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Cannabis in the United States: The laws of the land in 2019

Author(s): Rob Lando

Dec 13, 2019

Canada made history in October 2018 by becoming the first major country in the world to legalize the “adult use” of cannabis for recreational purposes at both the federal and provincial government levels. That watershed development in Canada was all the more significant in contrast to the regulatory morass in the United States, where state laws legalizing cannabis for medical or recreational use continued to be overshadowed by the U.S. federal law decreeing the cultivation, sale and use of cannabis to be a federal crime across every state in the land, even for the most compelling medical purposes.

This progress continued in Canada in 2019, as we discuss in our article on Canadian cannabis developments. In the United States, as 2019 draws to a close, cannabis is legal for medical use under state law in more than 30 states, and is even legal for adult recreational use under state law in more than 10 states. However, cannabis continues to be illegal under U.S. federal law in all states – unless it is hemp.