Marijuana has been illegal since 1970 under the Federal Controlled Substance Act in America. It was illegal under the laws of every state in America. But as time has passed by, different states started searching for ways to legalize it for medical reasons. The first state to legalize marijuana for medical purposes was California back in 1996. This in turn opened the floodgates and other states started passing laws legalizing the use of marijuana at a very escalated rate.
Currently, we have 29 states so far that have legalized marijuana for medical reasons. Roughly, 60% of Americans live in states which have legalized marijuana. Another reason marijuana is being legalized in these states is for ‘Recreational Purposes’.
Marijuana has gained a lot of public support as well with years down the line across all demographic groups. This support has gone above 90% nationwide for medical marijuana and around 20% for recreational marijuana. Even with all these increased public opinions over the years, the federal law regarding marijuana has not changed since the passage of the Controlled Substance Act back in 1970. However, what has changed over time is the federal enforcement of these laws.
The government of President Bush tried to enforce marijuana bun by all means including imprisonment of parties involved, arrests, and property seized. But with all these restrictions, five more states still managed to legalize medical marijuana in their states with president Bush’s reign. When President Obama came to power, he lifted the federal bans on marijuana in the states where medical marijuana had been legalized. This led to the massive growth of the marijuana industry across states.
The biggest turning point of federal marijuana policy during Obama’s government came after the 2012 election when Washington and Colorado became the very first states to legalize recreational use of marijuana. Obama’s government just ensured that these states prioritized federal interests while designing their regulatory systems. Another law that was brought by Obama’s government under federal marijuana policy was that the federal government will not prioritize enforcement of marijuana ban against people who are adhering to the state laws such as prevention of distribution of marijuana to minors.
Initially, marijuana industries used to operate on a cash basis since the bank laws never allowed their transactions as marijuana business was illegal in the country. Obama’s government amended this banking issue allowing marijuana businesses to transact through banks and do away with cash-based transactions. Industries allowed to use banks are those that adhered to state laws.
In conclusion, more than 20 years ago, marijuana was never mentioned in the government as it was banned in the country. But with all the above changes taking place, bills on marijuana are being presented in parliament considering the future of marijuana in the different states in America Buzz by Shiva. The use of marijuana both for medical and recreational reasons has not been legalized officially under federal law in all states. But with increased approval in the public, the high growth of the marijuana-based industries, and the high number of marijuana-based bills being presented in parliament, at some point the use of marijuana will be made official in the federal law across all states in America.