Ever wonder what the lay of the land is in terms of cannabis regulations? More to the point, have you ever tried to figure it out? Let's face it, it's a messy patchwork of laws and regulations countrywide. Luckily NORML has made sense of it for us with an interactive map that tracks the legal framework (or lack thereof) in each state. Here's a map-by-map breakdown of the legal issues they highlighted.
1. States where you don't have to go to jail for possession
It is obviously still illegal to get high in most states, but some have more lenient penalties than others - meaning there are places where people don't have to go to jail, even if they still receive some kind of criminal sanction. The states with the "unlock" symbol allow for a conditional release, alternative sentence or sentencing to a diversion program for first-time offenders. Conditional release usually allows offenders choose probation instead of a trial.
2. States that have decriminalized
The states with the marijuana leaf leave have decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana.
3. Driving under the influence of drugs
"Per Se DUID" laws means drivers can't operate their vehicles if they have a certain amount of drugs or alcohol in their metabolism. For drinking, drivers are considered impaired if their blood alcohol level rises above 0.08 percent. However, there is no universal consensus on the maximum level of THC a person can have in their bloodstream, so cannabis consumers should err on the side of caution and take a cab when they dab.
4. Hemp legalization
These states with the "little caps" have legalized hemp or authorized hemp research.
5. Recreational cannabis legalization
The "little joints" indicate where recreational cannabis use is legal, though it varies from place to place how much of a regulated market is in place.
6. Mandatory minimum sentencing
The states with the little "cell doors" have laws that require judges to hand out minimum sentences for certain offenses, so the judge has no discretion to sentence someone to a lesser sentence. Many such sentences also prevent prisoners from applying for parole.
7. Medical marijuana legalization
The states with the "cross" have legal medical marijuana programs, though some states are more restrictive than others with the kinds of conditions that can be treated with medicinal cannabis.
8. Medical CBD legalization
The states with the "bottle" have legalized just the medical use of cannabidiol (CBD) extracts to treat certain conditions. ( Here's an example.)
9. Tax stamps
These states have enacted "tax stamp laws," which require people who legally possess medical cannabis to stick a state-issued stamp onto the product. Failing to do that can result in a fine or criminal sanction, even for approved users.
10. The whole map
If you'd like to try the interactive version, check it out on NORML's website.