On January 1st, 2020 Illinois joined ranks with making them the 11th state to legalize Marijuana (THC) for recreational use. There are 21 states that have legalized marijuana for medical use only. That’s a whopping 32 states that have made marijuana legal in some capacity.
So who started the movement to bring marijuana back to mainstream medicine? In 1996, California became the first state to legalize marijuana for medical purposes. Soon after several states followed the medical marijuana movement. In 2012, Colorado then Washington, became the first states to legalize recreational marijuana.
Some concerns with marijuana legalization are that like smoking or alcohol, marijuana will become just another substance to abuse by our kids, not to mention the fear of increased crime and belligerent behavior overall. However, more than five years in, surveys show that most Colorado teenagers may have tried it, but 80% are not current marijuana users. State surveys show that teenage marijuana use has fallen slightly since full legalization. As a matter of fact, Colorado reports $1.5 billion a year in revenues. That is from just 37 stores statewide!
On January 1st in Illinois lines were wrapped around blocks and blocks to purchase legal recreational marijuana. But don’t be fooled the taxes for this purchase are quite heavy but that didn’t stop people from being a part of history. Nearly $3.2 million in legal marijuana (THC) was sold in Illinois on the first day of sales, marking one of the strongest showings in the history of marijuana legalization. That is from just 37 stores statewide!
In North Carolina marijuana has been decriminalized, but we are NOT a legal state for medical or recreational. However, the vote is coming though for some with medical issues perhaps not soon enough. Being one of the largest tobacco states with several fields no longer producing, we have a lot of room for a new product to help our local farmers continue to cultivate a good living using the land.
The fact remains that states that have made the leap have been able to create a state-based economy benefiting all who live there. It will be exciting to see what this next decade will bring for marijuana laws countrywide.
History of Marijuana legal action dates:
- 1937: The Marijuana Tax Act is enacted, effectively prohibiting cannabis at the federal level. Although medical use is still permitted, new fees and regulatory requirements significantly curtail its use.
- 1969: The Marijuana Tax Act is struck down in the case Leary v. United States. The Supreme Court ruled that the act violated the Fifth Amendment’s protection against self-incrimination.
- 1970: The Controlled Substances Act is enacted. Cannabis is classified as a Schedule I drug, determined to have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use, thereby prohibiting its use for any purpose.
- 1990: The Solomon–Lautenberg amendment is enacted. As a result, many states pass laws imposing mandatory driver’s license suspensions for persons caught possessing cannabis, even if unrelated to driving.
- 2014: The Rohrabacher–Farr amendment passed the S. House and was signed into law. Requiring annual renewal, it prohibits the Justice Department from interfering with the implementation of state medical cannabis laws.
- 2018: The 2018 farm bill legalizes low-THC hemp nationwide and effectively deschedules hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) from the Controlled Substances Act.