In recent years, there have been many changes to the legislation around medical marijuana. A substance that was once classified federally as a Schedule I in the Controlled Substances Act is now, in many places, considered a breakthrough medical treatment for a variety of conditions, including chronic pain; nausea and vomiting, often associated with chemotherapy treatments; and tight or stiff muscles often found in people with Multiple Sclerosis.
In 2020 alone, the increase in legalization of medical marijuana gave people access to the treatment as long as they have a condition that is certified to be managed with its use. In 2021, more changes are likely to occur in regards to the laws and regulations surrounding the use of MMJ. Read on for all you need to know about medical marijuana in 2021.
How Many States Legalized Marijuana In 2020?
As of late 2020, medical marijuana was completely legal in 38 states. The states that have approved the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes include:
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Out of those 38 states, two legalized the use of medical marijuana for the first time in 2020: Virginia and South Dakota. South Dakota voted to pass bills on both recreational use and medicinal use of marijuana, making it the first state to vote on both at the same time.
With new legislations coming into effect for these aforementioned states, many people can now gain access to an MMJ card to help treat their specific qualifying condition. However, these states were a little late to the party, and some other states remain apprehensive about the legalization of medical marijuana.
Which States Will Legalize Marijuana In 2021?
The current momentum the legalization of medical marijuana has sustained could lead to further legislation being passed in states that have failed to act so far. This could be difficult for many states, though, because they already tried to no avail during the 2020 ballot, meaning they may have to wait until 2022 to make their push.
Idaho, for example, was delayed in making medical marijuana legal due to COVID-related complications. Some activists have already filed a petition to bring the issue in front of voters in 2022. Nebraska is also on the list for potential legalization, as a petition to get medical marijuana on the 2022 ballot has already commenced.
One state is a hopeful solo contender when it comes to the legalization of medical marijuana in 2021, and that’s South Carolina. There will be certain restrictions put in place, such as how the marijuana is consumed, but Senator Tom Davis thinks that 2021 may just be the year the bill passes.
2021 Medical Marijuana Laws
When taking a look at new laws that may be put into effect, it’s important to consider that all states can pass their own laws and legislations surrounding the use of marijuana as medicine. Each individual state controls what can and can’t be done.
With the growing list of states that have approved marijuana for medicinal use, certain issues may come into effect. For example, if a person has an MMJ card in one of the approved states, can they purchase products in another state with the legal sale of medical marijuana using that same card? This depends. Some states will allow out-of-state visitors to use their MMJ cards, while others will not.
The same rules and regulations in place now – such as methods of ingestion, how much MMJ can be purchased at a time, and the list of qualifying conditions – will likely vary from state to state, so it can be hard to get a snapshot of the country as a whole since it’s operating so individualistically.
Federal Legalization 2021
The federal legalization of medical marijuana would change the country forever when it comes to treatment and care options for those suffering from a qualifying condition. There has been quite the shift that could lead to federal legalization as early as next year, and it has a lot to do with who has control over the U.S. Senate. If the ongoing battle of power leans towards to Democrats come January’s decision, it will likely mean that legalization bills will pass through both the Senate and the House with ease.
This could bring widespread changes if laws are regulated at a federal level. For example, the United States is part of several international treaties that prohibit the legalization of marijuana. Since it continues to be illegal at a federal level, the country is not in violation of any of those treaties. Although Canada has been able to legalize federally without any backlash, the United States may not face the same fate.
It can be hard to determine what will happen with medical marijuana in 2021, but many states are making moves towards to full legalization. With the majority of the country dipping its toes in the waters of legalized marijuana, whether medicinal or recreational, it’s safe to assume that MMJ will continue to make waves throughout the United States as 2021 progresses.
Featured image by Moritz Knöringer on Unsplash