Access to legal cannabis has become an essential issue among citizens far and wide across the USA.
2020 is an election year, and that means recreational cannabis is on the ballot in several states. The question is: will voters in those states choose to embrace recreational cannabis?
Before we reveal which states made history, we'll go into a brief overview of the “state” of recreational weed across the USA.
What is recreational cannabis, and how is it different from other types of cannabis? Recreational cannabis isn't a particular type of weed — but how a state chooses to regulate it.
In states with recreational marijuana, cannabis can be consumed by any adult without any special permission or license. Each state has its own cannabis laws and guidelines.
However, it's usually treated like alcohol, so you'll need to be over the age of 21 to buy it or consume it. Cannabis still can't be consumed in public, and you definitely can't drive under the influence either.
States that have recreational marijuana also typically have safer cannabis — thanks to mandatory lab testing.
Lab testing means that cannabis products are tested rigorously for dangerous chemicals, bacteria, fungi, metals, and other harmful substances. If your recreational cannabis is lab certified, you can confidently purchase any product of your choosing, such as our THC gummies.
If a state has recreational cannabis laws, it means that its citizens fought hard for the privilege. Usually, the path to recreational cannabis legalization is a long journey.
Medical & Restricted Marijuana Laws
Before a state passes recreational marijuana laws, they usually start with a medical marijuana program.
States with medical cannabis laws allow cannabis, but for medical purposes only. For someone to get medical cannabis, they must be a resident (in most cases) and have a medical marijuana license.
Once again, each state has its own laws but typically, to get a medical marijuana license, you need first to visit a doctor and get approved. Qualifying conditions include PTSD, seizures, cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, and Crohn's disease. Different states have different qualifying conditions.
Once you have a medical marijuana license, you can visit a dispensary. However, medical marijuana cards usually have a yearly fee attached, and you must become a registered patient of marijuana dispensaries.
Also, since each state has its own medical marijuana laws, some have strict testing requirements while others don't. Depending on the state you live in, the medical cannabis you purchase could be of subpar safety.
If a state doesn't have recreational or medical cannabis laws, then they are a restricted state. That means that the state still considers cannabis an illegal and dangerous drug.
This also means that the only way one could have access to cannabis is through the black market. Not only that, but harsh punishments still exist in some restricted states.
In a restricted state, you are at risk of being prosecuted for cannabis, and the product you buy may be of inferior quality.
Luckily, thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, CBD products derived from hemp containing less than 0.3% THC have become legal nationwide. However, that doesn't mean all CBD products are legal, so check your state laws first.
Which States Have Recreational Cannabis Laws?
Currently, these 15 states and one federal district have recreational cannabis laws:
- Alaska - 2014
- Arizona - 2020
- California - 2016
- Colorado - 2012
- Illinois - 2019
- Maine - 2016
- Massachusetts - 2016
- Michigan - 2018
- Montana - 2020
- Nevada - 2016
- New Jersey - 2020
- Oregon - 2015
- South Dakota - 2020
- Vermont - 2018
- Washington - 2012
- Washington DC - 2014
Recreational cannabis made a massive splash in the 2020 elections, with four states legalizing cannabis for recreational use. Those states are Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota.
Proposition 207 passed in Arizona, stating that adults 21 years and older can possess up to an ounce of cannabis. The cherry on top is that the law is also setting up a path to undoing past marijuana criminal convictions.
Montana also passed a recreational marijuana law with Initiative 190. Much like Arizona, adults over 21 can possess cannabis, and prior convictions could be turned over.
In New Jersey, Public Question No. 1 is amending the state's constitution to allow cannabis for personal use. New Jersey already had medical marijuana, and the commission responsible for that will oversee the new recreational implementation.
South Dakota is a special case this year because its MJ laws went from restricted to recreational in one bound. Right now, South Dakota has severe penalties even for possession of small amounts of cannabis.
The Nation Is Ready
Every year, more and more states are drafting and passing cannabis laws. Luckily, most states already have medical cannabis laws or have decriminalized the plant.
However, not everything is going perfectly, even if a state has cannabis laws. Not every state is implementing or enforcing their cannabis laws properly.
In many states, dispensaries are having a hard time opening. People are still being harassed by law enforcement, and doctors are not allowing those in need to get a medical marijuana card.
Instead of dealing with the piecemeal legalization we've dealt with over the last few decades, legalization efforts should be focused on a national level.
Only then will the government finally draft a cohesive strategy so that everyone can enjoy the benefits of cannabis without confusing and contradictory laws.
The nation is ready for full legalization, and that was proven with so many states passing cannabis laws this year. Let's hope that congress finally gets a wake-up call to start acting on legalization as soon as possible, to keep America safe and happy!