Skip to main content

Survey of Marijuana Law in the United States: Medical Marijuana

16 states with Laws Specifically about Legal Cannabidiol (CBD)

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the 400+ ingredients found in marijuana and is not psychoactive. Many states have passed laws allowing for the use of a CBD extract, usually in oil form, with minimal tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and often for the treatment of epilepsy or seizures in seriously ill children.  Medical marijuana laws have recently passed during 2016 in Arkansas, Florida and North Dakota but have yet to become effective

Passing a CBD-specific law is not considered to be the equivalent of making medical marijuana legal because these laws do not legalize use of the marijuana plant for medical purposes.

Alabama Carly's Law

On Apr. 1, 2014, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley signed SB 174 , known as "Carly's Law," which allows an affirmative defense against prosecution for CBD possession by people suffering from a debilitating epileptic condition. The law states that "a prescription for the possession or use of cannabidiol (CBD) as authorized by this act shall be provided exclusively by the UAB [University of Alabama at Birmingham] Department for a debilitating epileptic condition." Since marijuana is illegal under federal laws, doctors are not allowed to write "prescriptions" for it. The states that have legal medical marijuana allow doctors to "recommend" it.

Delaware Rylie's Law

On June 23, 2015, Delaware Gov. Jack Markell signed Rylie's Law, SB 90 , which states: "[T]he Department shall issue a registry identification card to a qualifying patient with intractable epilepsy or involuntary muscle contractions that cause slow, repetitive movements or abnormal postures, such as dystonia, who is younger than 18 years of age, but only for the use of medical marijuana oil [that is not more than 7% THC]."

Florida Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014

On June 16, 2014, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed SB 1030 into law, which allows the use of non-smoked cannabis oil that is less than 0.8% THC and more than 10% cannabidiol by certain patients with cancer, chronic seizures, or severe muscle spasms.

Georgia Haleigh's Hope Act

On Apr. 16, 2015 Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed HB 1 (Haleigh's Hope Act) into law, allowing the use of cannabis oil that is contains no more than 5% THC for the following conditions: seizure disorders, sickle cell anemia, cancer, Crohn's disease, ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease), multiple sclerosis, mitocondrial disease and Parkinson's disease.

Iowa Medical Cannabidiol Act

On May 30, 2014, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad signed SF 2360 into law, saying "This bill received tremendous support and truly shows the power of people talking to their legislators and to their governor about important issues to them, to their families and to their children." The bill allows the possession or use of cannabidiol that has less than 3% tetrahydrocannabinol [THC] for the treatment of intractable epilepsy with the written recommendation of a neurologist. The bill states that the cannabidiol must be obtained from an out-of-state source and "recommended for oral or transdermal administration" (non-smoked).

Kentucky SB 124

On Apr. 10, 2014, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear signed SB 124 . The law excludes from the definition of marijuana the "substance cannabidiol, when transferred, dispensed, or administered pursuant to the written order of a physician practicing at a hospital or associated clinic affiliated with a Kentucky public university having a college or school of medicine."

Mississippi Harper Grace's Law

On Apr. 17, 2014, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed HB 1231 , "Harper Grace's Law," which allows for cannabis extract, oil, or resin that contains more than 15% CBD and less than 0.5% THC. "The CBD oil must be obtained from or tested by the National Center for Natural Products Research at the University of Mississippi and dispensed by the Department of Pharmacy Services at the University of Mississippi Medical Center." The law also provides an affirmative defense for defendants suffering from a debilitating epileptic condition who accessed the CBD oil in accordance with the requirements set forth in the bill and is effective July 1, 2014.

Missouri HB 2238

On July 14, 2014, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon signed HB 2238 into law, which allows the use of cannabis oil that is at least 5% CBD and less than 0.3% THC for intractable epilepsy. The bill requires a neurologist to determine that the patient did not respond to at least three treatment options to be eligible to use the marijuana extract.

North Carolina Epilepsy Alternative Treatment Act

On July 3, 2014, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed HB 1220 into law. The bill allows universities to conduct clinical trials using CBD oil that is less than 0.3% THC and at least 10% CBD to be used only for the treatment of intractable epilepsy.

Oklahoma Katie and Cayman's Law

On Apr. 30, 2015, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed HB 2154 , which allows the use of cannabis oil that is no more than 0.3% THC for the treatment of severe forms of epilepsy.

South Carolina Julian's Law

On June 2, 2014, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley signed S 1035 into law. "Julian's Law" pertains to people who obtain a written certification signed by a physician "stating that the patient has been diagnosed with Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, Dravet Syndrome, also known as 'severe myoclonic epilepsy of infancy', or any other severe form of epilepsy that is not adequately treated by traditional medical therapies and the physician's conclusion that the patient might benefit from the medical use of cannabidiol." Those patients may use CBD oil that is less than 0.9% THC and more than 15% cannabidiol, which is to be provided by the Medical University of South Carolina in a study to determine the effects of CBD on controlling seizures.

Tennessee SB 2531

On May 16, 2014, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed SB 2531 into law. The bill allows the use of cannabis oil containing cannabidiol (CBD) that has less than 0.9% THC "as part of a clinical research study on the treatment of intractable seizures when supervised by a physician practicing at... a university having a college or school of medicine."
The study is authorized for four years.
On May 5, 2015, Governor Haslam signed SB 280 into law. The bill allows the use of CBD oil that is less than 0.9% THC and that is "obtained legally in the United States and outside of" Tennessee. The bill went into effect immediately.

Texas Compassionate-Use Act

On June 1, 2015, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed SB 339 , which allows the use of cannabis oil that is no more than 0.5% THC and at least 10% CBD for the treatment of intractable epilepsy. The bill requires patients to get approval from two certified specialists.

Utah Charlee's Law

On Mar. 21, 2014, Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed HB 105 , known as "Charlee's Law," which allows the use and possession of marijuana extract, under certain conditions, by people with intractable epilepsy who have a statement signed by a neurologist. The extract must be composed of less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and at least 15% cannabidiol (CBD) by weight, and may not contain any other psychoactive substance. The law goes into effect on July 1, 2014. The extract must be obtained in a sealed container from a laboratory that is licensed in the state where it was produced, with a label stating the extract's ingredients and origin, and transmitted by the laboratory to the Utah Department of Health. The Utah Department of Health is required to determine the details of the registration program.

Virginia HB No. 1445

On Feb. 26, 2015, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe signed HB 1445 into law. The bill stated: "In any prosecution... involving marijuana in the form of cannabidiol oil... it shall be an affirmative defense that the individual possessed such oil pursuant to a valid written certification... for treatment or to alleviate the symptoms of... intractable epilepsy." The oil must contain at least 15% CBD and no more than 5% THC.

Wisconsin AB 726

On Apr. 16, 2014, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed AB 726 , which states that "any physician may provide an individual with a hard copy of a letter or other official documentation stating that the individual possesses cannabidiol to treat a seizure disorder if the cannabidiol is in a form without a psychoactive effect."

Source: ; current as of March 17, 2016

ABA Required Disclosures  |  Contact Us  |  Sitemap  |  University of Georgia  |  Non-Discrimination Policy  |  Text-Only Version
The University of Georgia School of Law    225 Herty Drive    Athens, GA 30602-6012    (706) 542-5191
Copyright 2016, University of Georgia School of Law.  All rights reserved.