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As of June 2016, 25 states and Washington D.C. have legalized cannabis for medical use as voter or legislative driven initiatives bypassing the normal Food and Drug Administration testing for safety and efficacy. As of May 2016, 3 states have pending legislation or ballot measures. There is considerable variation in medical marijuana laws from state to state.
In the United States, there are important legal differences between medical cannabis at the federal and state levels. At the federal level, cannabis per se has been made criminal by implementation of the Controlled Substances Act, but as of 2009, new federal guidelines have been enacted. According to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, "It will not be a priority to use federal resources to prosecute patients with serious illnesses or their caregivers who are complying with state laws on medical marijuana, but we will not tolerate drug traffickers who hide behind claims of compliance with state law to mask activities that are clearly illegal.
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