How Patients Qualify
- Patients must have both a qualifying condition and a medical practitioner’s certification stating that they are likely to benefit from medical cannabis (marijuana) to receive protections under the model bill.
- Patients may submit their documentation to the health department and receive an ID card. If law enforcement encounters the person with cannabis, the officer may verify the ID with the health department.
- Patients who have not registered may still prove in court that they have a qualifying condition and a practitioner’s recommendation. However, that defense does not prevent an arrest — it would merely prevent a conviction.
Qualifying Medical Conditions
- To qualify, a patient must have at least one of the following qualifying medical conditions:
- cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, ALS, Crohn’s disease, colitis, Alzheimer’s disease, or PTSD;
- conditions causing wasting, debilitating pain, severe nausea, seizures, or severe spasms; or
- another serious medical condition, if it was approved by the state’s health department.
Regulated Dispensaries, Cultivators, Product Manufacturers and Laboratories
- The state health department would register and regulate four categories of businesses that would produce, process, dispense, and test medical cannabis products. Those are: cultivators, product manufacturers (which may produce products such as tinctures, oils, and edible products), dispensaries, and laboratories.
- The department could license additional types of businesses (such as distribution or delivery services).
- The health department would craft rules including governing application and licensing fees, security, recordkeeping, health and safety, lab testing, advertising, packaging, and labeling. Violations would be subject to fines, with serious or multiple violations resulting in license suspensions or revocations.
- Localities may develop additional rules and may limit the number of businesses within their borders.
Limited Home Cultivation
- Patients or their caregivers may cultivate up to six plants in a secure location.
- Patients could each be assisted by one designated caregiver, who must register with the health department.
- Patients could have additional caregivers if they are necessary due to the patient’s age or medical condition.
- Patients could possess no more than 2.5 ounces of cannabis at a time, except that they may also possess cannabis produced from their six plants if it is at the same location where the plants were cultivated.
Protections from Discrimination and Limitations
- Because the Americans With Disabilities Act does not protect medical cannabis, the bill includes protections from discrimination in employment, housing, health care (such as organ transplants), and child custody.
- It would not protect from discrimination that is required by federal law or to receive a federal contract.
- No employer would have to allow marijuana use on-site or to allow patients to work while impaired.
Limited Protections for Visiting Patients
- Protections would extend to patients from other medical cannabis jurisdictions, provided they have the required paperwork and a qualifying condition.
Common Sense Restrictions
- Patients could not smoke cannabis in public.
- Driving under the influence of marijuana would remain illegal.
- Patients could not take any action while under the influence of marijuana if doing so would be negligent.