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Marijuana Legalization's Broad Effects


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11/21/2016
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Marijuana laws have been at the forefront of the political scene for years since advocates started pushing for legalization for medicinal purposes.  While there was intense criticism at that time against even medicinal and prescribed use of marijuana, many of the criticism tended to fade away as the advantages for people in serious pain became more clear, and now 28 states plus Washington D.C. allow the medicinal use of marijuana.  Many of these just passed legalization laws in 2016.  Recreational use of marijuana, however, remains controversial, even after Colorado and Washington first legalized recreational use in 2012.  But the 2016 election added more states to this list and now includes: Alaska, Massachusetts, Maine, California, Nevada, and Oregon.  The issue now becomes one that the federal government and state laws must reconcile - federal law still views recreational use of marijuana as illegal and when federal laws take over, the question remains whether citizens of states that allow recreational use will be subject to federal crimes.  Right now, the answer to that is most likely yes, but how this will be enforced remains to be seen, and whether exceptions will be carved out in the future to protect citizens following state laws is also a question. Recently for example, Alaska's senator addressed the fact that Alaska citizens are required to sign a form to obtain a gun and sign off that they do not use marijuana for medical or recreational purposes.  Many are angered that while the state allows marijuana use, they cannot use it and conform with federal gun laws and so must choose one or the other.  There does not seem to be a simple solution to these issues and will require state legislatures and the federal government to reach an agreement as to what is accepted behavior and whether changes to state and/or federal laws are required.



Category: General


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