In December 2020, the U.N. Commission on Narcotic Drugs voted to reclassify cannabis, potentially making this decision a watershed moment. This vote took the substance off of the strict list that includes dangerous and highly addictive drugs which in turn is easing restrictions on research into marijuana’s therapeutic use and medical benefits. While the vote isn’t predicted to have an immediate impact on loosening international controls, many nations will look to global conventions like this for guidance.
The overhaul of cannabis policy around legalization has undoubtedly moved at a rapid pace over the past few years. While still a sticky topic on a federal level and unevenly addressed, 34 states in the U.S. have taken part in decriminalizing and legalizing medical use as well as recreational use of cannabis. Here is a state-by-state breakdown of legislation passed so far in 2021, a history of states that have already legalized recreational use and other legalization initiatives in the works.