The 411 on 420: Is Marijuana Legal in Your State?

Author: PeopleFinders on August 22nd, 2018
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Marijuana legislation is changing rapidly. Additionally, public opinion about marijuana is undergoing dramatic changes. The Pew Research Center reports that in the last two decades, public opinion has shifted from 31 percent of the U.S. thinking that marijuana should be legalized to 61 percent as of the latest 2017 poll.

Amidst this rapidly changing judicial environment, there might, at times, be a conflict between state, federal, and local laws. But the marijuana industry is seeing a groundswell with 2018 retail sales forecast at $14.5 billion. To put that into context, $10.6 billion is the 2018 forecast for cash receipts that farms will receive from all grains, including rice and wheat.

Want a snapshot about each state’s marijuana policy? We’ve rounded up the current laws in the infographic below. Note that PeopleFinders recommends that you check with authorities to confirm the marijuana laws that apply to you.

411 on 420 cannabis laws

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Map of Marijuana Laws

Marijuana laws are dramatically different among states. Even if you’ve kept up with your local laws, you might be curious about how your state stacks up against cannabis laws across the country. Or for those who are traveling, it can be helpful to learn about the laws that might pertain to you while you’re on the road.

We’ve gathered data on the current marijuana laws by state. However, we’ll remind you to check with the authorities to confirm what’s legal.

No Marijuana Access

  • Federal law
  • Idaho
  • Kansas
  • Nebraska
  • South Dakota

CBD/Low THC Product Access

  • Alabama
  • Georgia
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Medical Marijuana Access

  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • West Virginia (Effective July 1, 2019)

Recreational Marijuana Access

Notably, Politico cites American Society for Addiction Medicine’s statistic that opioid overdose death rates are 25 percent lower in states with legal medical marijuana.

Marijuana Decriminalization and Legality

Even as the debate exists on what each state will permit, there is also the debate of how states should prosecute violations of their laws. Decriminalization means that possession of cannabis might not carry severe criminal penalties, such as prison time. Possessing large quantities, however, can still result in trafficking charges.

Again, laws on decriminalization vary widely from state to state.

Decriminalized Marijuana

  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Illinois
  • Maryland
  • Mississippi
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • Rhode Island

Offenses Do Not Carry the Threat of Jail Time

  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio

Legal

  • Alaska
  • California
  • Colorado
  • District of Columbia
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Nevada
  • Oregon
  • Vermont
  • Washington

In an analysis of decriminalization by the Chicago Reader, it cites estimates that “incarceration and prosecution for low-level marijuana possession cost taxpayers between $19,200 and $86,400-a stunning amount for a low-level, nonviolent offender.”

The article goes on to cite an analysis from the Illinois Sentencing Policy Advisory Council which concluded that, “Replacing criminal penalties with civil fines would save the state of Illinois $15.1 million in jail and probation costs and bring in more than $9 million in projected ticket revenue.”

Do You Have Prior Marijuana Charges on Your Record?

Now that marijuana regulations are changing, some states are looking back to prior cannabis charges.

The ability to seal records or reclassify prior charges has been implemented in far fewer states than decriminalization or legalization, but there are opportunities to address prior marijuana felonies or misdemeanors.

States Where Prior Marijuana Convictions Can Be Expunged or Sealed

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Maryland
  • New Hampshire
  • Oregon

According to The Pew Charitable Trusts, “Defense lawyers and other advocates for decreasing penalties for nonviolent drug crimes say that sealing someone’s record can change their life.” Eunisses Hernandez of the Drug Policy Alliance added, “ We call it reparative justice: repairing the harms caused by the war on drugs.”

But few people are taking advantage of the opportunity to address prior marijuana charges.

In California, only 0.1 percent of people have taken advantage of the opportunity to clean up their records. In the past decade, law enforcement officials arrested ½ million people for alleged marijuana crimes. Between November 2016 and September 2017, only 4,948 people have applied for reclassifying their past marijuana-related crimes.

The story is similar in Oregon, where only 1.5 percent of people have attempted to clean up their records. Of the 78,000 convictions that could be set aside, only 1,206 people have requested to do so.

There is speculation that the low impact rate of these laws is due to a lack of public awareness or criminal histories that are more complex.

Do you know what your criminal records report looks like? Find out now at https://www.peoplefinders.com/criminal-records

Categorized in: Culture