November 7, 2023, Ohio becomes the 24th state to legalize adult-use cannabis, as voters approve ballot Issue 2 which will allow sale, purchase, and use of cannabis to anyone age 21 and older. The measure will take effect approximately on December 8, 2023, permitting the possession of up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis flower, up to 15 grams of cannabis concentrate, and the home-grow of up to 6 plants. However, the passage of Issue 2 will not automatically expunge conviction records.
October 17, 2023, New York State’s Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) and Cannabis Control Board (CCB) extend the deadlines for adult-use cannabis license applications. Non-provisional Retail and Microbusiness license application deadlines are moved from November 3 to the new date of November 17. Cultivator, Processor, and Distributor license application deadlines are moved from December 4 to the new date of December 18. The OCM has yet to release cannabis license applications or deadline information for other adult-use cannabis license categories including Delivery, Cooperative, Nursery, and Onsite Consumption Licenses.
October 6, 2023, Georgia becomes the first state with plans to sell cannabis through pharmacies, as the Georgia Board of Pharmacy begins accepting applications for pharmacies that intend to sell medical cannabis products with low-dose THC. Under state law, cannabinoid products can only contain up to 5 percent THC, and product categories include oils, tinctures, topicals and lozenges. National chains will not be able to carry cannabis products, but many of the state's 400-plus independent pharmacies are interested in doing so.
September 7, 2023, The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) passes a referendum to legalize adult-use cannabis, becoming the first jurisdiction in North Carolina to commit to legalization. Sales of cannabis on Cherokee land will be available to tribal members and non-tribal members alike. The move is seen as an assertion of tribal autonomy in the face of Congressman Chuck Edwards’ (R-NC) “Stop Pot” bill.
September 2, 2023, Congressman Chuck Edwards (R-NC) introduces a bill for the “Stop Pot Act,” which seeks to cut federal funding to states and Native American tribes that have legalized adult-use cannabis. The bill is co-sponsored by Rep. Gregory Murphy (R-NC) and endorsed by the anti-cannabis groups Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) and the Christian Action League.
August 29, 2023, The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) makes a formal recommendation to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) that cannabis should be moved from Schedule I to Schedule III under the Controlled Substances Act. Cannabis advocates throughout the nation are divided as to whether Schedule III would be an improvement that helps businesses with taxes, or a disaster that limits the industry solely to Big Pharma.
August 18, 2023, Judge Kevin Bryant issues a ruling in Carmine Fiore et al v New York State Cannabis Control Board et al that extends the injunction against the state’s CAURD program until October 4th, when the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) expects to open cannabis licensing to the general public. This means that, with some exceptions, CAURD licensees will not be able to open their retail stores under the program.
August 11, 2023, New Yorkers gather at the Ulster County Supreme Court for the first hearing in Carmine Fiore et al v New York State Cannabis Control Board et al. Judge Kevin Bryant decides to keep the injunction against the state’s CAURD program in place, and orders the plaintiffs and defendants to come to an agreement.
August 7, 2023, New York Supreme Court Judge Kevin Bryant issues a temporary restraining order on the state’s Office of Cannabis Management (OCM), in response to Carmine Fiore et al v New York State Cannabis Control Board et al, a lawsuit brought against the agency by four disabled veterans. The veterans claim that New York’s Conditional Adult Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) program is unconstitutional, because it prioritizes justice-impacted applicants and, in their view, excludes other groups. The restraining order bars the OCM from awarding or processing any further CAURD licenses, or from approving any operations to open new dispensaries.
July 31, 2023, The Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) shuts down seven unlicensed businesses in Central and Upstate New York operating under the brand name I’m Stuck. Owner David Tulley is the first entrepreneur to bring a non-administrative legal challenge to the state’s enforcement methods.
July 11, 2023, Empire Cannabis Club, one of New York City’s largest cannabis membership clubs, is raided by the state’s Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) and Department of Taxation and Finance. Co-owner Lenore Elfand is arrested on charges of obstruction after refusing to allow authorities to inspect the brand’s Chelsea location.
June 22, 2023, New York Governor Kathy Hochul announces the results of the first wave of the state’s enforcement actions against illicit cannabis businesses. With 33 stores raided, the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) and Department of Taxation and Finance (DTF) seized over 1000 pounds of cannabis products, at a value of nearly $11 million.
June 7, 2023, New York’s Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) and Department of Taxation and Finance (DTF) begin conducting joint inspections of alleged illicit cannabis businesses throughout the state. The inspections entail enforcement actions which include the seizure of cannabis and closing of stores, and arrests in some cases.
May 30, 2023, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signs adult-use cannabis legalization into law, making it the 23rd state to legalize cannabis recreationally. Under the measure, Minnesota residents who are 21 years and older will be able to possess up to two ounces of marijuana flower in public and two pounds at home starting August. The law also includes automatic expungement for low-level convictions and establishes a review board for possible expungement in cases of higher-level convictions.
May 11, 2023, New York’s Office of Cannabis Management releases revised adult-use cannabis regulations. Proposed updates to regulations include updates to goods and services revenues limits, revisions to the cannabis business application processes, increase for the amount of cannabis biomass microbusiness licensees can purchase, and more
May 6, 2023, The NYC Cannabis Parade and Rally, one of the world’s longest-running cannabis legalization events, celebrates its 50th anniversary. Originally started by the Yippies as a protest in 1973, the event for its golden anniversary was done in partnership with New York City government for the first time. Speakers included Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Cannabis NYC Founding Director Dasheeda Dawson, and rappers M1 and Umi from acclaimed hip hop group dead prez.
On the same day, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signs legislation to curb the state’s illicit cannabis market as part of the Fiscal Year 2024 budget; it contains provisions that authorize the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) and Department of Taxation and Finance (DTF) to conduct regulatory inspections of businesses which may be selling cannabis illegally.
April 28, 2023, Minnesota’s legislature votes to legalize adult-use cannabis. Governor Tim Walz says, “We are now an island of decency… This is a place where you can be who you are without fear.” The state is the 23rd in the U.S. to legalize cannabis recreationally.
April 23, 2023, Delaware becomes the 22nd state in the U.S. to legalize adult-use cannabis, and the 39th to have some form of regulated cannabis market. Despite Governor John Carney’s staunch opposition to legalization, the state’s legislature passes House Bills 1 and 2, creating legal “personal use quantity” for adults of 1 ounce or less of flower, 12 grams or less of concentrates, and 750 milligrams or less of products containing Delta-8 THC; and a state-regulated cannabis industry which includes the granting of 30 licenses within 16 months. The success of Delaware’s legislation marks the first successful veto override in the state since 1977.
April 20, 2023, The Seneca Nation launches the tribe’s first adult-use dispensary, Nativa Cannabis, in Niagara Falls, New York. On the same day, the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians debut the tribe’s first adult-use dispensary Rolling Embers in New Buffalo, Michigan. Both projects were completed through the business advisory firm Opus Consulting.
March 30, 2023, Good Grades opens in Jamaica, Queens as the first adult-use woman owned dispensary in New York State, run by justice-involved entrepreneur Extasy James. Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. says, “This milestone opening of Queens' first licensed cannabis dispensary is nothing short of transformational for our borough. What was once a tool used to target communities of color is finally a crucial, and legal, piece of our economic puzzle that will create jobs, wealth and opportunity in those same communities.”
March 10, 2023, Massachusetts-based cannabis operator Berkshire Roots and Heavy Metal Entertainment announce a partnership to bring Heavy Metal-branded cannabis products to market, over 40 years after the cult classic “stoner film” premiered. The collaboration’s first merchandise debuts at the NECANN Boston trade show.
February 13, 2023, Union Square Travel Agency: A Cannabis Store opens as New York City’s third adult-use cannabis dispensary just a block from Union Square Park. The retailer is operated by a subsidiary of The Doe Fund, a nonprofit aimed at ending recidivism and homelessness through its “Ready, Willing and Able” job training programs.
February 3, 2023, Missouri begins legal adult-use cannabis sales, and the state’s Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) begins accepting personal cultivation applications, a major landmark under Article XIV of the state’s cannabis law. Attorney Dan Viets, Missouri NORML Coordinator, co-author of Article XIV and Chair of the Legal Missouri Campaign Advisory Board, says, “Missouri NORML was especially concerned that the option for personal cultivation of cannabis be included in Article XIV. The option to grow for oneself is a fundamental right which has been part of legalization in the great majority of the 20 other states which have now taken the historic step of repealing the criminal prohibition of responsible adult marijuana use.”
As part of Missouri’s legalization process, 5,205 people have previous marijuana convictions expunged.
January 23, 2023, Smacked Village opens in the West Village as New York’s first Black-owned, social equity adult-use licensed cannabis dispensary. Owner Roland Conner is part of the state’s Conditional Adult Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) program and had a prior cannabis conviction due to his participation in the legacy market.
January 10, 2023, Connecticut begins adult-use legal cannabis sales. The legalization of adult use cannabis in Connecticut can expect to see the cannabis industry bringing in new jobs, economic growth and reinvestment into neighborhoods that have been impacted by the War on Drugs.
January 3, 2023, The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy sends a report to Congress highlighting law enforcement’s criticism of state cannabis laws, including concerns about high-potency edibles, trafficking into non-legal states and environmental pollution from cannabis grows.
December 29, 2022, Long-running nonprofit Housing Works opens Housing Works Cannabis Co, the first adult-use legal dispensary in New York State. Housing Works is one of 8 nonprofit organizations to receive the initial Conditional Adult Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) licenses.
December 8, 2022, WNBA player Brittney Griner is released from prison in Russia; President Joseph Biden trades her release for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.
December 2, 2022, President Joseph Biden signs the Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act into law, the first standalone marijuana bill passed by both the House and Senate. The act requires the DEA to register researchers and suppliers of medical cannabis for medical research, and creates a mechanism for the FDA to approve medicines derived from the cannabis plant. It also requires the Department of Health and Human Services to investigate the medical utility of cannabis and the Attorney General to conduct an annual review to ensure that cannabis is being produced for research purposes.
November 20, 2022, New York State Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) publishes its Adult Use Cannabis Proposed Regulations for public comment, including relevant definitions, municipal rulemaking, the cannabis application and licensure process, social equity and economic equity rules, cannabis license specific authorizations, requirements and prohibitions, general business and operating requirements and prohibitions, and severability. The regulations cover ten different marijuana license categories, including nursery, cultivator, processor, distributor, retail dispensary, microbusiness, cooperative, registered organization cultivator, processor, and distributor (non-dispensing) (“ROND”), registered organization adult-use cultivator, processor, and distributor retail dispensary (“ROD”), and delivery licenses. The proposed regulations are anticipated to become effective in early 2023.
November 15, 2022, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear signs Executive Order 2022-798 allowing people with certain medical conditions and in need of palliative care to use medical cannabis, although there is still no official cannabis program or legislation in the state.
November 8, 2022, Missouri votes to legalize adult-use recreational cannabis. The legalization of adult-use recreational cannabis in Missouri is designed to allow users, 21 years of age or older, to purchase, possess, consume, use, deliver, and manufacture cannabis for personal use. Individuals who were convicted of nonviolent cannabis related offenses will be able to petition to be released from incarceration and / or have their records expunged.
November 8, 2022, Maryland votes to legalize adult-use recreational cannabis. Persons 21 years of age or older will be allowed to possess and use cannabis. This legalization of marijuana in Maryland will also establish a process for expunging cases for individuals who have been convicted in which possession of less than 10 grams was the only charge.
November 4, 2022, P Diddy announces deal to create the largest Black-owned cannabis company through a $185 million investment and purchase of Cresco Labs and Columbia Care, giving the rapper nine retail stores and three production facilities in New York, Massachusetts, and Illinois
October 26, 2022, German government introduces plans to create a framework for cannabis legalization. The legalization of recreational cannabis in Germany would make it legal for adults to purchase and own up to 30g and would allow consumers to grow up to three plants. “If this law comes to pass, it would be the most liberal project to legalise cannabis in Europe, but also the most regulated market… It could be a model for Europe,” says Karl Lauterbach, Germany’s Federal Minister for Health.
October 21, 2022, Charlotte's Web company becomes the first CBD supplier to sign an official contract with Major League Baseball. With a multi-year partnership formed between Charlotte’s Web and MLB, this is the first appearance of any form of cannabis making a legal appearance in a major professional sports league.
October 12, 2022, New York City Mayor Eric Adams appoints Dasheeda Dawson as Founding Director of Cannabis NYC, the initiative run through the City’s Department of Small Business Services to support the emerging legal cannabis industry.
October 6, 2022, President Joseph Biden pardons all people convicted federally of simple marijuana possession. While this doesn’t release anyone incarcerated on cannabis charges, the pardons do impact approximately 6,500 people nationwide.
September 1, 2022, Alabama’s Medical Cannabis Commission begins accepting applications for medical cannabis business licenses. The applications for medical cannabis business licenses in Alabama will allow applications for various cannabis license types including cultivator licensing, cannabis processing licensing, cannabis dispensary licensing, cannabis delivery licensing and more.
August 26, 2022, Oklahoma Legislature passes House Bill 3208, which puts a two-year moratorium on the awarding of new licenses to cannabis growers, cannabis processors or cannabis dispensaries.
August 17, 2022, Guyanese Parliament approves industrial hemp legislation. This new law allows Guyana to create the Industrial Hemp Regulatory Authority, allowing the issuance of licenses for companies or individuals to cultivate hemp and manufacture hemp products.
August 12, 2022, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signs a comprehensive package of cannabis reform bills for the state, including the permanent implementation of the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission, new social equity and expungement provisions, and an alteration of the state tax code that allows cannabis businesses to write off expenses as other businesses do.
July 1, 2022, Minnesota passes legislation making THC-infused food and beverage legal if the THC is derived from hemp. This new legislation comes with strict regulations to adhere to for the sale of THC-infused food and beverages in Minnesota.
May 31, 2022, Weedmaps and beverage company Cann launch viral Pride Month campaign with the music video “Taste So Good.” The video features a celebrity ensemble including Kesha, Gus Kenworthy, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Hayley Kiyoko, Vincint, Patricia Arquette, MNEK, and RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 14 cast members Willow Pill, Kerri Colby, Kornbread “The Snack” Jete, and Jorgeous. The campaign later wins 5 Clio Cannabis Awards.
May 25, 2022, Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee signs legislation that legalizes adult-use cannabis in the state. The legalization of recreational cannabis in Rhode Island will see the automatic expungement of prior civil or criminal cannabis possession charges. Consumers aged 21 and older may legally possess and grow cannabis for personal use. In-store cannabis sales may begin as soon as December 1, 2022.
May 2022, Mississippi’s portals to license medical cannabis businesses opened. Just shy of a week old, Mississippi's medical cannabis portal has more than 1,800 people already registered to apply for medical cannabis licenses.
April 21, 2022, legal adult-use cannabis sales begin in New Jersey. An overwhelming number of people have voted to have access to adult-use cannabis in New Jersey. People 21 years and older will be legally allowed to purchase cannabis products in New Jersey without a medical card.
April 7, 2022, Lisa N. Sacco, Coordinator Analyst for the Congressional Research Service, publishes CRS Report R44782, The Evolution of Marijuana as a Controlled Substance and the Federal-State Policy Gap. The report addresses how a majority of states have legalized some form of cannabis while the plant remains federally illegal, and seeks to make a case to Congress to remove cannabis from Schedule I.
April 1, 2022, legal adult-use cannabis sales begin in New Mexico. On April 1, 2022, adult-use cannabis sales began in New mexico. Persons aged 21 and older are now legally allowed to purchase cannabis products in New Mexico.
February 17, 2022, WNBA player Brittney Griner is arrested in a Russian airport for traveling with less than one gram of cannabis oil.
February 7, 2022, Weedmaps launches the cannabis censorship ad “Brock Ollie” online after NBC declines to run the commercial during the Super Bowl. The spot goes viral and later wins 3 Clio Cannabis Awards, including a Grand Clio Cannabis Award for Social Media. The campaign is also recognized by the PR News Platinum Awards and Ragan’s PR Daily Awards.
February 2, 2022, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves signs Senate Bill 2095, the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act, into law, legalizing medical cannabis in the state of Mississippi.
January 18, 2022, Louisiana activist Gary Chambers launches "37 Seconds" viral PSA about cannabis legalization and the Black community, the first of several controversial Senate campaign videos
August 19, 2021, New Jersey's Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act is signed into law. The state's application portals for adult-use cannabis business licenses open.
July 1, 2021, Virginia Legislature and Governor Ralph Northam agree to final version of Senate Bill 1406, legalizing adult-use cannabis in the state.
Senate Bill 1406 establishes the Virginia Cannabis Control authority which creates structure for the cultivation, manufacturing, wholesale, and retail sale of marijuana and marijuana products. The legalization of adult use cannabis in Virginia will also allow for an automatic expungement process for individuals convicted of certain cannabis-related crimes.
June 28, 2021, Mexico’s Supreme Court votes 8-3 to legalize adult-use cannabis nationwide. However, state and federal penal laws surrounding cannabis remain in place. In its current form, the bill regarding cannabis in Mexico will allow persons aged 18 years and older to consume and to possess up to 28 grams of marijuana in their home. Individuals would also be allowed to grow and share marijuana for personal use.
June 22, 2021, Connecticut's Governor Ned Lamont signs Senate Bill 1201 that legalizes adult-use cannabis in the state.
The legalization of cannabis in Connecticut will allow adults aged 21 and over to legally possess cannabis, with a limitation of 1.5 ounces on their person, and no more than 5 ounces in their homes, or vehicles glove box. Retail sales aim to begin by the end of 2022. Certain cannabis-related convictions between the years of January 1, 2000 and October 1, 2015 will be automatically erased.
June 16, 2021, Weedmaps goes public on NASDAQ after the completion of its merger with the SPAC company Silver Spike Acquisition Corp. The transaction brings $579 million to Weedmaps and the ticker symbol is MAPS.
June 15, 2021, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards signs House Bill 652, decriminalizing cannabis possession in the state. To note, Gov. Edwards stated, “I have signed HB 652, which contrary to the narrative developed in the press and elsewhere, does not decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, 14 grams or less. Instead, anyone convicted of this crime will now be subject to a maximum penalty of $100 instead of being exposed to parish prison time.”
June 11, 2021, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak signs Assembly Bill 341 into law, legalizing the operation of cannabis consumption lounges in the state. Texas Governor Greg Abbott signs legislation expanding the state's medical marijuana program.
May 17, 2021, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signs Senate Bill 46, the Darren Westley Hall Compassion Act, into law, creating legal medical use of cannabis for patients with certain qualifying conditions.
April 20, 2021, Times Square billboards feature a campaign including US and Canadian Indigenous-owned cannabis brands, the first international Indigenous cannabis collaboration in history.
April 19, 2021, Idaho is the final state to legalize industrial hemp production after the 2018 Farm Bill. Cultivation and transportation of hemp is now allowed within Idaho. However, the sale of any hemp products that contain THC remains illegal.
April 12, 2021, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signs House Bill 2, the Cannabis Regulation Act, into law, legalizing adult-use cannabis in the state.
Adults aged 21 years and older may now possess, purchase and give other adults up to 2 ounces of cannabis. Persons may be allowed to have a maximum of 12 mature cannabis plants per household. A cannabis control division will be created to regulate the cannabis business industry.
March 31, 2021, New York State’s Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), legalizing adult-use cannabis, becomes effective. Along with this legislation, the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) was created. Governed by a Cannabis Control Board, this board will regulate adult-use, medical, and hemp cannabis. The OCM will also develop regulations and issue licenses for future cannabis industry businesses.
February 26, 2021, Washington State Supreme Court rules in State v Blake that simple possession of controlled substances will no longer be prosecuted as a crime. The same day, Idaho Governor Brad Little signs Senate Bill 1017, which removes the CBD-based medicine Epidiolex from the state's Schedule V listing and approves it as a legal treatment for medical patients with certain qualifying conditions.
January 22, 2021, Arizona begins legal adult-use cannabis sales.
Adult use cannabis sales are expected to roll out gradually. According to Department of Health Services spokesman Steve Elliot: Once existing medical marijuana dispensaries have their applications approved, they can legally begin selling marijuana to adults who are at least 21 years old.
January 1, 2021. Montana officially approves passage of Montana Marijuana Legalization and Tax Initiative (Montana 1-90), which originally passed by ballot measure on November 3, 2020 to legalize adult-use cannabis in the state.