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Medical And Recreational Marijuana Legalization Roundup


legal marijuanaThis year has been an exciting one for proponents of both recreational and medicinal marijuana legalization efforts. Two states began to allow medicinal use, while two more states and Washington, D.C. have started to permit recreational use. Let’s take a look at the latest in these territories and how laws, regulations and rules have been developed around these measures.

Recreational Use


While medicinal use has been in place in Oregon for a while now, recreational use was OK’d at the start of July this year after a legalization campaign passed in the 2014 polls. However, the state stumbled a bit on the rollout – while users could begin to use recreationally in July, no framework existed to purchase marijuana legally. At the start of this month, Oregon’s stopgap solution went into effect – recreational users can now purchase from medical dispensaries, with a few limits. Buyers can purchase up to one ounce for personal use, as well as seeds and four nonflowering plants each day. In addition, the sales will not be taxed until Jan. 1, 2016, giving an extra tax holiday for Oregonians who can now legally enjoy their dry herbs.

Washington, D.C.

On the other side of the country, the nation’s capital is currently wrangling with some similar hangups. The district legalized recreational use in February, but still lacks any legal method for buyers to purchase cannabis. This has led to a somewhat grey market of sorts – the law permits people to give up to 1 ounce of marijuana to any other individual, but prohibits exchanging goods, services or money. In D.C., efforts are under way to clear this up and establish a legal taxation and regulation framework, though there is not a current time table for passage. It’s also worth noting that public consumption is prohibited, as is possession on federal property – a significant portion of the district’s land.


Back again to the Left Coast, Alaska also passed legalization last year and started allowing recreational use in late February. However, as with Oregon and D.C., legal regulations for sales are still in the draft stages, limiting the legal access to cannabis for would-be users. The state’s Marijuana Control Board is currently accepting public comment on regulatory proposals, and board has a deadline of Nov. 24 of this year to adopt rules to govern the process of licensing and sales. The body must also begin accepting applications for producers early next year – Feb. 24, 2016 – and expects the first licenses to be awarded three months after that date. Alaskans can still weigh in before the deadline and see the drafted proposals by visiting the MCB’s website.

legal marijuanaMedicinal Use


Both Minnesota and New York cleared marijuana for medicinal use last year, but the North Star State was first to put its legal framework and process into place. Legal medical use started in the state July 1, though it’s a much more stringent series of laws than in other states. For example, patients in Minnesota cannot ingest cannabis by smoking, only through pill doses or through oils or liquids that could be used in a vaporizer pen or other type of weed vaporizer, according to the Star Tribune. In addition, the state requires that eligible doctors register with the state, though that list is not made public, meaning that patients have to consult an eligible doctor who will approve them for treatment. The state’s list of approved conditions is also limited, with only nine eligible diseases or chronic conditions now eligible, though efforts are currently under way to add “intractable pain” to the qualifying list.

New York

vote marijuanaLastly, New York state – one of the pioneers of decriminalization in the ’70s – has also approved medical use, though the program is still developing. The state health department awarded five licenses for growers back in July, with each operating four dispensaries around the state. None have yet opened, though as they are required to be operational within six months of their approval, it’s likely that sales will open by the end of the year. However, as is the case in Minnesota, New Yorkers cannot smoke their medicinal cannabis, but will also need to use a dry herb vaporizer, consume an edible product or take a pill form. The state’s list is also restrictive, though more accommodating than Minnesota’s regulations, and also directs the state’s commissioner of health to rule on five additional conditions – Alzheimer’s disease, muscular dystrophy, dystonia, posttraumatic stress disorder and rheumatoid arthritis – by Jan. 5, 2016.

More states are poised to take up marijuana legislation later this year, with Ohio expected to vote this November on recreational legislation. As legalization efforts for both personal and medical use move forward, the sign is clear – the public’s opinion on marijuana has shifted, and that promises a greener future for many residents across the nation.


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Johnny Green


  1. Oops! Fact check! As of the end of December 2014, here are the number of vacation days to date for recent presidents:

    George W Bush – 405
    Ronald Reagan – 390
    Bill Clinton – 174
    Barack Obama – 160

    Obama takes fewer days off than any president in decades.

    And, just a question, what do you think will happen to federal marijuana law if a Republican president is elected?

  2. He’s made the comment multiple times, and an executive order would get it off square on for the time being and give the states and opportunity to give it a try should their citizenry opt to do so. But it might cut into his golf getaways and various other luxury outings, so odds are…

  3. The president technically has authority to order the DEA to reschedule but that wouldn’t change the Federal legislation. Most reform people don’t want President Obama to make such a move because his opponents in congress would immediately oppose and likely try to overcome such a move. The change has to come from Congress. I’m not aware of the president saying he would reschedule. I remember that he said that was a job for Congress and that he would sign the legislation. There are several bills in the House and Senate right now to either remove or reschedule. No movement. We’ve been lobbying for the Carers Act, but it’s still sitting in Grassley’s committee. It has to be a bipartisan move or the other party will make politics out of it. Just my observation and opinion.

  4. Hello People of the USA, ever heard of Marijuana Breathalyzers? Well, you will soon thanks to University of Washington..Would you like to give them a call to let them know how happy your are for them taking a “preventative” measure such as breathalyzers, great..Here are the people in Charge

    Dr. Herbert Hill Jr. Regens Professor -(509) 335-5648 / 5-3901 hhhill@wsu.edu


    Dr. Nicholas Lovrich E-Mail: faclovri@wsu.edu

    Phone: (509) 335-4811

    Office: Johnson Tower 701

  5. If Obama has promised to reschedule it, I haven’t heard about it. He is pretty conservative on the subject, even though he knows better. And although he could change it, the next president could reverse his executive order and we’d be right back to square one. Congressional action is the only permanent fix.

  6. The president has the power to reschedule it now and has promised to do so numerous time, but has never come through on that promise!

  7. You can consider what these states have done as a step forward. It is good that people are starting to recognize the medicinal benefits of marijuana. Hopefully, most people will understand that legalizing marijuana is definitely needed. It is wrong that marijuana is illegal, but alcohol, tobacco, and a lot of these prescription drugs with serious side effects are legal. A lot of people are addicted to prescription pills, alcohol and toacco but somehow they are legal. Heck, you can even consider caffeine as an addictive drug. Marijuana legalization, will not only provide medicinal benefits to a lot of people who desperately need it. But it will also provide a safer and natural alternative to the medicines with serious side effects that doctors prescribe, which a lot do not have effective results. If just cannabis extract oil and edibles are legalized for medicinal use, the “war on drugs” will continue. Most people prefer to smoke it, most people already smoke it, so by legalizing it not only would it produce more money to our states, but it will also prevent people from getting arrested and jailed for something that shouldn’t be illegal in the first place. We are definitely in the right path, hopefully 2016 will be the year.

  8. Lawrence Goodwin on

    In the New York section, you incorrectly state that patients will be able to “consume an edible product”: Edibles (chocolates, lollipops, cookies, etc. infused with cannabis) were NOT legalized by New York’s 2014 Compassionate Care Act. Cannabis extract oils dispensed in stand-alone bottles for oral consumption or, separately, for use in vaporizers; pills and lozenges; and oral sprays will basically be the only medical products available to New York patients, starting in January. But cannabis plants are so miraculous that even these strictly regulated products will prove very effective at healing sick New Yorkers. Hopefully, legal access for millions more New Yorkers will soon follow.

  9. Every one of these states will have to deal with the banking system and Federal Reserve, which refuse to budge until cannabis is rescheduled. Will new House leadership let one of the several bills written to address this issue ever see the light of day? I’m afraid for the safety of retail workers until they get this fixed.

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