Marijuana legislation continues to grow among the states

October 17, 2013

Marijuana plants are displayed for sale at Canna Pi medical marijuana dispensary in SeattleMarijuana Laws

We recently produced a 50-state survey of marijuana laws which revealed a general trend toward liberalizing restrictions on marijuana use and cultivation.   Efforts to legalize personal use of marijuana are well-known. In August, Attorney General Eric Holder informed the governors of Colorado and Washington that the Justice Department won’t interfere with well-regulated legalization efforts.  There are, however, a broad range of proposed laws which include efforts to de-criminalize possession, legalize medical use, and remove marijuana from the list of Schedule I drugs.  An info-graphic is available here.



Some of our readers noted we missed a proposed medical marijuana law.  (Special thanks to Doug from New York Norml)

See specifically, NY AB 6357 / NY SB 4406.

There have also been some recent updates. Our survey was completed in September.  In October, the Jacki Rickert Medical Cannabis Act was re-introduced in the Wisconsin state legislature.  Identifying a firm number of proposed bills is challenging.  It’s a moving target.  Here’s how we’re monitoring this activity.

WestlawNext Search

Our initial survey started with this simple terms and connectors search in Proposed and Enacted Legislation for all state jurisdictions:

adv: marijuana cannabis marihuana tetrahydrocannabinol

Next, we simply filtered by state. In most states, that still leaves a large number of proposed legislation (174 bills in New York, for example).  So we ran narrowing searches for specific issues using the Search Within Results filter.  Here are a few examples:

  • for Medical Marijuana: qualify! /3 patient
  • for Medical Marijuana: medic! /4 use usage
  • for Medical Marijuana: medic! and patient
  • for Legalization: tax! and regulat!
  • for Decriminalization: possess! and misdemeanor


For alerts on newly-introduced bills, try the search referenced above then click the bell icon to create a WestClip alert.  Delivery options for results of newly-added bills include email, RSS, and various portals (i.e. SharePoint). The process is simple but the alerts user guide is a helpful overview.  Of course, you may also call the Reference Attorneys at any time.

marijuana LEO 1

Capitol Watch

To track updates to a specific bill,  try your search on Capitol Watch. In addition to creating alerts for newly-introduced bills, you may track the progress of a specific bill simply by clicking the track button.  You will then be notified when there is new information or activity relating to a bill.

marijuana LEO 2

Thanks to all who have submitted comments so far. We welcome your comments and updates.