State By State Marijuana Legality
By: Nikki Walls, Ms. Major Blazer
While most were busy paying attention to Donald Trump, recreational marijuana was legalized in four more states, with medical marijuana legalization in three more. As a hazy wave of legalization drifts over the US, it is a great time to go over what you can and can’t do with that newly-legal kush.
Marijuana was just fully legalized via a ballot measure in four states: California, Nevada, Massachusetts, and Maine — joining Alaska, DC, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington.
California is the only state in which the new laws take immediate effect. Legal weed did not start until December 15, 2016. In Nevada, you can legally spark up on Jan 1.
The only straggler was Maine, where opponents to the new law had requested a recount of the measure, which was thankfully abandoned after just a month. Maine had legalized marijuana for medical use in 1999.
Now that the recounts have been dropped, the Governor of Maine issued proclamations certifying the results. The measures took effect in January, but implementing the new law – as well as other referendums that passed last year is expected to take months. The federal government continues to classify marijuana as a prohibited substance. The prohibition could, unfortunately, prove problematic if the Trump administration is more aggressive in enforcement than Obama’s administration, which has avoided intervention in states’ legalization efforts.
In all of the new states you can legally consume and carry marijuana once the laws go into effect, but you won’t be able to legally buy it until 2018. Each state requires special licensure for recreational sale but has yet to set up the issuance and taxation infrastructure.
Recreational marijuana is currently for sale in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington. In Washington DC though, sales are in legal limbo and marijuana consumers must either receive their pot as a gift or grow it.
Before you go to your favorite grassy knoll to light up your grassy bowl, research where you can actually smoke. Every state bars the consumption of marijuana on public property. In most states, this means the only place where you can get high is at home. While bars and other venues are technically private property, marijuana opponents argue that these spaces are “publicly accessible private venues,” where marijuana prohibition still applies.
In Denver, however, voters just passed a proposition that will allow the consumption of marijuana at bars and restaurants — signaling the potential copying of the policy by other localities in states where marijuana is now legal.
Interested bars and restaurants would have to show they have neighborhood support before getting a license to allow marijuana use. Also, patrons would have to bring their own weed to comply with state law banning the sale of both pot and food or drink at a single location. Patrons at participating bars could use pot inside as long as it isn’t smoked. The law does provide for the possibility of outside smoking areas under restrictive circumstances. The law also allows for non-service establishments, such as yoga galleries or art galleries, to set up pot-smoking areas or hold events serving both pot and food and drink.