From Sea to Shining Sea; Keeping Score of State Marijuana Reform

Someday “soon,” federal marijuana prohibition will be repealed, and cannabis commerce will be regulated more like “widgets” and less like nuclear waste. Meanwhile, this month has seen two more states reform state marijuana prohibition, further crippling the feds ability to enforce its war on cannabis by depriving national prohibition enforcers (the Drug Enforcement Administration) of state and local police cooperation to some extent as defined below.

I write to identify the progress in state cannabis reform by observing five categories of state laws:

(1) Full adult use (medical and nonmedical) legalization (state legal production and retail sales);

Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Michigan, Colorado, Nevada, California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and the District of Columbia;

(2) medical cannabis laws (doctor-approved patients with access to home grows — in some states — and/or state-licensed production and retail sales) in place along with decriminalization (fines and confiscation, but no arrest for simple possession);

New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Maryland, Delaware, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, Minnesota, North Dakota, New Mexico;

(3) medical cannabis laws only;

New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Florida, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Arizona, Utah, Montana;

(4) decriminalization laws only;

Nebraska, Mississippi, North Carolina;

(5) full prohibition (arrest of adults and patients):

Virginia, Tennesee, Kentucky, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Texas, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, Kansas, Wyoming, South Dakota, Idaho.

Note, several states have laws that permit CBD products under a variety of conditions, but few of those states have reliable procedures for assuring legal compliance and immunity from state prosecution for CBD production or sales despite their CBD laws; these states include MS, AL, GA, TN, KY, SC, NC, VA, TX, IN, WN, IO and WY.

National legalization no longer is a matter of “whether,” but now has become only a question of “when.”