The legalization of marijuana has been an ongoing affair in the United States, with increasing popularity in recent years. Legalization involves two components, medical use and recreational use. Most often, medical legalization occurs first, with recreational legalization following later. Whereas marijuana use is still federally illegal, some states have taken steps to legalize it within the state or reduce criminal penalties. Out of the 50 states, 19 have legalized marijuana for medical use only, and 16 states (and D.C.) have legalized marijuana for medical and recreational use.
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