Marijuana legal States
The beginnings of recreational marijuana legalization began with the medical marijuana industry. The legalization of cannabis is not something that can happen overnight. The negative anti-marijuana propaganda must be overcome. Medical marijuana reaches success through the positive lobbying efforts of pro-marijuana organizations.
Colorado is known for being the first state to allow residents to smoke marijuana legally without a medical marijuana card, but California was the first state to pass a bill that allowed patients to use marijuana for the treatment of diseases. It was not until 2012 that the first state, Colorado, passed a law which allowed marajuana, to be used recreationally. Shortly after Colorado marijuana became legal for those over 21 to possess and smoke in the states of Washington, Oregon, Alaska and D.C.
A poll conducted in September of 2014 showed that residents of the United States would likely vote for nationwide legalization of marijuana by a ratio of 2-to-1. For laws to be passed on a national level, they must go through Congress. No matter how well worded or well intentioned a bill is, Congress has the power to veto it. But, popular opinion and a legalization in most states would certainly help its cause.
There are various stages involved on the path to full marijuana legalization. First, there is decriminalization which means that states will not require prison time nor the development of a criminal record for those who are in possession of small amounts of marijuana for recreational use. The quantity an individual is allowed to possess varies by state.
There are, as of March 2015, 23 medical marijuana states which allow a patient to receive medical approval to use marajuana. The most common conditions are glaucoma, ALS, various cancers, severe forms of arthritis and other medical conditions. The specific conditions and requirements vary by each state.
Medical marijuana has been a stepping stone for certain states legalize marijuana for recreational use. It is hard to say how many states in the USA will eventually have marijuana legal for general consumption but, so far the norm has been that states go through the process of maintaining medical marijuana first. Once dispensaries and growers are in place, a state becomes better able to regulate and distribute marijuana and thus, collect taxes on it.
Marijuana news sites are updating every day with information about ballot initiatives. No one knows how many states in the US will need to pass individual marijuana laws, both medical and recreational, before the United States, on a federal level, will pass similar bills. The legislation behind a bill of this magnitude and this much controversy will take a lot of work and much persistence.
In the states where marijuana has been legalized, big revenue has been generated. This is not only from the buying and selling of marijuana, but also in the jobs which have been brought to the area. If marijuana became nationally legalized, the effects on that front would be seen from ocean to ocean, especially with the taxation and regulation in place on tobacco and alcohol as an example.