Despite there being states that have legalized and opened recreational markets like in Colorado, or have only legalized personal possession like Vermont, US marijuana laws are far behind.
Cannabis is currently a Schedule I drug, with no real change from when this was imposed in 1970 with the Controlled Substances Act. Once states began legalizing though, the Cole Memo was issued in 2013 to say that it will tolerate state distribution of cannabis if they are willing to allow it, despite this contradiction to federal policy. Unfortunately, in January 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded that memo, possibly exposing the states to enforcement from U.S. attorneys based on federal law if they so choose.
Medical cannabis is not currently federally legal, and the prevailing mentality is that it has no benefit when smoked. The Food and Drug administration has approved a few cannabis drugs, though.
Is marijuana legal in the United States of America? Technically, no. However, many states have taken it upon themselves to say yes.
Current Legal Status in the United States of America
- Medical Marijuana in USA: Mostly unrecognized as beneficial
- Recreational USA Marijuana Laws: First possession offense of any amount is a misdemeanor that could equal a year incarceration and up to a $1,000 fine
- Policy group(s) active in the United States: NORML, United States Cannabis Coalition, The Cannabis Industry
- Politician(s) leading legislative reform: Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker, Barbara Lee
- Top brand(s) in a Federal Market: There is no federal market
- Tax revenue generated by legalization of any marijuana: Sadly, none
Despite Sessions’ push to take a step backwards, Cory Booker has introduced a bill that will make marijuana legal at the federal level, set up a precedent for states to do the same, and then invest the revenue into job training and other community building programs for those areas that were most affected by its classification as a Schedule I drug.
John Boehner has also come out in support of legalization at the federal level, but this was met with criticism, since he simultaneously announced joining Acreage Holdings’ advisory board, which would benefit from him changing his previously anti-marijuana stance.
We’ll keep this directory updated as the cannabis saga unfolds across the US!
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