From Prohibition to Decriminalization to Legalization of Marijuana

Today, most countries, the United States Federal Government and most States, including Maryland, strictly enforce the prohibition on Marijuana.  However, attitudes have been changing toward Marijuana use and a cultural awakening is occurring where the costs of the failed Drug War now outweigh the alleged dangers of legalization.  Every year, the States and Federal Government spend approximately $13.7 Billion on the enforcement of prohibition of Marijuana.  Some states, like Oregon and Washington have, through citizen initiatives, legalized and taxed the use, sale and distribution of Marijuana for recreational purposes.  Other States like, California, Oregon, Nevada, New Mexico, Montana, Nebraska Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts and Maine have either decriminalized possession of Marijuana and/or approved medical Marijuana statutes. The number of States supporting the legalization of marijuana will most likely grow.

Although the Federal prohibition of Marijuana laws is applied throughout all the states, confusion about the legality of Marijuana in the United States often occurs due to States liberalizing marijuana laws.  This is most frequently seen when individuals from a state that has decriminalized or legalized marijuana move to another state and are confronted by law enforcement in a state with strict laws against Marijuana.  For instance, a person in Nebraska in 2013 that possess less than an ounce of Marijuana will be given a citation and a small fine by local police.  While, that same person in would be facing 1 year incarceration and a fine up to $2,000 in South Dakota.  Meanwhile, in Colorado the local police would take no action against that same person. The country is trending toward legalization of marijuana.

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