The Grades Are In: Best And Worst States For Marijuana Patients

In a comprehensive, 187-page report on the status of access for medical marijuana patients in the US, seven states received a grade of B+, the highest score given this year.


California, Hawaii, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio and Oregon were recognized as the best states for patients. California, Michigan and Illinois were repeat winners from last year.

The report, “Medical Marijuana Access in the United States,” was released by Americans For Safe Access, a 15-year-old organization whose mission is to “ensure safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research.”

No state was given an “A” grade and 16 states received “F” grades, 10 of those states from the South. All states that received a failing grade limit their medical cannabis program to cannabidiol, an extract of the marijuana plant.

Five states — Idaho, Nebraska, Kansas and South Dakota — did not even qualify for a grade since they do not have medical marijuana laws.

The categories states are graded on include:

  • Patient Rights and Civil Protection
  • Access to Medicine
  • Ease of Navigation
  • Functionality
  • Consumer Safety and Provider Requirements

“We want lawmakers to use this report to see that there are gaps in their medical cannabis programs. Even programs that have been around for decades like California still have room for improvement,“ said Steph Sherer, Executive Director for Americans for Safe Access. “Research has shown us that there can be as much as a 40% decrease in opioid overdose deaths in states with medical cannabis dispensaries. States with effective medical cannabis programs can save lives, and this report lays out the steps to increase program effectiveness.”

The report reviewed existing laws and regulations, and laws passed in between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017.  This year’s report, unlike previous versions, urges states to improve their programs to use medical cannabis as a tool to fight the opioid crisis.

You can read the entire 187-page report here.

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