Nearly a decade has passed since Colorado and Washington voters decided at the ballot box legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Since then, more than twenty states and the District of Columbia have followed suit. New Jersey, which voted to legalize in 2020, authorized the first legal sale of marijuana to adults 21 and older to begin on April 21— a day after the annual celebration of cannabis culture. All but a handful of states have approved its medical use, and federal legalization of the substance has gained momentum. The House recently passed a bill to decriminalize marijuana, and another bill that would legalize the plant is in the works in the Senate.
In the executive branch, President Biden announced his intention to pardon those who received a federal conviction for marijuana possession. The Justice Department will begin issuing pardons “in the coming days.” The president’s pardon also blocks future federal prosecutions for simple possession. However, many drug convictions take place at the state level. As such, Biden has called on the governors to be . to follow and calls on the Departments of Health, Human Services and Justice to review the category of marijuana under federal law.
The 2022 midterm elections also gave voters in several states the opportunity to legalize marijuana with ballot measures in Maryland, Missouri, South and North Dakota, and Arkansas. While the first two states legalized the substance for recreational use, North Dakota and Arkansas rejected the legalization and the vote in South Dakota remains too early to call.
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Biden’s Marijuana Pardon:Here are the laws in each state
Which States Have Legalized Recreational Marijuana?
The number of states that have legalized recreational use has steadily increased over the past 10 years. New York became the 15th state to legalize marijuana last year, but retail in the state are not expected to start until the end of 2022 at the earliest. Every state on this list had allowed the use of cannabis for medical purposes prior to full legalization.
- Maryland: Legalized in 2022
- Missouri: Legalized in 2022
- Connecticut: Legalized in 2021
- New Mexico: Legalized in 2021
- New York: legalized in 2021
- Virginia: legalized in 2021
- Arizona: legalized in 2020
- Montana: legalized in 2020
- New Jersey: Legalized in 2020
- Vermont: Legalized in 2020
- Illinois: Legalized in 2019
- Michigan: Legalized in 2018
- California: Legalized in 2016
- Maine: legalized in 2016
- Massachusetts: Legalized in 2016
- Nevada: legalized in 2016
- District of Columbia: Legalized in 2014
- Alaska: Legalized 2014
- Oregon: Legalized in 2014
- Colorado: legalized in 2012
- Washington: legalized in 2012
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Which States Have Legalized Medical Marijuana?
Marijuana is allowed for medical treatment in most of the country. Only 11 states completely ban the drug. These are the states that only allow medical marijuana. Mississippi and Alabama are the latest states to legalize medical marijuana, but it is still not available for purchase as the states try to enact regulations.
- Mississippi – Legalized 2022
- Alabama – Legalized 2021
- South Dakota – Legalized 2020
- Missouri – Legalized 2018
- Oklahoma – Legalized 2018
- Utah – Legalized 2018
- Iowa – Legalized 2017
- West Virginia – Legalized 2017
- Arkansas – Legalized 2016
- Florida – Legalized 2016
- North Dakota – Legalized 2016
- Ohio – Legalized 2016
- Pennsylvania – Legalized 2016
- Georgia – Legalized 2015
- Louisiana – Legalized 2015
- Minnesota – Legalized 2014
- Maryland – Legalized 2013
- New Hampshire – Legalized 2013
- Delaware – Legalized 2011
- Rhode Island- 2006
- Hawaii – Legalized 2000