Marijuana Legalization

Current Events, Government Documents, National Survey of State Laws, Navigating
Bonnie Hein

This past November, the controversial topic of the legalization of Marijuana was on the ballot in nine states. Arkansas, Florida, Montana, and North Dakota voters decided on medical marijuana initiatives, while voters in Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada decided on recreational marijuana.

Adults 21 years and older in California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada can now consume marijuana for recreational purposes.  Arkansas, Florida, Montana, and North Dakota have all approved marijuana for medical use. Overall, cannabis usage was approved in 8 out of the 9 states in which it was up for a vote, with only Arizona rejecting the recreational usage.

Find more in HeinOnline’s National Survey of State Laws

The recently released Winter 2017 update of the National Survey of State Laws database includes several important updates, some of which come as the result of the November 2016 election. With this new release, there are two new chapters (Child Support Guidelines and Bullying), one that has been slightly re-worked (Gun Control), and four that have been updated, including Marijuana Laws.

The current edition and all prior editions are available in HeinOnline’s fully searchable, image-based PDF format. Users have the ability to not only search the entire full text, but also browse by category or topic:

Select Marijuana laws to view a state-by-state comparison chart which includes the code section and other relevant information pertaining to the laws of each state. Select California, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Arkansas, Florida, Montana and North Dakota and click show only checked states:

Easily view a brief overview of each state’s laws. For more information, click the “show more” links to expand text. Click View Previous to see how the law has changed between the current and two previous editions:

For more tips on using the National Survey of State Laws database, review the quick reference guide or check out this brief video!

Research Marijuana Laws in HeinOnline

Marijuana usage and laws continue to be debated. Last week, the governors of Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington addressed a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin asking the Trump administration to communicate with the states “before embarking on any changes to regulatory or enforcement systems.”

Jeff Sessions has been a critic of marijuana use and has indicated the Department of Justice will begin to crack down on state-level legalization. The governors cited the 2013 U.S. Department of Justice memo with the subject “Guidance Regarding Marijuana Enforcement,” which allowed states to determine marijuana laws without federal intervention.

Search the full text across all HeinOnline subscribed databases for “Jeff Sessions marijuana”~100. Note the use of a tilde symbol after the phrase Jeff Sessions marijuana to search for words within a particular proximity of each other—in this case, within 100 words of one another:

Note the search terms in the results list are highlighted in yellow to provide a brief overview of the content. Use the facets on the left side of the screen to further narrow search results to include only those in the Law Journal Library:

On March 30, 2017 Senator Wyden and Representative Blumenaur from Oregon introduced a legislative package known as the Path to Marijuana Reform which includes 3 separate bills to remove marijuana (tetrahydrocannabinols) from the Controlled Substance Act’s list of most dangerous drugs 21 U.S.C. 812 and set up a federal framework to regulate its legalization.

Click here to view Senator Wyden’s introduction in  HeinOnline’s U.S. Congressional Record Daily Edition.

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