142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Medical Marijuana Laws for Patients: Creating a cross-sectional legal dataset of medical marijuana patient related laws in order to measure the law and examine trends across the United States

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Monday, November 17, 2014

Lindsay Foster, JD , Public Health Law Research is a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It is housed at the Temple University Beasley School of Law., Public Health Law Research, Philadelphia, PA
The U.S. federal government makes marijuana use illegal under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, classifying it as a Schedule I drug with no currently accepted medical use. Although illegal at the federal level, 21 states have legalized its use. To examine variation in the law across jurisdictions, we created a legal dataset of state medical marijuana patient related laws.

Laws for 50 states and DC were researched; relevant statutes were collected by two legal researchers using Lexis and Westlaw legal databases. The search process was recorded daily in a research protocol. Important features of the law were identified based on background research and discussion with a content expert and the coding form was created. Each record was coded by two legal researchers; 20% of the records were redundantly coded, and re-coding was completed as necessary to maintain the quality of the data. Variables were selected for display on the policy surveillance portal.

We found significant variation in the law. As of January 1, 2014, 21 jurisdictions allow authorized adults to use medical marijuana. Variation exists among these jurisdictions: 19/21 classifies “HIV Positive” as a qualifying medical condition, 18/21 allows qualified minors to use medical marijuana, 15/21 prohibits its use in or around schools (pre-K-12), and 13/21 limits possession to less than 3oz.  As this area of law develops, ongoing policy surveillance and dissemination of data is necessary to provide the quantitative information needed for setting priorities and tracking emerging trends for researchers, policymakers and the public.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Formulate the research methods for creating a cross-sectional legal dataset.

Keyword(s): Public Health Research, Evidence-Based Practice

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a lawyer working for the Public Health Law Research Program (PHLR). I have spent the last year creating and publishing several legal datasets for PHLR. I have been the lead legal analyst and supervisor on the medical marijuana laws for patientsí dataset; specifically, I have spent the past six months working on the research, coding, updates and publication of this dataset.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.