Legalizing Marijuana for Recreational Use

In the November 6th General Election, citizens in Colorado and Washington voted for the legalization of marijuana for recreational use for adults aged 21 and older; and the people of Massachusetts and Montana voted in favor marijuana usage for medical purposes.  The states will be required to set up controlled means by which to produce, tax and manage the sale of marijuana.   However, federal laws regarding possession, manufacturing and distribution of marijuana have not changed and marijuana remains a drug listed in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act in the United States.  Therefore, it is expected that there will be federal push back and a long road of legal proceedings before the “product” will be on shelves.  

It is important to note that the Department of Transportation does not recognize marijuana as a legal substance. The Department of Transportation’s Drug and Alcohol Testing Regulation – 49 CFR Part 40, at 40.151(e) – does not authorize “medical marijuana” under a state law to be a valid medical explanation for a transportation employee’s positive drug test result.


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