The legal landscape of marijuana in the United States is complex, with a significant policy gap between federal regulations and state initiatives. As of March 1, 2023, 21 states, along with Washington D.C., Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands, have enacted laws permitting recreational use of marijuana. Despite this, marijuana remains a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act, highlighting its illegal status at the federal level. However, over half of the states, as well as several U.S. territories, have legalized marijuana for medical purposes.
In 2019, approximately 48.2 million Americans, or about 18% of the population, reported using marijuana at least once. Research suggests that around 30% of marijuana users may develop a use disorder, especially if they start using the drug before the age of 18. Legalization efforts have also influenced medical marijuana laws across all 50 states, with varying degrees of access and regulation.
In Maryland, adults over 21 can use cannabis on private property, although usage can be restricted by landlords and hotel policies. Virginia’s legalization, effective from July 1, 2021, allows adults to possess up to one ounce of cannabis and consume it in private residences, subject to the homeowners’ policies.
Missouri has allocated funds from its marijuana programs for legal assistance to low-income citizens and taxed medical marijuana sales at 4%. Despite varying state laws, the federal authority to approve marijuana for medicinal use lies with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
For a more detailed understanding of marijuana legalization in the U.S. and its implications, visit the following resources: