Marijuana Laws: Pros and Cons of Legalized Marijuana

There are 20 states, including Washington, DC that passed smoking marijuana laws for specific medical conditions. Each state has specific rules and regulations in regards to smoking marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Smoking Marijuana Under Federal Law


Federal laws always outrank state laws, so under the jurisdiction of federal law smoking marijuana remains an offense and serious crime. There remains a fine gray line with state marijuana laws, and this set criteria do not change.

Many doctors write prescriptions for the smoking of marijuana for medical purposes and many doctors find that by ordering a small capsule called Marinol or marijuana relieves certain chronic and terminal pain from conditions, such as chronic bone deterioration and terminal illnesses such as lung cancer.

Marijuana for Medical Use

If you are a patient with no tolerance for narcotics for pain or simply in a terminal state and desire to remain awake and alert the majority of your days left, marijuana may answer your need. Marijuana answers this need to keep you, the terminally ill person alert to surroundings, pain free and comfortable for the days you have remaining.

Originally, when states sought to pass medical marijuana laws they hoped to create a legally binding law to remove state criminal penalties for the use of medical marijuana. Placed in coordination of these state laws, many states went a step further to apply for authorization for the production and distribution of marijuana strictly for medical purposes. These laws allowed dispensaries to be set up in communities. After all, there needs to be a place where you can go to get your  prescriptions filled and monitored.

Differences in Marijuana Laws


Not all states follow the same criteria, nor do the same states implement marijuana programs in the same way. Many states show major differences in the marijuana rules and regulations set. These critical differences filter down to cities and even communities.

States are discovering there comes a frequent outcry from communities hosting marijuana dispensaries and medicinal marijuana clinics are not wanted in residential districts. In order to meet this outcry, local government in specific communities is rezoning areas so that the prevention of erecting marijuana dispensaries is forbidden. 

If you  hold a license to grow marijuana for medicinal purposes in legalized states you are regulated as to how many plants or products you can produce per each medical user. Many communities develop specific principles and rules in addition to the state's medical cannabis laws.

20 States that Have Legalized Medicinal or Recreational Marijuana

The following are the 20 states to legalize marijuana for medicinal or recreational purposes.

  • California (1996)
  • Alaska (1998)
  • Oregon (1998)
  • Washington (1998)
  • Maine (1999)
  • Colorado (2000)
  • Hawaii (2000)
  • Nevada (2000)
  • Maryland (2003)
  • Montana  (2004)
  • Vermont  (2004)
  • Rhode Island (2007)
  • New Mexico (2007)
  • Michigan (2008)
  • Arizona (2010)
  • New Jersey (2010)
  • Washington, DC (2010)
  • Delaware (2011)
  • Massachusetts (2012)
  • Connecticut (2012)
  • New Hampshire (2013)
  • Illinois (2013)

You must be 21-years of age before you can smoke marijuana. The fact remains that the federal government and congress say marijuana is a dangerous drug and hold a serious crime if you distribute and sell this drug. The Department of Justice under the federal government enforces this controlled substance.

Drug Classifications

Marijuana is the most widely used illegal Class I drug in today's society. Drugs come under classifications according to side effects and potency, for example Class I, Class II and Class III drugs.

States, with legalized marijuana laws realize many people remain employed. If you are a legal marijuana user and employed, this adds even more questions for your employer. The challenges faced for you and your employer while you use this drug  include high risk of impairment in safety, judgment and more, while on duty. Do you feel employers want these risks?