How Do Federal and State Marijuana Laws Coincide?


Marijuana plant

The legalization of marijuana has been a controversy for over a century.  Until 1913, marijuana was considered legal nationwide, under both state and federal law.  It wasn’t until then, states began criminalizing it, which led to federal illegalization in 1937.  For a short time, federal and state laws agreed that marijuana was bad and anyone who had it in their possession would receive a mandatory prison sentence of 2-10 years and a fine of up to $20,000.  Starting in the 1970’s, states began to back away from criminalization of marijuana, and were starting to believe there was some sort of benefit to using the drug.

As of 2017, 29 U.S. states have legalized marijuana, either for medicinal or recreational use, but federal laws still prohibit it.  The current federal legislation is the Controlled Substances Act, which classifies drugs into five categories. The categories are referred to as schedules, with schedule one being the most dangerous and schedule five being the least.  The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) states all schedule I drugs currently have no medical value and a high potential for abuse.  Some states, however, are claiming that marijuana serves a purpose, whether it be medicinal or economical.  

For the states who have legalized its use for medical purposes, they believe it can help ease the pain and discomfort of certain medical problems, such as cancer.  Several states, while they started out with only having medicinal marijuana legalized, have since legalized its recreational use as well.  These states believe it serves an economical purpose, with the state being able to control distribution and tax the product.  Many people, such as federal officials, disagree with this philosophy and believe it contributes to the ever growing drug problem in America.

Prior to state legalization, if a person was caught with marijuana by federal officials, they would undoubtedly be prosecuted.  Since state laws have changed, marijuana is approached as a case by case basis by federal authorities.  In general, federal officials care most about violations where an individual has a large amount of marijuana in their possession, or if it is being trafficked.  The controversy of marijuana will always exist, and laws will constantly fluctuate.  It is quite possible, whether it is legal or not, to become addicted to it.  The brain and body can depend on it to function and can experience withdrawals if it is not used.  If there is strife present in your life caused by marijuana, you should seek treatment to help gain freedom from your addiction.

Marijuana addiction is not deadly. However, it can severely impair your quality of life and the relationships within it. Don’t let marijuana addiction isolate you from the life you deserve to live. The answer to recovery from marijuana addiction is Simple. Our multi-tiered program is designed to help your loved one find success on a new path in life through school, work, and meaningful volunteering. Structured for progress, clients at Simple Recovery transition seamlessly through each phase of their recovery. For information on our full continuum of care options for recovery from addiction and co-occurring mental health, call us today: 888-743-0490