More medical marijuana states are adjusting laws and increasing access for patients. Lawmakers are seeing that it’s time to end prohibition and allow marijuana to be considered for use as an alternative remedy. States are taking it upon themselves to legalize medical marijuana, either via legislative measure or voter-approved measures, as the fears surrounding marijuana continue to be debunked through science.
Several states and individual communities/counties are continuing to pass decriminalization efforts. Decriminalization does not make marijuana legal; it just reduces or eliminates criminal punishments from being the result of possessing or using small amounts of marijuana. Some states are going steps further to expunge the records of those that have been previously convicted of low-level marijuana crimes on top of decriminalization and legalization efforts.
Where Legalization Efforts Started
California was the first state to officially legalize medical marijuana in 1996.Within 10 years, several other states followed. The new century has brought medical marijuana into the spotlight with dozens of more states also legalizing some form of medical marijuana. 2018 was a near record year for states adopting new medical marijuana laws.
States where some form of Medical Marijuana is Legal:
- District of Columbia
- New Jersey
- New Hampshire
- New York
- New Mexico
- Washington State
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia
- Washington, D.C.
- North Dakota
Some of these programs are not yet up and running as the legislation was just passed in late 2018. States do worry about the federal government going back on its word to leave medical marijuana states alone. The new Attorney General, William Barr, said that he will not interfere. Rider amendments, such as the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment, have been added to the federal budget. These rider amendments prevent the federal government from spending funds on interfering with states that have chosen to legalize medical marijuana.
There are states that have not become full medical marijuana states but do allow medical CBD. Some of these states are considering expansion or full medical marijuana legalization. Wisconsin voters in 16 different areas voted on referendum questions regarding medical and recreational marijuana. All sectors voted in favor of medical marijuana – which could influence lawmakers to add legalization efforts to upcoming election ballots.
States where only CBD is legal:
- South Carolina
This leaves just three states that prohibit all forms of medical marijuana, including specific prohibition of CBD. Those states are Idaho, Nebraska and South Dakota. Every state has specific laws regarding CBD and how much CBD must be in the products. Some allow for more THC than 0.3%, like Texas, but others require the CBD to contain no more than 0.3% THC.
In states where CBD is not explicitly prohibited, Canna Trading Co. can ship our products right to your door. There’s no need to worry about what’s in your CBD, if it’s clean, if it’s safe, or if it’s pure – we publish our lab testing results to prove that we offer a clean, safe and pure product.
State Law vs. Federal Law
There have been many arguments in medical marijuana states that federal law trumps state law. Courts rule on the side of medical marijuana patients and state law more often than not. If there is a run-in with a federal agent, federal law could take precedence over state law. This would be a very tough argument in a court of law.
When it comes to banking – few will work with medical marijuana businesses due to the federal government’s continuance of prohibition. Some financial institutions fear repercussions from the government if they choose to work with marijuana businesses.
It’s also hard for marijuana businesses in medical marijuana states to acquire appropriate insurance due to federal prohibition.
The IRS also makes things difficult for these companies. Medical and recreational marijuana businesses pay much higher taxes because marijuana is legal at the federal level.
Federal employees cannot be medical marijuana patients. Neither can people residing in government housing. Medical marijuana cardholders are prohibited from exercising their 2nd Amendment rights as well.
The stigma surrounding medical marijuana is slowly diminishing but there are people and lawmakers that still think it’s the devil’s lettuce.
The Future of Legal Cannabis
Several measures have been introduced at state and federal levels to legalize marijuana in some form. Legislation also exists at the federal level to allow federal employees to use medical marijuana. Congress will vote on one marijuana bill in late March/early April. It’s unknown how that vote will go.
A majority of the lawmakers in the U.S. are of the elder community and many aren’t up-to-date on what society wants or even what makes sense. Marijuana prohibition no longer makes sense – and to be honest, it never did.
The government needs to see that states like Texas, Georgia, Utah and Indiana are loosening their marijuana laws. States all across the country are decriminalizing possession. Communities across the U.S. are continuing to decriminalize marijuana possession and use. Criminal records are being expunged in record numbers in states that have legalized marijuana. These states have common sense and understand that these previous convictions are no longer valid and should no longer be on people’s records that have not committed a serious or violent crime.
It isn’t a question of if marijuana will be legal nationally – it’s a question of when. The U.S. government needs to pay attention to how the rest of the world is relaxing marijuana laws with legalization efforts. Even Asian countries are reforming marijuana laws.
WHO (World Health Organization) and the United Nations support marijuana law reform. It’s time for the U.S. to catch up.
There are few states in our country that are not medical marijuana states. Lawmakers in those states are working tirelessly to reform marijuana laws and make some kind of progress.
The future looks bright for marijuana legalization in the U.S.
The list of medical marijuana states has grown rapidly in the last decade. Although some state lawmakers are still being stubborn, they can’t ignore the will of the people forever. Some never thought that Indiana would budge at all, and now residents can use CBD. Others thought Georgia wouldn’t budge and now lawmakers are working on legislation to allow in-state cultivation so their medical CBD patients can access medicine. As more science uncovers the true potential of medical marijuana, laws are expected to change more rapidly.