This November, as many as nine states across the nation have measures on the ballot proposing the legalization of marijuana, according to a recent NBC News report. Advocates hope that the federal government will eventually lift its nationwide ban in response to the trend of several states’ legalization. Most of the measures seek to legalize a limited amount of marijuana for individual possession or grown for recreational use, as well as strict requirements for dispensing medical marijuana to patients.
Increased Support for Legalization
Polls and research indicate that public opinion has changed over the years on the issue. Research shows increased support of legalizing marijuana due in part, many believe, to the success of Colorado and Washington – the first states to approve recreational marijuana back in 2014. 57% of adults in the U.S. believe marijuana should be legalized, compared to ten years ago where only 32% approved, according to a recently released Pew Research study.
Five states will vote on whether recreational marijuana should be legalized. These include: Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada. The remaining four states – which include Arkansas, Florida, Montana, and North Dakota – will decide if medical marijuana should be legalized. Medical marijuana is already legal in nearly half the states in the country.
Notwithstanding an attitude shift in the public, advocates still have a long road ahead when it comes to changing federal law. Just recently, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) denied a request to change marijuana’s drug classification to a category with fewer restrictions. As it stands, it is a Schedule 1 drug – the most restrictive class – falling in the same category as heroin, LSD, and ecstasy.
Understand the Law
If you have any questions about what the laws are in your state regarding medical and recreational marijuana, contact a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney right away. While some states have passed laws legalizing marijuana, there is still a nationwide federal ban on the drug.