Across the United States, states are taking a new look at marijuana, with an unprecedented number of legislatures considering bills in 2019 to allow licensed sales or at least approve of medical use. But under federal law, cannabis remains illegal from sea to shining sea.
Eventually, the nation may reach a tipping point, when change at the federal level becomes inevitable.
“I don't think that we've ever been in a better place,” said Morgan Fox, the media relations director for the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), a trade advocacy group.
Legalization has advocates in the Senate and the House of Representatives, with bills being presented on banking reform, criminal record expungement, updates to medical marijuana uses, and even permitting doctors to recommend cannabis in place of opioids. A 2018 Gallup poll showed two-thirds of Americans now approve of marijuana legalization, with support at an all-time high.
“Things are looking really good right now,” Fox said.
Still, the federal government continues to list cannabis as a Schedule I drug under the Federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA), a category reserved for substances deemed to have no medical benefit and a high potential for abuse.