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In Focus

"See more clearly when you are informed"

Marijuana & The Law

The emergent world of legal cannabis has come with a slew of questions. How do these state laws work when marijuana remains illegal on the federal level? What’s the difference between legalization and decriminalization? What is THC, CBD, or even Hemp? Below you will find key terms, statistics, and other useful tools to understand and talk about Marijuana & The Law. If you would like to know more, consider coming to an IYC event. Our next one can be found below in the section labeled Our Events. We host them virtually, on a wide range of topics, discussing policy, civics, and current events.  

Key Terms You Should Know


Marijuana; other terms are weed, pot, grass, skunk, ganja, maryjane, and reefer.


Results in those who have marijuana charges no longer being considered criminals, and one's criminal record being absolved of any marijuana charges. This does not equate to legality.

Cannabis Components:

Hemp (plant; specifically grown for industrial usage), THC (psychedelic; causes a "high"), CBD (primarily medicinal).


A state decision allowing the use of marijuana for recreational, medical, research, entrepreneurial, financial, and investment purposes. Federally, marijuana is still considered a Schedule 1 Drug.

'Gateway Drug':

The mythical narrative that marijuana use would lead to further drug use, demoralization, criminality, and addiction.

Man weighing marijuana on a scale

Moments In History

1936 - Reefer Madness, a film based on the fear of interracial marriages, propogandizes marijuana use.

1960s - Marijuana decriminaliza-tion movement results in 11 U.S. states taking measures.

2012 - Colorado becomes the first state to legalize recreational marijuana.

1937 - Marihuana Tax Act is passed, prohibiting marijuana use.

1996 - California becomes the first state to legalize medical marijuana.


8.25 million Americans with marijuana charges, with 40,000 Americans in prison.

48.2 million Americans have reported that they use marijuana. Marijuana use is equal among races, ethnicities, and income brackets.

59% of Americans support legalization for recreational use, while 30% support medical use only.

Four African Americans are arrested for violating marijuana possession laws at nearly four times the rates of whites, yet both ethnicities consume marijuana at roughly the same rates.

19 states have fully legalized marijuana; 4 states maintain full illegalization of marijuana; 27 states have a combination of decriminalization and medical use legislation.


Pot Culture

Economic Benefits

Marijuana leaf infront of sunset

Racial Justice

Recreational Use

Medicinal Use

Notable Names

Anthony Bourdain.jfif
Sylvia Plath.jfif
Steve Burns Blues Clues.jfif

Charlotte Figi

John Boehner

Charles Lynch

Patrick Kennedy

Snoop Dogg


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Our Events



Further Resources

Marijuana & The Law Infographic

Share what you have learned about Marijuana & The Law. Our Infographic has been designed to be shared easily by printing, emailing, or posting on social media. Click on the image to view or download the PDF File. (Not for commercial use.)

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Popcorn & Chat Event Video

Our film event was insightful and fun! After watching It's Kind Of A Funny Story together, we discussed the film and what we learned about suicide prevention. Feel free to share this video with others! (Not for commercial use.) 

Take Action


Familiarize yourself with your city, state, and federal laws regarding marijuana, as well as your representatives' stances on Marijuana & The Law.


Have a conversation about marijuana laws with someone. People are often reluctant to talk about marijuana because of the potential legal implications and professional stigma of marijuana use, making it a controversial topic.

Hands Unity Friendship

Commit to one weekly action to learn about Marijuana & The Law.


Visit a dispensary and ask questions to a potpreneur to help dispel your stereotypes and learn the difference between CBD and THC.

Friends sitting together

Share our Marijuana & The Law Infographic with friends, family, and anyone and everyone you think would appreciate becoming more informed!

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