As you might know, state laws are effective on a per-state level, whereas federal laws are effective throughout the country, regardless of states and their specific laws.
Therefore, it’s very important to know how both types of laws see medical marijuana. For example, you might buy it in a state where it is legal, take it with you into one where it is not and end up being pulled over and charged for drug possession.
On the other hand, you have to take more than marijuana into account. A Joy Organics CBD salve stick might be legal in most states, but it is not so in all of them, despite CBD is a substance that is widely deemed legal.
Let’s take a closer look at the state laws and federal laws surrounding medical marijuana!
The Legality Of Medical Marijuana
At the moment, around 33 states have laws that deem medical marijuana legal. However, if we take a look at federal laws, they keep marijuana illegal all over the US.
While medical institutions acknowledge the benefits of marijuana/cannabis, the government still claims that it is a drug that will eventually lead to abuse and that it has almost no medical benefits whatsoever.
Last but not least, it is worth mentioning that, usually, laws and regulations don’t outline the difference between medical and simple marijuana. As a result, users of medical marijuana are often violating federal law while doing so. Naturally, they might at the same time be complying with state laws related to using marijuana for medical purposes.
Changes In Federal Law
Naturally, the conflicts between state and federal laws had to be addressed. Why? Because more and more people are starting to use marijuana for medicinal purposes, often in the treatment of cancer, PTSD, anxiety, and so on.
After all, nobody likes seeing someone that is trying to manage an illness being arrested for marijuana possession. As such, 2013 came with a special set of regulations that would better address the differences between marijuana used illegally and marijuana used medicinally.
Therefore, federal law focuses mainly on disrupting marijuana-related operations that imply:
- Funding gangs or criminal organizations.
- Distribution to minors.
- Inter-state movement of marijuana (from legal states to states where the substance is illegal).
- Laundering money.
- Firearms and extreme violence.
- Driving under the substance’s influence.
- Use and/or possession of property that is deemed federal in nature.
In short, if medical purposes apply and none of the above happens, then state laws are in effect – in any other circumstances, however, federal law will step in and take care of the matter.
The Bottom Line
In the end, while federal law is above everything else, it can’t just ignore state law that easily. As you’ve seen, using marijuana for medicinal purposes in the states where it is legal to do so is 100% accepted and federal law doesn’t apply.
Naturally, this refers strictly to medical marijuana used for the medical purposes of a patient. Other types of activities involving said marijuana, among which we have some commonly known ones (trafficking, distribution to minors, funding gangs), are clearly forbidden, despite any state-specific laws.