Marijuana Law & Legal Definition


Marijuana is a controlled substance which is illegal to possess, use, or distribute in most states. Under the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970, marijuana was placed in Schedule I, which defines the substance as having a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in the United States, and a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision. State laws vary, but since 1996, ten states have legalized medical marijuana use: AK, AZ, CA, CO, HI, ME, NV, OR, VT and WA. Eight of the ten did so through the initiative process, Hawaii's law was enacted by the legislature and signed by the governor in 2000, and Vermont's was enacted by the legislature and passed into law without the governor's signature in May 2004.

Source: National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), from the web at http://www.norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=3391, last accessed Oct. 9, 2004.

The following is an example of a state law dealing with marijuana:

" "Marijuana" defined

Sec. 19. "Marijuana" means any part of the plant genus Cannabis whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of the plant, including hashish and hash oil; any compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant, its seeds or resin. It does not include the mature stalks of the plant; fiber produced from the stalks; oil or cake made from the seeds of the plant; any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the mature stalks (except the resin extracted therefrom); or the sterilized seed of the plant which is incapable of germination."