November 11, 2009, The American Medical Association recommends that marijuana's status as a Schedule I drug be re-evaluated.
March 29, 2009, US Attorney General Eric Holder issues a statement that the DEA would end its raids on medical marijuana dispensaries in compliance with state laws. Holder announces the Ogden Memo that the Department of Justice would not prioritize the prosecution of state-compliant medical marijuana patients.
November 6, 2008, Michigan approves Proposal 1, allowing for the use, possession, and cultivation of medical marijuana for patients.
August 6, 2008, The film Pineapple Express is released; filmmaker Seth Rogen says he and co-writer Evan Goldberg developed the eponymous cannabis strain for the movie. Rogen’s co-star James Franco is nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance.
July 2008, Weedmaps is founded by Justin Hartfield and Keith Hoertling in California. The tech company begins as an online database where medical cannabis patients can find and review dispensaries in their local areas. It eventually becomes the most widely-used and downloaded cannabis-related app on both Apple and Android platforms.
May 22, 2008, In People v. Patrick Kelly, the Second District of California Court of Appeals rules that the state limits on medical marijuana possession and cultivation, as delineated in SB 420, are unconstitutional. The court hence overturned the defendant’s conviction for possessing 12 ounces of dried marijuana plants (4 ounces over the established limit in the Health & Safety Code Sec. 11362.77)
Scientists discover THC derived from yeast. By transgenic placement of a THCA synthase gene into Pichia pastoris yeast, the yeast had been able to turn the precursor molecule of cannabigerolic acid into THCA.
New Mexico’s Senate Bill 523, otherwise known as The Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act, allows for the use, possession and cultivation of medical marijuana for patients.
November 21, 2006, Jamaican reggae musician Sizzla releases his album The Overstanding, featuring the song “Smoke Marijuana.”
October 24, 2006, Barack Obama, then a US Senator, admits he smoked cannabis as a teenager. Rhode Island passes Senate Bill 0710, allowing for the use, possession, and cultivation of marijuana by patients with ‘written certification” from their physician.
In Gonzales v. Raich, 545 U.S. 1 (2005), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that, pursuant to the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, Congress had authority to criminalize the intra-state production and use of homegrown cannabis even if state law allowed its use for medicinal purposes.
September 27, 2005, Three 6 Mafia releases their Most Known Unknown album, including the single "Stay Fly". The album goes platinum, while “Stay Fly” achieves double platinum status as a single.
August 8, 2005, The TV series Weeds, created by Jenji Kohan, premieres on Showtime. It stars Mary-Louise Parker as a widowed mother in the suburbs who starts growing cannabis illegally to support her family. Weeds becomes Showtime’s highest-rated series in its first season, and receives numerous awards during its run from 2005 to 2012, including 20 Emmy nominations and two wins, and 10 Golden Globe nominations and one win for Mary-Louise Parker (Best Actress - Musical or Comedy Series). Dr. Dina Browner, a medical marijuana pioneer and Snoop Dogg’s personal cannabis cultivator, is the inspiration for Parker’s character and serves as a consultant throughout the show’s run.
April 16, 2005, Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical debuts at the Sundance Film Festival and premieres on television via Showtime. Christian Campbell, John Kassir, and Kristen Bell reprise their roles from the stage musical. Alan Cumming, Neve Campbell, Ana Gasteyer, Steven Weber, and Amy Spanger also star. The film later wins the Premiere Audience Award at the 2005 Deauville Film Festival; it is nominated for three Emmy Awards that year and wins Best Music and Lyrics for the original song “Mary Jane/Mary Lane.”
The first Emerald Cup, created by Tim Blake, takes place in California’s Mendocino County, near the heart of the Emerald Triangle, the country’s densest cannabis-producing region.
December 7, 2004, Ludacris releases “Blueberry Yum Yum,” a track on his album The Red Light District. The album reaches number 1 on the Billboard R&B/Hip Hop Album and Rap Album charts, as well as the US Billboard 200 in its first week. The song references the hybrid cannabis strain Blueberry Yum Yum, which became popular as a result of the track’s notoriety.
Maryland passes medical marijuana affirmative defense, requiring courts to consider defendants’ use of medical marijuana in marijuana-related prosecution cases. This legislation will not legalize cannabis, however, courts will consider patients mitigating factors in cannabis related state prosecutions.
2002, Americans for Safe Access founded by Steph Scherer. Americans for Safe Access has a mission to ensure safe and legal access to cannabis for both therapeutic and research based use. ASA works to overcome social, legal and political barriers for patients and researchers through legislation, litigation, education and more.
October 29, 2002, In Conant v. Walters, the court rules that the government cannot revoke, punish or threaten to punish a physician by taking their licenses for recommending medical marijuana.
September 6, 2002, DEA agents raid the medical marijuana garden belonging to the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM), a California-based collective serving seriously ill patients and those who couldn't otherwise afford medicine. In response, WAMM gathers on the steps of Santa Cruz city hall to distribute cannabis medicine to terminally ill members of the collective, and goes on to successfully sue the federal government.
August 11, 2002, Styles P releases “Good Times (I Get High),” the lead track on his debut solo album A Gangster and a Gentleman. The song peaks at number 22 on the Billboard Hot 100, number 8 on the US Hot Rap chart, and number 6 on the US R&B chart. Dedicated to cannabis consumption, it samples the Freda Payne classic “I Get High” and is later used on the soundtrack to Snoop Dogg’s film Soul Plane. In 2022, Styles P celebrated the song’s 20th anniversary with a sold-out concert at New York’s Irving Plaza that featured performances from numerous hip hop stars and DJs, releases of new cannabis strains and collaborations with multiple New York cannabis brands.
In United States v. Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative, 532 U.S. 483 (2001), the U.S. Supreme Court held that there was no common-law medical necessity defense to violations of the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) of 1970, regardless of their legal status under the laws of states such as California, which recognizes a medical use for marijuana: “there is no medical necessity exception to the Controlled Substances Act’s prohibitions on manufacturing and distributing marijuana."
July 30, 2001, Afroman releases “Because I Got High,” the title track from his album of the same name. The song becomes a pop culture meme through popularity on the internet, prominent features on The Howard Stern Show, and being selected as the theme song for the film Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. It’s also included on the soundtracks of films such as Disturbia, The Perfect Score, and A Thousand Words. The track peaks at number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada pass medical marijuana legislation. Through legislation, Hawaii becomes the first state to legalize medical cannabis. Nevada and Colorado, through a ballot measure, legalize medical cannabis.
June 26, 2000, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg release “The Next Episode,” as the third single from the album 2001. Featuring Kurupt and Nate Dogg, the song becomes known for its line “Smoke Weed Everyday.” The song peaks at number 23 on the Billboard Hot 100 in its debut year, and charts again in Billboard’s Global 200 in 2022 when Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre perform it at the Super Bowl LVI halftime show. Numerous remixes are made from the track’s premiere onward, and it is used in several film soundtracks.
November 4, 1999, Maine passes ballot initiative Question 2, which allows patients to use, possess, and cultivate medical marijuana. Patients with specific illnesses are authorized to grow limited amounts of marijuana, as long as the patient has been prescribed the authorization from a licensed physician. Up to 1.25 ounces and a total of 6 cannabis plants, with no more than 3 mature, will be allowed per patient.
July 2, 1999, Marinol (dronabinol) is moved from Schedule II to Schedule III in order to increase availability to patients. In schedule III Marinol is now subject to lesser criminal sanctions if found to be used for illicit use.
The three major components include: Permit use of medical marijuana, establish a confidential registry of patients authorized to use medical marijuana, and protect the users and their primary caregivers, and physicians, from prosecution.
Reefer Madness: The Musical, a theatrical parody of the 1936 exploitation film, opens in Los Angeles written by Kevin Murphy and Dan Studney. The musical stars Christian Campbell and John Kassir and receives five Ovation Awards. Campbell and Kassir reprise their roles when the show transfers to Off-Broadway in 2001; Kristen Bell joins the Off-Broadway production as Mary Lane. The show opens in New York on September 18, 2001 and closes October 28, 2001, but garners a cult following in local theatre productions.
October 1, 1998, the Rochester Cannabis Coalition, led by Shea Gunther, at the Rochester Institute of Technology renames its organization to Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP).
January 27, 1998, Virginia General Assembly tightens provisions on the law allowing cannabis for cancer and glaucoma treatment.
August 1997, 10,000 people gather in Berlin for the first Hanfparade, a public demonstration to legalize hemp. The parade becomes a tradition that continues to this day.
The nonprofit November Coalition is founded to advocate for prisoners incarcerated by the War on Drugs.
California voters pass Proposition 215, also known as the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, which allows patients with a doctor's recommendation to use medical marijuana. California becomes the first state to enact such a law, but patients, caregivers, and growers nonetheless face threats from federal law enforcement.
February 13, 1996, Tupac Shakur releases “Ratha Be Your Nigga,” featuring Richie Rich, on his album All Eyez On Me. The song is also known as “Smoke Weed All Day,” due to the chorus lyric “So we can get drunk and smoke weed all day.” Following Shakur’s murder a few months after the album launch, All Eyez On Me became an instant hit, and continues to rank in numerous lists of the greatest hip hop albums of all time.
After the failure of their 1972 petition to reschedule marijuana, Jon Gettman, the director of NORML, files another petition to reschedule marijuana down from Schedule I.
January 25, 1995, Marijuana Policy Project founded by Rob Kampia, Michael Kirschner and Chuck Thomas. MPP strives in supporting full legalization for adults and patients across the United States through: lobbying in congress, supporting ballot initiatives, gardening widespread media coverage on the reform of cannabis policies, and much more.
December 6, 1994, The Berlin Hemp Museum opens as the only museum in Germany focused on cannabis.
Australian National Cannabis Task Force publishes its findings on adult-use cannabis in the country and concludes that the harm of overcriminalization is worse than the use of the substance itself.
45 hemp companies partner to form the Hemp Industries Association. Activist Chris Conrad, author of the book Hemp: Lifeline to the Future, is elected the HIA’s first president.
American Medical Student Association endorses the rescheduling marijuana to Schedule II, as suggested earlier by DEA Administrative Judge Francis Young.
July 20, 1993, Cannabis anthem "Hits from the Bong" is released by Cypress Hill
December 15, 1992, A titular homage to marijuana, album "The Chronic" is released by Dr. Dre
September 22, 1992, Redman's debut album Whut? Thee Album is released, including the single "How to Roll a Blunt"
March 29, 1992, then-Presidential candidate Bill Clinton admits to smoking cannabis, but says "I didn't inhale."
November 1991, San Francisco passes the first medical marijuana initiative as Proposition P, which requested the state of California and the California Medical Association to “restore hemp medical preparations to the list of available medicines in California” and to not incriminate physicians for recommending hemp for medicinal purposes
June 1991, The Bush administration suspends the IND (Investigational New Drug) Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Program, which provided free marijuana to seriously ill patients, and which in reality only treated six patients.
April 21, 1990, ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX and ten major cable networks simultaneously air the television special Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue, a short film featuring the most popular animated characters from Bugs Bunny to Winnie the Pooh to Alvin and the Chipmunks and the Muppet Babies as they try to convince a teenage boy to stop using marijuana. The film is financed by McDonald’s, produced by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Foundation, and includes an anti-drug introduction by then-President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush.