From 1997 through 1999, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) tracked state-level legislative and ballot initiatives involving the medical use of marijuana as part of the organization's Health Policy Tracking Service.
The tracking service's online database is a commercial venture that tracks state-level health-related policy issues for its commercial subscribers, who include:
- Health care providers
- Insurance companies
- Pharmaceutical firms
- Benefit consulting firms
- Health maintenance organizations.
The tracking service summarized the status of ballot initiatives and legislation in an issue brief and chart that were posted to the NCSL website and updated quarterly.
To ensure widespread dissemination, the tracking service also sent periodic e-mail alerts to inform lawmakers, their staffs and other policy-makers as new information about policies concerning the medical use of marijuana was posted to the website.
In addition, RWJF staff, as well as more than 7,000 state legislators and 30,000 legislative staff members, gained unrestricted access to the tracking service website.