Eighteen states, two territories, and also the district of Columbia have actually legalized tiny amounts of cannabis (marijuana) for adult to chat use. In late June, Connecticut became the recent state to legalize the recreational usage of cannabis v the i of SB 1201. Some elements of the bill carry out not take impact immediately, but those 21 years old and higher will be able to recreationally usage cannabis starting July 1, 2021. Top top April 7, 2021, Virginia's legislature welcomed the governor's encourage amendments for a substantially speedier implementation home window for HB 2312 which would certainly legalize to chat cannabis usage in Virginia and establish a regulation commercial market. Brand-new York legalized cannabis with the governor's signature of abdominal muscle 1248, which to be passed during brand-new York's 2021 session. Additionally, on march 30, 2021, brand-new Mexico's legislature introduced its three Regulation Act within their an initial special session. The bill,HB 2a, has actually been signed by the Governor.

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In the 2020 elections, south Dakota voters passed constitutional Amendment A (54%). Easily after the amendment passed, that was challenged in court. ~ above Feb.8, 2021 Circuit referee Christina Klinger ruled the the measure was unconstitutional. The map below summarizes cannabis plan throughout the states as of June 2021.



Colorado and also Washington approved adult-use entertain marijuana measures in 2012. Alaska, Oregon and District the Columbia complied with suit in autumn of 2014. In 2015, Ohio voters defeated a ballot measure that addressed advertisement production and sale of to chat marijuana. On Nov.8, 2016, voters in four states, California, Maine, Massachusetts and also Nevada, approved adult-use entertain marijuana, while voter in Arizona disapproved. In 2018, Michigan voter approved “Proposal 1” by a margin that 56 percent to 44 percent to legalize, regulate, and also tax marijuana in the state. In 2018, Vermont became the an initial state to legalization marijuana for adult use through the legislative process (rather 보다 a ballot initiative.) Vermont’s legislation went into result July 1, 2018. In may 2019, the Illinois general Assembly happen the three Regulation and Tax Act, residence Bill 1438 and also the governor signed the law in June. Recently, new Jersey (AB 21) legalized certain an individual use, if removing marijuana together a schedule ns drug.

Study Efforts

On march 16, 2021, NPR's earth Money released a newsletter entitled The Data on Legalizing Weed. The newsletter discusses researches on crime rates, traffic accidents, prices, jobs, state budgets, and state workers' comp programs.

In 2020, Virginia embraced SJR 67 - having actually Virginia begin it's trip to join the various other states in legalizing cannabis because that recreational use. The resolution starts a study requiring referrals for implementing legalization by July 1, 2022.

In 2018, examine bills were filed in Hawaii, Massachusetts, new Hampshire, new Mexico, north Dakota and Rhode Island. The measures in new Hampshire and Rhode Island were enacted and established commissions to research the legalization, regulation and also taxation that marijuana.

Repeal Efforts

Bills to repeal voter initiatives granting adult-use legal marijuana were introduced in 2018 but did no pass in Washington. Top top February 8, 2021 Circuit referee Christina Klinger rule that south Dakota’s constitution Amendment A was unconstitutional.


Recently, Michigan (HR 151) urged congress of the United says to clarification its position on the legality the marijuana under the Federal regulated Substances Act. Numerous bills before state legislatures in 2018 addressed the federal function in marijuana policies. California pass a resolution urging congress to pass legislation that would enable financial establishments to carry out services to the cannabis industry. Bills or resolutions were introduced in 2018 in Alaska California, Georgia, Iowa, Massachusetts Michigan, new Jersey, and also Pennsylvania contact on congress to reschedule or otherwise allow state authority because that marijuana policy. has sent a letter to congress in 2018 in support of a recently introduced bill to protect state sovereignty with respect come marijuana regulation. also sent a letter in support of language prohibiting the DOJ from making use of justice capital for enforcement actions against states through legal clinical marijuana laws.’s Law, Criminal Justice and also Public security committee also recently spread a plan resolution ~ above cannabis.

Under commonwealth law, marijuana is still a Schedule ns illegal substance.


Twenty-seven states and also the ar of Columbia have actually decriminalized little amounts that marijuana. This generally way certain small, personal-consumption quantities are a polite or neighborhood infraction, not a state crime (or are a lowest misdemeanor v no opportunity of jail time). In 2014 and also preceding the effective legalization ballot measure, the ar of Columbia spread legislation, i beg your pardon passed congressional review, and made possession or transport without remuneration that one oz or less of marijuana a civil violation.

Decriminalization Enactments 2020

Delaware (S 45) makes the possession, use, or usage of a an individual use amount of marijuana a civil violation for juveniles.New Jersey (AB 5342) revises consequences for underage possession or intake of various develops of cannabis.Virginia (HB 972) decriminalizes basic marijuana possession and also provides a polite penalty, if such human being is smoking, consuming, or otherwise eat marijuana in a public ar at the moment of the violation.

Decriminalization Enactments 2013 - 2019

New Mexico likewise passed HB 323 in 2019 and it walk into effect on July 1, 2019. The penalty because that the possession of approximately a fifty percent an ounce of marijuana is a $50 civil fine, instead of potential prison time. In 2019, north Dakota passed residence Bill 1050. The invoice goes into effect August 1, 2019 and also reclassifies possession of up to a half an oz of marijuana as an infraction the carries a maximum well of $1000. In 2017, brand-new Hampshire became the recent state come decriminalize (HB 640) little amounts that marijuana. Fines for possession of up three-quarters that an oz of marijuana were diminished from $2,000 to simply $100 because that a first or second offense. In 2016, brand-new Hampshire passed regulation (SB 498) that made possession the one oz or less of marijuana an unspecified misdemeanor, stopping quick of decriminalization.In 2016, the Illinois basic Assembly enacted and the governor signed regulation (SB 2228) come decriminalize 10 grams or much less of marijuana, making the an infraction that does not an outcome in a criminal record.In beforehand 2016, the Maryland general Assembly overrode the governor's veto of a 2015 measure (SB 517) the decriminalized marijuana paraphernalia and imposes polite fines of $500 because that public three use.In 2019, new York enacted Senate invoice 6589, which made possession of much less than one ounce a violation punishable by $200.00 fine.


Other state action have decreased criminal penalties because that marijuana convictions, generally complying with a tendency to minimize adverse results of part marijuana crimes. In the past decade, regulation in at least 16 claims haveamended marijuana penalties.

Significant regulation in 2019 & 2020 affecting marijuana penalties included:

Delaware (S 47) walk an review to itsdrug code through a goal of providing an ext fairness in its application; removing geographical based renovations that disproportionately impact those living in urban areas as opposed to suburban and rural areas; to reduce the variety of weight tiers; enhanced penalties for transferring cannabis in a institution or ~ above school residential property while in session with enrolled students freed from the violation.Illinois (H 160) amplified penalties for carrying cannabis in a institution or on school property.

Significant regulation in 2017 influence marijuana penalty included:

Kansas (SB 112) decreased the severity level for unlawful possession for drug paraphernalia from a course A to a course B non-person misdemeanor.Montana’s scan sentencing bill (HB 133) has provisions that reduced penalties because that possession that marijuana under 60 grams to a misdemeanor v no prison time.North Dakota (HB 1041) lessened the drug possession (including marijuana) fee level native a course C felony come a class A misdemeanor for first-time offenders and establishes probation together the presumptive sentence because that low-level, nonviolent felonies. Another bill (HB 1269) diminished mandatory minimum sentence for controlled substances including marijuana.To develop consistency in state legislation in solution to measure 91, Oregon spread (SB 302) i m sorry repealed part penalties concerned unlawful possession the marijuana.West Virginia (HB 2579) boosted the penalties because that transporting controlled substances into the state but provided a differing, lesser penalty because that an offense entailing marijuana.

Significant regulation in 2016 influence marijuana penalties included:

Vermont (HB 858) elevated to one oz the lot of marijuana being unlawfully marketed or dispensed for which one imprisonment penalty applies.Indiana lawmakers enacted a penalty measure (SB 290) the sets amounts of drugs for which a person may be judge of possession v intent to provide without added evidence of trafficking. The marijuana quantity is 10 pounds or more.A Maryland it spreads widely (HB 565) made possession of 10 grams or much more of marijuana a misdemeanor.In Minnesota, an action (SB 3481) modification threshold quantities for numerous drugs, consisting of marijuana. The enactment additionally created new possession crimes because that specified quantities of marijuana plants and also a brand-new gross misdemeanor violation for possession offenses entailing trace quantities of drugs.Oklahoma (HB 2479) shortened sentences for plenty of drug crimes, including marijuana possession.An it spreads widely in Louisiana diminished criminal penalty for part drug paraphernalia offenses and also removed such offenses as a property conviction for sentence improvement purposes.A justice reinvestment act in Maryland (HB 1312) addressed mandatory penalties for possession and also distribution of 50 pounds or much more of marijuana.A Delaware (HB 332) enactment permits probation before judgment because that misdemeanor marijuana offenses.

Significant legislation in 2015 affect marijuana penalty included:

Utah lawmakers enacted vast sentencing and also corrections reform law (HB 348) that contained reduction of most marijuana penalty to misdemeanors.A Connecticut plot (HB 7104) developed a brand-new penalty structure that makes half an ounce or much more of marijuana a class A misdemeanor instead of a felony. Various other drug possession likewise became a misdemeanor quite than a felony, while courts have options for repeat offenses.An action in Wyoming in 2015 (SB 38) provided for deferred start for very first offenses of utilizing or gift under the influence of regulated substances, including marijuana.The north Dakota legislative branch Assembly enacted a invoice (HB 1394) that decreased from a course A come a course B misdemeanor the possession of less than one ounce of marijuana.Legislation approved in Louisiana (HB 149) produced graduated penalties for marijuana possession based on amounts and variety of convictions.And a 2015 Texas plot (HB 642) enables judges to require that minors who possess marijuana participate in drug education programming.

Significant legislation in 2014 influence marijuana penalties included:

A Mississippi (HB 585) measure addressed medicine courts and also penalties for specific drug possession offenses, consisting of marijuana.Utah (SB 205) provided that enhanced sentences for part drug possession crimes, consisting of marijuana, may not result in an offense greater than a second-degree felony.Oklahoma legislation (SB 1875) permits a deferred sentence for particular drug offenders, consisting of marijuana, and also provides for no conviction document upon perfect of conditions.

Record Clearing

Forty-one states, 2 territories, and the district of Columbia all have record clearing laws which may apply to cannabis. That these, seven states record clearing laws specifically address cannabis offenses. For extr information watch our Cannabis document Clearing resource.

Significant regulation in 2020 related to expungement:

Michigan (HB 4982) modifies the set-aside process for specific marihuana offenses.New Jersey (AB 1897) raises awareness for available expungement relief for cannabis offenses.

Significant regulation in 2019 concerned expungement:

Illinois’ 2019 three Regulation and Tax Act allows the state to automatically grant clemency to residents who to be convicted for possessing up to 30 grams of cannabis. A human can also petition a court to obtain charges rescinded if they were convicted with between 30 and also 500 grams the cannabis.New Hampshire enacted house Bill 399 in 2019, which offers an opportunity for those convicted of offenses involving the possession of three-quarters of one ounce of three or much less to petition the court to have their convictions annulled. If the prosecuting attorney does no object come the request within ten days, the petition will be granted.

Significant regulation in 2018 pertained to expungement:

California (AB 1793) addresses expungement that records. Proposition 64, the ballot measure that legalized entertain marijuana usage for world 21 and older also contained language for the “resentencing and also destruction of documents for prior marijuana convictions”. A process for the expungement of records was not specified in the ballot measure and ab 1793 created such a process. The room of Justice must now search its state criminal background information because that eligible instances from 1975 come 2016 and also notify prosecutors of all eligible cases in your jurisdiction. Prosecutors throughout the state have actually one year to difficulty any instance they carry out not agree is eligible because that resentencing, case dismissal or expungement.Massachusetts (M.G.L c276 § 100A and M. G.L. C. 94G, § 13) allows the sealing of records for offenses that room no longer crimes, therefore, a past criminal situation for possession the marijuana under 2 ounces have the right to be sealed there is no a wait period.Delaware spread 2017 Senate invoice 197, which gives for automatic expungement the both conviction and also arrest records for those fee or judge of certain marijuana offenses before December 18, 2015.

Significant regulation in 2017 pertained to expungement:

Colorado (HB 1266) now permits defendants convicted of misdemeanor offense for usage or possession the marijuana come petition to seal criminal records if offense would certainly not have been a crime if cursed on or after ~ Dec. 10, 2012.Maryland (SB 949) decreased the waiting duration for expungement the a marijuana possession violation from 10 year to four years.The Nevada Assembly and Senate both happen a measure (AB 259) the would have actually permitted those through criminal convictions because that offenses involving the possession the one ounce or much less of marijuana before Jan. 1, 2017 to have actually their convictions vacated. The measure was vetoed by the governor.

Significant regulation in 2016 concerned expungement:

Missouri (SB 588) increased eligibility for, reduces wait periods, and also creates presumption in favor of expungement if specific criteria are met, for every misdemeanors and also many felonies, including yet not limited to marijuana crimes.New Hampshire (SB 391) amended to 2 year the waiting duration for petitioning because that annulment the a misdemeanor marijuana or hashish offense.An Oregon it spreads widespread (SB1598) instructed courts through respect come expungement orders for marijuana convictions because that offenses the no much longer are a crime.

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Significant legislation in 2015 regarded expungement:

Following the successful legalization ballot measure there, an plot in Oregon (SB 364) now requires courts to think about set-aside of records of certain misdemeanor marijuana offenses once probation has been properly completed; and also another Oregon act (SB 844) do eligible for expunction one adjudication for marijuana possession crimes.Laws in Maryland (SB 651) and also Vermont (SB 115) allow expungement that an offense for which the underlying command is no much longer a criminal offense. Similarly, a Rhode Island act (SB 518) noted that records of marijuana violations space not open to the public.

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