Every state in the U.S. has their own laws and regulations when it comes to the legalization of cannabis, both medical and recreational. On the federal front, the plant does not qualify to be considered a medication and cannot be prescribed by licensed physicians. Instead, certain U.S. states have set up provisions for the use of cannabis by their citizens, inside border lines. Instead of prescribing the herb, licensed physicians are able to recommend its use after evaluating the patient’s medical condition.
However, before a patient or a recreational user tries to access cannabis in their state, they should educate themselves with the state’s provisions. It is crucial to realize that every state has different guidelines and one should be well versed with the laws of their own state as well as the one they might be visiting.
Here are some of the specifications that marijuana users or enthusiasts should be aware of:
1. Is Marijuana Legal
The most basic question to be asked is – whether cannabis is legal in the state. Since cannabis can be both medical and recreational, you should be aware of both.
Multiple states in the U.S. have legalized both medical and adult use cannabis with certain limitations. Others have only legalized the use of medical doses of the herb. To get access to this type of marijuana, a patient must first apply for an MMJ card from a marijuana clinic like MD Ganja and follow all other state guidelines that have been specified. On the other hand, not every state has such provisions. States like Georgia and Idaho (amongst others) only allow the use of CBD for medical use.
2. Legal Age to Use Marijuana
Even if your state has legalized the use of cannabis, it might restrict you from consuming it if you’re a minor. In the case of medical marijuana, an 18 year olds can apply for an MMJ card. For instance, when applying for a medical marijuana card New Jersey, a patient should be at least 18 years of age and should be a citizen of the state. However, in the case of medical use of the plant, minors can also access the herb as long as they have a designated caregiver.
This caregiver must be registered with the state along with the patient and is responsible for applying for the MMJ card, purchasing cannabis from the dispensary, home-cultivation of cannabis (if legal) and finally administering the cannabis doses to the minor.
3. Legal Limit of Purchase and Possession
States that allow the use of medical cannabis tend to limit the amount that a patient can purchase from a dispensary or store at their place. This can be based on the weight of the dry plant, or the concentration of THC in all varieties that you possess.
Possession of more than the legal amount can result in a penalty or worse, depending on the amount you store.
4. Is Home-Cultivation Legal?
Some states realize that the amount of cannabis that a patient can legally possess might not be enough to manage their condition. In such a situation, the state allows you to grow the required amount as long as you follow the guidelines stated.
States may allow you to grow 6 cannabis plants (or 12 saplings) with an MMJ card
If you require more, you’ll need your recommending practitioner to specify the same in the MMJ recommendation (this will only work if your state allows you to grow more that the legal limit)
However, some states might not have any provisions for home cultivation or may require you to do so in the absolute privacy of an indoor green house.
5. Reciprocity Programs
You cannot travel with your cannabis, especially across the border. Therefore, before you visit another state, look into their reciprocity programs. Some states allow you to buy cannabis in their state with an out-of-state medical marijuana card. Others might not allow you to access their dispensaries but can give access to recreational doses.
However, this might not be the case every time. Some states may not allow you to buy cannabis without a state identification card. In this case, you cannot legally access any cannabis products in the state you’re visiting.
A lot has to be considered before you try and access cannabis in your state or in neighboring states. It is your best bet to be well versed with what is legal and what can get you in trouble. Apart from the points mentioned, you should also look into the state’s list of approved medical conditions, and into any provisions that save you from any type of dicrimination at your place of work. While not all states have set up such guidelines, some states have laws against the unjust treatment of employees who consume medical marijuana outside the boundaries of their workplace.