In United States, the use, hold, horticulture, and transport of cannabis, also known as marijuana, is illegal under federal law. If a state passes a law to decriminalize recreational or medical marijuana use, they can do so on a condition of having a control system in place.
Cannabis, as a Schedule I substance, the top categorization under legislation, has been declared by the U.S. federal authorities to contain both a huge abuse probability and no proven medical use. However, some state laws do not always comply with the federal standards.
Colorado, passing a law legalizing medical marijuana, has also become the first one to legalize recreational marijuana use, sparked a debate in the war on drugs. Colorado amendment 64 was passed on November 6, 2012. This amendment states the legalization of recreational use of marijuana for residents aged 21 and older. The people are also allowed to plant six (three matured and immature) cannabis plants in a private and locked place. The first stores that sold recreational marijuana officially opened on January 1, 2014. The government exercised tax for the retail sales of marijuana. In February 2015, Colorado garnered a total of $44 million from the legal commercial sales of recreational marijuana. Along with that money comes an amount of $32 million from the fees collected from the sales of medical marijuana.
Washington passed Initiative 502 following the in the steps of the Colorado on December 9, 2012. Washington Initiative 502 defined and legalized ample amounts of recreational and medical marijuana for adults 21 and older. The revenues of the tax collected from the sales of marijuana are delegated for healthcare and drug-abuse prevention and education. Though legalized, marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I controlled substance, therefore, possession or use of marijuana by people younger than 21 are subjected to face federal consequences.
Alaska on November 4, 2014 ended long-time dangerous and incompetent marijuana prohibition and mended it with a new law which legalizes marijuana-related use, taxed and controlled like alcohol. The law took effect on February 24, 2015 having the same jurisdictions as with the Colorado and Washington. In the start of 2016, marijuana will be sold by licensed, taxpaying businesses and should require proof of age to those who will buy. The state launched bus advertisements that said, “With great marijuana laws comes great responsibility.”
Oregon, being the latest state to legalize marijuana, an overwhelming 56% to 44% of votes during the election went to the approval of marijuana use. Measure 91 is the law to the approval use of recreational and medical marijuana. Same as Colorado, Washington and Alaska, the rules are the same. Adults in Oregon will never be punished by the government for their choice of use of marijuana in a private place. The law will take its effect on July 1, 2015, and until then the use and possession of marijuana is still illegal.
While these states take the world to a new kind of perspective, many oppose the legality of the law. The harm and risk of drug addiction and abuse will never stop and may continue to grow as many other states consider the legalization of recreational marijuana.