Timeline of cannabis laws in the United States
|Timeline of medical marijuana legalization in the USA|
The legal history of cannabis in the United States began with state-level prohition in the early 20th century, with the first major federal limitations occurring in 1937. Starting with Oregon in 1973, individual states began to liberalize cannabis laws through decriminalization. In 1996, California was the first state to legalize medical cannabis, sparking a trend that spread across most other US states. In 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize cannabis for recreational use.
- 1937: The Marijuana Tax Act is passed, effectively prohibiting all use of cannabis on a federal level.
- 1970: The Controlled Substances Act is passed, prohibiting cannabis federally along with several other drugs and replacing the 1937 act.
- 2014: The United States House of Representatives passed a bill prohibiting the DEA from using funds to arrest medical cannabis patients in states with medical cannabis laws.
- 1911: Massachusetts requires a prescription for sales of "Indian hemp"
- 1913: Maine, Wyoming, and Indiana ban marijuana
- 1915: Utah and Vermont ban marijuana
- 1917: Colorado legislators made the use and cultivation of cannabis a misdemeanor;
- 1923: Iowa, Oregon, Washington, and Vermont ban marijuana
- 1927: New York, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, and Nebraska ban marijuana
- 1931: Illinois bans marijuana.
- 1933: North Dakota and Oklahoma ban marijuana. By this year, 29 states have criminalized cannabis.
- 1973: Oregon decriminalized cannabis.
- 1975: Alaska's Supreme Court establishes that the right to privacy includes possession of small amounts of marijuana
- 1976: Maine decriminalized cannabis.
- 1977: South Dakota decriminalized cannabis, but repealed that law "almost immediately" afterward.
- 1973-1978: California, Colorado, Mississippi, New York, Nebraska, North Carolina, and Ohio decriminalized cannabis. Certain cities and counties, particularly in California, adopted laws to further decriminalize cannabis.
- 1978: New Mexico passes the Controlled Substances Therapeutic Research Act, becoming the first state to pass legislation recognizing the medical value of marijuana.
- 1979: Virginia passed legislation allowing doctors to recommend cannabis for glaucoma or the side effects of chemotherapy.
- 1982: Alaska's legislature decriminalizes possession of cannabis
- 1990: Alaska re-criminalizes cannabis by voter initiative, restoring criminal penalties for possession of any amount of cannabis
Medical marijuana begins
- 1996: California legalized medical cannabis. (California proposition 215)
- 1996: First marijuana dispensary, Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana appears in Fairfax, California, USA.
- 1998: Oregon legalized medical cannabis. (Oregon Medical Marijuana Act)
- 1999: Maine legalized medical cannabis.
- 2000: Nevada and Colorado legalized medical cannabis.
- 2004: Montana legalized medical cannabis.
- 2007: New Mexico and Vermont legalized medical cannabis.
- 2008: Michigan legalized medical cannabis. Massachusetts decriminalized cannabis.
- 2010: New Jersey and Arizona legalized medical cannabis. (Arizona's proposition 203)
- 2010: California decriminalizes possession to a civil infraction
- 2012: Massachusetts legalized medical cannabis. (Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Initiative)
Recreational legalization begins
- 2012: Colorado and Washington legalized recreational marijuana for adults 21 years of age or older.
- 2014: Maryland decriminalized cannabis. Minnesota and New York legalized medical cannabis.
- 2014: Utah legalizes CBD oil, becoming the first state to legalize a cannabis-based medicine without legalizing medical cannabis entirely.
- 2014: Oklahoma legalizes trials of CBD oil.
- 2014: Alaska and Oregon legalized recreational cannabis. Alaska's law took effect on February 25, 2015. Oregon's initiative began on July 1, 2015.
- 2015: Georgia legalized CBD oil.
- 2015: Texas legalized CBD oil.
- 2015: Delaware decriminalized cannabis.
- 2016: Ohio, and Pennsylvania legalized medical cannabis via legislature
- 2016: Illinois decriminalized cannabis.
- 2016: California, Nevada, Maine and Massachusetts legalized recreational cannabis via ballot initiative.
- 2016: Florida, North Dakota, and Arkansas legalized medical cannabis via ballot initiative.
- 1906: Washington DC requires a prescription for cannabis drugs.
- 1915: El Paso, Texas restricts cannabis.
- 1974: Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, Michigan, reduce cannabis possession to a civil infraction.
- 1998: Washington D.C. attempted to legalize medical cannabis with the passage of Initiative 59, but was prevented by the Barr Amendment from putting the new law into action until 2009, with the first legal medical sales occurring in 2013.
- 2004: Oakland, California passes Measure Z, making private adult cannabis offenses the lowest possible priority for law enforcement, establishing a system to regulate, tax, and sell cannabis pending state legalization, and urging legalization on the state and national levels.
- 2005: Denver, Colorado legalized cannabis.
- 2009: Breckenridge, Colorado legalized cannabis.
- 2013: Portland, Maine legalized cannabis.
- 2014: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania decriminalized cannabis.
- 2014: Washington D.C.'s City Council decriminalized cannabis in July, and the electorate voted in November to legalize recreational marijuana with 69% in favor. A Congressional rider prevented DC from permitting retail marijuana stores. On February 26, 2015, marijuana became legal in D.C. for adults aged 21 and over to possess, gift and grow but not to sell.
- 2014: New York City, New York decriminalized cannabis.
- 2015: Wichita, Kansas, decriminalizes possession of cannabis.
- 2015: Toledo, Ohio decriminalizes possession of 200 grams of cannabis or less to a citation.
- 2016: Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee, decriminalize possession of small amounts of cannabis, with Memphis reducing punishment to a $50 fine.
- 2016: the Ohio cities of Bellaire, Logan, Newark and Roseville decriminalize possession of 200 grams of cannabis or less to a citation.
- 2014: Guam legalized medical cannabis.
- 2014: United States Virgin Islands decriminalizes cannabis.
- 2015: Puerto Rico legalizes medical cannabis by executive order.
- 2014: The US Justice Department allowed recognized Indian Reservations to regulate cannabis laws within their reservation. The laws in the reservations are allowed to be different from state and federal laws. As with State and Territories, the Federal government will not intervene as long as the reservations regulate strict control over cannabis. Some domestic nations such as the Yakama Nation and the Oglala Sioux Tribal Council rejected the approval to allow cannabis on their reservation.
- 2015: The Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe (South Dakota) voted to legalize recreational cannabis on its territory.
- 2015: President Barack Obama declared his support of cannabis decriminalization but opposition to legalization.
- 1969: Gallup first begins to poll the public on support for legalizing marijuana; the 1969 result was 12% in favor.
- 2011: Gallup reported a record 50% of Americans surveyed supported legalization.
- 2013: The Pew Research Center presented U.S. survey results that showed prohibition support as a minority position for the first time in four decades: 52% supported legalization. Gallup reported a record 58% of Americans support nationwide legalization.
- 2014: Research conducted by the Pew Research Center in February showed an increase in the percentage of legalization supporters, from 52% to 54%, while the New York Times published its Editorial Boards series "High Time: An Editorial Series on Marijuana Legalization" in July.
- 2015: Gallup reported a record 58% of Americans support marijuana legalization.
- Timeline of cannabis
- Decriminalization of non-medical cannabis in the United States
- Legality of cannabis by U.S. jurisdiction
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