Variability in medical marijuana laws in the United States

Jessica Bestrashniy, Ken C. Winters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Marijuana use and its distribution raise several complex health, social, and legal issues in the United States. Marijuana is prohibited in only 23 states and promarijuana laws are likely to be introduced in these states in the future. Increased access to and legalization of medical marijuana may have an impact on recreational marijuana use and perception through increased availability and decreased restrictiveness around the drug. The authors undertook an analysis to characterize the policy features of medical marijuana legislation, including an emphasis on the types of medical conditions that are included in medical marijuana laws. A high degree of variability in terms of allowable medical conditions, limits on cultivation and possession, and restrictiveness of policies was discovered. Further research is needed to determine if this variability impacts recreational use in those states.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)639-642
Number of pages4
JournalPsychology of Addictive Behaviors
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 American Psychological Association.


  • eligible medical disorders
  • medical marijuana
  • state laws and regulations


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