Marijuana: Legal or Illegal?

Marijuana is a drug that is derived from the cannabis plant, which is related to the hemp plant. It is valued by many for its psychoactive affects, and it has several medicinal effects, but for the past one hundred years, it was an illegal substance in the United States. This has led it to a debate in recent years as several states have started legalizing marijuana, including CBD oil, not just for medicinal use, but for recreational use as well.

History of Marijuana

Marijuana was first regulated in 1937, when Congress passed the Marijuana Tax Act which heavily taxed the then-legal marijuana and hemp industry. Marijuana was not actually outlawed until 1952 with the passage of the Boggs Act. During the Civil Rights Movement, marijuana found popularity among hippies and beatniks protesting against segregation and the Vietnam War.

Legality of Marijuana

After the Controlled Substances Act in 1970, marijuana was listed as a Schedule 1 drug, making it as illegal as more dangerous substances such as cocaine and heroin. Despite this, many people within the scientific, medical, and legal community protested against this. This sentiment is what lead to its gradual decriminalization, which first started in New Mexico where some claimed it as a medical necessity.

Federal Laws on Marijuana

As of December of 2019, 33 states have legalized medical marijuana in some form or another, with 11 of these states having legalized recreational marijuana. Despite this, marijuana is still illegal on the federal level. Despite public, medical, and legal recommendation, possession of marijuana is still a federal offense that could still end in jail time and fines. Even a small amount of marijuana could lead to a year in jail with the first offense.

The Future of Marijuana in the U.S.

With all the public support that marijuana has right now, it is likely that the current trend towards decriminalization will continue. However, there are already several issues with this, since the federal government still labels it as a Schedule 1 status making research difficult to perform. With a lack of information, it is difficult to accurately predict how specifically legal marijuana will change the nation at large.