Congratulations! Your state just legalized cannabis. Now what?
Cannabis legalization is slowly but surely coming to fruition in the US. In 2016 alone, a handful of states, including Arkansas, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, eased restrictions surrounding the selling and medicinal consumption of the plant. Getting this far is a huge accomplishment and now that cannabis is legal, it will be treated like other regulated substances and medicines on the market today.
Below are three things you can expect to happen, now that cannabis is legal in your state.
No Laws, No Service
If you thought passing laws was the hard part, think again. Previously, since legal cannabis regulations were non-existent, the first challenge for states that just legalized the herb is to create guidelines for the industry, which must be completed within a specific timeframe. Taking Florida as an example, the state is in the process of finalizing cannabis regulations. Lawmakers are still deciding how patients will be assessed to qualify for a medical marijuana card. So at the moment, medical dispensaries aren’t popping up around the area – not yet. Before that can start happening, licensing regulations must be setup for businesses to follow and legitimize their establishment.
Adhering to Consumption Guidelines
Patients interested in consuming cannabis, in a state that offers it legally, will be required to adhere to strict consumption guidelines. Lighting up in public, next to a school or on federal property is a big no-no and will likely get you in trouble. Furthermore, there are age restrictions for people partaking in the plant, as well as for businesses selling to customers. For instance, in Colorado, where cannabis is legal on a recreational level, individuals must be over the age of 21 to hold or use herb purchased in a retail environment.
It is important to educate yourself about these guidelines as they are implemented, because each state abides by a unique set of laws for cannabis consumption. If you cross state borders often for work or weekend trips, it is crucial to understand how guidelines differ on the other side. In some cases, you may find that neighboring states still view cannabis as an illegal substance (e.g., crossing over from Florida to Alabama, where medical consumption of psychoactive cannabis products is prohibited).
Possession and Limitations
How much you can buy and hold is also closely regulated under legal cannabis. Again, this varies greatly from state-to-state. On the far end of the spectrum, Oregon-based residents are able to possess up to 24 ounces of medical cannabis and up to six mature plants (18 immature seedlings). While in Montana, registered medical cardholders may legally hold up to an (one) ounce of cannabis and 12 seedlings.
“Now that weed is legal, it’s also taxed and regulated; unfortunately though, many tourists (and Nevadans) don’t have any idea what those regulations look like. It’s incredibly important that anyone who plans to participate in the consumption of marijuana knows the rules in order to stay safe and legal,” said Cassidy Leslie from the University of Nevada Reno.