In the past 22 years, 32 states have legalized and regulated marijuana for medical use. However, marijuana is scheduled as a Schedule I drug according to the federal government. This means that states have no specific regulations to follow for regulating marijuana for medical use. Because of this, states may be risking the safety of medical marijuana patients. Research was conducted to analyze the policies set out by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) regarding the regulation of a prescription drug. Since the FDA is responsible for the safety and efficacy of prescription drugs, this analysis included what types of risks were mitigated by FDA policies. State policies on medical marijuana were then compared to FDA policies in order to determine if aforementioned risks are being acknowledged and mitigated by states. This research found that states are implementing some policies similar to aspects of FDA regulations, but states are not eliminating nearly as many safety risks that the FDA focuses on eliminating. States are, however, creating additional policies that encompass social issues regarding the legalization of medical marijuana, which the FDA doesn’t do, which could be allowing medical safety to be analyzed in a broader social context.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Marijuana--Therapeutic use--Law and legislation--United States; United States--Food and Drug Administration--Rules and practice; Marijuana--Health aspects--Government policy--United States; Marijuana--Social aspects--Government policy--United States

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Science, Technology and Public Policy (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Public Policy (CLA)


Sandra Rothenberg

Advisor/Committee Member

Franz Foltz

Advisor/Committee Member

Joan Adamo


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes