The United States has passed laws legalizing or semi-legalizing Cannabis use across some states. The thing is, smoking tobacco, though legal, is not permitted in public spaces, yet legal overall for smoking. Cannabis, on the other hand, is still considered a Schedule I drug, so federally, it is illegal to be smoking anywhere in public. The states that have partially legalized Cannabis have made medical Cannabis use legal for ages 18 and over, yet recreationally it is illegal to start use until you are 21.
Some states that have legalized Cannabis are still working on legislation to become fully legalized. The States are; Amsterdam in Montgomery County, New York, Washington, Oregon, California, Colorado, Nevada, Alaska, Maine, and Massachusetts.
Amsterdam has plowed the road by legalizing recreational Cannabis use. They have not gone hog-wild by allowing people to use indiscriminately in public spaces and public parks. No, they have licensed locations called Coffee Shops, where you can go in and take a drag on your favorite strain joint. The legal requirements for running a Coffee Shop is:
● Don’t sell alcohol
● Do not sell hard drugs
● The maximum amount of Cannabis per person is 5 grams
● Advertising about services prohibited
● Patrons must be 18 years and older
Amsterdam has allowed for a small number of locations for Coffee shops to operate. Their regulations are strict adherence to owners not to open shops near schools, which has caused a decrease in the amount offered licenses. There were on record 221 in 2012, and now, in 2016, there are 155. The decreased number of Coffee Shops; has not hindered patrons, and the city has seen an increase in tourism, which has increased the cities earnings
The other states that have legalized medical Cannabis use are working assiduously to pattern the blueprint of Amsterdam. Their common laws regarding cannabis use are similar. No smoking in public spaces, on federal lands, no smoking in place of purchase, restaurants, clubs, hotels, bars, and the penalties if caught can be either harsh or not.
The fact is because Cannabis is still a Schedule 1 classification drug, and most jurisdictions have not fully decided what to do with it, then it is illegal. They are learning more about its benefits and the economic realities to have it as an earner for their country. Fear is what is driving the slow responses to pass laws to legalize. What they
don’t realize, should the governments legalize using Cannabis in their states, the Laws to control and ensure people adhere are still in their power.
Granting designated spaces to smoke openly though an option, is also a privilege; that people will have to understand. And some neighbors don’t subscribe or want to be bothered by odors; and or smoke, when you are enjoying a drag.
We can lobby for the use of Cannabis to be legal and some relaxed use in public spaces, but, you must also remember should these laws be passed for your enjoyment of using Cannabis, there is a greater responsibility not to abuse.
Source: 1. https://www.liwts.org/blog/can-smoke-weed-outside-public-usa/