Understanding the Current Status of Federal Marijuana Legalization in the USA

The liberal policies of governments in the USA are providing an ideal environment for marijuana businesses to thrive. Cannabis has already become a billion-dollar business in the United States....
Federal Marijuana Legalization in USA

The liberal policies of governments in the USA are providing an ideal environment for marijuana businesses to thrive. Cannabis has already become a billion-dollar business in the United States. It is estimated to surpass the benchmark of $30 billion in 2023. In 1973, Oregano became the first state that introduced liberal policies to decriminalize cannabis use. Followed by Oregano, California legalized medical marijuana in 1996.

Finally, in 2012, Washington and Colorado became the first-ever states that gave legal recognition to recreational marijuana. It took around 40 years to influence the federal lawmakers for revoking ban on cannabis selling and consumption. Still, the legal statuses of marijuana majorly vary from state to state until now. Before discussing them, it is important to know the reasons why lawmakers are uplifting the ban gradually? Scroll down to get the answer,

Major reasons for legalizing marijuana sale and purchase

Around a few decades ago, cannabis consumption was completely considered as taboo (even the number of cannabis users was still high). What could be the reasons to reconsider the restriction policies? Here are some influential points:-

1) Medicinal benefits

Several recently published medical journals proved that the cannabinoids and terpenes of the cannabis plant are highly beneficial for health. Not only CBD but its psychoactive compound THC also comprises various health benefits. From mental health issues like depression and Alzheimer’s to physical health issues like low appetite, insomnia, and diabetes, cannabinoids showed some significant results. It becomes the biggest reason for allowing the sale of cannabis in recreational dispensaries.

2) Least addictive

Unlike opioids, alcohol, cocaine, synthetic drugs, and alcohol, cannabis is the least addictive substance. If you consume marijuana strains without mixing tobacco or any other psychoactive element, the chances of addiction will be around 5-6%. On the other hand, synthetic drugs are the most addictive substances. Although cannabis has a high uplifting potency, still, it is much safer than alcohol when it comes to addiction. If alcohol is legal worldwide, what should be the problem with cannabis?

3) Not fully restrictable

Cannabis is widely known as a weed in its slang term. It grows abundantly almost in every part of the world. Cannabis doesn’t require special care to thrive. Therefore, complete eradication is not possible. Also, its processing is so easy that anyone can consume without requiring any special skills. Rubbed black hash, dried leaves strains, and fried snacks are some very common ways to get high on cannabis without even buying. The federal lawmakers realized that ban it or not, the market of cannabis will continuously thrive. It’s better to generate heavy revenue by legalizing rather than allowing the black market to dominate.

From these three points, it has become clear that the extreme environment adaptable nature and medicinal benefits are the collective reasons behind the ban revocation on marijuana. However, not all states agree on liberalization. Some gave full permission, some allowed it partially and others completely banned. Below is a list of all states and their current policies for marijuana legal status as per the recently published data on Wikipedia.

State Recreational Status Medical Status Transportation Rules Cultivation Status
Alabama felony (1st-offense possession is a misdemeanor) non-psychoactive CBD oil not clearly stated illegal
Alaska legal legal up to 1 oz. (28 grams)[8] 12 plants in a household with two adults 21+,[9] or no limit with commercial license
Arizona Illegal legal medical use only medical use only
Arkansas Illegal legal medical use only medical use only
California legal legal up to 1oz. (28 grams) six plants, or commercially licensed
Colorado legal legal up to 1 oz. (28 grams) six plants, or commercially licensed[17]
Connecticut decriminalized legal felony (legal for medical use) felony
Delaware decriminalized (civil infraction) legal medical use only medical use only
Florida illegal legal medical use only medical use only
Georgia illegal; decriminalized in the cities of Atlanta[24], Clarkston[25], Forest Park[26], Savannah, South Fulton[27], Statesboro[28], and unincorporated Fulton County[29] CBD oil less than 5% THC medical use only illegal
Hawaii decriminalized [33] legal against program rules. medical use only
Idaho misdemeanor (85 grams/3 oz. or less) CBD oil containing 0% THC not clearly stated felony
Illinois legal[40] legal up to 1.1 oz. (30 grams) five plants (medical use only)
Indiana misdemeanor up to 6 months, $1000 fine CBD oil less than 0.3% THC, legal for any use not clearly stated illegal
Iowa illegal cannabis oil less than 3% THC not clearly stated felony
Kansas misdemeanor CBD oil containing 0% THC, legal for any use not clearly stated illegal
Kentucky misdemeanor (less than 8 oz (230 g)) CBD oil not clearly stated misdemeanor (less than 5 plants)
Louisiana illegal legal medical use only illegal
Maine legal legal legal to carry up to 2.5oz. (71 grams) up to three mature plants, 12 immature plants and unlimited number of seedlings; or commercially licensed [49]
Maryland decriminalized (10g or less) legal medical use only illegal
Massachusetts legal legal up to 1 oz. (28 grams) 1 oz of marijuana outside the home, 10 oz inside the home, up to six plants.
Michigan legal legal medical and recreational 2.5 oz of marijuana outside the home, allows 10 oz and up to 12 plants per household
Minnesota decriminalized legal medical use only medical use only
Mississippi decriminalized (first offense; 30 grams or less) CBD oil not clearly stated illegal
Missouri decriminalized legal not clearly stated legal for medical use
Montana illegal legal medical use only medical use only
Nebraska decriminalized (first offense only) illegal not clearly stated illegal
Nevada legal legal medical and recreational use (adults at least 21) 6 plants per household
New Hampshire Decriminalized (up to three-quarters of an ounce) legal medical use only medical use only
New Jersey illegal legal medical use only medical use only
New Mexico decriminalized legal medical use only medical use only
New York decriminalized[78] legal medical use only misdemeanor
North Carolina decriminalized (0.5 oz or less) CBD oil illegal illegal
North Dakota decriminalized (0.5 oz or less) legal medical use only  
Ohio decriminalized (civil infraction) legal not clearly stated medical use only
Oklahoma illegal legal not clearly stated legal with a medicinal license
Oregon legal legal up to 1 oz., more for licensed cultivators (adults 21+) 4 plants per household
Pennsylvania illegal legal medical use only medical use only
Rhode Island decriminalized (civil violation) legal medical use only medical use only
South Carolina misdemeanor[98] cannabis oil less than 0.9% THC CBD oil illegal
South Dakota misdemeanor illegal not clearly stated illegal
Tennessee misdemeanor (less than 1/2 ounce; first or second offense only). cannabis oil less than 0.9% THC CBD oil misdemeanor: 9 plants or less; felony: 10+ plants
Texas Illegal. “Cite and Release” in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin residents of  Travis County CBD oil with no more than 0.5% THC and no less than 10% CBD not clearly stated illegal
Utah misdemeanor legal not clearly stated illegal
Vermont legal (up to one ounce or yield of two mature plants, no commercial sales[108]) legal (medical sales allowed) legal two mature plants, four immature
Virginia misdemeanor cannabis oil less than 5% THC not clearly stated illegal
Washington legal legal legal legal with restrictions and licensing
West Virginia misdemeanor legal not clearly stated illegal
Wisconsin misdemeanor on a first offense, felony on subsequent offenses[125] CBD oil qualified patients may have 12 plants and three oz of leaves or flowers.[124] felony
Wyoming misdemeanor CBD oil not clearly stated illegal

Federal District

District Recreational Status Medical Status Transportation Rules Cultivation Status
District of Columbia legal (no commercial sales)[127] legal (commercial sales) legal to carry up to 2 oz. (56.7 grams) legal to grow up to six plants (only three mature at a time) for recreational purposes; no provision for commercial recreational cultivation

Courtesy – Wikipedia

Currently, 11 states are allowing the sale of recreational marijuana near you, 23 states for the medicinal purpose (with THC), 14 states for medicinal purposes (without THC), and 4 completely prohibited it. From the above data, it becomes clear that the legalization status for marijuana is divided into four major categories including:-

1) Recreational use

In the states where recreational marijuana is legal, you can frequently buy any kind of stuff from the age of 21 years. Recreational marijuana contains the highest amount of THC in products like dry herb strains, hash, wax, edibles, and vaping concentrates.

2) Medicinal use (With THC)

Medicinal properties are among the major reasons why some states started revoking the ban. States like Virginia and Utah allow patients suffering from health problems like depression, cancer, and other inflammatory diseases to consume cannabis. They get special authorization cards to become eligible for using marijuana products.

3) Medicinal use (Without THC)

THC is the main psychoactive compound in marijuana plants and the main reason behind its prohibition. Therefore, states like North Carolina and Mississippi allow only CBD part of the cannabis plant for medicinal purposes.

4) Completely illegal

Right now, four states are maintaining strict prohibitions rules for the sale and consumption of all marijuana types. These are Idaho, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas.

There are also some states where recreational marijuana is completely prohibited but it is decriminalized. Similarly, different states customized their legal policies regarding cultivation, transportation, and consumption with additional rules. We will surely witness some significant liberalization moves in legalizing marijuana. You can check the above chart to gain exact information about every single state clearly.

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