Public support for marijuana has reached record highs, and the movement to legalize marijuana scored several victories with new state laws enacted on July 1, 2017. On Saturday, Nevada became the fifth state to legalize pot for recreational purposes, joining Washington, Colorado, Alaska and Oregon. Adults, age 21 and older with a valid ID, can now purchase up to an ounce of marijuana or one-eighth of an ounce in marijuana-infused edibles in select dispensaries. Other states have taken steps toward issuing laws that lay the groundwork for medicinal uses of marijuana. Florida became the latest state to legalize marijuana for medical use after voters ratified a constitutional amendment in November. Floridians can use medical marijuana as long as it is either consumed or vaped, not smoked.
Lawmakers have finally implemented rules that help decide how patients can qualify for and receive the drug. Other major provisions to the legislation have set the legal framework for the constitutional amendment. Marijuana products can be sold to Florida residents as edibles, vaping oils, or sprays, and patients may receive an order for three 70-day supplies before having to visit a doctor again to get re-examined. In other states, like South Carolina, marijuana is still illegal for both medicinal and recreational use, but its close relative, hemp, can be grown for industrial and research purposes. The state legislature passed the bill classifying hemp as an agricultural crop in May, but the new permitting process granting access to select farmers is now in place.
In Virginia, new legislation will reduce the penalties for those convicted of a first-time marijuana possession. Those caught in possession of pot can now avoid an automatic six-month driver’s license suspension. Rather than having a suspended license for half a year, a bipartisan bill opts for more community service requirements.
Frank T. Luciano has been defending drug related cases for almost 40 years. If you need his assistance, you can contact him at (973) 471-0004.