As of the end of 2021, more than a third of Americans live where marijuana is legal.1 While it is still illegal at the federal level, the list of states allowing for legal adult use (non-medical) of cannabis grew in 2021 to a total of 18 states plus DC and Guam. In addition, medical cannabis became legal in several more states, raising the total to 36 states and 4 territories. As more states continue to legalize both medical and recreational cannabis, it is important to note that 68% of Americans (or 2 out of 3) believe that marijuana should indeed be legalized.2
Alabama Medical Use Update
Alabama Governor signed legislation legalizing medical cannabis on May 17, 2021. The Darren Wesley “Ato” Hall Compassion Act permits the use of medical cannabis to treat certain medical conditions. It should be noted that it does contain many employer provisions. The law was effective immediately upon the Governor’s signature, however medical cannabis will not become available for at least a year.
Arizona: Nonmedical Use Officially Implemented
Voters approved measures to regulate cannabis for nonmedical use in late 2020. The bill was officially implemented on Jan 1,2021. Petitions for expungement of drug offenses could begin to be filed on July 12, 2021.3
Connecticut: June Updates
The Connecticut General Assembly passed SB 1201 on June 17 and the governor signed it on June 22, 2021, making possession of up to 1.5 oz of cannabis legal. Applications for adult-use cannabis establishment licenses will be available beginning in February 2022, making retail sales unlikely until at least the end of 2022. Starting Oct 1, 2021, medical marijuana patients could grow up to 3 mature and 3 immature plants at home. All adults will be able to grow under the same rules starting July 1, 2023. Learn the facts here.
Montana: Grow it Yourself
Voters approved measures to regulate cannabis for nonmedical use in November 2020, and starting January 1, 2021, it became legal to possess no more than 1 oz for personal use. However, the only legal way to acquire cannabis was to grow it yourself. House Bill 701 was passed by the Legislature in late April and signed by Gov. Greg Gianforte on May 18, and on Jan. 1, 2022, dispensaries can begin selling marijuana commercially in Montana.
New Jersey: Nonmedical Use
Voters approved measures to regulate cannabis for nonmedical use in 2020 and allow legislation A21 to pass. New Jersey’s governor signed enacting legislation on March 1, 2021. Cannabis business applications began being accepted in late 2021, and retailers will start licensing in March 2022.
New Mexico Legislation Signed
The New Mexico legislature passed legislation on March 31, 2021, and the governor signed it into law on April 12, 2021. The Cannabis Regulation Act, effective as of June 29, 2021, created a comprehensive licensing, taxing, and enforcement regulatory structure for adult use cannabis in New Mexico. This will be administered by the Cannabis Control Division which is part of the Regulation and Licensing Department. The CCD has begun accepting license application and retail sales of commercial cannabis begin no later than April 1, 2022.
New York: Nonmedical Legislation
New York’s legislature and governor enacted the Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act (MRTA) on March 31, 2021. The Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) will license cultivators, processors, distributors, and dispensaries to grow and sell cannabis in New York.
Municipalities had until December 31, 2021, to pass a local law to request to the state Cannabis Control Board to opt their jurisdiction out of hosting dispensaries and/or consumption site licensees. Check out the list here.
South Dakota: Supreme Court Says Unconstitutional
Voters in South Dakota approved measures to regulate cannabis for nonmedical use. However, on February 8, 2021, South Dakota Circuit Judge Christina Klinger ruled that the measure was unconstitutional. The South Dakota Supreme Court upheld this decision on November 24, 2021, by a vote of 4-1, thus removing South Dakota from our list of states that have legalized adult use of cannabis.
Virginia: Legislation Passed
The Virginia General Assembly passed legislation on Feb. 27 and approved the governor’s amendments on April 7, 2021, making it the first southern state to legalize adult possession and use of marijuana.5
Despite passing legislation, cannabis still has a long way to go in Virginia due to a reenactment clause that the bill be passed again in 2022. On the slim chance that it is passed again, legal sales still would not begin until 2024. Learn more here.
In Arkansas, medical marijuana rules expand on Jan 1, 2022, to allow out-of-state patients access to the state program for up to 90 days as well as allow tele-health services with medical marijuana recommendations. Arkansas also looks like it may have an initiative to legalize recreational cannabis use on their 2022 ballot.
The Kansas House approved a medical marijuana bill in 2021, but it has yet to be signed. You can read about it here. The bill itself has been stalled in the Senate, so Kansas Democratic leaders have announced they will be introducing a proposal to allow voters to decide on legalizing medical and adult-use marijuana. More to come for Kansans this year!
Other states that will actively consider ballot measures on legalization look to include Florida, Idaho, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, and Maryland.4
Looking to capitalize on new legislation in your state? Item Grabber Green has all the supplies you need for your legal operation! Learn more about starting a grow operation!