Slowly, one state or even one municipality at a time, the United States is legalizing marijuana.
Many states have legalized weed for medicinal purposes only, requiring a “recommendation” from a doctor (it is still illegal to prescribe marijuana under federal law). Other states or municipalities have decriminalized marijuana which means you cannot go to jail for small amounts. Still others have completely legalized possession of small amounts of marijuana for recreational purposes.
With possession of marijuana still illegal in South Carolina, we are lagging behind the nation in drug policy. Although bills have been introduced to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes and to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes, don’t be surprised when SC is the last state to make this much-needed change to our drug laws…
Atlanta’s New Marijuana Law
The City of Atlanta passed a new ordinance this week that changes the penalties for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, essentially “decriminalizing” it.
Previously, simple possession of less than an ounce of marijuana carried up to six months in jail and a $1000 fine. The maximum potential penalties have now been reduced to no jail time and a fine of $75.
States That Have Legalized Marijuana
Although it’s a moving target with the increasing number of jurisdictions that are legalizing marijuana in recent years, I think that this is a complete list of the states (and District of Columbia) that have legalized marijuana for recreational purposes as of today:
- District of Columbia
States That Have Decriminalized Marijuana Possession
Others states, like the City of Atlanta, have decriminalized marijuana possession. This means that possession of small amounts of marijuana is a “civil offense.” You will pay only a fine, you will not be arrested, there is no potential prison sentence, and any ticket that you receive will not be on your criminal record:
- New Hampshire
- New York
- Rhode Island
Not Quite Decriminalized…
Some states still classify marijuana possession as a criminal offense although there is no possibility of jail time for simple possession. These include:
- North Carolina
States That Have Legalized Medical Marijuana
Many of the states listed above also have medical marijuana laws. Here are the remaining states that have legalized marijuana for medical use only but have not legalized or decriminalized recreational marijuana:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- North Dakota
- West Virginia
States That Have Legalized Cannabidiol (CBD)
Marijuana contains hundreds of chemicals, but THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the primary psychoactive ingredient that gets people high.
Some of the remaining states that have not legalized recreational or medical marijuana have passed laws permitting the use of CBD (cannabidiol), a non-psychoactive ingredient of marijuana that does not get you high, for the treatment of medical conditions such as epilepsy and seizures. In some of these states, there are very strict requirements for approval of the use of CBDs and where the patient must get them:
- South Carolina
If I am counting right, 35 states and the District of Columbia have now either 1) legalized recreational marijuana, 2) legalized medical marijuana, or 3) decriminalized or taken away the possibility of jail time for small amounts of marijuana.
Although CBD is not the active ingredient in marijuana and technically does not count, an additional 13 states have legalized the use of CBD oils for medical purposes. That means 48 states and the District of Columbia have now legalized or decriminalized at least some part of the marijuana plant for recreational or medical purposes…
Arrested for Marijuana Possession in Myrtle Beach?
South Carolina sucks, we get it. But it is still a crime here and Myrtle Beach police will usually take you to jail for even small amounts of marijuana.
In most cases, we can get your simple possession of marijuana charges dismissed, take them to trial, or use one of several pretrial diversion programs to keep them off of your record. Call me at (843) 492-5449 or fill out the online contact form to set up a free consultation.