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Medical marijauna is now legal, in some form, in 22 states and the District of Columbia. States with legal medical marijuana schemes include: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.
Utah recently passed a bill legalizing medicinal marijuana products with low levels of THC for patients with epilepsy or seizures only.
Which states are currently considering legalizing medical marijuana?
Florida residents will vote on Amendment 2, which would legalize medical marijuana, this fall.
Activists are still gathering signatures to get medical marijuana initiatives placed on the November 2014 ballots in Nebraska and Ohio.
A Tennessee measure to legalize medical marijuana, introduced in January, failed to pass a committee vote in March, though Gov. Bill Haslam did sign a very limited medical marijuana bill into law in May, allowing for a four-year study on the benefits of non-psychoactive cannabis component cannabidiol.
For the fourth year in a row, a West Virginia medical marijuana bill failed to go anywhere before the legislature adjourned in March.
In which states has marijuana been decriminalized?
In addition to the states that have legalized recreational marijuana use, 17 states have "decriminalized" it to some degree, according to the National Association for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). These states are: Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
Decriminalization doesn't mean cops totally stop busting people for pot, but it does move the penalties for small amounts closer in line with those for public intoxication or parking infractions, instead of making it a crime legally akin to assault and murder. NORML says that, typically, "decriminalization means no prison time or criminal record for first-time possession of a small amount for personal consumption."
In California, for instance, possession of 28.5 grams or less is considered a civil infraction, punishable with a maximum fine of $100. In New York, possessing 25 grams of marijuana or less can yield a $100 to $250 fine, depending on whether it's a first, second, or third offense. In Mississippi, possessing 30 grams or less yields a fine of $250 on the first offense, but possible jail time (and a fine) for subsequent offenses.
The D.C. Council passed a decriminalization bill in March that would make possessing a small amount of marijuana a civil offense punishable by a $25 fine. But the bill is still awaiting congressional approval, which doesn't look promising.