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The legalization of both recreational and medical marijuana remains a hotly-debated topic, especially in the United States. While numerous state governments have enacted laws legalizing cannabis in some form, the U.S. federal government still considers the plant illegal.

With more than 100 million Americans using cannabis, the plant is currently the third most popular drug behind alcohol and tobacco. With marijuana becoming more socially acceptable, the movement to legalize it nationally continues to grow.

Medical cannabis

Using marijuana as medicine is currently legal in 29 states. Proponents believe the plant can alleviate several the symptoms of various medical conditions, including glaucoma, chronic pain, and epilepsy.

However, people against medical marijuana use say the plant is dangerous and addictive. They fear the negative health effects and societal consequences outweigh any potential benefits.

The federal government has proclaimed the plant has “no accepted medical use.” Therefore, it remains an illegal Schedule I drug alongside others like heroin and ecstasy. That is why no doctors in the country can legally prescribe marijuana, it can only be “recommended.”

Recreational marijuana

Presently, eight states and the District of Columbia have authorized the use of recreational marijuana. While there are obvious restrictions, these states regulate sales of the plant much like alcohol and tobacco and allow citizens to use marijuana for the sole purpose of getting “high.”

Most states require a person to be at least 21-years-old to buy cannabis and must be purchased by a state-approved dispensary. They also place limitations on the amount a customer can possess, typically two ounces or less.

As of 2016, nearly $2 billion was spent on legal recreational marijuana nationwide, with no signs of slowing. The weed industry as a whole, including both medical and recreational, is expected to reach over $24 billion in sales in less than 10 years.

Continued cannabis updates

As the debate for state and national legalization of marijuana continues to burn, Blasting News is dedicated to following the latest news and developments. Check back often to find out what is happening with cannabis legislation in the U.S. and other countries, medical marijuana updates, and the newest information about the legal use of recreational weed.

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RT@tomangell: This is only the second time that a congressional committee has approved a standalone marijuana reform bill.

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