Despite the protestations of policy experts, medical professionals, and dedicated activists around the country, the federal government continues to classify marijuana as a schedule 1 narcotic. The Drug Enforcement Administration defines that particular class of substances as “drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse,” a phrase that quite objectively does not describe marijuana. But despite the federal government’s intransigence, it appears that more and more Americans aren’t taking Reefer Madness as gospel.
All of these states have also decriminalized marijuana and set up medical cannabis programs.
Legalization of weed is happening all over the country. This map shows where.
Marijuana has been minimally studied, so the health and safety ramifications of legalization are not fully known. The data thus far is deeply limited on questions like the public health effect on teenagers.
Marijuana can be purchased from a dispensary with a valid state-issued card in these states. Some of them also allow patients to harvest a limited amount of their own weed for personal medical use.
It feels almost impossible to read the news these days and not see a story about a state legalizing marijuana. At the end of March in 2021, New York State joined the list of states with legal weed, and New Mexico’s legalization laws went into effect less than a month ago. The full impact of these laws will not be immediate — but major changes are on the way.
The first step is to take your time browsing available products. A recreational marijuana dispensary can be staggering at first glance, so take your time to slowly look through all of the products offered. Marijuana products often have information on their labels that give the user more information about the possible effects of use.
This also applies to individuals who are crossing from one state in which recreational marijuana is legal into another state in which it is legal, such as driving from California to Oregon with marijuana on your person. Even though marijuana is legal in both California and Oregon, when you cross state lines you are in the jurisdiction of federal law enforcement and are subject to hefty fines and penalties. We recommend, no matter what, that you should never cross state lines with marijuana.
If you live in a recreationally legal marijuana state or plan to visit one soon, you may be asking a very common question: How do I buy marijuana?
Which Marijuana Product Is Best for Your Needs?
Before you place your order, you’ll need to choose your products from the shop’s menu. This may be found on directory apps for cannabis businesses or sometimes on a shop’s own website. Once your order has been placed, wait times can vary based on time of day, distance from business, etc.
While most new users have a mental image of walking into a cannabis shop when deciding to buy marijuana for the first time, there are actually a few choices in how you get your marijuana, including entering brick and mortar shops, ordering your selections ahead of time for pickup, and having someone deliver your order. Some shops even offer all three options. Other dispensaries may exist only as a delivery service.
Marijuana dispensaries will provide a wide selection of brands and product types to satisfy the needs of their many customers. Here are some of the products you are likely to find in dispensaries. If it is your first time at the dispensary, take the time to browse the products and ask questions until you find something that sounds right for you.
In some markets, it is also possible to order your recreational marijuana products to be delivered to your home. Buying marijuana through delivery is a smart choice if you aren’t able to leave your home, there are no nearby brick and mortar shops, or if you already know what you want and don’t have any questions.
At airports, the TSA is busy maintaining security, not enforcing cannabis possession laws, but if they feel like it, agents do have the freedom to report you to police. This is mostly unheard-of in California, but it’s another good reason not to be a jerk when you’re going through airport security.
You don’t need to know exactly what you want.
If you’re old enough to buy a beer in California, you’re old enough to buy recreational cannabis products. But that doesn’t mean it’s a free-for-all. Here are the rules for buying pot legally.
No driving under the influence, either. That means you shouldn’t partake of the dispensaries’ infused candies and brownies (otherwise known as edibles, which generally require a few hours to take effect and have longer-lasting results for some people) unless you have no intention of going anywhere for a day.
Once you pick what you want, the clerk might relay that information to another staffer, who fills your order in a separate area and gives you the product right before you leave.
Don’t display your purchase or use it in public unless you want to risk a citation—although Californians are a laid-back folk and you will often catch whiffs of people breaking the letter of the law. Some locals might argue that the rules are theoretical and that officers ignore pot use all the time, but the fact is that you can be penalized.
No giving your purchase to minors—minors can’t even accompany you when you buy.