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Legalizing Medical Marijuana - The Past, Present, and Future

Updated: Feb 22, 2020

Going green has taken on a new meaning in the United States. Less than two decades ago, marijuana was illegal in all 50 U.S. states. Thirty-three U.S. states now have broad legislation in place that allows the use of marijuana in some form.

Think of the states as dominoes lined up one by one. When the first domino topples, it leads to a chain reaction that causes most, if not all, of the others to fall. That's what has happened and continues to happen with state legalization of marijuana. The timeline for marijuana legalization in the U.S. shows how those dominoes keep falling.

Decriminalization vs. legalization

Let's first differentiate two actions states have taken with respect to marijuana. Decriminalization refers to the relaxation of criminal penalties associated with personal marijuana use. Oregon was the first state to decriminalize marijuana in 1973. The state imposed just a $100 fine for possession of up to an ounce. Read More


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