Legal Marijuana States
So what’s all the commotion about Legal Marijuana states? On 4th November 2014, District of Columbia legalized the cultivation and possession of marijuana. Every citizen in the district now has the right to grow six plants, with no more than three mature plants at a time. While growing and consuming marijuana is legal, selling for recreational purposes is not.
Marijuana usage has always had historical significance, as various cultures have had links with the plant. But over the course of time, smoking the plant became unacceptable in society and eventually became taboo. However, a lot has changed since the turn of the century and increasing acceptance of the plant has led to reforms in state laws.
The number of states where it is legal to buy and sell marijuana is low, with only Colorado, Alaska, Washington, and Oregon having legalized cannabis. In Rhode Island, Nevada, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, and Illinois, mmj, i.e. medical marijuana, has been decriminalized but consumption for recreational purposes is still frowned upon.
Supporters of the drug are now advocating for marijuana legalization. The phenomenon has led to a number of states to reconsider or at least discuss the laws related to cannabis. At the time this article is being written, twenty-three states have allowed the use of marijuana within a medicinal capacity.
The year 2014 witnessed a lot of events that were favorable for the pro-marajuana camp. We are amongst many others who feel the year to be the best for marijuana so far (2014). Therefore, we’ve dedicated an article to those few events that felt most significant towards the mass legalization of cannabis.
The start of 2014 was the inception point, as it marks the first legally sanctioned sale of the plant (Colorado State – Jan 1st 2014). That moment has historical significance as a precedent was broken, paving the way for more Medical Marijuana states to follow suit. Later into the year, voters in the states of Oregon, Washington D.C. and Alaska have also voted to legalize weed for recreational purposes. These turn of events represent the changing attitudes towards marijuana, rendering advocates’ belief for an inevitable shift in governmental policy.
Shifting Federal Outlook
Even as states have begun to legalize weed, the federal law still considers the sale as well as the possession of cannabis as a punishable act. However, a federal judge granted a three day hearing regarding the classification of marijuana as heroin, ecstasy, and LSD. The hearing on the matter holds incredible significance as marijuana gets interest from the federal level of governance.
Maryland was the first state in 2014 to legalize the commercial sale of medical marijuana along with decriminalizing it, making them the 21st medical marijuana state, while Minnesota became the 22nd, followed by New York.
But what’s more important is that Congress has agreed to not interfere with the states choosing to legalize medical marijuana within their jurisdiction. Moreover, the bill included an extremely important provision, one which restricts the Justice Department from spending resources to prosecute dispensaries and even patients. That particular aspect of the bill consolidated the gains made by marijuana advocates.
The New York Times, a leading American daily newspaper, the publication’s editorial board has called for the end of the prohibition on weed. Barak Obama, the President of the US, too has shared his thoughts on this matter, saying that he felt it is less dangerous compared to alcohol. A poll conducted by NBC News and Wall Street Journal has found that a vast majority of Americans consider weed to be less harmful compared to tobacco, alcohol, and even sugar.
All these events that took place in 2014 are significant for marijuana advocates, and it seems like progress is being made in a positive direction. In 2015, we can expect to see more states legalizing cannabis.