Where Do We Currently Stand On Weed?
This decade has been an exciting time in the world of weed with its rapid legalization for medicinal use and more recently, recreational use and it's an issue that seems to have the US split in half. State laws vary from state to state which all differ from federal law. Here’s a more in-depth look at both:
Marijuana Laws by State
Medical marijuana is now legal in 28 states and Washington DC. Patients may receive medical marijuana cards after physician diagnosis and buy their medicine from legal dispensaries. State laws have some protections in place for physicians against federal prosecution since it is still federally illegal.
Recreational marijuana is legal in 8 states including Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Alaska, Maine, Massachusetts, Colorado and Washington DC. Colorado was the first state to legalize recreational use of weed in 2012. Recreational legalization typically means that individuals over the age of 21 are allowed to carry a certain amount on their person no matter where they are without criminal repercussion. Individuals and households are also allowed to grow a certain number of plants at their residence without permit. Legalization doesn’t mean pot can be smoked anywhere in public, though. Generally, it is legal to consume weed in a private residence or on one’s own property.
Although weed is legal for recreational use in 8 states and 28 states passed medicinal marijuana as legal, it is still considered an illegal drug on a federal level. The federal government classifies cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug, which means it’s still considered addicting and offers no medical value.
Under federal law, doctors may not prescribe marijuana but can suggest it as treatment under the first amendment. This is only technical consideration under federal law. The Supreme Court ruling on past cases has indicated that Congress and the FDA should work together toward resolving this discrepancy between state and federal law.
Where the Future is Headed For Cannabis Laws
The legalization of recreational marijuana means decriminalization of non-violent possession. This will lower crime rates, lower arrests of possession and retro-actively release non-violent offenders imprisoned for simply possession of marijuana.
More and more states are headed toward legalization of medical marijuana, which will allow people to be treated for their conditions. Legalization of recreational use will decriminalize possession of marijuana and empty our prisons of non-violent offenders.
If we consider Colorado’s legalization process as a blueprint for other states’ futures, there will be increased taxes that can be used to support infrastructure, social programs and other state needs. Once weed becomes legal federally, the FDA can tax and regulate its use which will create revenue for the entire country. Increased regulation will ensure more safety measures with dosage and usage as well.
So What Now?
What you need to know is that laws are changing state by state and they’re changing fast. People across the board are becoming more accepting of cannabis and favor its legalization both medically and recreationally. With an eventual federal ban lifted, doctors can legally bring marijuana into clinical trials and run scientific trials that can speak more conclusively about weeds effectiveness in treatment of specific conditions.
Pot is set to change the face of modern medicine and has many social, political and financial implications. Remember to stay informed and do the research for your specific state, because the world as we know it is drastically changing and it's exciting to see where weed is heading.