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The Voter’s Speakeasy featuring unbiased reporting and insight into life at Project Vote Smart from our staff, interns, and volunteers.

Marijuana, States and Presidential Nominees

2016 July 20

Marijuana, States and Presidential Nominees


The legislative year of 2016 has seen a multitude of bills passed that authorizes the use of marijuana in many states. Marijuana is classed as a Schedule I drug by the US Drug Enforcement Administration. Schedule 1 drugs are defined as one of the “most dangerous drugs of all the drug schedules with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence.” They also have “no currently accepted medical use.”


However, the trend towards legalization either for recreational or medical purposes in individual states shows a change in stance amongst some legislators nationwide.


Legislation authorizing marijuana use varies from state to state. For example, Maryland passed SB 517 this year, which authorizes an individual to use or possess marijuana paraphernalia. After passing the Senate and the House, the legislation was vetoed by Governor Larry Hogan, Jr.  


Nonetheless, the Senate voted 29-17 to override the governor’s veto and pass the legislation. Whilst marijuana paraphernalia has now been authorized in Maryland, the path to passage shows there was conflict between legislators over its authorization.


Other states, such as New Mexico, also introduced legislation this year regarding marijuana. SJR 5, introduced in January, would have authorized an individual who is at least 21 years old to use marijuana, effective in January 2018.  However, the bill failed in the Senate with a vote of 17-24. The narrow margin in this vote shows how marijuana is again dividing legislators.


A multitude of states went forth in 2016 to pass bills that specifically authorize the use of ...

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