Publication Title: 
Publication Date: 
Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Scott Burris and a team of researchers from the Temple University Center for Public Health Law Research and the RAND Drug Policy Research Center analyzed the characteristics of each state’s laws using data from the Prescription Drug Abuse Policy System.

The study finds that the laws in 27 states and Washington, DC, addressing medical marijuana mimic some aspects of federal prescription drug and controlled substances laws, and regulatory strategies used for alcohol, tobacco and traditional medicines. Findings include:

  • Only 14 states protect patients from discrimination.
  • While the majority of states with medical marijuana laws have packaging and labeling requirements for medical marijuana products, the laws vary widely in what they require. For example, only 18 states have made product safety testing mandatory.   
  • Dispensaries are regulated in 25 states, but only 21 restrict where a dispensary may be located.

State laws disparately regulate patient registration and civil rights, product safety labeling and packaging, and dispensaries, creating a patchwork of regulatory strategies whose effectiveness remains unknown.