Happy 4/20 Day. To commemorate cannabis culture, it’s important to understand the strides that the agricultural business has made. Marijuana is still considered illegal on a federal level, but get this: it is legal in most states for medical or recreational use. 

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Just in November 2023, voters in Ohio chose to make cannabis the 24th state to approve recreational use of marijuana. What’s interesting is the conservative state of Florida will vote on recreational use in November. In 38 states, including Washington, DC, voters and/or legislators have approved some form of cannabis program. 

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear signed a law in late March to legalize medical use in the deeply red state, which will remain in effect until 2025. Twenty-four states and the District of Columbia have passed adult recreational use policies as law.

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There is a lot of gray area regarding legalization policies across medical and recreational. There is much variance between the states regarding the complex nature of regulation and taxation. For example, when it comes to D.C., Congress stopped legal sales, so possession is allowed, but sales are not, technically. That’s weird, but some say it is progress. Now, other states are rolling that way, pun intended, and allowing for small amounts for medicinal use, under strictly mandated situations.

California was the first state to legalize medical cannabis. But it wasn’t until 2012 that Washington and Colorado became the first states to approve legal recreational use.

Since then, the majority of Americans have been increasingly supportive of legal cannabis measures. In 2022, President Joe Biden pardoned a wide range of individuals convicted for simple possession under federal law. He also ordered an official look at marijuana’s status as a Schedule I drug. Schedule I drugs, under federal law, do not have legitimate medical use. If the federal laws reverse this, then that will be a game changer that some believe is long overdue. 

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