Marijuana laws vary by state. As of 2021, it has only been legalized in less of half of the states in the United States. In some states, only medical cannabis is legal, while only CBD (non THC) products are legal. Knowing the intricacies of these laws can affect how marijuana and its related products are marketed.
1. Where Marijuana is Legal
As of 2021, marijuana is legalized, in one form or another, in most states. However, it is still federally illegal. For this reason, states get to decide whether or not weed is legal.
As of October 2021, weed is entirely illegal in Idaho, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Wyoming. Only CBD (no THC) products are legal in Wisconsin, Iowa, Texas, Indiana, Kentucky, Georgia, and Kansas. All other states allow either medical or recreational marijuana.
2. The Difference Between Medical and Recreational Laws
Some states that allow medical marijuana have not decriminalized weed. This includes Utah, for example. In this state, marijuana users must have proof that they are using marijuana for medical purposes (usually pain relief). People who do not have proof may be arrested, face fines, or other consequences. In these areas, it is unethical to market recreational marijuana.
3. Employment Laws
While smoking or otherwise consuming cannabis might be legal in some states, because it is still federally illegal, businesses can still fire people if they fail a drug test and test positive for THC. This is because businesses can set their own standards for what is allowed at work. While smoke breaks for tobacco users have been normalized, it is unlikely that any employer will allow smoke breaks for cannabis users.
4. Voting Dates
Voting on the issue is the most common way in which marijuana laws change. Marijuana-related businesses would do well to keep track of these dates. It could be useful to spend more time on marketing when these dates are approaching to bring more potential customers to notice that these dates are coming up.
5. Age Restrictions for Legal Usage
Most states have a legal age limit to buying marijuana (THC products) that correlates with the buying age for alcohol. Knowing what the legal age is can help marketers to know which age demographic to market to. Doing research on what age demographics in general use marijuana products can also help businesses know who to market to.
Cannabis is becoming a lucrative business. It is only by understanding the related laws that businesses can both market effectively and keep out of trouble.