Voters in Washington state and Colorado approved the use of medical marijuana more than 20 years ago. That gave state legislators plenty to do as they managed the roll out of unprecedented access to a drug considered illegal by the federal government. Then came voter-approved access to recreational marijuana in both states in 2012. Now all but three states allow some form of cannabis use, and it will be up for discussion and revision in nearly every state in 2024.
All this, even as marijuana is still considered a Schedule I substance under federal law, along with drugs such as heroin, LSD and ecstasy.
“What once seemed like a novel idea by voters and legislators in primarily blue states is now across the country in purple and red states, and even the federal government is considering whether to reschedule marijuana to Schedule III,” says Karmen Hanson, senior fellow in NSCL’s Health Program and lead researcher on state cannabis laws.
Today’s map shares the results of NCSL’s extensive monitoring of state action related to cannabis, which is the broader term to cover the THC and non-THC products that come from the plant.