…about cannabis? Never have the States been less United. The map of cannabis laws below demonstrate how divided we are. Areas of the country are choosing in a similar fashion. Western and southwestern states allow either medicinal or recreational use. While the farm states have largely banned or severely restricted any use. All the Northeastern states allow at least medicinal use.
Cannabis Laws in The United States
How do we the people feel about legal cannabis? The map tells a story.
Hover your cursor over each state to see the current legal situation for cannabis there. For reference only - please review the current laws in your state as they frequently change.
The story this map tells is one of a nation in transition. While people in some states have openly embraced cannabis, others have withdrawn. It could be many years before this map is completely green. We expect the last states to legalize cannabis will only do so once they finally realize they are on the wrong side of both history and medical science.
This map of cannabis laws is a proxy for our many micro-cultures and therefore the feelings on the issue.
And the feelings on all sides about how to deal with cannabis run very deep.
Even if every state chose to allow full recreational use tomorrow (we can dream), pockets of deeply-rooted anti-cannabis bigotry will persist for many years.
Even with a vote for full recreational use, it won’t change the entrenched hearts and minds of many who feel otherwise.
Some companies will continue to insist on drug tests, neighbors will shun neighbors, and friends will reject friends. This behavior is already in evidence in Colorado where full adult use was voted legal years ago in November 2012.
Why all the negative sentiment towards cannabis?
People who oppose cannabis usually do so for a variety of reasons.
- As law-abiding citizens, they know the federal government declared it illegal and it’s been that way for as long as anyone can remember.
- There is a war on drugs and men with guns are on both sides of the trafficking situation.
- If we allow pot in our state, we will only be encouraging our kids to be stoners who spend their days high.
- Marijuana is a gateway to harder drugs and it will be the unraveling of our community.
- Crime is sure to increase if marijuana is so easily available.
- Marijuana is just bad for you and will turn your mind to mush.
- The good people in my church would never forgive me if they found out I voted for it.
There are certainly a lot of reasons for people to hate cannabis but the one common take-away is that it’s just bad and their response when voting is usually, “We’ll have none of that in our back yard.”
Yet, as of the 2016 vote, a tipping point has been reached and the country is clearly trending toward legalization. Eventually, money will outmaneuver morality and bigotry.
All of these ideas are deeply held and long-standing beliefs. And a successful vote that allows dispensaries to open down the block will only serve to harden the resolve of a contingent who voted the other way. To them, legal marijuana is not a change as much as a threat.
Register and vote.
I would normally write at length and wax poetic about the story this map tells. But at this point, there is really only one message to communicate: vote – and help get out the vote. Vote where you must until the map is completely green.
Make your voices heard and put a stop to the hypocrisy. End the pain and suffering of those who could benefit from using nature’s most remarkable plant.
Remind this government of its original mandate – serve the people.