According to the Pew Research Center, over 90 percent of Americans support the legalization of the substance for medical or recreational reasons, with only eight percent wanting to keep weed illegal for any purpose. In recent years, numerous states have decriminalized weed for medical and recreational purposes.
However, U.S. federal law currently prohibits cannabis for recreational or medical purposes and continues to list the substance as a Schedule I drug. Federal law generally overrides state laws. Therefore, individuals using marijuana for recreational or medical purposes could be charged with a crime even in states that have legalized weed.
Morgan & Morgan has been fighting for the legalization of medical marijuana for many years and continues to support the cause. We want people who suffer from medical conditions to have the option of using medical marijuana to alleviate their symptoms. Contact us for more information.
The Benefits of Medical Marijuana
According to the Mayo Clinic, medical cannabis can ease the symptoms of many severe health conditions. However, patients in most states with legal weed must be diagnosed with a qualifying condition to be eligible for medical marijuana. Depending on the state you reside in, you could qualify for treatment with the following conditions:
- Alzheimer's disease
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Multiple sclerosis
- Chronic pain
Medical Marijuana and Cancer
Cannabis can be particularly helpful for cancer patients and can alleviate a number of cancer symptoms and side effects from chemotherapy, such as:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Appetite and weight loss
Medical Marijuana Is Not Legal in All States
California was the first state that legalized the medical use of marijuana in 1996. Over the following two decades, many other states joined California in creating medical marijuana programs. At the time of writing, in March 2022, states that have legalized weed for medicinal purposes are in the majority. However, states in which medical marijuana is not currently legal include:
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
States With Legal Recreational Marijuana
If you are wondering, “In which states is weed legal?” read on. Currently, the following 18 states have legalized recreational marijuana for adult use:
Colorado residents can generally grow up to six marijuana plants at home and possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana.
Washington allows residents to own:
- Up to 1 ounce of marijuana (harvested flowers)
- Up to 16 ounces of solid edibles infused with weed
- 72 ounces in marijuana liquids
- 7 grams of marijuana concentrates
Alaskans may possess up to 1 ounce of cannabis for personal use and grow up to six plants in their home. However, public consumption of cannabis is generally prohibited in Alaska.
Oregon residents can keep up to 1 ounce of weed on their person and up to 8 ounces of marijuana at home. They may also grow up to four marijuana plants in their home.
California residents are allowed to possess:
- Up to 1 ounce of cannabis
- Up to 8 grams of concentrated cannabis
- Up to six home-grown cannabis plants
Residents of Maine can own up to 2.5 ounces of weed, including up to 5 grams of concentrated marijuana. In addition, individuals may own several flowering marijuana plants, immature plants, and an unlimited number of seedlings.
While marijuana is not permitted on any federal or public land in the state, individuals may possess up to 10 ounces of the substance at home. Residents are allowed to own up to six home-grown marijuana plants.
Residents of Nevada can legally own up to 1 ounce of marijuana and 1/8th of an ounce of concentrated marijuana. They may also grow up to six marijuana plants per household, with a maximum of 12 plants per household.
In Vermont, residents may own up to 1 ounce of cannabis. Households are allowed up to two mature and four immature plants each.
In Michigan, residents may possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis and grow up to 12 cannabis plants.
Residents of the state can legally own up to 30 grams of weed, 5 grams of concentrate, and six marijuana plants.
New Jersey (2020)
New Jersey residents may possess up to 6 ounces of cannabis legally.
The Montana law allows adults to own up to 1 ounce of marijuana. Residents may also cultivate up to four mature marijuana plants and an additional four seedlings.
Arizona residents can possess 1 ounce of weed, including a maximum of 5 grams of cannabis concentrate. Growing up to six marijuana plants per household is permitted in the state.
New York (2021)
Adults in New York may possess up to 3 ounces of cannabis for recreational purposes. It is also permitted to grow six plants for personal use at home in New York, up to a maximum of 12 plants per household.
Adults in Virginia can own up to 1 ounce of marijuana and are allowed to grow up to four cannabis plants.
New Mexico (2021)
New Mexicans are allowed to possess up to 2 ounces of weed and grow up to 12 marijuana plants per household.
Residents of the state may possess up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis in public and an additional 5 ounces in a secure container in their vehicle or home.
The Benefits of Legal Weed – A High for the Economy
The benefits of making weed legal far exceed the decriminalization of its recreational use. Other benefits of legal weed can include potential health benefits and improving the nation’s economy. According to Investopedia, the impact of legalizing weed for medical and recreational use in some states has already been tremendous. More jobs, less crime, increased tax revenue, and new investment are all potential benefits of legalizing weed.
According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, more than an estimated 350,000 individuals were arrested for cannabis-related offenses in 2020, including many simply for possession of the substance. Legalizing weed can reduce the costs associated with arrests and detention and free up law enforcement officers to deal with more serious crimes and issues.
Moreover, cannabis-related offenses may serve as an excuse to unfairly target black and brown communities. Although blacks and whites use cannabis at a similar rate, black people are almost four times as likely to get arrested for possession of marijuana.
A criminal history can derail an individual’s life and make it harder for them to get a job, potentially increasing the crime rate in communities. On the other hand, legalizing marijuana can allow for repealing and clearing records of drug convictions, making it easier for individuals to find employment.
A flourishing cannabis industry requires many new companies, including those who grow and distribute marijuana, develop marijuana-based medications, and others. Moreover, an army of workers would be needed to cultivate, process, and sell marijuana products. Therefore, the cannabis industry could add thousands of jobs to local economies.
According to RCG Economics, legalizing marijuana would create over 6,200 full-time jobs per year in Nevada alone. New Frontier Data predicts that full legalization of marijuana in all 50 states could add a staggering 1 million jobs throughout the nation by 2025.
Increased Tax Revenue
States like California, Colorado, Washington, and others enjoyed bumper tax revenues from the sales of cannabis over the last few years. According to the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA), income from cannabis excise tax, cultivation tax, and business tax from the fourth quarter of 2021 alone amounted to a staggering $308.56 million. If marijuana becomes legal throughout the entire nation, the state and federal tax coffers and the broader economy could benefit enormously.
Many states with legal weed have welcomed the extra revenue for social programs and other uses. Colorado spent its cannabis tax dollars mostly on financing public education, while Washington State uses cannabis tax revenues to fund Medicaid for low-income residents. Legalizing cannabis creates jobs, economic growth, and generates funds that could improve all citizens’ lives.
New Investment Opportunities
At this time, marijuana is still illegal on a federal level, making any major new investment into the industry tricky. Current federal regulations prohibit companies from going public. However, if marijuana is federally legalized, cannabis companies could list their stocks on all U.S. exchanges and attract investors, allowing average investors to buy shares in companies that grow or distribute marijuana.
The Current Challenges With Legalizing Weed
While marijuana is legal for recreational use or medical use in most states now, at the federal level, cannabis is still classified as a Schedule I drug and thrown in the same basket with heroin and LSD. According to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Schedule 1 drugs are defined as having "no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse."
For the cannabis industry to realize its full potential, the federal government must pass legislation that aligns with most states on recreational and medical cannabis. Due to current federal regulations, most insurers and banks are unwilling to get involved with the cannabis industry, making it exceedingly difficult for companies to grow and expand. Currently, cannabis growers, dispensaries, and other companies rely on financing from credit unions and private high-net-worth individuals.
Morgan & Morgan Fights for Marijuana Legalization
John Morgan, the founder of Morgan & Morgan, backed the campaign to legalize medical marijuana in the state of Florida for several years and with notable success. In 2016, Florida voters approved the Constitutional Amendment to legalize medical marijuana in the state. Under this amendment, a patient in the state can now access medical marijuana for a variety of conditions if a doctor determines that the benefits would likely outweigh any potential health risks.
John Morgan’s Own Experience With Medical Marijuana
John Morgan has seen the benefits of medical marijuana firsthand in his own family and wants others to have access to those same benefits. Medical marijuana provided much-needed relief for his dying father during his last days. John’s brother Tim, who suffered a permanent spinal injury early in life, also benefited from the drug. When other medications failed, medical marijuana relieved Tim’s pain and muscle spasms.
John Morgan calls the legalization of marijuana a compassionate issue and says using the drug for pain is generally much safer than the available alternatives such as addictive opioids. He wants all those suffering from chronic pain and debilitating conditions to have access to medical marijuana. John Morgan’s financial help and advocacy efforts have been pivotal in helping to end the cannabis prohibition in this country.