8 US States Where Cannabis is Legal for Medical and Recreational Uses

cannabis in the US

The United States is one of many countries with polarizing views on the use, sale, possession and cultivation of cannabis. Noting that marijuana is still categorized as a Schedule 1 drug by DEA(Drug Enforcement Administration), which means it is a substance prone to lots of abuses by the users, legalizing it in the federal level may not happen in the near future. Unless there is a miracle Mary Jane that would alter the views of the lawmakers and make the users in celebratory mood similar to the historic rainbow display of lights at the White House last year, the substance’s legality would still remain at the state level.

But there are many reasons not to worry if you really aim that high, in the relaxed state.

Legalization advocates of marijuana have been raising their voices to trump what they know about this herb that has been scientifically proven to have certain health benefits.

Even though at the federal level, the substance is still illegal–blame the DEA  for retaining that ridiculous classification– there has been better lights forming on the state level, which by the way, has the autonomy to hold polls and ballot voting and undertake certifying processes to make cannabis legal. Yay!

Smoking weed has been legalized in 8 states of the great America in these recent years, that is something to really be thankful of. These states allow use of marijuana for medical and recreational uses.

Just to give a few shades of the legalization aspect of this special kind of herb for use, possession and even cultivation in these states, marijuana has been found out to have certain benefits. I believe I have mentioned that. We all know the certain extent of how great this herb can be for our health. Thankfully, these states have heard the plea of the advocates, even though DEA still believes that the substance has no acceptable medical uses. Like, really?

Read: Check out the Health Benefits of Cannabis Oil

Legalizing marijuana in these states went through different processes. So, there are rocky stages along the way and people in possession of large volumes of the substance including cultivation of the herb would still likely go to jail.

Apparently, before any legalization must take place, the decriminalization of the possession of the substance must undergo voting processes and political hullabaloos.

Thankfully, people in Oregon made the first move in decriminalizing cannabis in 1973. In Alaska, however, there were yoyo moments in decriminalization of marijuana. Until the recriminalization struck down in 2003, most voters in Alaska eventually decided to make the substance legal to help them from the freezing climate there in 2014.

But even though decriminalization of the substances has been voted and enacted in the state level, certain limits are set as to the uses, possessions and transportation of cannabis. We can’t really shout a big hurrah despite the decriminalization and legalization.

Even though these states have made marijuana legal, certain regulations are still in place such as the limit of handling the substance if carried publicly. Of course, it is still an obvious fact that too much of a good thing can still be sinful. As they say, “too much of something is bad enough.”

I guess, we still need someone to remind us about the cons of this substance, if abused.

Now, as of November 9, 2016, which is a historic date for cannabis advocates, the following states have been enlightened to make marijuana legal for medical and recreational uses.

1. Oregon

Starting with this state, which managed to decriminalize cannabis in 1973, the first in the US, votes were cast under Measure 91 to finally gain approval in 2014, paving the way for the legalization of cannabis on July 1, 2015.

Before a certain narcotics act that made cannabis utterly illegal in Oregon, the state managed to enjoy legal marijuana until 1935.

But cycles and changes have passed and Oregon recognized medical marijuana in 1998. Fast forward from now, the state has allowed persons to carry not more than 1 ounce.

Cultivation is also legalized which sets per household to have 4 plants limit. It is worthy to note that Oregon is the US’ cradle of indoor cannabis cultivation as cited by DEA. The state even competes with neighboring California in the cultivation of indoor marijuana.

And since the politicians in Oregon regarded the cultivation of cannabis as a good business, one of the factors in legalizing the plant and substance for recreational use, they imposed cannabis sales tax at 25 per cent.

2. Alaska

Alaska Measure 2 was a successful 2014 ballot measure, described as “An Act to tax and regulate the production, sale, and use of marijuana.”

The measure went into effect on 24 February 2015, allowing Alaskans age 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of cannabis and six plants. By enacting this,  it makes Alaska the third state to legalize recreational marijuana, following Colorado and Washington.

3. California

This state has set many timelines leading to the legalization of marijuana.

In July 1975, Governor Jerry Brown has been instrumental in enacting Senate Bill 95 that reduced the penalty for possession of one ounce (28.5 grams) of cannabis or less.

On November 5, 1996, California became the first state in the United States to legalize medical marijuana when the voters passed Proposition 215 by 56%.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Senate Bill 1449 on September 30, 2010.  He further decriminalized the possession of 1 ounce or less to a civil infraction leading to no jail time and punishable by a maximum $100 fine.

On July 6, 2015, California Governor Jerry Brown signed the Medical Cannabis Organ Transplant Act into law. Brown also signed a bill targeting illegal marijuana growers. He  also signed another bill to enhance and update California medical cannabis statutes.

On October 9, 2015, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law even further legislative statutes on medical cannabis.

And lately, in September 2016, Brown signed into law more bills on cannabis reforms.

4. Colorado

Colorado Amendment 64 made the legalization of sale and possession of marijuana possible for non-medical uses on November 6, 2012.  This extends to in private cultivation of up to six marijuana plants, with no more than three being mature.

5. Maine

The Marijuana Legalization Act has just been approved recently and would take effect within 40 days of Nov 8, 2016. By legalization,  adults who are not participating in the state’s medical cannabis program are permitted to legally grow and to possess personal use quantities of cannabis.  Another good thing about this is that it  is also extended to commercial cannabis production and retail sales.

The law imposes a 10 percent tax on commercial marijuana sales, a less tax burden compared to Oregon.

Under the law, localities have the authority to regulate, limit, or prohibit the operation of marijuana businesses. On-site consumption is permitted under the law in establishments licensed for such activity.

6. Massachusetts

In 2008, the state decriminalized cannabis when 63% of the populace voted yes on Question 2. The legislation defines possession of 1 ounce or less to be a civil infraction punishable by a $100 fine. Yes, there is a fine as similarly imposed by other states.

In 2012, the state managed to legalize medical marijuana and very recently this year, 2016, recreational marijuana has been finally legalized when voters passed Question 4 by 54%.

7. Nevada

On November 7, 2000, Nevada legalized medical marijuana when 65% of the populace voted yes on Question 9 ballot. Sixteen years after, on November 8, 2016, the state legalized recreational marijuana.

8. Washington

Marijuana was legalized by Washington Initiative 502 in 2012. The law requires state licenses from all sellers, distributors and producers of Marijuana, and permits anyone over 21 to carry one ounce. The state allows licensed growers to cultivate marijuana, but does not permit personal growing in one’s home except for medical use.

However, as noted, limitation to carry marijuana is set and it is mostly at 1 ounce. Beyond that, those in possession may be fined and will be possibly charged if caught.

On a positive note, the thing that is subtly similar in the legalization of marijuana is that the states have recognized it as a cash crop and that it can generate millions of revenues from sales tax.

Aside from the potential health benefits of cannabis, state governments see the herb as income-generating plant-based products.

Well, that factor alone may help shed the light for other states to follow the footprints of Oregon, Alaska, California, Maine, Colorado, Massachusetts, Nevada and Washington in legalizing cannabis, not only for medical but also for recreational use.

If all states legalize cannabis for medical and recreational purposes and, to a greater extent, for cultivation, that I would really anticipate to see that day.

What state you are in that you want cannabis to be legalized in 2017?

Let us know your thoughts below in the comment section.