What Are the Differences Between Decriminalization and Legalisation of Cannabis?

Home » Decriminalization Vs. Legalization: What’s The Difference?
Garry Stewart
Written By Allen Harper

April 5, 2023

Differences Between Decriminalization and Legalisation of Cannabis

Many people get confused about the decriminalization and legalization of weed. A lot of them think both legalization and decriminalization are the same, but they are not the same term. If you do not want to get into any legal trouble for marijuana, then it is very important to know both terms.

The legalization of marijuana means the state is allowing the adult and medical use of marijuana within their boundaries. On the other side, decriminalizing marijuana means that people possessing marijuana for personal use is not considered a felony crime.

If a state has decriminalized marijuana and you possess it in that state, you can be charged with a misdemeanor.

Almost 37 USA states have legalized marijuana in the form of a CBD program or medical marijuana program. Let’s get into details and understand the in-depth meaning of decriminalization and legalization.

What is Marijuana Decriminalization?

Decriminalizing marijuana does not mean making marijuana legal. It means possessing a small amount of marijuana is not a serious crime.

Decriminalizing marijuana will not result in felony charges, as marijuana will be completely decriminalized. However, civil penalties or fines may be imposed.

If a state announces that marijuana is decriminalized, individuals may have the opportunity to expunge any prior marijuana-related felonies from their records. Having a felony on one’s record can be a barrier to employment and housing, so decriminalization can help people erase their criminal records and improve their lives.

The state now permits both adult use and recreational use of marijuana as a result of its legalisation. On the other hand, decriminalizing marijuana implies that persons who possess it for personal use are not thought to be committing a felony.

Benefits of Decriminalization of Marijuana

1. Reduction in drug-related arrests

There will be fewer arrests for possession of marijuana, as law enforcement will be able to focus on more serious crimes and reduce the burden on the criminal justice system.

2. Personal freedom is enhanced

Decriminalizing marijuana will give people the freedom they can have marijuana without fear of committing any crime. This will give personal freedom and reduce the social stigma around cannabis.

3. Restrict unwanted felony charges

One can have a clear legal background once the state has decriminalized marijuana. Many people face unwanted felony charges due to some discrimination, and decriminalization can be helpful for such citizens.

What is Marijuana Legalization?

Legalization of marijuana means that a state neither charges you for any felony nor any misdemeanor. It means that marijuana can be consumed legally in the state. A state can legalize marijuana in two ways.

  • Recreational use or adult use
  • Medical use

Medical use of marijuana is consuming marijuana for medical purposes. You can possess marijuana to treat your medical conditions that the state qualified for. Recreational use of marijuana allows adults to use marijuana for recreational purposes.

The legalization of medical and recreational marijuana is not very common in the USA, but medical marijuana is very common.

Benefits of Legalization of Marijuana

1. Medical Benefits

Legalizing cannabis will provide patients with significant benefits, allowing them to access medical marijuana legally without making excessive efforts.

2. Access to High-quality Marijuana

Legalizing cannabis will make sure that the marijuana that people use is properly tested and labeled to protect the health of the consumers. No inaccurate labeling will be done.

3. Tax Benefits

Legalizing and regulating the production, sale, and distribution of marijuana can result in tax benefits.

Benefits of Legalization of Marijuana

States That have Legalized Marijuana for Medical Use

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • New Hampshire
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Dakota
  • Utah
  • West Virginia

States That Have Decriminalized Marijuana

  • Delaware
  • Hawaii
  • Louisiana
  • Minnesota
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • North California
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio

States that have Legalized Marijuana for Recreational Use

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington

State Legalization vs. Federal Laws on Marijuana

Federal laws strictly prohibit the sale or use of marijuana as it falls under the Controlled Substance Act. There is a conflict between state and federal laws whenever a state legalizes marijuana.

Any state that legalizes marijuana can grow, sell, and use it within the state without involving any means of commerce or land of federal law. Even federal banks cannot be used for retail marijuana business.

This conflict between state and federal law continues until a resolution is reached.

Decriminalization or Legalization? Which is More Common in the USA?

  • 37 states in the USA have legalized the medical use of marijuana.
  • 20 states have decriminalized marijuana for recreational purposes.
  • 21 states in the USA have legalized the recreational use of marijuana.

The legalization of only medical marijuana is more common in the USA. There are a lot of hurdles to recreational marijuana, so that can be resolved in the coming years.

Final Take

There are constant changes in the law of marijuana, so stay well informed about your state laws to never get in any legal trouble and charges. You can have a medical marijuana card to stay away from any charges. Contact GreenPot MD for the medical marijuana card in your state or city.

3 steps away to get your medical marijuana card

Our Simple 3 Step Process For Medical Marijuana Card

1. Fill up your details in an easy 420 Evaluations form.

2. Get Evaluated by a Local MMJ doctor After Online Submission.

3. Get Approved and Receive your Recommendation In Your Email.

Looking To Apply For A Medical Marijuana Card?

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