*Note: This Map does not include Vermont which in early 2018 was the first state to legalize adult use via legislation and not a public ballot initiative.
Welcome back to our analysis of whether or not Cannabis is legal. In this post, we will discuss Adult-Use: what it means, who can get it and can you take it home with you if you aren’t a resident of an adult use state. Adult Use is the official term for cannabis that is subject to use for recreational purposes and does not require a person to have a medical recommendation from a physician. In all adult-use states, you must be at least 21 years of age to obtain, use and possess cannabis for recreational purposes. Adult use is currently allowed in nine states and the District of Columbia. Colorado was the first state to approve this type of use and since the passage of Colorado’s law, the industry has created thousands of jobs, caused a sharp rise in property values and generated millions of dollars in tax revenue for the state. Colorado has long been a thought leader in terms of cannabis legalization, first decriminalizing its possession in 1975, permitting medical cannabis usage in 2000, and, finally being the first state to allow for recreational sales in 2012. If you are not a resident of the state of Colorado or another state in which adult use is legal, you may purchase and use cannabis within state borders. Moving any cannabis product across state lines will trigger Federal law and is therefore illegal.
Although recreational cannabis is permissible currently in the District of Columbia, Vermont, and Massachusetts, you can not purchase any product. Both Vermont and Massachusetts are drafting regulations to provide for the sales of recreational cannabis and that regulation drafting takes time. In the District of Columbia, Federal intervention has prevented the DC Department of Health from expending any monies to create a regulatory scheme that would oversee the sale of recreational cannabis. Instead, there exists a vast grey market where people grow their own cannabis and “gift” it to associates, often along with some “charitable donation” or the purchase of a T-Shirt, Juice, or other items. So again, always ask: “What state am I in?”; “Am I over the age of 21?”; and, “Will I be consuming all of the product within the confines of the State”.
Stay tuned for my next analysis, Medical Use and Limited-Medical Use to further a wrench into the question of the legality of cannabis.
by Leah M Heise, Esq.