How Has Marijuana Legislation Evolved in the United States?

Marijuana, also known as cannabis, has undergone significant legislative changes in the United States over the years. Originally legal in the 1800s and commonly used therapeutically, its recreational use was prohibited in 1937, with medical access becoming increasingly restricted. This shift occurred alongside the development of synthetic painkillers and heightened media attention to cannabis-related violence. Cannabis legalization in the US

In 1996, California became a pioneer by amending its drug laws to allow the medicinal use of marijuana. This move initiated a trend, and as of now, a significant number of states have legalized or decriminalized marijuana to varying degrees. Notably, as of January 1, 2016, 21 states have decriminalized certain marijuana possession offenses, 26 states have legalized medical marijuana, and 16 states have adopted cannabidiol (CBD)-only laws. The Federal Status of Marijuana

Despite these changes at the state level, marijuana remains illegal under federal law, classified as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act. This classification indicates a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use, placing significant legal restrictions on its use and distribution. Drug Fact Sheet: Marijuana/Cannabis

The growing policy gap between federal and state laws has led to a complex regulatory landscape. By 2017, 29 states and the District of Columbia, representing 63% of the US population, had legalized medical marijuana, and 8 states, along with the District of Columbia, representing 21% of the population, had legalized recreational marijuana. This evolving landscape continues to influence public health, law enforcement, and social attitudes towards marijuana use. Marijuana Regulatory Frameworks in Four US States

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Amid these changes, marijuana remains the most commonly used federally illegal drug in the United States. In 2019, it was estimated that 48.2 million people, or about 18% of Americans, had used marijuana at least once. Recent research indicates that approximately 3 in 10 marijuana users have a marijuana use disorder, with a higher risk for those who start using it before age 18. What We Know about Marijuana

How Has Marijuana Legislation Evolved in the United States?

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