Legalization of Marijuana in US

Legalization of Marijuana in US


In the United States, the use and possession of cannabis is illegal under federal law for any purpose, by way of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. Under the CSA, cannabis is classified as a Schedule I substance, determined to have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use – thereby prohibiting even medical use of the drug. At the state level, however, policies regarding the medical and recreational use of cannabis vary greatly, and in many states conflict significantly with federal law. The medical use of cannabis is legalized (with a doctor's recommendation) in 35 states, four out of five permanently inhabited U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia. Thirteen other states have laws that limit THC content, for the purpose of allowing access to products that are rich in cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive component of cannabis.[2] Although cannabis remains a Schedule I drug, the Rohrabacher–Farr amendment prohibits federal prosecution of individuals complying with state medical cannabis laws. The recreational use of cannabis is legalized in 15 states (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, South Dakota, Vermont, and Washington), the District of Columbia, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam. Another 16 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands have decriminalized. Commercial distribution of cannabis is allowed in all jurisdictions where cannabis has been legalized, except the District of Columbia. Prior to January 2018, the Cole Memorandum provided some protection against the enforcement of federal law in states that have legalized, but it was rescinded by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Although the use of cannabis remains federally illegal, some of its derivative compounds have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for prescription use. Cannabinoid drugs which have received FDA approval are Marinol (THC), Syndros (THC), Cesamet (nabilone), and Epidiolex (cannabidiol). For non-prescription use, cannabidiol derived from industrial hemp is legal at the federal level, but legality (and enforcement) varies by state.