Americans for Safe Access in late February unveiled the “2021 State of the States Report: An Analysis of Medical Cannabis Access in the United States,” evaluating the effectiveness of each state cannabis program from a patient perspective.
The report assigned each state’s medical cannabis program a letter grade and also offers solutions for improvement to programs including legislative and regulatory language.
While states have made great strides in passing new laws and strengthening programs, the report highlights the fact that states are still falling short in creating programs that fulfill the needs of all patients.
The annual report reflects the key issues affecting patient access, broken down into more than 100 categories, including barriers to access, civil protections, affordability, health and social equity and product safety, as well as penalties for harmful policies.
The average grade among states (including those without programs) was only 44%, with the highest score being 76% for Maine. Illinois (71.86%), Nevada (69.71%), California (69.43%) and Rhode Island (69.14%) round out the top five.
Nebraska and Idaho tie for the bottom spot with a perfect 0% score.
The five worst states with functioning, comprehensive medical marijuana programs were Vermont (38.29%), New York (42.14%), Utah (45.29%), Louisiana (45.29%) and New Hampshire (45.86%).
ASA distributes the report to state legislators and regulators in every state, as well as hundreds of health organizations and patient organizations. Since its first edition in 2014, advocates and state legislators have utilized the report to pass new legislation and regulations to improve laws.
“With a decline in legislative improvements in state medical cannabis programs, millions of patients are left with limited or no access,” ASA executive director Debbie Churgai said in a press release. “It is ASA’s hope that the report will inspire a renewed commitment to patients by policymakers to improve state laws and end the federal prohibition once and for all.”
The full report is available for free at www.safeaccessnow.org.