enacted, the state drafted rules, which followed listening sessions throughout the state. Within a year of the law's passage, the health department had completed the first of two phases of an application process. Following some questions about the process, the second phase was completed in June 2014. The first dispensary opened a year later — about one year and eight months after enactment.

Michigan Nov. 2008 April 4, 2009 N/A - Law does not include state dispensary registrations. Implementation of the patient and caregiver ID card program took about five months.
Minnesota May 29, 2014 June 1, 2015

On Sept. 5, 2014, the health department issued a request for applications for manufacturers. Letters of intent were due by Sept. 19. The department  registered two manufacturers by Dec. 1, 2014. Patients were allowed to apply for ID cards in June 2015, and the first dispensary opened on July 1, 2015.

The health department issued a preliminary draft of rules in Aug. 2014, less than three months after the law's passage. A second draft was issued on Sept. 5, 2014, and a notice of expedited rulemaking — along with the proposed rules — was published on Oct. 6. The department approved two manufacturers on Dec. 1,  about seven months after the law's passage. Patients were able to apply for ID cards about a year after enactment, and the first dispensary opened a month later.

Montana Nov. 2004 voter initiative Dec. 14, 2004 Dispensaries were not clearly allowed under state law until voters approved an initiative in Nov. 2016. Dispensaries will be licensed by the state starting July 2017, meaning implementation should take 20 months. Implementation of the original patient and caregiver ID card program took 42 days.
Nevada June 2001: patient registry legislation; June 2013: dispensary and cultivation law Oct. 1, 2001

Medical marijuana business rules were finalized on April 1, 2014. Nevada's Division of Public and Behavioral Health issued provisional approval to medical marijuana businesses on Nov. 3, 2014. The law allows the creation of 66 dispensaries and 200 production facilities. The first dispensary opened in Aug. 2015.

The implementation of the patient and caregiver registry took under four months. More than a decade later, rules were crafted 10 months after the dispensary law was enacted. The health department issued preliminary certificates in Nov. 2014, less than a year and a half after the dispensary bill became law.

New Hampshire July 23, 2013

Patient and caregiver registry rules were approved on June 25, 2014. However, pursuant to the opinion of the state attorney general, the health department did not begin issuing ID cards until a patient successfully sued in Dec. 2015.

In Oct. 2014, the Department of Health and Human Services issued regulations for the processing of applications for four non-profit alternative treatment centers (ATCs) to grow and sell marijuana to patients. The state approved three businesses to operate four ATCs in June 2015, five months after the Jan. 2015 deadline. The first ATC opened on April 30, 2016.

Patient ID cards did not become available until two years and five months after the law's enactment. Dispensary (ATC) rules were provisionally approved about 15 months after the law's passage. Preliminary dispensary registrations were issued one year and 11 months after the law's passage. The first ATC opened two years and nine months after enactment.

New Jersey Jan. 2010 Aug. 9, 2012 Regulations were issued in Nov. 2010, but were rejected by the legislature. They were revised in 2011, and six "alternative treatment center" (ATC) licenses were issued in March 2011. However, the first ATC did not open until Dec. 6, 2012. Due to reticence by Gov. Chris Christie, along with mixed signals from the federal government in 2011-2012, implementation was slow. It took nearly four years for the first dispensary to open.
New Mexico April 2007 July 6, 2007 (initially temporary ID certificates were available)

The first “licensed producer” registration was issued in March 2009, less than two years after passage.

Although New Mexico was the first state to license larger-scale cultivation and dispensing, its rules were finalized and the first producer was licensed in less than two years.

New York July 5, 2014

Dec. 2015

The Department of Health issued regulations in April 2015. Applications for registered organizations were due in June 2015, 11 months after the law's enactment. In July 2015, the department selected the five recipients of dispensary and grower licenses. The first eight dispensaries opened Jan. 7, 2016.

The department issued regulations within nine months of the law's enactment. It accepted dispensary applications 11 months after enactment, and the first dispensary opened a year and a half after enactment. Patients began applying for ID cards about a year and a half after enactment.

North Dakota Nov. 2016; effective Dec. 8, 2016 The state is not accepting patient ID card applications as of April 2017.

The department has not started accepting applications for compassion centers as of April 2017. The law does not include any timeline requirements.

While specific timelines are not included in the law, implementation is expected to be carried out quickly via emergency rulemaking. Dispensary and cultivation facility license applications are expected to be accepted in late summer 2017 and announcements of awardees in fall 2017. Patients should be able to enroll in the program in spring 2018.
Ohio June 2016 To be determined

To be determined. Rulemaking should be completed within 15 months of enactment.

Three different regulatory agencies are given authority over various aspects of the program, including the patient registry and dispensary operations, and are required to implement rules according to a timeline established in the law. The Department of Commerce will have until March 6, 2017, and the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy and the State Medical Board of Ohio will have until September 8, 2017.  Key timeframes for patients, cultivators, and dispensaries will not be available until established by agency rules.

Oregon Nov. 1998; Aug. 2013: dispensary law May 1, 1999

Dispensaries already existed upon the passage of the state law in 2013, but they were not clearly authorized by law or regulated.  The first dispensary licenses were issued in March 2014, about seven months after the dispensary law passed.

Implementation of patient and caregiver ID cards took just under six months. More recently, the first dispensaries were licensed about seven months after the dispensary law passed.

Pennsylvania April 17, 2016; effective May 17, 2016 Unclear when the department will begin accepting applications. Beginning in June 2017, minor patients could receive limited protections via a safe haven letter.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health accepted applications between January 20 and March 20 and will issue the first round of permits in June 2017. They can issue up to 25 grower/processors and no more than 50 permits to dispensaries, which can each have three locations, allowing up to 150 total dispensaries.

The Department announced that it will issue business permits in two phases. The first will include up to 12 grower/processor permits and up to 27 dispensary permits. It has not yet announced when the second round of permits will be issued.
Rhode Island Jan. 2006; dispensaries authorized in June 2009 March 31, 2006

“Compassion center” regulations were finalized in March 2010. Three applicants were approved on March 15, 2011, less than two years after the law’s enactment, but Gov. Chafee halted implementation and had the law revised. The first dispensary opened on April 19, 2013. As of Oct. 2015, there are three dispensaries open in the state.

Implementation of the patient and caregiver ID card program took under three months. The health department was expected to issue compassion center registrations in Sept. 2010. However, it maintained that none of the applicants qualified, so it restarted the application process. After approving three compassion centers on March 15, 2011, Gov. Lincoln Chafee reversed course on May 2, 2011, after receiving a letter from the U.S. attorney. In response, the law was revised, and the first center finally opened in April 2013.

Vermont Passed May 2004; effective date July 1, 2004; dispensaries authorized on June 2, 2011 Oct. 26, 2004

The Department of Public Safety began accepting dispensary applications about a year after the dispensary law was approved and approved two dispensaries three months later. The first dispensary opened in June 2013. As of Oct. 2015, there are four dispensaries operating in the state.

Implementation of the patient and caregiver ID card program took five months. The legislature passed a law authorizing the licensing of four dispensaries in May 2011. The Department of Public Safety began accepting dispensary applications 13 months later — on June 4, 2012 — and approved the first two dispensaries in Sept. 2012. The first dispensary opened in June 2013, about two years after the law’s passage.


Nov. 1998; further legislation clarifying rules related to medical use was passed in April 2015

ID cards are not required in the state of Washington, but a voluntary registry became available in July 2016. Registered patients will get special privileges, including increased possession limits. The law does not include state dispensary regulations, but adult-use stores have been able to have a medical marijuana endorsement since July 2016.

Washington implemented an adult-use marijuana law, which includes growers, processors, and retailers. The law passed in Nov. 2012, and the first stores opened in July 2014. Beginning in 2016, businesses could get a medical marijuana endorsement, and patients were able to get ID cards.

West Virginia

April 2017

The state will not begin issuing ID cards before July 1, 2019. The Bureau of Health will issue rules to regulate dispensaries, growers, processors, and labs. It may issue emergency rules six months after passage.

“The bureau may enter into reciprocity agreements … to allow terminally ill cancer patients to purchase medical cannabis in another state.”