North Carolina recently became the first state in the nation to decriminalize the possession of up to 1 oz (roughly 28 grams) of marijuana, but it is still illegal for anyone over the age of 18 to plant, sell, or buy pot in the Tar Heel state. So, how are the new laws working? Not as well as proponents would have liked.

As NC lawmakers gear up to consider a bill that would legalize recreational cannabis, I’ve been looking at where the current law stands, and how that compares to the rest of the country. North Carolina has some of the harshest penalties for selling, growing, or possessing marijuana, including mandatory minimums and a maximum sentence of life in prison.

The state of operations for the legal cannabis industry in North Carolina is in flux: two counties have passed ordinances allowing the sale and use of marijuana , others have approved moratoriums, and the state’s General Assembly is considering a bill that would allow residents of private property to use and grow marijuana on their property. While the General Assembly prepares to tackle the issue, we have compiled a series of maps to provide a geographic view of the state’s legal cannabis landscape.. Read more about nc legalization 2021 update and let us know what you think.

While North Carolina wants to legalize medical marijuana, approaches in neighboring states vary.

The Southeast is late to the marijuana scene. The region is home to several of the 14 states that do not have a comprehensive medical marijuana program or full legalization of marijuana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

About 80 percent of voters favor medical marijuana in North Carolina, according to an Elon University poll, and support is growing in the state’s legislature, where a Senate committee approved a medical marijuana bill Wednesday.

Here’s a look at marijuana laws in other southeastern states.

South Carolina

South Carolina has not legalized marijuana for medical or recreational use.

The bill, known as S. 150, or the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act, passed the Senate Medical Affairs Committee in May by a 9-5 majority, but failed to pass. The bill, of which sponsor Sen. Tom Davis said it would be discussed when the Senate reconvenes in January 2022, reports WBTW News 13, would legalize marijuana for medical purposes.

If passed, the bill would become one of the most conservative marijuana laws in the United States, Davis told WBTW. This will allow marijuana to be used to treat diseases such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, sickle cell anemia and autism.

According to a 2019 Benchmark Research poll, 72 percent of 400 South Carolina voters surveyed favor legalizing medical marijuana, reports The State.

Tennessee

Tennessee is another southern state that does not allow the use of marijuana for medical or recreational purposes.

Several bills that would have allowed the use of medical marijuana were rejected by the legislature this year, including Senate Bill 854, authored by Senator Janice Bowling, which was rejected by the Senate Judiciary Committee in March, WJHL reports.

On 1. In June, a bill was passed that expands exemptions for the use of low-THC cannabis oil in the treatment of patients with epileptic seizures, according to the pro-legalization organization National Organization for Marijuana Law Reform (NORML). THC is the active ingredient in marijuana. Senate Bill 118 also established a commission to study current federal and state marijuana laws and advise lawmakers on future legislation. The report must be submitted to the Legislature by January 2022.

According to a 2018 poll from Middle Tennessee State University, 81 percent of Tennessee voters support legalizing marijuana in some form.

Virginia

Virginia differs from the southern states in that it is one of the few states where marijuana is legal for both medical and recreational use.

The legislation, passed in April, includes a three-year plan to make marijuana fully legal for adults and establish a regulatory framework for the sale of the drug. The bill was originally introduced by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and passed by the General Assembly.

On 1. A new state agency will be created in June to regulate and legalize the possession and home cultivation of marijuana. Adults 21 and older will not be able to buy marijuana until January 2024.

According to a February Christopher Newport University poll, 68 percent of Virginia voters favor legalizing recreational marijuana for adults.

Georgia

According to NCSL, Georgia does not have a comprehensive medical marijuana program, but rather a more limited law that allows products with low THC content.

In Georgia, a new law takes effect Thursday that allows 30 state-licensed retailers to sell oil-based marijuana extracts that contain no more than 5% THC, NORML reported.

The oil extract was legalized in 2015, and nearly 15,000 Georgians have registered under the law to receive the drug.

The 2019 bill, known as the Georgia Hope Act, would create a regulatory commission to oversee the production, manufacture and distribution of oil.

A 2018 poll by 11Alive found that 72 percent of Georgia voters support state-regulated marijuana cultivation to produce cannabis oil, and 55 percent believe recreational use should be legalized.

Alabama

In May, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed a bill allowing the use of medical marijuana for conditions such as autism, panic disorder, depression, Crohn’s disease, Tourette’s syndrome and epilepsy, as reported by WBHM.

Although medical marijuana won’t be available in Alabama until late next year, the state is in the process of setting up a regulatory board.

Alabama’s bill received bipartisan support, which is becoming increasingly common.

In 2014, Governor Robert Bentley signed a law known as Carly’s Law that authorized a $1 million study by the University of Alabama at Birmingham into cannabidiol, or CBD, the oil derived from marijuana. It also gave the university permission to prescribe the drug for debilitating epileptic seizures.

Florida

Florida voters approved medical marijuana in 2016, reports the News-Press.

Florida expanded its medical marijuana license in 2019, allowing patients to purchase up to 2.5 ounces of smokable marijuana every 35 days for a variety of medical conditions. The bill was signed by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis.

In March, the Florida House of Representatives’ subcommittee on occupations and health approved a bill that limits the THC content of marijuana products for smoking to 10%. The bill failed in the Health and Social Services Committee.

According to a poll conducted this year on behalf of Florida For Care, a marijuana advocacy group, 71 percent of voters favor keeping marijuana products legal for patients, and 59 percent of voters favor full legalization of marijuana for adults.

In June, the Florida Supreme Court rejected a proposal to fully legalize marijuana for adults. It was the third time in three months that a court blocked access to the drug, the Miami Herald reported.The District of Columbia and five states have legalized medical marijuana use. Vermont legalized recreational use. Alaska, Oregon, California and Nevada have legalized recreational use or have ballot initiatives on the way. But even with these changes, federal law still prohibits marijuana use in any form.. Read more about federal legalization 2021 and let us know what you think.

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