NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

States Approving Medical Marijuana

March 15, 1999

A number of states have legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes, or are considering doing so. Seriously ill or dying patients are allowed to use it, with the approval of their doctor, to ease their pain or curb nausea.

  • California and Arizona gave the go-ahead for its use in 1996.
  • Since the, voters in Alaska, Oregon and Washington have also approved its use.
  • Similar laws are pending of have been proposed in Colorado, Maine, Nevada and the District of Columbia.
  • Since selling or giving away marijuana remains a crime under both state and federal law, patients have few options other than growing it themselves.

On Wednesday, the Institute of Medicine -- an arm of the National Academy of Sciences -- is expected to release a study of the use of marijuana for medical purposes. The study, commissioned by White House drug czar Barry McCaffrey, reportedly will only call for further research.

McCaffrey is said to be weary of the issue, telling a University of Washington audience that he has far bigger worries than the debate over medical marijuana.

Source: Patrick McMahon, "Medical Marijuana Nears Mainstream," USA Today, March 15, 1999.


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