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.
December 10, 2020, Jay-Z launches Monogram, his official cannabis brand, through The Parent Company. Monogram is Shawn ‘JAY-Z’ Carter’s first cannabis business venture, which bolsters superior craftsmanship, quality and consistency across their cannabis product line.
December 9, 2020, US House of Representatives passes the Medical Marijuana Research Act. This Act will help pave a pathway for researchers to study cannabis products that consumers will be using. Researchers should see assistance in streamlining difficult cannabis license processes for conducting cannabis research.
December 4, 2020, US House of Representatives passes the MORE Act in a 228-164 vote. The MORE Act bill decriminalizes cannabis. Moreover, it removes cannabis from the list of scheduled substances listed under the Controlled Substances Act. In turn this eliminates criminal penalties for individuals who manufacture, distribute, or possess cannabis
December 2, 2020, The United Nations Commission for Narcotic Drugs votes to remove medical marijuana from its list of dangerous drugs, paving the way for better global access to cannabis research.
November 24, 2020, Subversive Capital Acquisition Corp, the largest cannabis-focused special acquisition company in US history, agrees to acquire Caliva and Left Coast Ventures to form The Parent Company. Jay-Z and Roc Nation sign exclusive agreements with The Parent Company and Jay-Z becomes the company's Chief Visionary Officer with $36.5 million in equity commitments.
November 4, 2020, South Dakota passes Measure 26, Medical Marijuana Initiative, by ballot measure to legalize medical cannabis in the state. On July 1, 2021 medical marijuana became legal in South Dakota. Patients, who have a debilitating medical condition, are allowed to possess a maximum of 3 ounces of medical marijuana.
November 3, 2020, Arizona passes Proposition 207 and New Jersey passes Public Question 1 by ballot measure, respectively legalizing adult-use cannabis in both states. Arizona and New Jersey will see the legalization, taxation, and recreational use of cannabis for adults aged 21 and older. Certain individuals will be able to petition a court for an order to seal their cannabis related criminal records.
June 29, 2020, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signs House File 2589, expanding the Medical Cannabidiol Act to include even more patient conditions and increase the amount of THC allowed in legal medical cannabis.
June 17, 2020, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signs House File 2581 into law, legalizing the sale and production of consumable hemp products in the state. The HF2581 bill sets forth regulations regarding the legality of production and sale of consumable grade hemp products in the state of Iowa.
April 7, 2020, Charlotte Figi dies due to complications from Covid.
Charlotte was diagnosed with Dravet syndrome at a young age, a rare form of epilepsy. Unable to be controlled by other forms of medication, Charlotte began taking CBD oil and saw a sharp decline in seizures shortly after. Charlotte Figi was a major inspiration in the CBD movement.
January 11, 2020, Hawaii passes legislation decriminalizing possession of 3 grams or less of marijuana. This legislation reduces penalties for individuals possessing up to 3 grams of cannabis, punishable up to 30 days in jail with a $1,000 fine, to a non-criminal violation with a fine of $130. The legislation also provides a process for some individuals previously convicted for marijuana possession to have their cannabis possession conviction expunged.
January 1, 2020, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signs the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, House Bill 1438, into law. It is the first act of a US state legislature creating a regulated cannabis system and authorizes legal retail sales to begin immediately.
December 3, 2019, U.S. Virgin Islands Governor Albert Bryan adds an adult-use cannabis amendment onto the existing Virgin Islands Medical Cannabis Patient Care Act, allowing anyone to purchase cannabis legally in the territory. Brazil allows medical cannabis sales to begin in the country.
December 1, 2019, Michigan begins legal adult-use cannabis sales. Michigan residents will be able to purchase cannabis, legally. Businesses must be licensed under the state’s medical marijuana licensing rules to cultivate upwards of 1,000 cannabis plants.
The majority of Democratic candidates for President express pro-cannabis views while campaigning.
November 19, 2019, Charlotte Figi is the first person under 18 to be featured on the cover of High Times and is named one of that year's "High Times Female 50." Charlotte Figi is considered to be a major inspiration for the CBD movement.
October 29, 2019, The USDA releases proposed regulations under which states can submit legal hemp manufacturing and distribution plans. The U.S. Domestic Hemp Program creates a regulatory framework for hemp production throughout the United States.
September 27, 2019, Weedmaps launches WM Retail, its in-house point of sale system, and rededicates a large part of its operations to offer software and tech for cannabis businesses. Benefits of WM retail include enabling cannabis businesses to streamline their procurement process and sync inventories in real time.
September 25, 2019, U.S. House of Representatives approves, 321-103, the SAFE Banking Act to allow banks and financial institutions to service cannabis businesses.
August 2019, Weedmaps opens the 30,000 square-foot Museum of Weed in Los Angeles, which runs for three months to tell the story of prohibition and help destigmatize cannabis.
This bill is to put forth to decriminalize marijuana. Moreover, it eliminates criminal penalties for individuals who manufacture, distribute, or possess marijuana.
July 2019, Jay-Z enters the cannabis space by signing a deal with Caliva to bring his flagship cannabis brand Monogram to fruition
June 11, 2019, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signs House Bill 1325 into law, legalizing the cultivation of hemp and legal sale of CBD. The law also inadvertently changes the state's standards for marijuana possession, leading to hundreds of marijuana cases throughout the state being dropped.
May 9, 2019, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum signs House Bill 1050 into law, decriminalizing cannabis in the state. Notable changes include reclassification and reduction of criminal penalties for cannabis possession, reclassifies possession of cannabis paraphernalia as an infraction, and more.
April 17, 2019, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signs House Bill 324 into law, legalizing the sale of low-THC medical cannabis oil and allowing cultivation of medical cannabis in the state.
April 4, 2019, Guam Governor Lou Leon Guerrero signs legislation legalizing adult-use cannabis in the territory. This legislation officially legalizes home growing and possession of recreational cannabis on the island.
February 17, 2019, Barney's luxury store begins offering cannabis products in Beverly Hills, CA. The luxury store will begin selling cannabis related products within its stores, dubbed “The High End”. Products include CBD vape pens, smoking accessories, edibles, and other beauty and wellness related products.
February 13, 2019, Attorney David H. Carpenter publishes CRS Testimony TE10031, Challenges and Solutions: Access to Banking Services for Cannabis Related Businesses, providing Congress with a basis for how the SAFE Banking Act could benefit cannabis businesses.
January 9, 2019, U.S. Virgin Islands Governor Albert Bryan signs Virgin Islands Medical Cannabis Patient Care Act into law, legalizing medical cannabis in the territory. Qualifying patients will be able to apply to the office of Cannabis Regulation for a registration card allowing them to grow, use and access medical cannabis.
December 31, 2018, cannabis and hemp brands are permitted to appear on Times Square billboards for the first time, changing 80+ years of New York advertising policy. The permitted advertisements were made possible by a provision in the 2018 farm bill, which removed hemp, a strain of cannabis, from the federal government’s controlled substances list.
December 25, 2018, Thailand amends its federal drug laws becoming the first country in Southeast Asia to allow the use of licensed medical marijuana. The same day, Israel’s Parliament approves legislation permitting exports of medical cannabis. Israel can expect to generate an estimated $1 billion in medical cannabis export sales
December 20, 2018, then-President Trump signs the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (“The 2018 Farm Bill”) into law, removing hemp from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.
December 10, 2018, New Zealand passes legislation making medical cannabis available nationwide. Medical marijuana has been highly restricted in New Zealand. This new legislation allows New Zealanders a much broader use of medical marijuana.
December 6, 2018, Michigan passes Proposal 1, the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act, by ballot measure, which legalizes adult-use cannabis in the state. The passing of Proposal 1 in Michigan allows a person who is aged 21 years or older to possess, process, consume or give up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis to another adult. Residents may possess up to 10 ounces of cannabis and up to 12 cannabis plants.
November 20, 2018, legal recreational cannabis sales begin in Massachusetts. Massachusetts becomes the first state on the East Coast to make legal recreational cannabis sales.
November 6, 2018, Missouri Amendment 2 and Utah Proposition 2, the Utah Medical Cannabis Act, respectively pass by ballot measure, legalizing medical cannabis in the states. Residents in Missouri, with qualifying medical conditions, may legally purchase 4 ounces of medical marijuana and are allowed to grow up to 6 cannabis plants at home. Qualified individuals in Utah, during any one 14-day period, are allowed to purchase up to 2 ounces of unprocessed cannabis with no more than 10 grams of THC or cannabidiol.
October 31, 2018, Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled that the law prohibiting recreational cannabis use to be unconstitutional, and mandates the government to formally legalize adult-use cannabis in Mexico.
October 17, 2018, legal recreational cannabis sales begin nationwide throughout Canada. Canada becomes the first G7 country to legalize recreational cannabis for all adults. However, it is up to each province to set age limits and decide how to sell cannabis.
September 26, 2018, Virginia approves the state's first medical cannabis companies for licensure. From 51 cannabis licensure applicants, 5 were granted approval. The first wave of medical cannabis companies will produce only CBD or THC-A oils, which do not provide the high that delta 9 (THC) provides.
September 21, 2018, Northern Mariana Islands Governor Ralph Torres signs House Bill 20-178, the Cannabis Act of 2018, legalizing adult-use cannabis in the territory. House Bill 20-178 allows a person who is 21 years of age or older to possess and transport up to 1 ounce of marijuana, 16 ounces of cannabis products in solid form, 72 ounces in liquid form, 5 grams of cannabis extract, and 6 immature cannabis plants. Individuals may also legally give the above amounts of marijuana to other adults aged 21 years and older.
September 18-October 9, 2018, the DEA announces it has approved certain Canadian companies to ship medical cannabis legally into the U.S. The DEA has permitted marijuana imports, from Canada into the United States, in the form of capsules containing CBD and THC for research purposes. A surprising approval from the DEA as it has been historically strict due to the status of cannabis being a Schedule 1 substance.
September 7, 2018, Elon Musk smokes cannabis on Joe Rogan's podcast.
August 15, 2018, major beverage corporation Constellation Brands (makers of Modelo and Corona) invests $4 billion into cannabis company Canopy Growth Corporation, at that time the largest equity investment in a cannabis stock in history.
August 1, 2018, Manhattan DA Cy Vance announces he will stop prosecuting simple cannabis possession cases. However, cases where the individual was selling marijuana and cases where the individual is deemed to be a safety threat to the public, or is under investigation for a violent offense, will the Manhattan DA prosecute cannabis possession cases
July 19, 2018, Canadian company Tilray becomes the first cannabis company to complete an IPO on the NASDAQ.
June 25, 2018, the FDA approves Epidiolex, a medicine derived from cannabidiol, as treatment for seizure disorders associated with two rare forms of epilepsy. This is the first FDA-approved drug to be derived primarily from the cannabis plant.
June 19, 2018, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signs the Cannabis Act, passed by the country’s House of Commons and Senate, into law and legalizes adult-use cannabis. Canada becomes the first G7 nation to legalize adult-use cannabis on a country-wide scale, and the second nation in the world overall after Uruguay.
June 2018, Oklahoma passes State Question 788, Medical Marijuana Legalization, by ballot measure. Individuals in Oklahoma, with a medical cannabis license, may possess up to 3 ounces of marijuana and up to 8 ounces of marijuana in their residence. No specific qualifying conditions are required to receive medical marijuana.
May 14, 2018, Kansas Governor Jeff Coyler signs Senate Bill 282 into law, allowing the legalization of CBD oil sales in the state.
April 11, 2018, Former Speaker of the House John Boehner announces he will join the board of Acreage Holdings, then the largest cannabis company in the US; former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld (also GOP) is also announced as a board member
March 22, 2018, Indiana passed legislation authorizing the legal sale of CBD for any purpose.
March 21, 2018, Utah Governor signs House Bill 195, the "right to try" and grow medical cannabis, into law. Under House Bill 195, terminally ill patients have the right to try a cannabis based treatment.
February 27, 2018, Canadian company Cronos Group became the first cannabis company to be uplisted on the NASDAQ.
January 22, 2018, Vermont became the first state to legalize adult-use cannabis entirely through the legislative process, signing H.511 into law. However, the law does not include sales of cannabis or revenue provisions.
January 4, 2018, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinds the Cole Memorandum, thus restoring the ability of US Attorneys to enforce federal law even in states that have legalized adult-use cannabis.
January 1, 2018, legal recreational cannabis sales begin in California. California residents, aged 21 years and older, may possess up to 1 ounce of cannabis and grow up to 6 cannabis plants at home. Legalized recreational cannabis sales in California was a huge milestone in the mainstreaming of cannabis.
December 2, 2017, World Health Organization’s Expert Committee on Drug Dependence issues new guidance that says CBD possesses no abuse potential and should not be subject to international drug laws.
October 31, 2017, The FDA sends letters to four major CBD companies, including the Stanley Brothers (producers of Charlotte's Web), warning the companies not to make medical claims about the benefits of CBD or to market CBD as dietary/wellness supplements
September 20, 2017, North Carolina's first industrial hemp processing plant open in Asheboro, producing CBD, oil and dehulled seed.
August 25, 2017, Disjointed, created by David Javerbaum and Chuck Lorre, premieres on Netflix as the streaming service’s first original multi-cam sitcom. The series stars Kathy Bates as the owner of a Los Angeles cannabis dispensary and highlights issues surrounding cannabis as a tool for health and the history of the legalization movement. It lasts only one season due to low ratings.
July 18, 2017, New Hampshire passes legislation decriminalizing cannabis. Possession of ¾ an ounce, or less, of cannabis amounts to a violation - similar to a speeding ticket. Individuals may qualify to have their cannabis criminal charges annulled, if charged prior to 2017.
July 9, 2017, Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla signs Act 42-2017 into law, which officially legalizes medical cannabis in the territory. Act 42-2017 will see the creation of a Regulatory Board, providing control and structure over legal medical cannabis in Puerto Rico.
May 12, 2017, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad expands the Medical Cannabidiol Act to include more patient conditions than epilepsy. The law to expand conditions that receive access to medical cannabis took place immediately. Medical marijuana became accessible to thousands more. More conditions include Parkinson’s cancer, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease and more.
April 19, 2017, West Virginia Governor James Conley Justice II signs Senate Bill 386 into law, legalizing medical cannabis in the state. West Virginia is now the 29th state to allow the use of medical cannabis. Patients will require a written certification from their doctor to legally access medical cannabis.
April 2017, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb signs House Bill 1148 into law, legalizing CBD oil as treatment for patients with seizures.
January 30, 2017, Maine officially approves the passage of Question 1, An Act to Legalize Marijuana, which originally passed by ballot measure on November 8, 2016. This referendum would legalize cannabis for recreational use in the state of Maine.
January 1, 2017, Nevada’s first adult-use cannabis dispensaries open to the public. Legal cannabis dispensaries saw thousands of patrons waiting in line to purchase legal adult-use cannabis in Nevada.
December 20, 2016, US Patent is granted to Cannabis Sativa Inc. for high-CBD cannabis cultivar "Ecuadorian Sativa"
December 15, 2016, Massachusetts passes Question 4, the Massachusetts Legalization, Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Initiative, by ballot measure, legalizing adult-use cannabis.
November 8, 2016, Arkansas passes Issue 6, the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment; Florida passes Amendment 2; and North Dakota passes Measure 5, respectively by ballot measure, to legalize medical cannabis in the states.
American presidential candidates, both Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, support at the very least state's rights to do as they please with marijuana policy. September 8, 2016, Ohio’s House Bill 523, legalizing medical marijuana becomes effective. Qualifying individuals with certain medical conditions may purchase medical marijuana, with the recommendation from an Ohio licensed physician.
August 5, 2016, Puyallup Tribe reaches agreement with the State of Washington to pursue a tribally-sovereign medical marijuana operation.
July 17, 2016, Hawaii Governor David Ige signs Act 228 into law, allowing Hawaii's Department of Agriculture to cultivate industrial hemp for research.
June 8, 2016, Ohio Governor John Kasich signs House Bill 523 into law, legalizing medical cannabis in the state. The Ohio law will not allow consumers to legally smoke or grow marijuana at home. However, cannabis oils, patches, plant material, and edibles can be legally sold in state-licensed dispensaries.
May 4, 2016, German Cabinet approves medical cannabis for patients who are seriously ill. Medical cannabis will become legalized in Germany for medicinal purposes only.
April 23, 2016, inaugural National Cannabis Festival is held in Washington, DC. It is the largest cannabis cultural festival in the U.S., and the most-attended cannabis event produced by a woman
of color (Caroline Philips).
April 6, 2016, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signs Senate Bill 3, legalizing medical marijuana. Individuals in Pennsylvania with serious conditions such as cancer, PTSD, multiple sclerosis, and more, would be able to gain access to legal medical marijuana.
Brazil allows medical cannabis use Substances derived from Cannabis - THC and CBD - are legally allowed for medicinal use under restrictions set forth by the Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency.
Jamaica decriminalizes cannabis possession for up to two ounces, while also legalizing personal cultivation of up to five plants and regulations for cultivation and distribution of medical, religious, and natural cannabis.
September 28, 2015, Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla signs an executive order permitting medical cannabis use in the territory.
July 17, 2015, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signs House Bill 766 into law, allowing epilepsy patients to use CBD for treatment.
June 30, 2015, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal signs Senate Bill 143, significantly reducing penalties for possession of cannabis in the state. Jindal also signs House Bill 149, creating a framework for medical cannabis to be legally dispensed to patients.
June 2015, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signs Senate Bill 339 into law, allowing low-THC oil to be used by epilepsy patients. This bill allows the use of CBD oil only for patients with intractable epilepsy. Patients seeking the legal medicinal use of CBD will require two certified specialists to approve the drug for a patient.
May 2015, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signs Senate Bill 280 into law, legalizing CBD oil for medical patients with qualifying conditions. The first Cannabis World Congress and Business Expo is held in New York City at the Javits Center.
April 16, 2015, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signs House Bill 1, Haleigh's Hope Act, into law, legalizing low-THC cannabis oil for medical patients with certain qualifying conditions.
March 26, 2015, Bill Levin creates the First Church of Cannabis in Indiana and receives recognition as a nonprofit religious entity as the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act takes effect.
February 26, 2015, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe signs House Bill 1445 and Senate Bill 1235 into law, creating affirmative defense against possession charges of CBD and THCA oil for medical patients.
2014, Michael Zaytsev founded High NY. High NY provides information on New York Cannabis news, cannabis events, and cannabis culture.
November 4, 2014, Oregon Ballot Measure 91 and Alaska Ballot Measure 2 pass, legalizing adult-use cannabis in their respective states. The same day, Washington, DC Ballot Initiative 71, Legalization of Possession of Minimal Amounts of Marijuana for Personal Use Act of 2014, passes to fully legalize adult-use cannabis in the nation's capital. Guam passes a ballot measure to legalize medical cannabis in the territory.
October 6, 2014, Paige Figi, and the Stanley Brothers tell the story of Charlotte's Web on CBS show The Doctors; the show's hosts state on-air that there should be a change in federal marijuana policy
July 7, 2014, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signs the Compassionate Care Act, legalizing medical cannabis within the state. Patients suffering from debilitating symptoms and disease may have access to legal medical cannabis. However, the Compassionate Care Act will have strict requirements regulated by the Department of Health.
July 2014, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon signs House Bill 2238 into law; the Missouri Medical Marijuana Bill legalizes CBD for the treatment of seizure disorders.
June 4, 2014, Florida Governor Rick Scott signs Senate Bill 1030, the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act, into law to allow medical patients access to Charlotte's Web cannabis strain.
June 2014, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley signs Senate Bill 1035, Julian's Law, allowing children with severe epilepsy to be treated by CBD oil as prescribed by a physician.
May 29, 2014, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton signs a medical marijuana bill into law, legalizing medical cannabis within the state of Minnesota.
May 2014, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad signs the Medical Cannabidiol Act into law, allowing epilepsy patients to use CBD oil for treatment if prescribed by a neurologist.
May 2014, the Rohrabacher–Farr amendment, which prohibits the Justice Department from spending federal funds to interfere with the implementation of state medical cannabis laws, passed the House, becoming law in December 2014 as part of the annual omnibus spending bill. The passage of the amendment was the first time either chamber of Congress had voted to protect medical cannabis patients, but did not change its legal status, and must be renewed each year in order to remain in effect.
April 14, 2014, Maryland Governor O'Malley signs law creating a legal medical cannabis infrastructure within the state.
April 2014, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signs House Bill 1231, "Harper Grace's Act," into law, legalizing medical patients' access to CBD oil for qualifying conditions.
March 14, 2014, Florida House of Representatives Budget Committee passes the "Charlotte's Web measure" (CS / HB 843), designed to limit prosecutors' ability to prosecute those in possession of low-THC/high-CBD marijuana if it is used to treat seizure conditions
March 4, 2014, Council of the District of Columbia passes legislation decriminalizing adult-use cannabis in Washington, DC. Possession of cannabis of up to an ounce will be decriminalized. Instead of criminal penalties for possession of cannabis in Washington, DC, persons will be given a civil violation punishable by a $25 fine.
February 14, 2014, US Department of Justice issues guidelines allowing banks and financial institutions to interact with marijuana businesses that are licensed to operate under state law
February 12, 2014, Eighteen members of US Congress co-sign letter to President Obama, calling on him to delist marijuana from Schedule I or II of the Controlled Substances Act, thus ending mandatory minimum sentencing in marijuana cases.
December 10, 2013, Uruguay becomes the world's first nation to legalize cannabis cultivation, distribution, and adult use. "We are regulating a market that already exists," said Jose Mujica, Uruguay's president.
August 29, 2013, United States Deputy Attorney General James Cole issues a memorandum (the “Cole Memorandum”) to all United States Attorneys, regarding prosecution of federal marijuana offenses. The Cole Memorandum stated that, given its limited resources, the Justice Department would no longer enforce the federal cannabis laws in states that had "legalized marijuana in some form and ... implemented strong and effective regulatory and enforcement systems to control the cultivation, distribution, sale, and possession of marijuana," except where the lack of enforcement would undermine federal priorities (such as preventing violence in cannabis cultivation and distribution, preventing marijuana-impaired driving, and preventing marijuana money from going to gangs and cartels).
The Cole Memorandum was rescinded by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in January 2018, during Donald Trump’s presidency.
August 13, 2013, Dr. Sanjay Gupta features Charlotte Figi's story on the CNN documentary Weed. Charlotte Figi was diagnosed with a rare form of epilepsy. Her condition was unable to be controlled from other forms of medication, however, Charlotte began taking CBD oil and saw a sharp decline in seizures as a result.
August 2, 2013, Illinois Governor Patrick Quinn signs a bill legalizing medical cannabis within the state. Illinois joins 19 other states that have legalized some form of cannabis. Doctors will be allowed to prescribe medical cannabis to patients whom they believe would benefit from medical marijuana.
July 23, 2013, New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan signs a bill legalizing medical cannabis within the state. Patients must have a severely debilitating, and or terminal, medical condition to qualify for medical marijuana. Patients who qualify may legally possess cannabis of up to two ounces.
June 2013, Weedmaps’ Justin Hartfield and Doug Francis form Ghost Group and Emerald Ocean Capital, the first venture capital firm for the legal cannabis sector. Hartfield is dubbed “the first venture capitalist of the pot industry” by Business Insider.
February 2013, General Cannabis Incorporated sells Weedmaps back to original founders Justin Hartfield and Keith Hoerling.
January 16, 2013, Kevin Sabet founds anti-cannabis organization Smart Approach to Marijuana (SAM).
December 20, 2012, One of California’s most well-established dispensaries, Oakland’s Harborside Health Center gets raided by Federal Agents. Stephen DeAngelo, owner of Harborside Health Center, fights the federal crackdown on the medical cannabis dispensary. A years-long legal battle ensues.
December 6, 2012, Colorado and Washington pass adult use marijuana legislation, becoming the first two states to legalize cannabis cultivation and sale for those 21 and over.
November 6, 2012, Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Initiative passes by ballot, legalizing medical cannabis within the state. Persons with qualifying medical conditions, and permission from their doctors, will be able to purchase and possess medical marijuana. The ballot was overwhelmingly approved - 63% have voted in favor of legalizing medical marijuana.
May 5, 2012, Connecticut passes medical marijuana legislation. Patients with qualifying conditions may be able to obtain medical marijuana under the authorization from a licensed physician.
April 2, 2012, Federal Agents raid Oaksterdam, a cannabis “university” in Oakland, CA, at the heart of the marijuana law reform movement, providing students with high quality training for the cannabis industry.
Charlotte Figi commences treatment with Charlotte's Web cannabis strain for her epilepsy. Charlotte was diagnosed with a rare form of epilepsy. However, her condition was not showing any improvements with the medication prescribed.
November 2011, Weedmaps acquires Marijuana.com for $4.2 million. A few weeks later, the company also acquires software entity MMJMenu, which provides back-end software for medical cannabis businesses to track their seed-to-sale operations; Weedmaps begins to expand its business software offerings.
October 2011, Weedmaps partners with NORML to revamp the latter’s website and aid legalization efforts; this signals Weedmaps’ entry into the advocacy sector.
September 2011, Marijuana Business Daily hosts first MJBizCon in Denver. MJBizCon is a cannabis business conference to gather like minded professionals, meet other cannabis business experts, entrepreneurs, vendors, and learn more about the cannabis business industry. Growing to welcome over 30,000 attendees and representatives from 75-plus countries annually, MJBizCon is now regarded as one of the world’s largest and most important cannabis trade shows.
May 13, 2011, Delaware passes medical marijuana legislation. Doctors may legally recommend medical marijuana for the treatment in serious medical conditions. Patients will be protected from arrest if their physician certifies, in writing, that the patient qualifies and would receive therapeutic benefits from the controlled substance.
May 1, 2011, The DEA places five synthetic cannabinoids, such as “Spice,” in the Schedule I category of the Controlled Substances Act, given that they are an “imminent hazard to public safety."