On the State Level
States That Have Legalized Marijuana:
In January 2018, Vermont became the first state to legalize marijuana through legislature as opposed to statewide votes. The law approves recreational use and possession for adults 21+ as well as growing up to 2 plants. It does not, however, allow for the sale of the drug.
In June 2018, Oklahoma passed one the least restrictive laws surrounding medical marijuana. The new law allows doctors to recommend the medical use of marijuana to patients as young as 18 years old.
Michigan became the 10th US state to legalize marijuana in November 2018. The new law says that adults 21+ are legally allowed to sell and possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and grow up to 12 plants at home. This is considered generous compared to most other legalized states where the possession limit is 1 ounce.
In November 2018, Missouri voted on three different amendments regarding medical marijuana. Of the three, Amendment 2 is the only one that passed. This initiative legalizes medical marijuana and taxes it at 4%
In 2018, Utah residents voted to approve Proposition 2, an initiative to legalize medical marijuana. However, Utah lawmakers voted to override Prop 2, and instead instilled the Utah Medical Cannabis Act, a “compromise bill” that claims to leave 85% of what voters wanted intact. According to Gov. Gary Herbert, “Working with trained medical professionals, qualified patients in Utah will be able to receive quality-controlled cannabis products from a licensed pharmacist in medical dosage form. And this will be done in a way that prevents diversion of product into a black market.”. Critics are saying that the law is stricter and less accessible than what voters decided on.
Although Texas has not legalized cannabis, they have seen a boom in sales of CBD. Lawmakers approved The Compassionate Use Act, a strict medical cannabis law, in 2015 that allows dispensaries licensed by DPS to sell CBD products. However, that hasn’t stopped non-licensed outlets from selling cannabinoid products. CBD is indeed illegal in Texas outside the CUA, however, no one has made a move to enforce this law.
Until Texas changes their laws surrounding cannabis, many law enforcement officials are basing their judgment on the federal law stating that CBD is legal if it contains no more than 0.3% THC.
Coming in 2019
The Arizona Supreme Court will take up the question of cannabis extracts’ status under its medical marijuana law. In July 2018, the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled that their medical marijuana law does not allow the use of cannabis extract products. According to state law, possession of cannabis extract products is a class-4 felony.
The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act does allow the sale of dried flowers of the marijuana plant, but once a patient takes a vape cartridge or an edible out of the store, they are at risk of being arrested for possession.
The new hearing will determine whether businesses can continue to sell cannabis extract items, or must remove them from their stock. Expect a decision within a few months.
There is currently a proposed law that would permit buying and selling cannabis within DC. Currently, cultivation and recreational use are legal, however, it is illegal to buy and sell it. The bill would allow for the taxation of marijuana and expunge related criminal records. The legislative session just started so we’ll see what will become of it.
It’s possible Texas is ready to join the cannabis movement. On the first day of their 2019 legislative session, more than a dozen marijuana bills were filed – mostly related to medicinal marijuana and the elimination of drug penalties, opting for fines instead.