What is a Medical Marijuana Refugee?

woman holding U.S. flag

Medical marijuana refugees find themselves in the middle of the United States’s long-running marijuana prohibition. While the cracks are obviously mounting, 21 states remain without any legalized cannabis market. The current legal situation in America leaves families and patients in limbo as to how to treat their conditions.

For families with minors suffering from epilepsy and other debilitating conditions, they don’t have the time to wait. Action has to be taken now. Unfortunately, making such a decision forces many families to abandon their lives and homes, all for a more effective form of treatment. How long this could continue to happen lies in the hands of lawmakers and citizens.

What is a Medical Marijuana Refugee?

The medical marijuana refugee name has grown since it emerged over the past few years. Also known as cannabis or marijuana refugees, these families uprooted their lives to give their loved ones the treatment government-approved medicine cannot achieve. To do so, families across the United States moved to where they could obtain medical cannabis legally. Colorado became the most commonly associated destination for its progressive cannabis regulations and now includes other legalized states. The trend even inspired some to immigrate to the United States to treat their loved ones.

Families from all walks of life have made the painstaking decision to uproot their lives for access to suitable medicine for their loved one. The trend began slowly, but has grown over the years.

YouTube player

Now, the issue is the subject of recent legal battles with the Department of Justice. The families of minors Alexis Bortell and Jagger Cotte challenged the federal scheduling of marijuana to eliminate the struggles their families and thousands of others continue to face in illegal cannabis states. While the latest ruling was not in their favor, an appeal may come in a bid to end the medical marijuana refugee dilemma.

The issue continues today, as families from numerous states move in a bid for a better life. While this may have been an acceptable outcome during the American frontier, that is not the case in 2018. Today, American support for medical cannabis continues to grow and could sway more states to approve medical sales. And 2018 may be the year many new states receive access to treatment.

In recent years, the number of states enacting medical marijuana programs has decreased the need to relocate for many families. In some states, like Ohio, its medical marijuana refugees are returning home with the ability to live as they did in Colorado. Could more families be on their way back home this year?

Potential Medical Marijuana Progress in 2018

a person pointing at a map with pins on it

Currently, 29 states and Washington D.C. have medical marijuana programs. Additional states approving medical marijuana access has lessened the number of cannabis refugees in the United States. However, the progress so far does not eliminate the need for more access to medical marijuana. Judging from the momentum across the country, it appears that citizens know that the fight is far from over.  

Yet, news from the first quarter of the year appear promising for medical marijuana. Vermont began the year by legalizing adult use in early January. Meanwhile, New Jersey’s new Governor, Phil Murphy, ran on a platform that included adult use legalization within the first 100 days of his inauguration. While nothing has come just yet, New Jersey appears poised to push forward in the near future. In Michigan, the news has been a mixed bag. Medical dispensaries have seen a wave of shutdowns to combat the gray market. However, citizens and legislators appear warm on moving forward with legalization. While Michigan remains in limbo, other states like Delaware, Rhode Island and Connecticut all seem ready to make moves that could progress its cannabis laws.

cannabis treatment

In the Midwest and surrounding area, states are also making progress. Ohio could advance its program even more into adult use in 2018. But the biggest news for medical marijuana refugees could come from states like Oklahoma. While the state Senate could not pass a bill, citizens will be able to vote on medicinal marijuana on June 26, 2018. In Utah, three-quarters of the state support a medical marijuana market, which legalized a restrictive program in March of 2018. In South Dakota and Missouri, signature drives are confirming the cannabis support across the states. And lastly, partisan politics may be holding up Kentuckians from getting their medicine without becoming a refugee or criminal.

Aside from Vermont, nothing is confirmed. That being said, the enthusiasm in these states proves that Americans are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of medicinal marijuana.

How Can I Help Medical Marijuana Refugees?

Despite the progress made in the United States, 21 states remain without a medical marijuana program. This status leaves countless families and patients in limbo when it comes to their treatment. The current landscape of the situation keeps numerous families on the move to Colorado and other areas where they can gain medical access.

medical marijuana america

Making such moves isn’t possible for every family in need. Due to financial and other limitations, scores of families in certain states can’t move to a more desirable medical location. To aid those in need, some support groups have developed over the years. These organizations often make efforts to assist refugee families but tend to struggle with fundraising. Instead, the more successful route appears to be through crowdsourcing. In these cases, families like the Dingleys, in the UK, were able to raise funds for treatment after they were denied medical marijuana access for their son Alfie.

If you are unable to donate money, you can become an advocate by lending your voice. Take a stand by calling your state representatives, marching at rallies and attending public forums. By educating and making your voice heard, you can become another needed ally. Remember that effort matters. Money is far from the only way you can help improve the quality of life for those in need. Do your part today.

Is medical marijuana right for you? PrestoDoctor is here to provide a convenient solution for those living in California, Nevada and New York, and more. Get in touch today.