Cannabis laws are changing in these 11 US states

Published Jan 13, 2023 02:00 p.m. ET
Unsplash / Alexander Grey

Americans are celebrating as several new cannabis laws make their way into the books this week and more are on the horizon. Though the country has yet to embrace cannabis at a federal level, each state is making moves that will usher in a better, brighter future for both consumers and the industry. Here we’ll explain what these new laws mean and how they will be implemented where that information is available.

1. California

Cannabis taxes may go up slightly for consumers as the state has changed the way it collects excise tax taking it from the distributor to retailers. At the same time, both medium and large cannabis growing licenses became legal in California on January 1st, which should work to bring cannabis supplies up and prices down.

California patients also received new rights to use medical cannabis with opioids with AB 1954 protecting a patient’s right to medical treatment even if they choose to use cannabis. Advocacy group California NORML championed the law, which states, “A physician and surgeon shall not automatically deny treatment or medication to a qualified patient based solely on a positive drug screen for THC or report of medical cannabis use without first completing a case-by-case evaluation of the patient that includes, but is not limited to, a determination that the qualified patient’s use of medical cannabis is medically significant to the treatment or medication.”

Parents in California also won new rights to responsibly use cannabis, now that AB2595 requires social workers to treat cannabis use in the same way as alcohol or prescription medication. Legalization Proposition 64 protected medical cannabis patients with children, and AB2595 extends those rights to adult-use consumers.

Terminally ill patients here also received the right to self-administer cannabinoids in hospice settings. SB 988 requires healthcare facilities to “develop and disseminate written guidelines for the use and disposal of medicinal cannabis within the health care facility pursuant to this chapter.”
California lawmakers here also made it easier to do business in this heavily regulated state.

Cannabis events may be hosted by bars under AB 2210, and green businesses will find it easier get insured under AB 2568, which clarifies that insurers aren’t breaking the law by serving the weed industry. Dogs and cats taking cannabidiol for anxiety also got more rights thanks to the introduction of AB 1885, which protects vets who wish to prescribe or recommend cannabinoid therapy.

2. New York

New York will one day become America’s second biggest legal cannabis market, now that dispensary sales began at the end of December and more stores are expected in the coming days and weeks.

3. Oregon

Oregon is helping its green industry to grow with new laws taking effect on January 1st. Retailers here may now offer discounts like half off a specific brand or strain, but they cannot offer buy one get one free deals. Oregon cannabis deliveries may now cross county lines, and walk-up options at dispensaries in this state are fully legal. However drive-thru Oregon dispensaries will only remain tolerated.

4. Colorado

In Colorado, the decriminalization of psychedelic mushrooms to effect in the beginning of 2023 on January 4th. However, the cultivation and sales of these products still carry criminal penalties. At the same time, medical cannabis transfers just got a whole lot easier for doctors and patients under state law.

5. Connecticut

A law introduced in 2021 that legalized adult-use cannabis takes effect in Connecticut this month. The state has also begun automatically expunging cannabis convictions from 2000 to 2015 for possession of fewer than 4 ounces. Adult-use sales began on January 10th while cultivating for personal use at home remains banned.

6. Missouri

Missouri officially legalized cannabis in 2022, and possession rights began late in the year, but in 2023 this state will finally see cannabis retailers open to the public.

7. Maryland

Maryland decriminalized the possession of up to 1.5 ounces on January 1st of this year. Full legalization will begin in the coming months.

8. Illinois

Sadly, in this state, the pandemic-inspired policy allowing curbside pickup at cannabis retailers expired on January 1st. Illinois initially began sales in 2020 and currently has 177 active dispensary licenses.

9. Kentucky

Medical cannabis consumers in this state who have been charged with the possession of up to 8 ounces of flower, may be eligible to receive a complete and conditional pardon, thanks to an order by Governor Andy Beshear that came into effect on January 1st of this year.

10. Oklahoma

Oklahoma is ready to hold a special election in March of this year on adult-use legalization, suggesting that this state may soon also legalize cannabis.

11. Vermont

Vermont is going to lift its THC cap on cannabis flower buds and hash. According to the current rules, cannabis flower may not test higher than 30% THC, and extracts may not exceed 60% THC. Only two states in the US have these caps in place. To date, approximately 25 adult-use cannabis retailers have opened in Vermont.

Did we miss any important changes to US cannabis laws? If so, let us know by dropping a comment down below.

US states with the most cannabis dispensaries


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