How “Legalization” Means Something Different In Just About Every State



Marijuana laws are changing more rapidly than ever as individual states navigate their paths towards (or away from) legalization. Thirty-eight states have legalized marijuana to some degree, which is a heap more than just a few years ago. While this may be great news for cannabis activists and enthusiasts, “legalization” means something different to some degree in just about every state.



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With marijuana legalization occurring on a state level rather than a federal level, there is room for all sorts of variations in cannabis law. While many laws make sense for each particular state, some jump out as a little bizarre. Some laws are just flat out strange. Here is a list of 8 crazy marijuana laws you can’t help but laugh at, even though they are very much real.

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1. Michigan Uses An Outdated Marijuana Spelling

When the state of Michigan legalized marijuana, they took a historical (and very outdated) approach. The state refers to marijuana as “marihuana,” which is a term both old and, as we have previously reported, problematic. The reasoning is rooted in Michigan history, according to michigan.gov. “Michigan’s history primarily starts from the spelling that was chosen for the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937.”

2. D.C. Embraces The Gift Of Giving

In Washington D.C., recreational marijuana is legal, but the operation of a marijuana dispensary is illegal. Several years ago, entrepreneurs found crafty ways of selling weed at speakeasy style retail stores. From clothing sales with weed attached to gym memberships that come with marijuana in their workout programs, more and more storefronts have popped up. The fascinating part is these are not just makeshift shops. There are all sorts of “not quite dispensaries” all over D.C. with permanent storefronts that do not hide what they sell. This all makes it clear that The District is in on the joke and the loophole in the law, and doesn’t seem much to mind.

3. No Dispensary Merch In Massachusetts

If you are looking for a hat, t-shirt or even sticker with your favorite dispensary logo on it, you will be left empty handed in Massachusetts. Dispensaries cannot advertise their cannabis products on clothing, cups, drink holders, novelty items or anything else you can think of, according to the Cannabis Control Commission of Massachusetts. They are, however, allowed to sell marijuana in many forms, so there is still plenty of shopping to be done.

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4. Maine Charges You A Meal Tax On Edibles, Bon Appetit!

In Maine, the rate of marijuana taxation varies based on how you consume it. “Medical Marijuana 5.5 percent general sales tax rate at retail. Edibles at 8 percent rate,” according to maine.gov. Edibles are taxed at a higher rate because Maine subjects them to a meal tax. Who knew gummy bears counted as lunch?

5. Don’t Deliver Weed Using Planes, Trains Or Boats In California

California may have been one of the pioneers in marijuana legalization, but they are very particular about how they want it transported. According to California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control, “Transportation by means of aircraft, watercraft, drone, rail, human powered vehicle, and unmanned vehicle is prohibited.” In other words,don’t reinvent the wheel, just use a automobile

6. Can’t Smell Weed In California or Washington

Many find the act of smelling the marijuana buds one of the more fun experiences at a dispensary. It likens the experience to visiting a winery, as you learn the notes of each bud from the budtender. Unfortunately, you will have to stick to wineries for that experience in California and Washington, as all products must be sealed and individually wrapped. No scratch and sniff available.

7. Nevada Is A Stickler For Fonts

Nevada might be the city of sin, but perhaps the greatest sin is making a font faux pas. Nevada not only has particular rules about font size, but also the font itself. While the state does allow both serif and sans serif fonts on labels, you cannot use italics. Any other graphic or “fun” fonts are absolutely out of the question.

8. Looking For Weed In Delaware? Find A Phone Book

Delaware is another state that makes finding marijuana a bit more like a treasure hunt than normal. Delaware does not allow any medical marijuana advertising by normal print, broadcast, in-person solicitation or other means. Instead, if you are looking for marijuana dispensaries you might have to dust off a phone book. Delaware marijuana codes outlaw all sorts of advertising methods, but explicitly allow phone book advertising.



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