/Marijuana legalization extends across country

Marijuana legalization extends across country

Lawmakers have legalized the use of recreational marijuana in Alaska and the District of Columbia (D.C.) According to Pew Research, the bill passed ballot measures in the 2014 elections and came into effect for Alaska Feb. 24 followed by D.C. on Feb. 26.
According to NPR, Alaska was the third state, and D.C. the first district, to legalize recreational marijuana use in the U.S. The states preceding them were Colorado and Washington in 2012, followed by Oregon in 2014. Oregon’s law will take effect in July.
“While marijuana is legal in three states, it’s actually been legalized in four,” reported NPR blogger and producer, Bill Chapell. In July, an initiative similar to Alaska’s will take effect in Oregon. The legal states are similar in restrictive laws but vary when it comes to retail of marijuana. In Alaska and D.C., selling marijuana, both licensed and otherwise, is prohibited. However, in Colorado and Washington state, it is allowed.
Nearly two thirds of D.C. voters in November passed Initiative 71, or the “Legalization of Possession of Minimal Amounts of Marijuana For Personal Use Act of 2014,” according to dcmj.org, a supporter of marijuana legalization. Under this, adults aged 21 and over are allowed to possess up to two ounces of marijuana and use it on private property.
The bill also allows adults to give up to one ounce to another person but restricts exchanging money, goods or services for it, according to USA Today. Legislation further allows residents to cultivate up to six plants in their primary home with no more than three being mature plants.
In December, Congress passed legislation that aimed to block Initiative 71 in D.C. by banning the use of appropriated funds to “enact any law, rule or regulation to legalize” marijuana, reported USA Today.
Similarly, Alaskan residents ages 21 and older can legally use marijuana. Limits include having no more than one ounce of marijuana on them and no more than four ounces can be harvested in their home. Marijuana consumption in public and driving while high are illegal in both Alaska and D.C., according to CNN and NBC Washington.
Republican backlash occurred after the law went into effect.
Congressional Republicans called for investigations and hearings against D.C.
Republican representative for Utah, Jason Chaffetz, opposed pro-legalization laws. Chaffetz was reported by The Washington Post saying, “very serious consequences” would come to D.C. Mayor, Muriel Bowser, if she continued with her plan to implement marijuana legalization. “You can go to prison for this,” The Post quoted Chaffetz saying.
Despite that, Bowser still allowed D.C.’s marijuana legalization to take effect, reported USA Today. “We are acting lawfully,” Bowser told reporters.
According to Pew Research, 54 percent of Americans said legalization of marijuana would lead to more underage use. However, another poll showed that a majority believe that alcohol is more dangerous to society and personal health than marijuana.
According to Huffington Post, Arizona, California, Massachusetts, Montana and Nevada are looking to obtain a pro-marijuana legalization measure on the upcoming 2016 ballots.

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