What’s Next for New Medical Marijuana States?

shutterstock 487517227
shutterstock 487517227

Last week we examined the rollout for residents in the new recreational marijuana states. Now we break down what residents can expect in the states that approved medical marijuana on election day.



Residents in Arkansas with a qualifying condition will now be eligible for a medical marijuana prescription from a licensed physician. So far, 17 conditions qualify. Twenty to forty dispensary licenses will be issued by the state’s new Medical Marijuana Commission. The commission will have 120 days from November 9 to oversee the licensing of dispensaries and cultivation facilities and set labeling standards. Therefore, patients will have to wait at least several months before being to acquire medical marijuana.


The second time is a charm in Florida. After a similar bill failed to garner over 60 percent approval in 2014, Amendment 2 passed with an overwhelming 71 percent of the vote. Individuals with debilitating ailments may qualify for medical marijuana in Florida, effective January 3, 2017. However, most of the regulations will be determined at a later date. The Florida Department of Health will have six months from the effective date to finalize how patient registration cards will be issued, what qualifications will be required of caregivers, and to register medical marijuana treatment centers. Although there is a list of qualifying conditions, physicians will have the authority to issue a medical marijuana recommendation if “other debilitating medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable to those enumerated” exist.


Montana’s medical marijuana dispensaries were shut down over the summer as SB 423 went into effect. SB 423 was passed five years prior but had been challenged and held up in court. The passage of I-182 eliminates the “three patient rule” that was instituted with SB 423. Under this rule, caregivers could only provide marijuana for three individuals. PTSD and chronic pain have been added to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana as a result of I-182’s passage. Under SB 423, physicians were not permitted to issue more than 25 recommendations for medical marijuana in one year, a restriction that has also been rescinded. Providers will be allowed to hire employees to cultivate, dispense, and transport medical marijuana. All of I-182’s provision are expected to be in place by June 30, 2017.

North Dakota

Residents in North Dakota voted to approve the use of medical marijuana for debilitating medical conditions such as cancer, AIDS, hepatitis C, ALS, glaucoma, and epilepsy. Patients and designated caregivers will have to apply for registration cards. A caregiver will be allowed to treat up to five patients. To qualify for the program, patients will have to provide a physician’s recommendation and pay an application fee. Caregivers will have to undergo an extensive background check. Those with felony arrests will not be permitted to become a caregiver. The new laws will go into effect on December 8, 2016.