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More people worldwide use cannabis than any other recreational drug, according to the 2018 United Nations World Drug Report.1 In the United States, that number is increasing as many states have legalized the use of medical marijuana.
In 34 states and the District of Columbia, medicinal marijuana is legal. In 11 states, cannabis use is fully legal, meaning that adults can use it recreationally without legal repercussions. Other states have instituted mixed marijuana laws, including some that have decriminalized the drug and some that allow CBD oils, but not smoking or edibles.2
Federal law governing marijuana use involves the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970. Marijuana/cannabis is a Schedule I drug like heroin, peyote, ecstasy, methaqualone, and LSD. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, Schedule I controlled substances have no acceptable medical use and have a high potential for abuse.3
In 2019, Congress considered, but did not pass, legislation that would change laws prohibiting marijuana, including:
Financial Disclosure: Nurse Planner Kay Ball, PhD, RN, CNOR, CMLSO, FAAN (Nurse Planner), reports she is on the speakers bureau for AORN and Ethicon USA and is a consultant for Mobile Instrument Service and Repair. Editor Jonathan Springston, Associate Editor Journey Roberts, Author Melinda Young, Author Stephen W. Earnhart, RN, CRNA, MA, Physician Editor Steven A. Gunderson, DO, FACA, DABA, CASC, RN, CRNA, MA, Consulting Editor Mark Mayo, CASC, MS, Editorial Group Manager Leslie Coplin, and Accreditations Manager Amy M. Johnson, MSN, RN, CPN, report no consultant, stockholder, speaker’s bureau, research, or other financial relationships with companies having ties to this field of study.