About Us

The National Marijuana Initiative is one of three national initiatives within the federal High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) Program. The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy has established HIDTA task forces all over the country to respond to both regional and national drug threats. The NMI’s purpose is to educate both the public & policymakers on issues surrounding marijuana.


The National Marijuana Initiative’s mission strives to dispel misconceptions about marijuana and raise awareness of issues surrounding the drug, so that citizens and policymakers can make well-informed choices regarding marijuana use and regulations. Some of the services we offer include: Educational presentations on marijuana, a panel of independent subject matter experts who give presentations on their respective fields, and training classes.

Legalization By State

Marijuana, also known as Cannabis, is illegal under federal law in the United States for any purpose, by way of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. At the state level, however, policies regarding the medical and recreational use of marijuana vary greatly, and in many states conflict significantly with federal law. Additionally, under the Controlled Substances Act, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I substance, determined to have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use – thereby prohibiting even medical use of the drug.

Legal Issues

Who’s Really in Prison for Marijuana?

One of the common assertions about marijuana is that many of the people in jail or prison for drug related offenses were convicted, and are serving lengthy sentences, for “simple possession” of marijuana. This classification refers to offenses involving small amounts of marijuana (enough to classify as only being intended for the owner’s personal use), generally carried by non-violent, first-time offenders. While it is true that a conviction for simple possession can entail at least jail time, if not prison time, judges most often give first-time offenders more lenient punishments, which can include fines and community service.

Owning or Investing in a Marijuana Business

With the recent increase in legalization of recreational and medicinal marijuana use, many people have become interested in starting or investing in marijuana businesses. Something to keep in mind, though, is that people who are interested generally need to reside in the states in which the businesses are owned and operated. In Colorado and Oregon, for example, this means that if you would like to start or invest in a marijuana business, you need to have lived there for at least two years before applying for the appropriate business licenses.

Report from SAM on Legalization

Project SAM has published a new report providing an overview of the major impacts of increased marijuana use that Colorado and the state of Washington have seen four years after legalizing its recreational use.  Topics discussed in the report include increased youth use, rises in homeless populations, increased crime rates, and impacts on businesses and the workforce. Read Here

Increasing numbers of children admitted to hospitals with marijuana exposure

A new study shows that the number of children being admitted to hospitals with lung irritation who have been exposed to marijuana is increasing. At this point, 16 percent of children (about 1 in 6) admitted for bronchiolitis show signs…

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Potential for Addiction

Though it is uncommon, it is possible for people to become addicted to marijuana. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that between nine and ten percent of marijuana users will become addicted. For those who begin regularly using marijuana…

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Hash Oil Explosions

Particularly in states that have legalized recreational marijuana use, there has been an increase in production of marijuana extract, usually called hash oil, in the past few years, causing concern among law enforcement personnel, as discussed in a recent piece…

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