There are only two countries in the world where growing, selling and using cannabis is legal.

Uruguay and Canada which legalized cannabis nationwide on October 17, 2018.

In the United States cannabis remains illegal under federal law. It’s illegal to grow, sell, buy, or even have in your purse. In every state. In every way.

True, on December 20, 2018 President Trump signed an $867 billion Farm Bill legalizing hemp at the federal level.

But shortly after, party-crasher and FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb stood up and harshed everyone’s buzz by announcing CBD is illegal.

But states can’t enforce federal law without local support. Thanks to voters in Washington DC, Washington State, Oregon, Alaska, California, Nevada, Colorado, Massachusetts, Michigan and Maine and the legislature in Illinois, cannabis is now legal in those states.

It’s legal in Vermont but commercial sales aren’t allowed. Same in DC. You can grow it and smoke it, but you can’t buy it or sell it. No dispensaries. No stores. Whole lotta indoor master gardeners tho.

Before November 2018 there were zero pot shops east of the Mississippi. Thanks to Massachusetts, there are now three.

It’s decriminalized in 12 more states: Connecticut, DelawareMaryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, MissouriNebraska, New Hampshire, New York, N. Carolina, OhioRhode Island and the US Virgin Islands.

Another 37 states, Guam and Puerto Rico have made medical cannabis legal.

Decriminalized = if you get caught with a small amount and have no criminal record, it’s treated like a traffic ticket. A minor fine.

How does it all shake out?

When states legalizes cannabis, local police stop enforcing federal laws. Usually the Feds go along to get along.

Broadly speaking the rules in legal states go like this: you have to be over 21, driving high is illegal, stupid and comes with hefty penalties. It’s a felony to give or allow access to anyone underage, even accidentally. That age being 21, perv.

And you can’t use it in public.

There are limits on how much you can buy, grow, or have on you at any given time. In California, for example, you can have up to 1 oz of flower, 8 oz of concentrates and 6 plants. In Washington, it’s 1 oz of flower, 7 g of concentrates, 16 oz of infused solids, 72 oz of liquids, and no plants. Look ma, no plants!

Laws vary from state to state as do penalties for breaking them.

No matter what state you’re in, even in legal states, you can’t use it and drive, in restaurants, bars, parks, at concerts, beaches, walking down the street or on federal land.

So “legal” recreational use basically means legally relaxing in the privacy of your own home, yard or property.

It’s illegal to sell, anywhere, unless you work at a licensed dispensary. You can share it, but if you hit your friend up for $5 afterwards, technically you’re breaking the law.

The upside of legalization is that states get to regulate how cannabis is grown, produced, and sold. There are strict packaging, product, potency and labeling rules. California isn’t going to allow cannabis-infused alcohol, for example.

Medical and Personal Use

In states where medical use is legal, general rules of use apply as well, and patients of any age can get a medical card with a physicians recommendation.

What qualifies as medical use? Again it varies by state, but examples include:

ADD/ADHD, ALS, alzeimers, cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, chronic pain, anxiety, arthritis, asthma, austism, Crohn’s disease, cancer, depression, diabetes, endocrine disorders, epilepsy, fibromalgia, GI disorders, heart disease, inflammation, Huntington’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, kidney disease, liver disease, migraines, mood disorders, MS, nausea, neuropathic pain, Parkinson’s, PTSD, shingles, sleep conditions, stroke/TBI, Tourette Syndrome and hospice care.

Here’s a breakdown of cannabis policies in every state.

As state rules govern each state, it follows that it’s illegal to transport weed across state lines.

However I find that when it comes to small amounts for personal use no one really cares. Now—I’m not telling you to get on a plane with a 1/4 oz of weed in your carryon. I’m telling you that I got on a plane in Seattle with 1/4 oz of weed in my carryon, NTSB opened my suitcase, saw it sitting right out there on top of my dirty drawers, closed my suitcase and wished me a nice day. Could they have confiscated my weed? Yep. Could they have issued me a citation? Yes. They did neither.

International and Beyond

Internationally, cannabis is covered by an overlapping set of laws.The US is one of 186 signatory countries to the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. It outlaws controlled substances except for medical purposes.

The Single Convention created five schedules of controlled substances and assigned cannabis to the most restrictive Schedule 1 along with cocaine, morphine, LSD, heroin and oxycodone.

The US approved the first prescription drug made from cannabis in June 2018. Epidiolex treats two rare forms of epilepsy that begin in childhood .

A giant leap for mankind.