2012 marked a turning point in U.S. history: for the first time, a state (actually two states, Colorado and Washington) voted to ignore federal drug laws and legalize the adult consumption of cannabis by persons aged 21 or older, similar to alcohol. In the years since then, a host of other states have followed suit in what has become an inspiring exodus from Drug War-era policies and sentiments.
While legalization is spreading, however, the actual regulatory framework can vary dramatically from state to state. Every state with adult-use sales, for example, has mandatory third-party lab testing requirements before products can reach store shelves — but not every state actually allows for commercial cannabis sales.
The following is a brief run-down on each legalized state and how they have approached adult-use cannabis regulations.
Photo credit: Maarten van den Huevel California
California, the USA’s most populous state and largest economy, is a relative newcomer to adult-use cannabis despite being the first state to legalize medical cannabis back in 1996.
A successful 2016 voter initiative catapulted California into the post-prohibition landscape. Unfortunately, however, things have not gone entirely smoothly, so far. High tax rates have prevented licensed businesses from competing realistically with the unregulated market. A large quantity of unlicensed storefronts, coupled with an underfunded cannabis enforcement agency, has further complicated the issue.
Possession/carry limit: 1 ounce of flower, 8 grams of concentrate Purchase limit: 1 ounce of flower, 8 grams of concentrate Home grow rules: 6 plants per household, only 3 flowering at a time.
Click here to learn more about the state of cannabis in California.
Photo credit: Antonio Gabola Illinois
Illinois is the latest addition to the ranks of post-prohibition states.
On June 25, 2019, Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed legislation approved by lawmakers earlier in the year that makes cannabis legal