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Cannabis in the USA. Where it’s legal and where it isn’t

Geschrieben von Enecta Editorial Staff am 04.02.2019

Cannabis in the USA. Where it’s legal and where it isn’t

With the signature of the president of December 20, the United States farm bill has become a federal law. The new Farm Bill will regulate the public interventions in agriculture for the next five years.

The body of law included also the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, a law which, for the first time in the entire federation of states, establishes the regulations of production and sales of cannabis, removing it definitively from the  list of the Controlled Substances Act.  

Prior to the coming into force of the United States farm bill 2018, at federal level it was illegal to possess, use, sell or cultivate cannabis. Despite the federal ban, some States had already adopted for some years a more permissive approach towards cannabis, due to laws which had gradually permitted the use and cultivation for various purposes.

Cannabis in California, the first national provisions

Today in California cannabis is permitted both for medical and recreational use. This American state was one of the first to tend towards an increasing aperture towards hemp.

The first “battles” for the legalization of cannabis go back to 1972, with a first proposal which did not go through, but already in 1975 the sole possession had been decriminalized. One of the milestones of the road towards legalization of cannabis in California, was without a doubt the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, which made medical use legal.

The Compassionate Use Act was the result of a strong popular desire, consequently expressed in balloting during the referendum which permitted the implementation of the law.  From that date, patients are allowed to use, possess and cultivate cannabis – on medical advice – to alleviate various disorders like arthritis, chronic pain, migraine and many others.

From that date, due to the support of the community of  green doctors, physicians supporting the benefits of cannabis in medicine, scientific research on cannabis had the possibility to be increasingly developed.  

Colorado, Washington and cannabis for recreational use

On November 6, 2012 in Colorado and Washington the  Colorado Amendment 64 and the Washington Initiative 502 were respectively approved and they made the two states the first ones in the entire federation to legalize the recreational use of cannabis. Both provisions allow the cultivation of six hemp plants per person as well as sales, regularly taxed.

The result obtained in 2012 is the consequence of a lengthy process, undertaken in the Colorado case in 2000, with the approval of Amendment 20 which allowed the medical use of marijuana for patients in possession of a prescription. Also in this case, the successive years of research provided the scientific evidence and results necessary to all subsequent legislations.

In the past ten years, many other States  permitted the use of hemp at various levels. Today, the majority of the realities that make up the United States of America already allowed medical use of cannabis.

The United States farm bill finally gave a federal order to the matter, resolving legal controversies and conflicts between different (local, national, federal) laws. Through the new farm bill a further expansion of the cannabis market is expected, and, as a consequence, an increase in research initiatives aimed at always guaranteeing the consumer a quality product.