Potency and safety analysis of hemp-derived delta-9 products: The hemp vs. cannabis demarcation problem

A cannabis rights demonstration in 2014, part of the Global Marijuana March in Rio de Janeiro

Cannabis rights or marijuana rights (sometimes more specifically cannabis consumer rights or stoner rights) are individual civil rights[1] that vary by jurisdiction.[2] The rights of people who consume cannabis include the right to be free from employment discrimination and housing discrimination.[3][4][5]

Anti-cannabis laws include civil infractions and fines, imprisonment, and even the death penalty.[6]


The use of cannabis for recreational purposes is prohibited in most countries. Many have adopted a policy of decriminalization to make simple possession a non-criminal offense (often similar to a minor traffic violation). Others have much more severe penalties such as some Asian and Middle Eastern countries where possession of even small amounts is punished by imprisonment for several years.[7]

Social movement

The movement around cannabis laws and rights has been growing since as early as the 1960s. Multiple organizations both for and against cannabis usage have been created and merged over the past 60 years as the country has changed and perception of marijuana rights has changed. One pro-marijuana group is NORML (The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws).[8][9] The conversation about cannabis rights has shifted from picket signs declaring "Pot is fun," to being about health and social justice.[9][10] It's been noted that African-American communities may be suffering the most from the continued prohibition of cannabis, although consumption rates are approximately the same as white citizens. Arrests for African-Americans are 3.73 times higher in comparison.[11] Activists hope to see those numbers decrease with gained rights.

American history

Until the 20th century, there were no prohibitions in the U.S. against growing and consuming cannabis.[2] By the mid-20th century, possession of marijuana was a crime in every U.S. state (and most other countries). In 1996, the passing of Proposition 215 by California voters restored limited rights for medical cannabis patients in the state. Other states and countries have since joined California in guarding rights of cannabis consumers.[12]

In the United States, much is unclear about cannabis rights because despite state laws, cannabis remains federally illegal. Consequently, cannabis consumers do not belong to a protected class. Courts will address the issues surrounding housing and employment law, and disability discrimination.[3][4]

State vs. federal

As of 2019 in the United States, eleven states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical and recreational cannabis, with 25 more states decriminalizing the drug.[13] Fourteen state and federal laws still classifies cannabis as illegal, placing cannabis as a "Schedule 1" drug. Being federally illegal, profits cannot be handled through federally-insured banks (including checks or deposits), so cannabis retailers are forced to use cash or remain vague about business practices.[14][15]

Medical use

In the United States, the use of cannabis for medical purposes is legal in 33 states, four (out of five) permanently inhabited U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.[11] An additional 14 states have more restrictive laws allowing the use of low-THC products.[11] Cannabis remains illegal at the federal level by way of the Controlled Substances Act, under which cannabis is classified as a Schedule I drug with a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use. In December 2014, the Rohrabacher–Farr amendment was signed into law, prohibiting the Justice Department from prosecuting individuals acting in accordance with state medical cannabis laws.

An international argument for medical usage includes the right to health, as guaranteed by the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. What determines "health" or "healthy" is disputed between individuals and governmental bodies.[16]

Indonesian history

There were around two million cannabis users in Indonesia in 2014, reported by the National Anti-Narcotics Agency (Badan Narkotika Nasional - BNN). This makes cannabis the most popular drug in Indonesia followed by amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) such as methamphetamine (shabu) and ecstasy.[17] Most of the cannabis is distributed by the western province of Indonesia called Aceh.[18] 37,923 people were imprisoned because of cannabis between 2009 and 2012. Twenty-six people were imprisoned, on average, each day.[19] Because cannabis is the most common drug, consuming of cannabis goes up to 66 percent than other drugs in the country. The death penalty is given to the people who grow cannabis, or a minimum fine of $550,000, based on the National Anti-Narcoticts (BNN) law.[20]

Religious use

Different religions have varying stances on the use of cannabis, historically and presently. In ancient history some religions used cannabis as an entheogen, particularly in the Indian subcontinent where the tradition continues on a more limited basis.

In the modern era Rastafari use cannabis as a sacred herb. Meanwhile, religions with prohibitions against intoxicants, such as Islam, Buddhism, Bahai, Latter-day Saints (Mormons), and others have opposed the use of cannabis by members, or in some cases opposed the liberalization of cannabis laws. Other groups, such as some Protestant and Jewish factions, have supported the use of medicinal cannabis.

See also

Further reading


  1. ^ Membis, Liane (July 7, 2010). "Legalizing marijuana is civil rights issue, California NAACP says". CNN. Archived from the original on September 8, 2017. Retrieved September 19, 2017.
  2. ^ a b Gatenio Gabel, Shirley (2016). A Rights-Based Approach to Social Policy Analysis: Evil or Miracle Drug? Who Decides and How?. Springer. ISBN 9783319244129. Archived from the original on April 20, 2023. Retrieved April 20, 2023.
  3. ^ a b Liquori, Francesca (February 18, 2016). "The Effects of Marijuana Legalization on Employment Law". National Association of Attorneys General. Archived from the original on November 12, 2019. Retrieved September 23, 2017.
  4. ^ a b Nikolewski, Rob (November 24, 2016). "Can your landlord 'just say no' to marijuana now that Prop 64 passed?". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Archived from the original on September 17, 2017. Retrieved September 23, 2017.
  5. ^ Edwards Staggs, Brooke (February 15, 2017). "Coalition aims to protect cannabis consumers from random drug tests at work". The Cannifornian. Archived from the original on March 1, 2017. Retrieved September 19, 2017.
  6. ^ Meehan, Maureen (January 26, 2017). "Man Given Death Sentence for Selling Weed". High Times. Archived from the original on January 26, 2017. Retrieved September 23, 2017.
  7. ^ Powell, Burgess (February 24, 2018). "The 7 Countries With The Strictest Weed Laws". High Times. Archived from the original on November 26, 2020. Retrieved July 21, 2018.
  8. ^ "National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws - NORML - Working to Reform Marijuana Laws". norml.org. Archived from the original on April 19, 2023. Retrieved May 8, 2019.
  9. ^ a b Davis, Joshua (November 6, 2014). "The Long Marijuana-Rights Movement". Archived from the original on April 20, 2023. Retrieved April 20, 2023.
  10. ^ Gabriel, Trip (March 17, 2019). "Legalizing Marijuana, With a Focus on Social Justice, Unites 2020 Democrats". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on November 10, 2022. Retrieved May 8, 2019.
  11. ^ "Report: The War on Marijuana in Black and White". American Civil Liberties Union. Archived from the original on April 12, 2023. Retrieved May 8, 2019.
  12. ^ Clark Davis, Joshua (November 6, 2014). "The Long Marijuana-Rights Movement". The Huffington Post. Archived from the original on April 20, 2023. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
  13. ^ "Map of Marijuana Legality by State". DISA Global Solutions. April 1, 2019. Archived from the original on August 24, 2020. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
  14. ^ "Why marijuana retailers can't use banks". The Economist. January 22, 2018. ISSN 0013-0613. Archived from the original on December 26, 2022. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
  15. ^ "It's Legal To Sell Marijuana In Washington. But Try Telling That To A Bank". NPR.org. Archived from the original on March 18, 2023. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
  16. ^ Bone, Melissa; Seddon, Toby (January 1, 2016). "Human rights, public health and medicinal cannabis use". Critical Public Health. 26 (1): 51–61. doi:10.1080/09581596.2015.1038218. ISSN 0958-1596. PMC 4662098. PMID 26692654.
  17. ^ "LAPORAN AKHIR SURVEI NASIONAL PERKEMBANGAN PENYALAHGUNA NARKOBA TAHUN ANGGARAN 2014". BNN Pusat (in Indonesian). Archived from the original on May 6, 2019. Retrieved May 6, 2019.
  18. ^ "Beschouwingen over het Indische muntstelsel, naar aanleiding van de brochure van den heer Mr. C.W. Mees, over het muntstelsel van Nederlandsch Indie, en het oordeel daarover in het Algemeen Handelsblad en de Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant". doi:10.1163/2214-8264_dutchpamphlets-kb3-kb33619. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  19. ^ "eBook Sabk Edisi 1 - Feb 2014". Scribd. Archived from the original on May 6, 2019. Retrieved May 6, 2019.
  20. ^ "English Version of the Indonesian Narcotics Law". idpc.net. Archived from the original on February 15, 2023. Retrieved May 6, 2019.