Recreational use of marijuana become legal in California on January 1, 2018. Currently, the sunshine state has more international students enrolled than any other state in the union; accounting for more than 156,000 students enrolled in its colleges and universities.
Only a few countries have legalized marijuana to some degree. But even in the USA, where some states have legalized cannabis for medical or recreational use, it is still illegal under Federal law. And in some states, the penalties for possession and selling marijuana – with the exception of the death penalty – are as harsh as any international students’ country of origin.
It is, therefore, imperative to be aware of various state regulations regarding marijuana possession. For example, on the west coast of the U.S., you drive from Washington state, through Oregon, to California, and into Nevada without fear of arrest provided you are not driving under the influence. However, if you stopped in Arizona you may be subjected to arrest, as AZ permits marijuana use for medical purposes only.
In 1969, only 12% of Americans thought marijuana should be legalized, but today the rate has jumped up to 61% in nearly 5 decades, according to Pew Research Center.
The interactive map below shows the current (as of Jan. 10, 2018) state laws and regulations for medical/recreational use of marijuana. In any gray-shaded state, Marijuana is still illegal.
Even though marijuana is legalized for recreational use in a state, that does not mean that you can drive under the influence of marijuana. If you get caught by a police, you can be arrested for DUI (Driving Under Influence.)
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) claims that marijuana can impair driving ability for up to three hours after use. Many marijuana experts think the statement is quite a conservative estimate. The influence of marijuana varies from person to person and from the amount one has been smoking.