There are roughly 3.5 million regular users of medicinal marijuana in the United States. Cannabis use has become a lot more accepted in recent years. Especially for those seeking to use it to help with their pains and ailments.
The law surrounding the use of medicinal cannabis can be a bit confusing. It’s often an area where federal and state laws seem to clash and contradict each other.
Here’s a guide to medical marijuana federal law.
What Are the Medical Marijuana Federal Laws?
At the federal level, all forms of marijuana remain illegal.
The controlled substances act of 1970 states that the cultivation, distribution, possession, and use of marijuana is outlawed. According to federal law, cannabis has no medical benefits and leads to abuse or addiction.
In theory, this federal law also prevents doctors from prescribing medicinal marijuana to their patients. However, in 2009, the Obama administration announced that federal authorities would stop raids and arrests on medical marijuana dispensaries.
Can I Be Punished for Using Medical Marijuana?
According to federal cannabis laws, nothing stops you from being arrested and put in jail for possessing medicinal marijuana. This is because federal law does not recognize medical marijuana.
The same sentencing would apply to anyone who’s been charged with possession, no matter whether their cannabis was for recreational or medicinal use.
In practice, though, you’re unlikely to be arrested and prosecuted by federal law enforcement if you’re in a state where medical marijuana is legal.
State vs. Federal Law: Who Wins?
So by now, you’re probably wondering which trumps the other, state law or federal law? Technically the answer to this question would be federal law. This is because of something called the supremacy clause.
Essentially this means that even if you’re in a state that has legalized cannabis, federal law can still take precedence over the local laws of the state you’re in. However, it’s worth noting again that you’re extremely unlikely to find yourself in trouble with federal marijuana enforcement over medicinal pot.
This is because significant federal authorities like the DEA are far more interested in going after large growers and distributors than everyday users.
Is Medical Marijuana Legal in My State?
Medicinal cannabis is currently legal in 36 states, as well as the District of Columbia.
The states in which cannabis is legal will more often than not fall into three categories. Some states only permit the sale of CBD and CBD derivatives for medicinal use. Some allow the purchase of cannabis plant material for medical use. And in some states, marijuana in all its forms is legal for any adult to obtain.
It’s important to know which of these categories your state falls into.
How Do I Buy Medical Marijuana?
If you’re in a state where cannabis is legal for anybody over a certain age to purchase, you can simply head to a dispensary or order online to get your bud.
If you’re in a state where cannabis is only legal for medicinal use, you’ll need to grab yourself a medical marijuana license. To obtain one of these licenses, you’ll have to meet specific criteria, such as proving that you’ll be using cannabis to treat pain, epilepsy, cancer, glaucoma, or any other relevant illness or condition.
Marijuana Laws Can Often Be Confusing
As you can see from the above, there are many contradictions between federal and state laws on this issue. Yes, medical marijuana is illegal at the federal level but you’re unlikely to face any punishment for it.
Just be sure to brush up on medical marijuana federal law and local state laws before trying to purchase your cannabis.
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