Cannabis has come a long way since 2012 when Colorado blazed a trail becoming the first state to legalize its recreational use. In the nine years since, 17 more states have followed Colorado’s lead, fully legalizing the recreational use of cannabis, and 36 now have legal medical marijuana programs.
The latest wave of cannabis legalization came during the 2020 election, with Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, South Dakota, and Vermont voting to legalize recreational use, and several more voting to legalize in the months that followed.
With the landscape of legalization changing rapidly, it can be hard to keep track of when and where you can purchase cannabis throughout the US. To get you up to speed, here is a look at the states that have recently passed cannabis legislation, and when you will officially be able to purchase cannabis in newly legal states.
Cannabis Legalized States
- Alabama: In May 2021, Governor Kay Ivey signed Alabama’s first-ever medical marijuana law, legalizing medical marijuana for adults and minors with an approved medical condition. However, it could take until September 2022 before the application system begins approving patients for their medical marijuana cards.
- Arizona: In November 2020. Arizonans voted in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older. Licensed dispensaries are now selling cannabis throughout the state.
- Connecticut: Recreational cannabis was legalized through the state legislature on July 1st, 2021. Although you can now possess up to 1.5 ounces, retail stores will not open in Connecticut at least until May 2022.
- Montana: The state approved a ballot measure in 2020 to legalize recreational marijuana. Recreational sales are expected to begin on January 1, 2022.
- New Jersey: It is now legal to possess cannabis in Garden State, but recreational sales will not begin until some time in 2022.
- New Mexico: Personal recreational use of cannabis is legal in New Mexico, as is growing marijuana at home for personal use. Recreational sales will likely begin in April 2022.
- New York: State lawmakers approved a bill legalizing recreational cannabis in July 2021. Dates are not yet known for when dispensaries will be selling to the public, but it is expected to be sometime in 2022.
- South Dakota: Although the state passed Amendment A in 2020 to legalize both medical and recreational cannabis, the decision is now going to court. A judge ruled the amendment unconstitutional due to violating the state’s single-subject rule by including both recreational and medical. The fate of recreational cannabis in South Dakota is now pending a ruling from the state’s Supreme Court.
- Vermont: The state legalized commercial recreational cannabis sales in October 2018. The possession and use of cannabis have been legal in Vermont since 2018. Recreational sales are not expected to begin until October 2022.
- Virginia: As of July 1, 2021, the possession, use, and cultivation of cannabis for personal use are now legal for adults over 21 in Virginia. Recreational sales are not expected to begin until 2024.
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