The last decade has seen a steady rise in the number of governments and federal agencies that have legalized marijuana use for recreational purposes. Due to the controversial nature, the topic of legalizing marijuana and its consequences have become a part of frequent public debates on an international level. There is a growing group of people who feel comfortable in promoting the legal recreational use of cannabis whereas there are many who still feel casual use of weed is hazardous to society.

Marijuana use or in some cases abuse is widespread in society. Teens and adults are exposed to some of the other forms of drug use despite stringent laws in place to fight its abuse. In states where recreational use of marijuana isn’t legal, people may be charged depending on the levels of Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC in their system. Since THC can remain in your body for more than weeks, people who often take a few hits off a joint in a party can be laid off from their jobs if their random intrusive drug test comes out positive. Since the quantity of substance abused is determined by examining a urine sample, few people try to dodge the mortification by using a fake urine kit. You may check this info to know more about this kit.

Here we will try and understand a few basic questions that pertain to the legalization of marijuana.

1.   How is legalizing marijuana different from decriminalizing marijuana and medical marijuana?

Marijuana legalization means that you cannot be docked, ticketed and convicted for using cannabis if you follow the state laws of age, place and quantity of it. However, trafficking marijuana and selling it to the black market is still illegal and you can get arrested for that.

On the other hand, decriminalization of marijuana is different from its legalization as it involves the state not bringing a person under prosecution for possessing small amounts of marijuana. This effectively means that if a person is caught with little cannabis for personal consumption, he or she won’t be prosecuted and won’t receive a jail term for the act. However, in the states that have decriminalized marijuana possession, holding large quantities of it can lead to severe penalties and hence you must go through the state laws on it for further guidance.

Medical marijuana means that you are using the substance for medicinal purposes under regulation of the state laws. For centuries, cannabis or pot has been used as healing agents by individuals and physicians. Now, more than half of the states in the U.S. have legalized medical marijuana. The law has put a limit on the amount of ounces of marijuana that can be grown and owned. Plus, there is a supply limit placed depending on the type of patient.

2.   What are the benefits of legalizing marijuana?

Making the cannabis industry legal will have a far-reaching positive economic impact. The most important being a high employment rate. Legalizing marijuana opens the door for jobs like budtenders, cultivators, cannabis extraction technicians, bud trimmers, lawyers and cannabis consultants and so on.

Not just decreasing unemployment rates but generating high tax revenue is a direct consequence of making pot legit. Marijuana taxes are 10-37 % higher than usual state sales tax, meaning generating more income for schools, medical research and addiction centers. This also means that there will be a lower marijuana-related crime rate, less violence and more swiftness in solving drug-related cases.

A lot of corporate cannabis companies are already reaping the rewards of the legalization as Cannabidiol (CBD) sales are projected to reach $1.8 billion by 2022.

3.   What are the negative effects of legalizing marijuana?

One of the negative byproducts of marijuana legalization can be seen through a high number of addiction-related mishaps – DUIs and accidents. Legalization of pot would also mean that teens would invariably get easier access to weed, resulting in adulterated social-economic development. More legal marijuana at disposal also means more stringent random drug testing systems in place. This would lead to unwanted stress among individuals and professionals operating in areas that have legalized weed for recreational purposes. This also in turn means an increased scrutiny on sportspersons and athletes who are frequently trained and educated on the effects of cannabis on their bodies.

  1. Where all is marijuana fully legal in the U.S.?

11 states – Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington – along with the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for recreational use.

  1. Which countries apart from the U.S. have legalized marijuana?

Countries that have legalized recreational cannabis are Canada, Georgia, South Africa and Uruguay. Meanwhile, over 40 countries have legitimized medical marijuana under stipulated laws.

  1. Who can possess marijuana legally?

Consumers who are 21 and above in age are legally allowed to buy cannabis. They can do so with or without a medical prescription or medical marijuana card.

  1. Is it okay to grow marijuana privately?

Those who are medical marijuana patients are allowed to grow their own with a maximum of five plants at a time. If you are not a medical marijuana patient, you are not allowed to grow any and you will be punished with a $200 civil penalty if proven that you have grown up to five plants in your home.

  1. Where all is it permitted to smoke marijuana?

In regions where pot is legalized, you can smoke in the comfort of your own home. Also, in cannabis-related business locations. You can be prohibited from cannabis use in public places such as:

  • Public areas, including parks, buses, schools, streets, etc.
  • Only those with medical prescriptions are allowed marijuana use on school grounds.
  • Near or around public service providers, such as bus drivers, police officers, firefighters, etc.

More laws and statutes are set to be tabled and levied even as more and more states get closer to legalizing the recreational use of marijuana and enforcement agencies track the levels of weed-related crimes in areas where pot is legit.