Even though the use of cannabis is still illegal on the federal level, most states have legalized the sale and use of medical marijuana.
This is a great step towards the legalization of marijuana in the country, especially in states with strict rules.
Apart from most states legalizing medical marijuana, plans are underway to legalize recreational marijuana in an increasing number of states.
In October 2022, the Biden administration initiated crucial steps that could see the decriminalization of it at a federal level.
Read on to find out the state of marijuana legalization in the country.
States Where Marijuana is Legal
So far, there are several states that have legalized the use of this product.
States like Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, California, Maine, and Massachusetts have legalized the use of medical marijuana.
Some have also initiated plans to legalize recreational marijuana. Here is a look at various marijuana laws in selected states.
Texas Marijuana Laws
In 2019, Texas lawmakers legalized various forms of marijuana and the cannabis plant. Since this law was implemented, many marijuana prosecution cases have been in disarray.
This is because Texas marijuana laws are unclear and vary significantly depending on where you live. In recent years, a new Texas law sought to put the state in line with the 2018 federal law that legalized the use of hemp while illegalizing it.
This move resulted in great confusion as the law wasn’t clear. CBD, or cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive compound of cannabis.
Given its non-harmful features, businesses are allowed to sell it in the State as long as it has a THC concentration of less than 0.3%.
While the Texas marijuana laws remain unclear, most of the state’s registered voters want some form of marijuana legalization.
A study done by the University of Texas shows more than 80% of the state’s registered voters would like some form of marijuana legalization.
Including 31% in support of medical marijuana, 30% in support of small amounts, and 23% supporting any amount.
Kansas Marijuana Laws
Despite calls by Kansas voters to legalize medical marijuana, the state remains one of the most restrictive regarding marijuana legalization.
Only CBD products with 0% THC are legal in Kansas. The Kansas state laws ban the use of recreational marijuana and punish those found in possession of even small amounts of the plant.
As if that is not enough, the state also prohibits using paraphernalia like pipes and bongs. However, there are fewer restrictions for medical marijuana in Kansas.
The state allows only medical marijuana patients with severe medical conditions to apply for CBD oil with less than 5% THC.
With all these restrictions, you might think that there are no legal alternatives to marijuana in Kansas. Well, there is one option — Hemp-derived delta 8 THC.
This appears to be a go-to option for those suffering from debilitating medical conditions. The state law allows patients to be recommended low-THC cannabis oil as a treatment.
Remember that the THC level in such products is capped at 5%.
California Marijuana Laws
California is one of the states where medical and recreational marijuana is legal. You are allowed to use marijuana both for medical and recreational reasons in this state.
In 1996, California voters passed Proposition 215, an amendment that legalized medical marijuana in the state.
A few years later, in 2003, the California legislature adopted SB 420. This is a law that protects doctors and physicians from being prosecuted for recommending medical marijuana to patients that need it.
Fast forward to 2016, California voters passed Proposition 64, an initiative that legalized recreational marijuana.
Recreational cannabis can be used in the state among people aged 18 years and above.
What’s Next for Marijuana Legalization?
Both recreational and medical marijuana remains federally illegal. The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 categorizes marijuana as a Schedule I drug.
While this classification creates a negative narrative about cannabis, it is almost impossible to dispute the medical benefits of marijuana.
Many states are beginning to realize that, and most of them are likely to legalize medical and recreational marijuana in the near future.
As more voters continue to push for the legalization of marijuana and its commercial benefits rapidly proliferate, more states in the country are considering the potential tax benefits of legalizing marijuana.
The revenue generated from the sale of marijuana is staggering, and state governments are looking to tap into it.
Besides, the U.S. Congress has set plans to enact major cannabis reforms on the federal level.
In April 2022, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would legalize the use of cannabis across the country.
How is Cannabis Law Policy Developing?
While cannabis remains prohibited at a federal level, more states are enacting laws that allow the use of medical marijuana.
Out of the 50 states, 27 of them have decriminalized the possession of small amounts of this product.
This means that if you are found with small amounts of marijuana for personal consumption, you will not be prosecuted in the mentioned states.
In these states, possession of marijuana is treated as a local infraction instead of a crime. You will not face any prosecution in states that have legalized marijuana.
Colorado, Alaska, and Oregon are among the states developing their own unique structures for collecting tax revenue from the sale of marijuana.
They are also working on regulating and licensing marijuana retail stores and cultivation facilities.
This is aimed at maximizing the commercial benefits of marijuana while allowing patients in need of medical marijuana to access it with ease.
Several states also support the need to educate the public about the health effects. This is particularly targeted for campaigns against the use of marijuana among children.
It is evident that this has sparked widespread conversations and controversy across the country.
The pressure from voters has made it a complicated and hotly contested issue for states to handle as calls for its legalization continue to increase.
Undoubtedly, this matter will remain a hot topic for the foreseeable future.