The landscape of cannabis laws in the U.S. is morphing rapidly in 2023. Recreational marijuana is legal in 42% of states and in twenty-one states, including the District of Columbia, for adults aged twenty-one or older. For medical purposes, thirty-seven states have given the green light, with eleven of these allowing CBD oils and small amounts of THC.
Nonetheless, two states remain firmly against both CBD and marijuana use. The national sentiment, however, seems to be thawing, with 59% supporting both medical and recreational use, 30% favoring medical use only, and a mere 10% opposing legalization. Remarkably, 44% of Americans now reside in states where recreational marijuana is legally accessible.
The legislative landscape of hemp-based CBD, federally legal, is more convoluted at the state level. Seventeen states have fully legalized it, while thirty-three states have conditional legality, often bound by THC content restrictions.
Expert opinions suggest this trend of liberalization is likely to persist. Paul Armentano, Deputy Director of NORML, and Tyler McFadden, Board Member of BOWL PAC, both anticipate future victories at state and local levels. Even President Joe Biden has expressed concern over the societal impact of incarcerating individuals for marijuana possession.
As we look toward the future, research predicts seven additional states may sanction recreational marijuana by 2030, and the interval between medical and recreational approval appears to be decreasing. Moreover, federal regulations may be on the brink of a seismic shift, with more than fifty bills introduced in 2022 and increased activity around key legislative acts.In 2023, the U.S.’s cannabis policies are transitioning swiftly, and prohibitive legislation is dissolving. The era of cannabis restrictions may be drawing to a close, replaced by a more permissive approach to its use.