Marijuana has been minimally studied, so the health and safety ramifications of legalization are not fully known. The data thus far is deeply limited on questions like the public health effect on teenagers.
But it does seem that prohibition tends to be an inadequate public health response to drug use, and that legalization and decriminalization can help both remove the taboo of a drug, increase the amount of research put into the safety of that drug, and help people access that drug at a lower risk, as they’re honestly going to buy it no matter how legal or illegal it is. Research has shown time and time again that increasing safe access to potentially harmful substances, rather than restricting access and imprisoning those struggling with substance abuse issues, can help reduce the risk of death, sickness, and addiction.
And while you can’t yet buy legal weed in New Jersey, it is now officially decriminalized, and the rules that the legal cannabis industry will have to follow in the Garden State are now in place. In New York, which legalized weed on the last day of March, possessing marijuana is now legal, as is smoking in public anywhere you can smoke tobacco. But dispensaries are about a year and a half away.
States Where Adult Recreational Use of Marijuana Is Legal
Still, like any substance, it’s important that if you live in a state that has now or recently legalized marijuana to keep anything safely locked, stored, and out of sight and reach of your children. It’s also important to, just like alcohol, not partake in the drugs around your children, because of the mental, emotional, and social effects, along with the unknown physical health effects.
Because the legalization of recreational marijuana is happening on a state-by-state basis, the question of where is weed legal may be one that some have trouble answering. But luckily, we’ve made a marijuana map that shows states with legal weed. Before we get into the nitty-gritty of the fast-track to legalization happening all over the country, let’s get into the basics of legal weed.
All of these states have also decriminalized marijuana and set up medical cannabis programs.
Decriminalization of marijuana typically means no arrests, prison time, or criminal record for first-time offenders found in possession of a small amount of marijuana. More serious offenses might still face stiffer penalties, but simple possession charges are essentially treated like minor traffic violations. Selling marijuana remains against the law in states that have only decriminalized it.
“The biggest inconsistency is you cannot legally buy marijuana for recreational use in the commonwealth of Virginia,” McDougle said.
In the original bill, both possession and sales of marijuana would have been legalized in 2024. But many social justice advocates pushed to immediately end the disparate treatment of people of color under existing marijuana laws.
Under Virginia’s law, buying and selling marijuana will remain illegal until Jan. 1, 2024, when retail sales are expected to begin. Smoking marijuana in public also remains against the law.
The General Assembly’s research and watchdog agency found that from 2010-2019, Black Virginians were 3.5 times more likely than white Virginians to be arrested for marijuana possession, and 3.9 times more likely to be convicted, even though both populations used marijuana at similar rates.
Adding to the confusion: lawmakers included a “reenactment clause,” which means the General Assembly will have to vote again next year on major portions of the law, mainly to establish a regulatory framework for the legal marijuana marketplace.
“Because marijuana remains illegal at the federal level and because Virginia needs time to stand-up the regulatory structure for safe sales, it will not be legal to sell seeds or other marijuana until 2024,” Yarmosky said.
People will be allowed to share small amounts of seeds with one another, but they can’t sell them.
Area 52’s products, derived from organic hemp, are extracted without toxic solvents that can leave residues. Each product comes with a certificate of analysis (COA), which is the ultimate legitimacy stamp in this field.
Buying weed online is relatively simple, but it comes with important stipulations.
1. Area 52
This means that the chances of experiencing the classic side effects of THC like paranoia and anxiety are much slimmer.
On top of that, with the cannabis industry being so infantile, regulations have been notoriously confusing, subject to constant change, and overwhelming to the regular consumer.
If you live in a state that only allows weed for medicinal use, you need to obtain a medical marijuana card. That can be easier said than done, even for people who aren’t trying to cheat the system.