Arizona’s law,70 approved by 65% of the voters in November, permits marijuana prescriptions,
but there is no active program in the state because federal law prohibits doctors from prescribing
marijuana. Patients cannot, therefore, obtain a valid prescription. (Other states’ laws allow doctors
to “recommend” rather than “prescribe.”)
Maryland’s General Assembly became the second state legislature, after Hawaii, to protect
medical cannabis patients from the threat of jail when it approved a bill, later signed by the
governor, providing that patients using marijuana preparations to treat the symptoms of illnesses
such as cancer, AIDS, and Crohn’s disease would be subject to no more than a $100 fine.71 The
law falls short of full legalization and does not create a medical marijuana program, but it allows
for a medical necessity defense for people who use marijuana on their own for medical purposes.
If patients arrested for possession in Maryland can prove in court that they use cannabis for
legitimate medical needs, they escape the maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
District of Columbia, 1998
In the nation’s capital, 69% of voters approved a medical cannabis initiative to allow patients a
“sufficient quantity” of marijuana to treat illness and to permit nonprofit marijuana suppliers.
Congress, however, has blocked the initiative from taking effect.73