Decriminalization vs. Legalization: What It All Means for You | Discover Marijuana

The legal status of cannabis in America is changing rapidly. Whether cannabis is legal, decriminalized, or fully-illegal depends on where you are in the United States. The situation can even differ city-by-city, as many cities have chosen to decriminalize marijuana, but state laws still forbid it.

Attorney J.D. Lauritzen says cannabis exists in something akin to a petri dish of American democracy. State and municipal government leaders can learn from each other as they develop their cannabis laws and regulations.

Over the last few decades, dozens of states have implemented medical marijuana programs. Several others have legalized adult-use (recreational) cannabis. A few states are still outlawing cannabis completely.

What about marijuana’s status as a Schedule I substance? Zion Pharmaceuticals Chief Scientist Blake Smith says the federal laws and regulations surrounding the drug are holding up FDA-guided studies.

Watch this episode for details on the shifting legality of cannabis across our nation.


Tim Pickett, PA-C is a Medical Cannabis expert and the founder of Utah Therapeutic Health Center. As a Qualified Medical Provider, Tim works directly with patients in need of Medical Marijuana recommendations and treatment plans. Salt Lake City Weekly readers voted Tim Utah’s Best Medical Cannabis Doctor (QMP) in its “2021 Best of Utah mind and body” edition.

Blake Smith is the Chief Science Officer at Zion Pharmaceuticals and an expert in the biochemistry of cannabis. Blake has a keen understanding of cannabinoid compounds and their effects on the human body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS).

J.D. Lauritzen is WholesomeCo’s Head of Legal Compliance and Government Affairs. He’s been interested in cannabis since the beginning of his college career, when he wrote a paper arguing for the legalization and taxation of cannabis.

For more information on getting a Utah Medical Marijuana card or Utah marijuana laws, visit

Learn more about cannabis strains available in Utah at

Find a Medical Cannabis pharmacy near you at

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Published December 21, 2021

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