“Medical marijuana” refers to the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Research suggests that marijuana can alleviate suffering caused by various conditions, including cancer, AIDS, and epilepsy. Use of marijuana for this purpose is now legal in 24 states, D.C. and Guam. Pennsylvania and Ohio are the most recent states to take this step.
State medical marijuana programs differ in the conditions covered, regulatory requirements for doctors and patients, and methods of distribution of cannabis. For example, California and Colorado have lax requirements, but Illinois is a very tightly regulated state.
Recently, the federal government passed the Veterans Equal Access Act, which struck down a ban on Veterans’ Affairs doctors discussing medical marijuana with their patients. Clergy for a New Drug Policy mobilized support for this bill.
At the federal level, cannabis continues to be classified as a Schedule 1 drug, very dangerous and with no medical value. However, many physicians have supported the approval of medical marijuana and professional medical societies cite evidence of its medical value. They call for further research. However, this is very difficult to pursue, due to federal barriers.
There is strong support for medical marijuana within the U.S. religious community. In September 2015, Clergy for a New Drug Policy mobilized over 50 clergy in Pennsylvania to support the passage of a medical marijuana bill in that state. In March 2016, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed such a bill, which has now moved to the governor’s desk for approval.
Medical Marijuana In the News
How does Ohio’s medical marijuana policy compare to policies in other states?
WCPO – June 9, 2016
US veteran’s children taken away over his use of medical marijuana
The Guardian – February 1, 2016
Introducing the World’s First Kosher Medical Marijuana
MSN – January 1, 2016
These parents are fighting to give pot to their kids.
MarketWatch – December 8, 2015
Senate approves funding bill that would allow veterans access to medical marijuana
Drug Policy Alliance – November 10, 2015
Steady growth seen in medical marijuana use
Boston Globe – October 24, 2015
Medical Use of Marijuana Doesn’t Increase Youths’ Use, Study Finds
New York Times – June 15, 2015
Blog Posts on Medical Marijuana
Marijuana: Are Religious Values at Stake?March 23, 2017
CA Ministers Speak Out Against War on DrugsDecember 21, 2016
Left Behind on Veterans DayNovember 10, 2016
Update: Pennsylvania and VermontMarch 29, 2016