In the year 1996, California voters passed Proposition 215, later renamed the Compassionate Use Act. The act allows patients with the valid recommendation of a doctor and the designated primary caregivers of the patient to possess and cultivate marijuana for personal medical use. The act was soon followed by similar laws in other US states (Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington).
In January 1998, Oakland Cannabis Buyers’ Cooperative was sued by the US government for violation of federal laws created as a result of Controlled Substances Act of 1970. The United States Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Oakland Cannabis Buyers’ Coop on May 14, 2001 that federal anti-drug laws do not permit an exception for medical cannabis. The Supreme Court rejected the common-law medical necessity defense to crimes enacted under the Controlled Substances Act as the Congress concluded cannabis has “no currently accepted medical use” when the Controlled Substances Act was passed in 1970.
The National Center for Natural Products Research (part of the School of Pharmacy at the University of Mississippi) in Oxford, Mississippi is the only facility in the country that is federally licensed by the National Institute on Drug Abuse to cultivate cannabis for scientific research.