The Status Of Cannabis Legislation In America

The spread of cannabis legalization, and the discussion of whether or not it should be completely legalized, continue at a rapid rate across the United States. Cannabis legalization has built up steam in state legislatures and on state ballots, not only for medical use but also for recreational use, personal growing and the full decriminalization of cannabis.

Since 2012, starting with Colorado, seven US states (and the District of Columbia) have legalized the recreational use of cannabis, both for purchase and cultivation. In Massachusetts, for example, individuals are allowed to grow up to six marijuana plants.

Complications With Cannabis Legislation

Individuals and organizations supporting legalization are naturally interested in the creation of a safe and legal marketplace for cannabis use. This market would allow individuals to purchase or cultivate cannabis from protected sources, providing business opportunities for individuals as well as state tax revenue. The whole picture, however, is complicated by the fact that cannabis is still illegal at the federal level. This leaves many cannabis-based businesses unable to bank with traditional financial institutions due to federal laws which continue to view cannabis as a criminal activity.

While cannabis legislation continues to be enacted at the state level, proponents face major obstacles because of that federal law. Proponents looking to continue the expansion of cannabis legislation into states that do not currently have laws decriminalizing or even legalizing cannabis must look forward to a legislative battle at the federal level. With the current U.S. Attorney General adamantly (and irrationally) opposed to all forms of marijuana use, that final battle does not appear to be in the cards anytime soon.