Though recreational marijuana, that one that you can use without a doctor’s prescription, is slowly being legalized across the United States, five years ago it wasn’t legal. However, the recent past has seen voters in various states give it the green light.
According to a report by New Frontier, sales of marijuana skyrocketed to around $6.6 billion in 2016, a considerable increase from 2015 and 2014.
Recreational cannabis accounts for $1.9 billion, while medical marijuana accounts for $4.7 billion of that. The industry, in general, is predicted to be worth $24 billion by the end of 2025.
That said, there are some rules regarding what pot is considered legal, who can use it, and people who can purchase it.
What you should know;
You can buy marijuana in these states.
Anybody who is above 21 yrs. old can purchase recreational pot in Alaska, Washington, and Colorado. Actually, pot stores for recreational types have been around in Washington, Colorado, Alaska, and Oregon since 2014, 2014, 2016, and 2015, respectively.
There are eight states, including Washington, DC, where you can buy pot and get high without breaking the law as long as you are above 21 years old.
The product became legal in Nevada, Massachusetts, Maine, and California in 2016. It became legal in Washington DC in 2015, though established recreational dispensaries are still very few in those areas as local and state agencies are still working on zoning and taxation rules.
So, if you want to grow or purchase the pot, check local rules first, as they vary from one state to another.
Medical marijuana is legal in more than 28 states.
According to a pro-pot-legalization organization known as Marijuana Policy Project, the medical type is legal also in Guam, Puerto Rico, and Washington, DC. West Virginia was the 29th state to legalize the product when the governor signed the bill into law just a day before 4/20 in 2016.
In more than 18 states, medical pot rules are very restricted, and most pro-pot legalization groups consider them flawed or ineffective.
It is true you can be sacked for using pot.
Whether you look very sober or not, you can be shown the door for failing a drug test in some states. There are many cases of such in medical patients.
There are pot shops that the government owns.
For instance, in North Bonneville, Washington state opened a cannabis store in 2015. It is was one of the few pot shops owned by the municipality. The proceeds go to various city projects such as upgrading local playgrounds and cleaning the city.
Though pot is legal in most states, there is a black market for it too!
And this is not just because of hard to leave old habits, but the illegal type is way cheaper as it is tax-free while the legal one is taxed. Washington has a 37% tax, Colorado 28%, while Oregon’s tax rates vary between 17 and 20% depending on the county and city.
Buyers, retailers, and processors all pay taxes. A medical pot is a bit cheaper than a recreational pot as it is taxed less heavily.
Banks are “pot-phobic.”
Technically, the product is still illegal federally because the federal government classifies it in the same category as heroin. Financial institutions are regulated by the federal government, meaning most of them will not go near any outlet or dispensary. Cash is what works here.
Though the Justice Department in 2014 came up with guidelines on how banks can legally offer services to state-licensed stores, many banks still don’t deal directly with pot-related money.
There is no taking marijuana across different state lines.
It doesn’t matter whether marijuana is legal in the two states and they share a border like Oregon and Washington. It is against the law federally. Do not mail it or bring it when traveling across different states.
It is illegal to use it and drive.
Driving while “high” is not only dangerous but against the law. Though a breathalyzer for pot is not yet out, this can change anytime because some companies are working on it. Also, note that pot ceremonies or parties are illegal.