2022 marked yet another successful year for the advancement of marijuana policy reform in the United States. Three additional states – Maryland, Missouri, and Rhode Island – took action to legalize adult-use marijuana possession and regulate the retail cannabis market. Two of these states did so via voter initiative while the other state (Rhode Island) did so legislatively. A total of 21 states – comprising just under half of all US residents – now have laws on the books regulating adult-use marijuana consumption, production, and retail sales.
View Legislation by Category
Public officials and lawmakers continued to take steps to provide legal remedies for those tens of millions of Americans with marijuana-related convictions on their records. President Joe Biden announced in October that he was pardoning several thousand people with federal marijuana possession convictions. At the state level, Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced her intent to pardon over 45,000 people with low-level cannabis convictions. In January, Colorado Governor Jared Polis similarly provided mass pardon relief for those with prior convictions. In Pennsylvania, the governor and Board of Pardons announced a new effort in September to expedite pardons to low-level cannabis offenders. In Kentucky, Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear signed an executive order promising pardons to those who possess and use cannabis for medicinal purposes. (Medical cannabis is not legally available in Kentucky.) These actions follow those of governors in Illinois, Nevada, Washington, and elsewhere who have similarly issued mass pardons to those with marijuana convictions.
California lawmakers enacted legislation further facilitating the review and expungement of cannabis-related criminal records. Under existing law, officials have already taken steps to vacate an estimated 200,000 convictions. The new law is anticipated to result in an additional 220,000 expungements. In Massachusetts, a Supreme Court decision in September opened the door for mass marijuana-related expungements in that state. Both Maryland and Missouri’s new legalization laws also contain provisions providing for the expungement of past records. Illinois lawmakers in 2022 expanded their existing expungement law so that officials could no longer deny relief to eligible petitioners over a failed drug test for cannabis. Two-dozen states now have laws on the books facilitating the sealing or expunging of marijuana-related convictions. Calculations by NORML estimate that over two million Americans have had their marijuana-related convictions vacated in recent years as a result of these policies.
As has been the case in past years, lawmakers in several states enacted laws in 2022 expanding patients’ access to cannabis. In February, Missisipppi became the 37th state to legalize and regulate the production and dispensing of medical cannabis to authorized patients. Legislators passed the law following a court decision nullifying a 2020 voter initiative that sought to legalize it. Other states enacted laws expanding the pool of patients who may legally access medical cannabis products, among other related changes. Louisiana, Utah, and Missouri enacted laws protecting authorized medical consumers from being discriminated against in the workplace, while lawmakers in California, Rhode Island and Washington, D.C. extended workplace protections to all adult-use consumers.
This state-level legislative progress once again reaffirms the reality that the majority of the public supports meaningful marijuana reforms and that lawmakers are responding accordingly. According to recent polling, nearly seven in ten Americans, including majorities of all major subgroups by gender, age, income and education, and including majorities of Democrats, Independents, and Republicans, believe that the use of marijuana should be made legal. Public and political support for legislative changes in marijuana laws will continue to grow in 2023 and beyond. As we look ahead to next year’s state legislative sessions, we expect to see lawmakers continue to advance many of these same issues in other states. As always, NORML will be tracking the progress of these legislative efforts and providing alerts and status updates.
Your support helps ensure cannabis consumers are represented in the political process and powers our movement to end prohibition once and for all. Become a NORML member and join our efforts.
House Bill 1: Maryland House Bill 1 (Question 4) amends the State’s constitution, establishing that, on or after July 1, 2023, an individual in the State who is at least 21 years old may use and possess cannabis. Read more.
House Bill 837: This legislation compliments HB 1 by defining marijuana possession limits and facilitating the review and expungement of low-level cannabis convictions. The legislation permits adults to possess up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis and/or 12 grams of cannabis concentrates beginning in July 2023. (Between January 1, 2023 and July 1, 2023, civil penalties will apply.) Adults will also be permitted to grow up to two cannabis plants in their homes for their own personal use. Possessing amounts between 1.5 ounces and 2.5 ounces will be subject to civil fines, while the possession of greater quantities will remain subject to existing criminal penalties. Those with past records for marijuana-related crimes can also begin petitioning the courts for expungement relief beginning next year. Read more.
Amendment 3: Amendment 3 legalizes the purchase, possession, consumption, use, delivery, manufacturing, and sale of marijuana for personal use for adults over the age of 21. It facilitates a review process so that individuals convicted of non-violent marijuana-related offenses will have their records expunged, and it enacts a six percent tax on the sale of marijuana. Read more.
H 7593: The “Rhode Island Cannabis Act” allows adults in the state of Rhode Island (21 years and up) to possess, home-cultivate, and purchase limited amounts of cannabis. The Act has several equity and expungement components as well, including the re-investment of tax revenue from cannabis sales into communities most harmed by prohibition, and programs to help social equity applicants wishing to enter the market. It additionally facilitates the automatic review and expungement of past criminal records. Read more.
Assembly Bill 1706: This law facilitates existing efforts to review and expunge the records of those Californians with certain cannabis-related convictions on their records. It provides the courts with a March 1, 2023 deadline to update their case records and transmit them to the Department of Justice (DOJ), which maintains the state criminal history database and responds to background checks. AB 1706 also requires the Department to conduct a public awareness campaign highlighting the program to those communities most likely to benefit from it.
Senate Bill 22-099: The law streamlines the existing automatic record sealing process for marijuana offenders and extends it to all marijuana-related offenses, including civil infractions. It also provides employment and tenant protections for those with a sealed criminal record.
Senate Bill 1186: The law preempts local bans on medicinal cannabis delivery, thereby expanding patients’ access to legal, regulated cannabis products.
Assembly Bill 1954: The law prevents physicians and surgeons from automatically denying either treatments or medications to patients solely because they consume medical cannabis or because they have tested positive for THC on a drug screen. AB 1954 also ensures that the use of medical cannabis does not constitute use of an illicit substance if it has been recommended by a licensed physician and surgeon, and it protects physicians and surgeons from punishment for administering medical cannabis to a qualified patient. Read more.
House Bill 604: This bill establishes the Kentucky Center for Cannabis Research at the University of Kentucky. Roles of the Center are defined as follows: “Conduct and fund research, [including clinical trials,] related to cannabis and cannabis derivatives, including pharmaceutical development and the efficacies of cannabis and cannabis derivatives for the treatment of certain medical conditions and diseases; Conduct and fund research related to the health effects, including the potential risks or side effects, of the use of cannabis and cannabis derivatives; (c) Conduct and fund research related to the efficacy and potential health effects of various cannabis delivery methods, including but not limited to vaporizing, ingestibles, topical applications, and combustion; Review current and future cannabis research literature, clinical studies, and clinical trials.” Read more.
Legislative Document 1928: This law expands legal protections for the designated caregivers of medical cannabis patients and provides physicians with the ability to consult with their patients and issue cannabis authorizations via telehealth, among other changes. Read more.
Senate Bill 2095: This creates a medical cannabis access program in the state of Mississippi. The Act permits qualified patients to purchase up to 3.5 grams of cannabis flower or up to one gram of cannabis concentrate per day from licensed dispensaries. Patients are limited to purchasing no more than three ounces of cannabis flower per month. The measure places no limit on the number of licensed dispensaries that may be operational at any one time. Cannabis purchases are subject to the state’s 7 percent sales tax and an additional 5 percent excise tax. Read more.
House Bill 311: An amendment to this law seeks to provide legal protections to banks and insurers that work with licensed medical marijuana businesses. Amendment 5137 states that no cannabis-based business can be denied any rights or privileges by a state agency only based on their lawful participation in the medical marijuana program.
Senate Bill 6: This law states that a qualified medical cannabis patient “may not be refused enrollment by a school or a lease by a landlord, or otherwise be penalized by a school or landlord solely for the person’s status as a cardholder.”
Senate Bill 7: This law mandates that “no person may be denied custody of, visitation rights with, or parenting time with a minor solely because the person is a [medical cannabis patent] cardholder.”
House Bill 0666: The “Veterans Medical Cannabis Access Act” authorizes disabled veterans with quadriplegia or paraplegia to possess and use liquid cannabis extracts if such products were purchased in a legal state. Read more.
House Bill 2641: This establishes a limited medical cannabis program under the purview of the medical cannabis commission. HB2641 also redefines the term “marijuana” to exclude products containing less than 0.9 percent delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol. Read more.
Senate Bill 0195: The law expands patients’ access to medical marijuana within the state by amending the qualifying conditions to include those experiencing acute pain that would otherwise be treated with opioids.
House Bill 933: This bill amends the definition of “cannabis oil” by removing the requirement that only oil from industrial hemp be used in the formulation of extract products. HB 933 also removes many of the Board of Pharmacy’s patient registration requirements for medical cannabis, but maintains the requirement that patients obtain written certification from a health care provider for medical cannabis. Read more.
Bill 24-0630: Among other changes to the law, B24-0630 increases the amount of dried cannabis a qualifying patient may possess at any one time from 4 ounces to 8 ounces.
Bill 24-0887: This amends the Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Treatment Initiative of 1999 to allow individuals 21 years of age and older to self-certify that they are utilizing cannabis for medical purposes. Read more.
Bill B24-0981: This allows non-residents to self-certify as medical marijuana patients while they’re visiting Washington, D.C. without the need for a doctor’s recommendation.
Assembly Bill 2188: This bill makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against or penalize a person in any term or condition of employment if the discrimination is only based solely upon a positive drug screen for the presence of the carboxy THC metabolite. Read more.
House Bill 988: This law provides employment protections for qualified patients who lawfully consume medical marijuana while away from their jobs. HB 988 does not alter existing law regarding the consumption of cannabis while at work, which is strictly prohibited. Read more.
Senate Bill 46: The law strengthens protections for medical cannabis patients and makes other technical changes to the state’s medical cannabis access program. Specifically, SB 46 limits state employers from taking punitive actions against employees who consume cannabis products at home in compliance with the state’s medical marijuana access law. Read more.
Bill B24-0109: This law (a.k.a. The Cannabis Employment Protections Amendment Act) prohibits employers, with certain exceptions, from “refus[ing] to hire, terminat[ing] from employment, suspend[ing], fail[ing] to promote, demot[ing], or penaliz[ing] an individual” due to an individual’s off-the-job use of cannabis, status as a medical cannabis patient, or due to “the presence of cannabinoid metabolites in [their] bodily fluids in an employer-required or requested drug test without additional factors indicating impairment.” Read more.
Legislative Document 1957: This removes prohibitions on participation in the cannabis industry for persons convicted of drug offenses. LD 1957 also replaces the term “marijuana” with the term “cannabis” in the Maine Revised Statutes. Read more.
Senate Bill 3096: The law promotes greater diversity among those participating in the state’s licensed cannabis industry by creating a “Cannabis Social Equity Trust Fund to encourage the full participation… of entrepreneurs from communities that have been disproportionately harmed by marijuana prohibition and enforcement.” Money in the fund “shall be used to make grants and loans, including no-interest loans and forgivable loans, to social equity program participants and economic empowerment priority applicants.” Read more.
Assembly Bill 2595: The law mandates that social workers who are called to investigate child welfare handle parental marijuana use the same way they handle alcohol.
Assembly Bill 195: AB 195 includes several labor and tax-based changes, one of which is the imposition of the 15 percent cannabis excise tax on gross receipts of any retail sale by a cannabis retailer beginning on January 1, 2023. This change to the state’s tax structure is made with the hopes of reducing barriers to the legal cannabis market and driving out the illicit market, while also stabilizing and supporting existing recipients of cannabis tax revenue. The bill also adds delivery of cannabis to the state’s track and trace program.
Senate Bill 1326: The law creates a process for California to enter into agreements with other states to allow cannabis transactions with entities outside the state. It authorizes a person who obtains a state license under The Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) to engage in commercial adult-use cannabis activity pursuant to that license and applicable local ordinances.
Legislative Document 1827: The law authorizes licensed marijuana retailers to provide for home deliveries to those age 21 or older. Under the law, retailers may deliver a variety of products to customers, including immature marijuana plants and seedlings. The measure also allows customers to engage in the curbside pick-up of cannabis products.
House Bill 7123: HB7123 subjects the retail sale of adult-use cannabis to a 10 percent state excise tax and a 3 percent local excise tax. This legislation also creates a “Marijuana Trust Fund” composed of revenue from state excise taxes, as well as amounts collected from penalties, forfeitures, and interest. This account supports the funding of programs such as education and public awareness campaigns, SUD prevention, treatment and recovery services, public health monitoring and research, and training of law enforcement.
Executive Order D 2022 034: This Executive Order states that “those with prior in-state or out-of-state marijuana-related convictions will no longer be denied professional licensure in Colorado.” Read more.
Legislative Document 1195: This law provides the opportunity for localities to receive financial reimbursements for the costs associated with licensing and regulating cannabis businesses.