Commencing in 1996, 20 states and Washington, D.C., with Maryland being the most recent, have passed and enacted legislation allowing the consumption of marijuana only for a variety of medicinal purposes. Though there are state laws in place that allow for such use, using marijuana is still a federal offense. According to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, many of the state medical marijuana laws “originated in order to create a legal defense to state criminal possession laws or to remove state criminal penalties for purported medical use of marijuana.” Since the passing of state laws surrounding medical marijuana use, authorization for state-based production and distribution of marijuana for medical purposes has increased tremendously as well.
Aside from state allowed medical uses for marijuana, states such as Colorado and Washington State passed initiatives legalizing recreational marijuana use for adults 21 years of age and older in 2012. This legalization of recreational use of marijuana has drawn both criticism and praise from lawmakers and citizens alike. Just recently, Attorney General Eric Holder expressed his “cautious optimism” surrounding the legalization efforts in Colorado and Washington, while others, such as Congress, continue to stress that they have determined marijuana to be “a dangerous drug”. As the Department of Justice is committed to enforcing the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) consistent with the findings of Congress, it is important that you are aware of not only your state laws when it comes to medicinal and recreational use of marijuana, but also those laws, rules, regulations and policies of your employer, even if recreational use is legal in your state.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
As state laws vary vastly in the determination of legal and illegal use of marijuana, they all consider several factors when debating whether or not to legalize its use. These factors include safety, efficacy and legality of current and potential laws that have been proposed. In states where recreational and/or medical use is allowed, zones and enforcement ordinances are being created and taken into effect to prevent marijuana dispensaries from operating in their communities. Additionally, there are strict registration rules for patients to receive the benefits of medical marijuana in an effort to protect against illegal consumption and distribution. Regulation of marijuana for medical use may also exist and be enforced at the county and city levels as well.
On the federal level, the White House Administration “steadfastly opposes legalization of marijuana and other drugs because legalization would increase the availability and use of illicit drugs, and pose significant health and safety risks to all Americans, particularly young people.”
HOW DOES THIS AFFECT YOU?
It is illegal to consume or distribute marijuana on a federal level. If you reside in one of the 20 states or Washington, D.C. which allows consumption for medical purposes, you may legally consume marijuana if you are registered as a patient pursuant to your state laws. If you live in Colorado and Washington State, you may consume marijuana legally either for medical purposes and/or recreational purposes. There are even mobile apps available, such as Weedmaps which assists in locating legal dispensaries of marijuana.
Again, as illegal consumption and distribution is still a crime on the federal level and in most states, it would behoove you to not partake if your intent is to not break the law.
For more information on the state laws surrounding legal and illegal use of marijuana, please visit The National Conference of State Legislatures website.
Check Out This Gallery Of Our Fave Lady Smokers!
1. Stiletto Stoners
Smoking marijuana is the favorite past time of many people, including some of our favorite celebs. Of course we all know Rihanna loves the ganja, but who knew that Oprah, Maya Angelou and Martha Stewart did too?! Check out this gallery of admitted female pot smokers. Puff-Puff-Pass anyone?
2. Maya Angelou
Who knew?! In one of Maya Angelou's many biographies, it was said that “Angelou settled into a job as a waitress and began smoking marijuana with abandon.”
Even though Oprah hasn't admitted to smoking weed since 1982...she still admitted it! On "Watch What Happens Live," after Oprah said she hadn't, Andy then suggested they hang out after the show, hinting at updating her weed-smoking. And she laughed and said, "I hear it's gotten better."
4. Paris Hilton
This Hollywood socialite knows that she is constantly in the spotlight and has no issue puffing away with the cameras snapping. Hilton was once photographed driving her red $200K Ferrari with a joint between her lips. #ThugLife
5. Kirsten Dunst
"I have a different outlook on marijuana than America does. If everyone smoked weed, the world would be a better place."
Madonna admitted her pot-smoking ways because of a Letter appearance. "It [my behavior on the show in 1994] wasn't because I was excited about you [David Letterman]. I think it may have had something to do with the joint I smoked before I came on."
7. Cameron Diaz
"I'm pretty sure I bought weed from [Snoop Dogg]," Cameron Diaz said of her high times in high school growing up in Long Beach, Calif. "I had to have!"
8. Sarah Palin
"I can't claim a Bill Clinton and say that I never inhaled,” she told the Anchorage Daily News in 2006.
9. Miley Cyrus
"I think weed is the best drug on earth. One time I smoked a joint with peyote in it, and I saw a wolf howling at the moon. Hollywood is a coke town, but weed is so much better. And molly, too."
Martha admitted to Andy Cohen on "Watch What Happens Live," "Of course I know how to roll a joint."
"I swear I'm not high..." Solange laughed on her tune, "Cosmic Journey." Solange gave a shout-out to the stoners in the audience during her performance at the Pitchfork Music Festival this summer, “I smell a little bit of herb out there. If you have any, now is the perfect time to light it!” In 2008, she released an ode to Mary Jane called "Champagne Chronic Nightcap."
12. Amanda Bynes
From getting kicked out of Planet Fitness in Harlem, NYC for smoking weed to allegedly throwing a bong out of a Manhattan high-rise, Amanda is one of the least mellow smokers we know!
13. Lady Gaga
On 60 minutes, Gaga admitted, "I smoke a lot of pot when I write music."
Everyone knows about Rihanna's favorite vice. From spending time with the world's biggest pothead star, Snoop, to constantly posting photos of herself in various levels of inebriation, Rihanna has no shame when it comes to her favorite pastime.
15. Whoopi Goldberg
Remember that time on "The View" when Whoopi was "jetlagged"? If not, watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4mZrpf_bU8 And then there was the time she won an Oscar and smoked up before the speech: http://tmz.me/1eVFO8P Clearly our girl loves a good puff or two, but she admits she'd never "take the chance" to do it before taping "The View."
Rashida Maples, Esq. is Founder and Managing Partner of J. Maples & Associates (www.jmaplesandassociates.com). She has practiced Entertainment, Real Estate and Small Business Law for 9 years, handling both transactional and litigation matters. Her clients include R&B Artists Bilal and Olivia, NFL Superstar Ray Lewis, Fashion Powerhouse Harlem’s Fashion Row and Hirschfeld Properties, LLC.