Marijuana’s reputation in the United States has seen a dramatic shift over the past four to five decades. It has gone from having an intensely negative legal and social stigma including heavy condemnation from the government, to being increasingly accepted by the public and legalized for medicinal use in twenty states (legalized for recreational use in two). Even the current President of the United States openly admitted to inhaling marijuana in his past. Times are truly changing and fast for the controversial plant, which leads many to ask: what is marijuana’s future in the United States?
So far, the states that have legalized marijuana for medicinal use are, in alphabetical order: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington (also District of Columbia). Colorado and Washington are the only states that have also legalized the recreational use of marijuana (quick note for those who don’t already know: medicinal use is for patients whose doctors prescribe and deem marijuana as a sufficient medicine to their ailment(s) while recreational use is allowed for anyone twenty-one years or older). With more states considering medicinal and even recreational legalization, it seems marijuana’s future in America is inching closer and closer to a nationwide legalization, but that is only speculation at this point. Between conservatives (particularly in the South) still opposed to the acceptance and use of marijuana as well as the fact that marijuana is still federally illegal, there is still plenty of red tape to circumvent before aforementioned nationwide legalization could occur.