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Everything You Need to Know About Marijuana Legalization in the U.S.

Posted by on December 6, 2019 in Government, Policies with 0 Comments

The question of marijuana legalization has always been debatable and become still unresolved in many countries. This issue evokes a lot of controversies and strong emotions in people since half of society is in favour of it, whereas the other half is against. Some people believe that it’s only a soft drug, and it should be legalized, giving many examples of the healing properties of this substance. Others strongly assert that there’s no difference between marijuana and other drugs, and that’s why it should be left illegal.

But what does reality look like? Talking about marijuana legalization in the US, we should take into consideration both federal and state laws since they significantly differ from each other. When it comes to the federal level, you can’t possess and use marijuana legally for any purposes, even medical ones. The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 regularized it.

Regarding states, it varies a lot. So, if you want to feel like one of the characters from The Hangover and buy some weed in Las Vegas Weed Shop to smoke a blunt, firstly you should find out whether it’s possible or not in this particular state. Otherwise, you may be faced with serious consequences.

A few words about marijuana

Except for common knowledge that marijuana is a drug, you should be familiar with some basic facts about it if you want to speak up in this issue. Marijuana is also known under the name of cannabis as it comes from the Cannabis plant. It’s classified as a Schedule I drug, perceived as a harmful and dangerous, having mental and physical effects on the human body.

Regarded as a psychoactive substance, people use it both for medical and recreational purposes. Its main psychoactive component is THC, responsible for a “high” feeling in users, making them primarily overexcited. It may also cause a general change in perception, improved mood, and increased appetite, which may last for two to six hours after the intake. More visible effects may include a decrease in short-term memory, dry mouth, red eyes, or even feelings of paranoia and anxiety.

Another popular ingredient of marijuana, which is more and more often used on its own, is CBD. It’s believed to be a healthier compound since it doesn’t have the same properties like THC, being simultaneously safer in usage and non-addictive.

It’s essential to know the difference between marijuana and CBD as some of the US states haven’t legalized cannabis in its pure form, but allow only to use CBD. Both of these substances may be taken by smoking, vaporizing, consuming edibles, and drinking some extracts.

State Laws

Concerning marijuana legalization in the US, you should take into account whether it’s used for medical or recreational purposes. Generally, cannabis for medical use has been legalized in 33 states and the District of Columbia. With regard to the recreational use, it’s legal in 11 states, such as Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington, as well as the District of Columbia.

These states had to adopt the most expensive laws to make cannabis legal. What’s interesting, the first state which decriminalized marijuana for recreational use was Vermont. And it managed to do that in the legislative process, and not in the referendum, which was a great success. Going there, you can grow and possess a small amount of this drug, but you can’t sell nonmedical marijuana. Other states haven’t regularized the question of retail sales yet.

In most states, limited use of medical marijuana is allowed, and it concerns mainly CBD sold in the form of oils, pills and even some edibles.

Federal Laws

Although federal law prohibits the use of marijuana in any form, there are some exceptions from this rule. It concerns mainly the derivative compounds of cannabis, like THC and CBD, which have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for prescription use. We can enumerate four medications, containing cannabis components which are commonly available in the American pharmaceutical industry. There are Marinol, Syndros, Cesamet, and Epidiolex, which you’ll find on the pharmacy’s shelves. But you can buy and take them only with the doctor’s prescription. For non-prescription use, you can purchase products with cannabidiol derived from industrial hemp. However, its legality is again different in each state.

Keeping all this information in mind, either you are an American citizen, or you are going to visit the US, you should always check in advance the possibility of buying and using marijuana in particular states. It’s necessary, for instance, if you are going to a bachelor party and want to get stoned.

This knowledge can also be helpful for terminally ill people who seek some alternative methods of treatment, which may have a decisive impact on their health condition.

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