Marijuana laws are constantly changing, not just with regard to legality, but also rules and regulations for growers, distributors, edible makers, dispensaries, and even cannabis tourists, an activity which has become extremely popular. With lots of changes occurring within the realm of American marijuana, it can be hard to keep up and know where you can smoke and where you can’t. We’re here to break it down.
Today, states that consider cannabis fully illegal are the minority and we can count them on our hands. This is all thanks to the unwavering commitment of the many cannabis activists over the decades who have spread awareness, put pressure on lawmakers, and spent time in jail all in the name of cannabis reform. The states that have chosen to take a conservative stance on pot and not make any changes are surrounded by legal states and will probably come around to the benefits of legal cannabis in the near future. The states which have not decriminalized or legalized cannabis include: Idaho, Wyoming, South Dakota, Kansas, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Alabama, and South Carolina. Three states, Nebraska, Mississippi, and North Carolina have chosen to decriminalize, but not allow marijuana for medicinal purposes. Colorado and Washington spearheaded a wave of legalization in 2012 and now there are 11 states that have fully legalized cannabis as of August 2020. A legal state is one that permits any adult aged 21 and over to purchase pot for recreational use. These states are listed below.
Cannabis has been used as a medicine since the ancient times, where it served as an anesthetic during surgery. Today, many pot smokers can attest to the vast array of medicinal properties associated with the cannabis plant. Ganja is used to treat physical ailments like chronic pain, epilepsy, insomnia, menstrual cramps, and inflammation, but has also been reported by smokers to help with mental health issues like anxiety, stress, and depression. Sufferers of ADHD, autism, Alzheimer’s, and brain tumors have also found marijuana to provide relief. In 1996, California made history by passing Proposition 215 (the Compassionate Use Act), becoming the first state to legalize medical marijuana. This paved the way for many other states to look into providing MMJ cards to patients of their own. In these states, medical marijuana can be prescribed to anyone 18 and over or to minors with parental consent. Medical marijuana states that have also decriminalized pot are:
If you were wondering what happened to the MORE Act, you’re not alone. The bill was introduced to the senate in June 2019 and then seemed to have been left by the wayside. But the wait is over and Americans will soon find out if the bill will pass. In a historic move, the House will vote on legalizing and decriminalizing cannabis in September 2020. This is the first time there will be a floor vote to remove pot from the Controlled Substances Act, which in itself has been called “the greatest federal cannabis reform accomplishment in over 50 years”.
Bill S.2227, more often referred to as the MORE Act decriminalizes and deschedules pot at the federal level. Marijuana is currently listed as a Schedule 1 drug just like LSD and heroin, and if passed, the bill would remove it from the list of scheduled substances. Anyone in the United States caught growing, distributing, or in possession of cannabis will not face criminal charges. The cannabis bill will also add a 5% tax to legal marijuana products, which goes into a trust fund to support people who have been negatively impacted by the government’s war on drugs. Marijuana businesses would be allowed to access small business loans and other services that are currently unavailable to them since they aren’t considered legitimate businesses at the federal level. Under the MORE Act, certain types of cannabis offenses will also be expunged.
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