Times are changing. The legalization of marijuana is something that many would have never dreamed of in the past, yet now many states are legalizing marijuana — and not just for medical reasons.
This leaves the United States in a bit of a confusing limbo. Some states in the United States have strict rules punishing the possession of marijuana, while some states have more relaxed regulations. Even more confusing is the conflict between state and federal law, which has deemed marijuana illegal. Someone using marijuana in a state where it is legal could find themselves abiding by federal law, but
I took some time to research online to educate myself about the current state of marijuana legalization in the United States. I figured a lot of you may be curious as well, so I decided to compile all the information I gathered into a blog post! Check it out!
Decriminalization vs. Legalization
Many people when discussing the legalization of marijuana, and the legalization of drugs in general, often use the terms decriminalization and legalization interchangeably. This is a mistake, however. Decriminalization and legalization of marijuana are not the same things.
Decriminalization means that the criminal penalties of related drug charges are swapped with much less severe civil offenses. More than likely, if someone is caught with marijuana when it is decriminalized, they will have to pay a fine rather than face jail time.
Legalization means that there are no penalties — civil or criminal — for having marijuana in your possession. When marijuana is legalized, the state in which it is legalized can regulate and tax the sale of it.
Make sure to understand the difference when reading about the marijuana laws in your state. You don’t want to accidentally believe that marijuana has been legalized in your area when it has only been decriminalized — you may still end up paying a fine!
Current State of Marijuana Legalization in the United States
States in which marijuana is fully legal include California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Alaska, Michigan, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Maine.
In these states, you can use marijuana recreationally and face no criminal or civil charges. Of course, usually one has to be 21 years or older to do so. Some other states have decriminalized marijuana and allow it for medical use. You can check out the particular laws in your state here, on the Powderly Law Firm website.
What to Do…
If you’re caught with marijuana in a state in which it is not legalized or decriminalized, the first thing you should do is contact an attorney. An attorney is well-versed in the defenses needed to help you get your case dropped and the penalties you may be facing reduced.
Don’t let the embarrassment of a marijuana charge convince you to represent yourself. Don’t accept any deal without talking to an attorney first. Plus, an experienced defense attorney likely has connections to the prosecutors in your area and can help you reach the best possible outcome in your case.Read More