From Prohibition to Permissibility: The Shift towards Cannabis Legalization in the US

The legalization of cannabis in the US has been a controversial topic for decades, but the country is now moving towards more permissive laws surrounding marijuana and CBD. According to recent statistics, 42% of US states have legalized recreational marijuana in some form. Furthermore, a majority of Americans support the legalization of both medical and recreational cannabis.

Experts in the cannabis industry predict that the trend towards legalization will continue in 2023, with more states potentially legalizing marijuana for recreational use by 2030. Currently, 17 states have fully legalized recreational marijuana, and 33 states have conditionally legalized it. While federal regulations surrounding cannabis are in flux, President Biden has issued an executive order pardoning non-violent offenders convicted of the possession of marijuana.

The shift towards legalizing marijuana is largely due to the efforts of advocates and activists working at the state and local level. Paul Armentano, Deputy Director of NORML, predicts that this trend will continue. Tyler McFadden, a board member of BOWL PAC, argues that it is crucial to act now to accelerate the pace of change.

The time period between medical approval and recreational approval is also shortening. Experts suggest that this trend will continue, with seven new states potentially approving recreational marijuana by 2030, including Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Oklahoma, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and South Dakota.

As the US’s policies on cannabis change, prohibitive legislation is gradually being eradicated. For instance, Joe Biden, the 46th President of the US, has publicly stated that sending people to prison for possessing marijuana has “upended too many lives and incarcerated people for conduct that many states no longer prohibit.” Federal regulations such as the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), the Cannabis Opportunity Act
(CAOA), and the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act (MORE) are all currently being debated, indicating that public attitudes towards cannabis are rapidly changing.

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