Home » The Legality of Medical Marijuana: State and Federal Laws Explained

The Legality of Medical Marijuana: State and Federal Laws Explained

Surely those who have already used marijuana in their lives will not ask questions about legality. However, if you are a newbie, you should study this article, which we prepared especially for you. The legality of medical marijuana is complicated. In addition, it is constantly changing as the laws regarding this substance are constantly evolving.

When it comes to the legality of medical marijuana, there are two main governing bodies:

  1. State government
  2. Federal government

There are also other agencies that have the power to decide what you can use medical marijuana for. Here’s the list of these entities and how they interact with each other when it comes to medical marijuana.

State Laws

Legality of Medical Marijuana - State Laws

When it comes to the regulation of marijuana, there is often confusion and inconsistency between state and federal laws, as well as between different states themselves. This can make it challenging for individuals and businesses to navigate the legal landscape and ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

Colorado and New York provide a good example of the variation in state laws related to marijuana. While Colorado has legalized recreational use and sale of cannabis products to individuals over the age of 21, New York only decriminalizes possession of small amounts of marijuana, and does not allow sale or distribution. This creates a complex regulatory environment that can be difficult for both consumers and businesses to navigate.

The differences in state laws related to marijuana are not limited to Colorado and New York. In fact, there is significant variation in laws from state to state, and even within states themselves.

For example, California allows both medical and recreational use of marijuana, while Nevada only allows medical use. Meanwhile, Maine has no restrictions on either use, but does have restrictions on growing your own plants at home.

This variation in state laws highlights the need for clear and consistent regulation at the federal level. While the federal government has yet to fully legalize marijuana, it has the ability to provide guidelines and regulations that can help ensure consistency across states.

Until then, individuals and businesses will need to navigate the complex and often confusing regulatory environment on their own, and ensure they are in compliance with the laws of their state.

Federal Laws

Legality of Medical Marijuana - Federal Laws

Marijuana remains a Schedule I drug under federal law, which means that any use of it is considered a federal crime. The federal government views this plant as having a high potential for abuse and no currently recognized medical use for treatment in the United States. As such, it is subject to strict regulation by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).

The CSA classifies drugs into five different schedules, with Schedule I being the most restrictive. Schedule I drugs are defined as having a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision. Other drugs in this category include heroin, LSD, and ecstasy.

The classification of marijuana as a Schedule I drug has significant implications for research into its potential medical uses. The DEA enforces this classification through supply chain controls for research into new uses of medical marijuana, making it difficult for scientists to conduct research into its therapeutic potential.

Additionally, the CSA regulates how much THC (the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis) is allowed in each prescription drug containing cannabinoids, which further restricts research and development of potential treatments.

Despite its federal status, more and more states have legalized the medical and/or recreational use of marijuana in recent years. This has created a complex legal landscape, with individuals and businesses navigating differing state laws and federal regulations.

The federal government has yet to fully legalize marijuana, leaving states to determine their own laws and regulations. However, there have been recent efforts to change the federal classification of marijuana to allow for more research and medical use.

Implications for Patients

Implications for Patients - Legality of Medical Marijuana

The legality of medical marijuana has significant consequences for patients who rely on it for treating their medical conditions. Even in states where medical marijuana is legal, patients may face legal and employment consequences if they travel to states where it is illegal. This can create challenges for patients who need to travel for work, medical appointments, or other reasons.

Moreover, patients who use medical marijuana may face discrimination from employers, landlords, and other organizations. Despite the legality of medical marijuana in some states, it is still not legal under federal law. This can lead to individuals being denied employment or housing because of their use of medical marijuana, even if it is legal in their state.

The legal status of medical marijuana also affects research into its potential medical use. Because marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I drug under federal law, research into its medical use is restricted. This can hinder scientific progress and prevent patients from accessing potentially life-saving treatments.

Furthermore, the lack of federal regulation and standardization of medical marijuana can also create challenges for patients in terms of product quality and dosage. Patients may have difficulty finding reliable sources for their medication, and may not have access to accurate information about dosing and potential side effects.

In summary, the legality of medical marijuana has significant consequences for patients, including legal and employment consequences, discrimination, and restricted access to research and medication. Addressing these issues requires a coordinated effort at both the state and federal level to create clear and consistent regulations and guidelines for medical marijuana use.


The legality of medical marijuana is always a complex issue. As state and federal laws are often conflicting, it is more obvious. Federal law still prohibits all forms of cannabis use and possession, including CBD oil and cannabis-derived CBD products.

As of 2019, 33 states have laws permitting the medical use of marijuana. To see what you could buy, see this site. Different states have different restrictions, allowable products, and medical conditions that make you eligible for treatment.