The Future of Cannabis in America

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A little over two decades ago, cannabis was an illegal drug across the board in the United States, both federally and at the state level. While the federal government still hasn’t legalized marijuana and still treats it as a controlled substance — a drug or chemical the government regulates under the premise that it has potential for abuse or addiction — many state governments have largely approved both therapeutic and recreational usage of the drug. States where the use of cannabis in any form remains entirely illegal are now in the minority. During the November 2020 elections, New Jersey, Arizona, South Dakota and Montana voted to legalize the recreational use of cannabis for adults over age 21, and South Dakota and Mississippi also voted to approve the medicinal use of cannabis.

In 2021, New York and Virginia joined the growing group of states that have legalized cannabis for recreational use. With only a handful of states that have not made any legalization steps at all, the future of cannabis seems bright and green. Cannabis is finding its way into TV shows, sports, and other household names.

With most states having legalized the use of cannabis in some capacity, it's clear that the general public's view of marijuana has evolved dramatically since the days when now-hilarious propaganda films like Reefer Madness warned the U.S. population of the plant’s "deadly" effects. In the ensuing decades we’ve learned a lot more about the many medical benefits linked to this once-taboo treatment. But as its use becomes even more widespread and as pushes for federal decriminalization may start to ramp up, it’s becoming increasingly important, too, to take a look at what the future holds for cannabis in the United States.