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21 States Have Authorized Medical Marijuana Studies, But Only Six Implemented Programs

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, as interest grew in the medicinal value of marijuana, 20 state legislatures responded to the demands of patients and scientists for solid research on the drug. (Massachusetts began such an effort in 1991.) In order for officially sanctioned research programs to begin, legislation was needed to carve out exemptions under state marijuana laws for study participants, and processes and regulations were needed to guide implemenation.

Each of the states listed below passed comprehensive legislation designating agencies and/or universities to conduct medical marijuana research, and spelling out regulations, such as limitations on which diseases would be studied, and mandating cooperation with key federal agencies in designing and supplying the research projects.

Ultimately, six states got through all the red tape and began programs of varied duration. Many of these programs also studied synthetic THC capsules, once they were made available by the federal government. All of these programs are now complete, and about half the states on these lists have had the legislation repealed or expired.

Authorized AND implemented:

California (1979)
Georgia (1980)
Michigan (1979, 1982)
New Mexico (1978)
New York (1980)
Tennessee (1981)

Authorized but NOT implemented:

Alaska (1979, 1982)
Arizona (1980)
Colorado (1979)
Florida (1978)
Illinois (1978)
Maine (1979, 1983)
Massachusetts (1991, 1996)
Minnesota (1980) -- THC only
New Jersey (1981)
Nevada (1979)
Rhode Island (1980)
South Carolina (1980)
Texas (1980)
Washington (1979)
West Virginia (1979)