Supporters of medical marijuana legislation around the country are calling for tighter restrictions on the drug, in reaction to critics’ fear that passing such laws will lead to increased use.
New Jersey, Connecticut and Delaware ban patients from growing their own marijuana. These states have increased oversight on commercial growers and distributors, and do not allow physicians to prescribe marijuana for general pain, The Wall Street Journal reports. New Hampshire and Illinois may soon pass similar legislation.
Medical marijuana laws passed in the late 1990s in states including Colorado, California and Oregon made it relatively easy to obtain prescriptions for the drug, the article notes. Of Colorado’s 107,000 residents who are approved to use medical marijuana, more than 100,000 have pain as their qualifying condition. In California, doctors can prescribe marijuana for any illness for which it provides relief.
“It’s clear that if I had proposed a California-type law, I would’ve had no chance of passing it,” said Illinois Representative Lou Lang. He sponsored the Illinois medical marijuana bill that now awaits the signature of Governor Pat Quinn, who says he is “very open-minded” about the bill.
The first 13 states that legalized medical marijuana let patients grow it themselves, and allow doctors to prescribe it for general pain. If New Hampshire and Illinois pass their laws, five of the seven most recent states that allow medical marijuana would prohibit growing the drug at home, and would limit or exclude pain as a qualifying condition, the article notes.
Under the Illinois bill, medical marijuana would be banned for minors. The measure would allow law enforcement officials to have access to surveillance video of licensed growers. The state could revoke the driver license of marijuana patients who refuse to take a sobriety test during traffic stops.
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