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A Guide to Cannabis Laws

By May 7, 2019 May 10th, 2019 Health & Wellness

For nearly a century, a national debate has blazed hot over the cannabis plant and its recreational and medicinal benefits. For much of that time, a concerted effort was made to brand the drug as a dangerous, mind-altering substance.

Today, Marijuana remains illegal on the federal level despite the fact that 2018 Pew Research Center surveys show that more than 6 in 10 Americans believe that it should be legal. Amazingly, in what is such a politically divided culture, the push towards legalization has strong bipartisan support from both the left and the right. To that end, the majority of states have taken it upon themselves to defy federal legislation and pass state laws that either allow the medicinal and/or recreational use of cannabis. In all likelihood, federal legalization lies on the near horizon, but until then, it is crucial to know how the cannabis laws and regulations vary from state to state local governments.

Federal Cannabis Laws

In 1937, legislators passed the Marihuana Tax Act, which imposed a tax on the sale of cannabis –  hemp or marijuana. While the MTA was passed as a simple crop levy, in effect it banned the use and sale of the cannabis plant. After this was struck down as unconstitutional, it was replaced in the 1970s by the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), which classified Marijuana as a schedule 1 drug. Today, marijuana still shares this ignominious classification with several other substances, including:

  • Heroin
  • LSD
  • Mescaline (Peyote)
  • MDMA
  • Ecstasy
  • GHB
  • Psilocybin
  • Methaqualone (Quaalude)
  • Bath Salts

According to the DEA the three characteristics of a schedule 1 drug are:

  1. The substance has a high potential for abuse.
  2. The substance has no currently accepted medical uses in the U.S.
  3. There is a lack of accepted safety for the use of the drug or substance under medical supervision.

CBD and the 2018 Farm Bill

If you know little about the cannabis plant, then it’s important to understand that only the part of the plant that has tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) will produce the psychotropic effects that people typically associate with marijuana. Cannabidiol (CBD), on the other hand, does not have any mind-altering effects. Instead, it reacts with the body in a holistic way, which may produce several positive medicinal effects, including:

  • May exhibit anti-seizure properties
  • May aid in pain relief
  • May help with anxiety-relief
  • May work to alleviate depression and other mood disorders

In the last decade, the medical community has pushed the DEA to open its eyes to the medicinal benefits of the cannabis plant, as well as the cannabis products that can be derived. Further, there has been a concerted effort to at least relent and separate the known medicinal benefits of CBD with those less conclusive benefits of THC.

To that end, in 2018, Congress passed the Farm Bill. This new bill removed industrial hemp and hemp-derived products from the purview of the Controlled Substance Act, which means they are no longer subject to its stringent illegality and the CBD definition is viewed in a new lens. As a result, pure CBD that is extracted from the hemp plant that contains less than 0.3% THC is now legal. There are still fairly strict regulations in regards to personal and industrial production and the sale of CBD, however, it is now legal to buy and carry pure CBD capsules, vaporizers, lozenges, oils, and topical CBD oil, as long as they are produced by a state-licensed grower, which adheres to the mandates of the Farm Bill.  

State Cannabis Laws

As mentioned, while cannabis is illegal on the federal level, almost every state in the country has some rule that challenges this notion. Therefore, it’s difficult to provide one direct answer to the question, “Is CBD legal in all 50 states?” For example, some states have more open regulations, while many other states have decriminalized possession of small amounts of cannabis. That said, anyone selling marijuana without a state license will face much harsher penalties. Below, we will briefly discuss cannabis possession and growing laws on a state-by-state basis.

  • Alaska (Recreational/Medical) – People ages 21 and up in Alaska may possess an ounce or less of marijuana. They can grow up to 6 plants, with no more than 3 of the plants being mature.
  • Arizona (Medical) – Qualified patients or primary caregivers in Arizona who have registered with the Arizona Department of Health Services may obtain and possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana in a 2-week window. Cannabis has to be obtained from a registered non-profit medical marijuana dispensary. Such people may grow up to 12 plants if they live at least 25 miles away from the closest dispensary.
  • California (Recreational/Medical) – The California medical card rules are some of the most open. Adults over the age of 21 in California may possess up to 28.5 grams of marijuana and 8 grams of cannabis concentrate. Adults or caregivers may cultivate up to 6 plants per home. Medical marijuana patients may grow more if the doctor provides a recommendation.
  • Colorado (Recreational/Medical) – Colorado residents over the age of 21 may purchase up to an ounce of recreational marijuana. They are allowed to home grow up to 6 plants, with no more than 3 reaching maturity.
  • Connecticut (Medical) – A qualifying patient in Connecticut can possess a month’s supply of marijuana for palliative use. Home cultivation is not allowed.
  • Delaware (Medical) – A qualifying patient in Delaware may have up to 6 ounces of marijuana. Home cultivation is not allowed.
  • District of Columbia (Recreational and Medical) – A Washington D.C. resident who is at least 21 years old can possess up to 2 ounces of marijuana. Medical patients can possess up to 4 ounces of marijuana. Adults can cultivate up to 6 cannabis plants, with no more than 3 reaching maturity at any given time.
  • Florida (Limited Medical) – A qualifying patient in Florida suffering from cancer, muscle spasms, and seizures, has no limits to the amount of cannabis in their possession; however, home cultivation is not allowed.
  • Georgia (Very Limited Medical) – Cannabis remains illegal in Georgia. There is a limited medical marijuana program for people with AIDS, seizures, and Tourrettes, but it is mostly restricted to CBD. Even then, there is a Catch-22 where it is legal to have, but illegal to get at a cannabis dispensary.
  • Hawaii (Medical) – Qualifying patients in Hawaii can possess up to 4 ounces of marijuana. Patients are not allowed to grow any more than 10 plants.
  • Idaho (Illegal) – Idaho is infamous for having some of the strictest cannabis possession laws in the country. You can face up to a year in prison for possession of 3 ounces of weed or less, and up to 5 years in prison for any amount past that.  
  • Illinois (Medical) – A qualifying patient in Illinois can get up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis. At home cannabis cultivation is not allowed.
  • Indiana (Illegal) – Marijuana is illegal in Indiana and possession of even a small amount can result in a misdemeanor and up to a half year in jail.
  • Iowa (Illegal) – Even small amounts of cannabis possession in Iowa is a misdemeanor punishable with up to 180 days in jail.
  • Kansas (Illegal) – Marijuana remains illegal in Kansas and pot possession is punishable with up to 6 months in prison.   
  • Kentucky (Illegal) – Possession of up to 8 ounces of weed is a misdemeanor punishable with up to 45 days in jail. Possession of any more than 8 ounces automatically qualifies as trafficking, which can result in a 1 to 5 year prison sentence. Last month, a house judiciary committee approved a medical cannabis bill; however, the House failed to vote on it. Residents will have to wait until 2020 to pass it through the legislature.
  • Louisiana (Medical) – Qualifying patients in Louisiana may have a 30-day supply of marijuana. Home cultivation is not allowed. Currently, Louisiana only has 9 distributing pharmacies operating in the state.
  • Maine (Recreational/Medical) – A qualifying patient or a person over the age of 21 in Maine may possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana, concentrate, and edibles. Adults can cultivate up to 12 plants, with a maximum of 6 mature plants.
  • Maryland (Medical) – Qualified patients in Maryland can possess a 30-day supply of cannabis, which is 120 grams (4.2 ounces) of marijuana. Home cultivation is not permitted.
  • Massachusetts (Recreational and Medical) – Adults 21 and up in Massachusetts can possess up to an ounce of marijuana or 5 grams of concentrate in public, and up to 10 ounces at home. Adults can cultivate 12 plants with no more than 6 reaching maturity at any given time.
  • Michigan (Recreational/Medical) Michigan is one of the most recent recreational states. Any adult over the age of 21 may possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis with up to 15 grams of concentrate in public, and up to 10 ounces at home. Adults can cultivate up to 12 plants for personal use.
  • Minnesota (Medical) – Qualifying patients in Minnesota can possess up to a 30-day supply of cannabis. Home cultivation is not allowed.
  • Mississippi (Illegal) – Possession of 30 grams or less of cannabis is decriminalized. The Mississippi Medical Marijuana Amendment is set to appear on the ballot in 2020.
  • Missouri (Medical) – Missouri recently passed a bill allowing medical marijuana; however, there are currently no medical dispensaries in operation. Rules for possession and growing will not be finalized until June of 2019.
  • Montana (Medical) – Qualified patients in Montana can possess up to an ounce of cannabis. They may grow 12 plants, with no more than four reaching maturity at any given time.
  • Nebraska (Illegal) – Although possession of small amounts has been mostly decriminalized, it remains illegal in the state. In all likelihood, it will be put on the 2020 ballot and pass since more than 70% of Nebraskans are in favor of medical marijuana.
  • Nevada (Recreational/Medical) – Residents of Nevada aged 21 and up can possess up to an ounce of cannabis and 2.5 grams of concentrate. Non-medicinal users may grow up to 6 plants at home if they live further than 25 miles from the nearest recreational shop. Medical patients can possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis and grow up to 12 plants if they live further than 25 miles away from a shop.  
  • New Hampshire (Medical) – Qualified patients in New Hampshire can possess up to 2 ounces of cannabis. Home cultivation is not permitted.
  • New Jersey (Medical) – A qualifying patient in New Jersey may possess up to 2 ounces of marijuana. They may not, however, grow cannabis plants at home.
  • New Mexico (Medical) – Qualifying patients in New Mexico can possess up to 8 ounces of cannabis. They may cultivate up to 16 plants at their residence as well.
  • New York (Medical) – Qualifying patients in New York may possess a 30-day supply of dosages. Home cultivation is illegal.
  • North Carolina (Illegal) – North Carolina has joined many of the non-medical states in decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of cannabis. A medical marijuana bill will go up for a vote in 2020.
  • North Dakota (Medical) – Medical patients in North Dakota are allowed to possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis. If patients live more than 40 miles away from a dispensary, they may cultivate up to 8 plants in a closed facility and must notify local law enforcement with a notice of intent to grow.
  • Ohio (Medical) – Qualified patients in Ohio may possess up to 8 ounces of marijuana and 10 grams of concentrate. Home cultivation is not allowed.
  • Oklahoma (Medical) – Medical patients in Oklahoma may have up to 3 ounces of marijuana, 1 ounce of concentrate, and 72 ounces of edibles. They are allowed to cultivate up to 12 plants, with no more than 6 reaching maturity.  
  • Oregon (Recreational/Medical) – Adults over the age of 21 in Oregon can possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana and 5 grams of concentrate in public, and up to 8 ounces at home. Medical patients may possess up to 24 ounces of cannabis. Recreational users may grow up to 4 plants, while medical users may grow up to 6.  
  • Pennsylvania (Limited Medical) – Qualified patients in Pennsylvania may possess a month supply of cannabis-infused pills, oils, topical ointments, tinctures, liquids, or vaporizers. Currently, smoking of the plant is not allowed. Home cultivation is not permitted.
  • Rhode Island (Medical) – Medical patients in Rhode Island can possess up to 2.5 ounces of Cannabis. They can grow up to 12 mature plants at their home.
  • South Carolina (Illegal) – In South Carolina, possession of an ounce or less can carry up to a 30-day jail penalty. Recently, a medical marijuana bill moved forward in the SC Senate. It will likely be voted on in 2020.  
  • South Dakota (Illegal) – South Dakota has the strictest marijuana possession laws in the country; even a small amount can carry a year in jail and a $2,000 fine.
  • Tennessee (Illegal) – Marijuana is illegal in Tennessee and can result in a yearlong jail sentence, even for first-time offenders. A bill to pass medical marijuana legislation is dead until it can come up for a 2020 vote. 
  • Texas (Illegal) – Possession of 2 ounces or less can result in fines and 180 days in prison. Despite widespread public support, it is doubtful that any legislation comes up for at least a few years.
  • Utah (Medical) Utah recently passed legislation for a medical marijuana program. That said, it will not start until March of 2020 and there are no current medical dispensaries in place.
  • Vermont (Medical) – Registered patients in Vermont may possess up to 2 ounces of cannabis. They may cultivate 2 mature plants and 7 immature plants at home.  
  • Virginia (Limited Medical)Changes to Virginia medical marijuana laws now allow cannabis to be dispensed in lollipop and lozenge form to qualifying patients. Patients are not allowed to possess smokable flower or grow plants at home.
  • Washington (Recreational/Medical) – Adults 21 and up in Washington can possess up to an ounce of marijuana and 7 grams of concentrate. Qualified patients are allowed to grow up to 6 plants at home. Recreational users, however, are not allowed to cultivate cannabis.
  • West Virginia (Medical) – Qualified patients in West Virginia can possess a 30-day supply of cannabis. Due to the laws being newly passed, the acceptable forms and limits are not yet set. That said, we do know home cultivation is not allowed. There are no dispensaries set up yet, seeing as the program is in early development.
  • Wisconsin (Illegal) – Possession of any amount of marijuana in Wisconsin can result in a 6-month jail sentence.
  • Wyoming (Illegal) – Possession of small amounts of cannabis in Wyoming is a misdemeanor. Surprisingly, the state is considering enacting even tougher laws, which would make possession of 3 grams of weed a felony.  

Cannabis Laws in the Future

With the resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, many political commentators posit that the Trump administration will take a more lax view towards cannabis in the coming years now that William Barr has taken over. Although there have not been overt ovations, there is a distinct possibility that the current administration or future ones could move towards federal legalization.

Fortunately, CBD is now legal nationwide as long as it follows the rules of the 2018 Farm Bill.

That said, when it comes to cannabis products, follow this guide so that you can remain in compliance with your state’s specific marijuana laws.

BioCBD+ respects and appreciates the hard work the FDA does, and the disclosure below is required by  The Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

FDA Disclosure:

The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from healthcare practitioners. Please consult your healthcare professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product.

Sources:

  1. Hartig, H. Pew Research Center. About six-in-ten Americans support marijuana legalization. (2018). https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/10/08/americans-support-marijuana-legalization/
  2. U.S. Legal. Marijuana Tax Act Law and Legal Definition. https://definitions.uslegal.com/m/marijuana-tax-act%20/
  3. United States Drug Enforcement Agency. The Controlled Substance Act. https://www.dea.gov/controlled-substances-act
  4. United States Drug Enforcement Agency. Drug Scheduling. https://www.dea.gov/drug-scheduling
  5. Thompson, D. WebMD. Low Dose of CBD Liquid Eases Epilepsy Seizures. (2018). https://www.webmd.com/epilepsy/news/20180516/low-dose-of-cbd-oil-eases-epilepsy-seizures#1

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James Sol Radina

About James Sol Radina

As CEO and Co-Founder of BioCBD Plus™, James Sol Radina brings years of experience and accumulated expertise from the CBD industry. His interest originated in early 2014, when James embarked on a major filmmaking project to travel and study CBD around the world. Together with a team of filmmakers, he sought out to interview top doctors, scientists, and researchers about CBD, which, at the time, was relatively lesser known, but was starting a buzz in the market. After seeing first-hand the results that CBD had in the patients and experts they filmed, James was “all in!” and his business pursuits began. James started BioCBD Plus™ in 2015, with the goal to fill a niche void that existed in the CBD industry. With the knowledge he gained through his study of CBD, combined with new scientific research, he created the world’s first water-soluble, 100% BioAvailable CBD. The proprietary formula is whole-plant based and more easily absorbable by the body than other CBD products on the market, and the company’s product suite has continued to expand following its demonstrated success. The strength of James’ passion for CBD is matched by his dedication to volunteer service. He incorporated a strong socially responsible model to BioCBD Plus™, which supports The Veterans Discount Program and other programs through donations of CBD products to those who cannot afford them. Since the start of the company, James has also continued to be the inspirational energy behind the company’s beliefs and marketing strategy, which are driven by his commitment to spreading the science-based truth about CBD and bringing the healing benefits of the product to as many people as possible.

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