Marijuana prohibition in the United States began 80 years ago when the federal government banned the sale, cultivation, and use of the cannabis plant. It continues to remain illegal under federal law today. However, in recent years, marijuana legalization has swept the United States and the globe at a rapid rate. In 2018 alone, Vermont became the first state to legalize marijuana through its legislature rather than by ballot initiative; Canada legalized marijuana nationwide, becoming the first G7 country to do so; and Mexico’s supreme court ruled that marijuana prohibition is unconstitutional. Currently, in the United States, 11 states and the District of Columbia allow recreational marijuana for adults over 21, and 33 states allow medical marijuana. These numbers are expected to continue to grow over the next few years as societal and political perspectives on cannabis continue to shift in favor of legalization. All signs point to the eventual legalization of marijuana at the federal level in the United States.
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