26 Sep Marijuana Legal Status & Map by State 2019
Every year more and more states are approving the legalization of cannabis. The main reason is that cannabis offers a growing market as the recreational and health benefits are becoming recognized. Moreover, legalization of cannabis might become a major campaign issue for the 2020 US presidential elections.
The laws on cannabis might seem a bit confusing. To help readers, this blog offers a simple breakdown of the legal status of cannabis in different states.
A Timeline of Legalization of Marijuana
During 1930, marijuana received a lot of bad press because it was associated with Latin immigration and was seen as a disruptive force to American culture. In 1937, the Marijuana Tax Act was introduced to regulate cannabis use nationally. In 1970, it became a banned substance under the Controlled Substances Act which has continued even today. Since 1972 there have been calls to decriminalize marijuana as more research about its effects emerges, but these have been ignored so far at the national level.
However, since 1996, some states like California have legalized marijuana at the state level, allowing it to be used as a recreational and medical drug. In 2012, Washington and Colorado also legalized cannabis use. Today, marijuana is legal in 10 states for both uses, whereas another 36 have allowed its use in one of the two forms.
Federal Position on Marijuana Use
Cannabis is still regulated under the CSA and is still a banned substance at the federal level. Its medical use is not recognized, and the main concern is its addictive nature. Harsh punishments are prescribed for those cultivating, selling, transporting or possessing the drug. Even doctors cannot prescribe it to their patients. Federal laws prevent marijuana from being:
· Given to children
· Sold by criminal gangs
· Moved from one state to another
· Used by drivers
· Cultivated on public property
· Possessed or used by a person within federal property
· A person can be imprisoned if convicted of violating federal law.
State Regulation of Marijuana
Marijuana is a legal recreational drug in 10 states and DC, whereas 34 states allow its use under various conditions or for medical use. States that allow marijuana for recreational purposes include California, Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Michigan, Oregon, Massachusetts, Nevada, and Vermont
States that allow marijuana use for medical uses alone are Florida, Arizona, Delaware, Illinois, Georgia, Alabama, Hawaii, Louisiana, Kentucky, Ohio, New Mexico, New York, Texas, and others. Other states like Idaho, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas continue to classify marijuana as a banned substance.
Marijuana Laws in the Recreational States
Here is a brief description of marijuana legal status & map by state 2019 as a recreational drug in some states.
· Alaska: The legal age for using marijuana is 21 years. The maximum limit for using or possessing marijuana is 1 ounce. Dispensaries are opening up where marijuana can be provided in a safe and legal way.
· California: Recreational use was legalized in 2016 for people aged 21 and above. The maximum amount that can be possessed is 1 ounce whereas a single household can cultivate a maximum of 6 plants. However, a lot of cannabis are still sold on the black market because of high taxes.
· Colorado: It has legalized marijuana since 2012, and the maximum amount for possession is 1 ounce. A lot of dispensaries dot the state.
· Maine: Marijuana was legalized in 2016 and people can carry a maximum amount of 2.5 ounces legally. Dispensaries are still not operational in the state.
· Massachusetts: Households can cultivate a maximum of 12 plants under the 2016 law. The state saw its first dispensary opening up in 2018, and more are in the pipeline.
· Michigan: Residents are allowed to possess 2.5 ounces of cannabis and cultivate 12 plants in the household.
· Nevada: People aged 21 can by 1 ounce of the drug and the state has earned USD20 million under marijuana taxes. Also, you need a licence to be able to grow marijuana at home.
· Oregon: Cannabis use is legal since 2015. People can carry 1 ounce of marijuana. Each household can grow a maximum of 4 plants.
· Vermont: The maximum number of plants that can be grown in the home is two. There are no markets for commercial manufacture and sale of the drug.
· Washington: While residents can possess marijuana legally, they are not allowed to grow it in their homes without a special permit.
· Washington DC: Marijuana is legal since 2014 and residents can possess a maximum limit of 2 ounces of the drug.
Implications of the State and Federal Law Conflict
On the surface, the difference in marijuana legal status & map by state 2019 between state and federal laws seems like a source of conflict and confusion for users of marijuana. Federal law supersedes all state laws, which means that the state can prosecute anyone for using the drug even in states where it is legal. An example is a restriction on transporting the drug between two legal states.
However, since 2015, federal law has relaxed to some extent with states now allowed to receive funds that help them to enforce their cannabis laws for medical use. The only solution for this problem is for the legalization of cannabis on a national level.
As more states show interest in recreational use of marijuana, it is possible that federal law will also approve it. There is political capital to be made by taking such a step as well as a potential sour