HomeCBDThe Legalization of Cannabis: Past, Present, and Future

The Legalization of Cannabis: Past, Present, and Future


Cannabis legalization is a controversial and polarizing topic. There are passionate proponents on both sides of the argument. However, there is a growing body of evidence that suggests cannabis legalization could have a positive impact on society.

The legal history of cannabis in the United States is long and complex. Cannabis was widely used in the early days of the American colonies. However, it was soon outlawed by the government. The ban on cannabis remained in place for decades, until it was finally lifted in the 1970s.

Since then, there has been a gradual shift in public opinion regarding cannabis. More and more Americans are now supporting legalization. This is reflected in the fact that several states have passed laws legalizing cannabis for medical or recreational use.

It is clear that the issue of cannabis legalization is not going away anytime soon. It will continue to be debated for years to come. But as more and more states move towards legalization, it seems likely that eventually, nationwide legalization will become a reality.

History of Cannabis Legality

Cannabis or an ounce of weed has been used for centuries, both medicinally and recreationally. However, its legal status has fluctuated greatly over time. Here is a brief history of cannabis legality: 

  • Early History: Cannabis was first used medicinally in Asia around 2700 BC. It then spread to other parts of the world, including Europe and Africa. Recreational use of cannabis also began around this time.
  • 19th Century: In the early 1800s, recreational use of cannabis became more widespread in the United States. At the same time, some states began passing laws that criminalized its use.
  • 20th Century: Federal law criminalized cannabis in 1937 with the passage of the Marihuana Tax Act. This made it difficult to obtain and use for any purpose. Despite this, illegal use continued and even increased in some areas. In 1970, the Controlled Substances Act classified cannabis as a Schedule I drug, effectively making it illegal nationwide.
  • 21st Century: In recent years, there has been a growing movement to legalize cannabis at the state level. As of 2019, 11 states have legalized recreational use and 33 have legalized medical use. The future of cannabis legality remains uncertain but it seems likely that more states will decriminalize or legalize it in the coming years.

Current Status of Cannabis Legality across the U.S.

  • The cannabis plant has been used for centuries for its medicinal and recreational properties. The plant was first classified as a controlled substance in the United States in 1937, and since then, its legal status has been hotly debated. In recent years, there has been a growing movement to decriminalize or legalize cannabis at the state level. As of 2019, 33 states and Washington D.C. have legalized medical cannabis, while 10 states have legalized adult-use (recreational) cannabis.
  • The majority of Americans now support legalization of cannabis. A 2018 Gallup poll found that 64% of Americans believe that cannabis should be made legal. This is up from just 12% in 1969 when the poll was first conducted. Public opinion on cannabis has shifted dramatically over the past few decades as more and more people have come to see the plant as a harmless drug that can offer many benefits.
  • While public opinion has shifted in favor of legalization, the federal government’s stance on cannabis has remained largely unchanged. Cannabis is still classified as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, which means it is considered to have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use. This classification makes it difficult to conduct research on the plant and limits patients’ access to medical cannabis.
  • In spite of federal restrictions, the legal landscape around cannabis is rapidly changing. More and more states are legalizing both medical and recreational use of the plant, with several states considering legalization measures in 2019. As public

Pros and Cons of Legalizing Cannabis

The pros and cons of legalizing cannabis have been debated by lawmakers and the public for years. Some argue that legalization would lead to increased use and abuse of the drug, while others believe that it would provide much-needed tax revenue and generate jobs. Here, we take a look at the pros and cons of legalizing cannabis in more detail.


  • Tax Revenue: Legalizing cannabis would result in additional tax revenue for local and state governments. This revenue could be used to fund education, healthcare, and other vital public services.
  • Jobs: The legal cannabis industry would create new jobs in cultivation, retail, manufacturing, and security.
  • Crime Reduction: Cannabis prohibition has been shown to lead to higher rates of crime. By making cannabis legal, we can take away the illegal market incentive for criminal activity.
  • Health Benefits: Cannabis has been shown to have a number of potential health benefits, including pain relief, anti-inflammatory properties, and seizure control.


  • Increased Use: Some worry that legalizing cannabis would lead to increased use of the drug, particularly among minors. However, research has shown that this is not the case in states where cannabis is already legal. In fact, legalization may even lead to decreased use overall as people substitute cannabis for more harmful substances like alcohol or opioids. 
  • Dangers of Driving While High: Another concern is that legalization would lead to more people driving

Economic Impact of Legalized Cannabis

The legalization of cannabis has had a significant economic impact in the United States. According to a report by the Cato Institute, the legal cannabis industry was worth an estimated $8.7 billion in 2017 and is projected to grow to $28.1 billion by 2021. This growth is largely due to the increasing number of states that have legalized cannabis for either medicinal or recreational use.

As more states legalize cannabis, there will be an increased demand for both legal products and services related to the industry. This includes everything from growers and dispensaries to manufacturers and distributors of cannabis-related products. Ancillary businesses such as accounting, law, and marketing are also expected to see a boost in activity as the industry grows.

The economic impact of legalized cannabis goes beyond just the financial gains for those involved in the industry. Legalization also creates jobs and generates tax revenue for state and local governments. In Colorado, for example, legal cannabis sales generated nearly $200 million in tax revenue in 2017 alone. This money can be used to fund public services such as education, transportation, and infrastructure projects.

Overall, the legalization of cannabis has had a positive economic impact on the United States. With more states expected to legalize in the future, this impact is only expected to grow larger.

What Does the Future Hold for Cannabis?

Cannabis has been used for centuries, but only recently has it become more widely accepted. The future of cannabis is shrouded in potential, with many people believing that it could have a positive impact on society.

However, there are also those who are concerned about the possible negative consequences of legalizing cannabis. Only time will tell what the future holds for this controversial plant.


As the legalization of cannabis continues to grow, so does its potential in both recreational and medicinal terms. With more states embracing it as a safe alternative to traditional medicine, it is clear that the future of cannabis will be brighter than ever. However, despite this progress, there are still many challenges ahead when it comes to achieving full nationwide legalization. It is our hope that through continued education and advocacy, we can make sure that everyone has access to the healing powers of cannabis.

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