The Northern Mariana Islands Legalize and Regulate Marijuana
The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands made history when they legalized marijuana for both medical and recreational use. Governor Ralph Torres signed the bill, which includes home cultivation, on-site consumption, micro-producers and more, into law on September 21, 2018, making it the first time that a U.S. territory has gone from having marijuana be entirely illegal to allowing recreational use before having a medical program first.
Oklahoma Begins to Accept Medical Cannabis Applications
Oklahoma became one of the quickest states to implement a medical marijuana law when they began accepting applications on August 25, 2018.
Canada to Legalize Marijuana for Recreational Use
In October, Canada will become the second country to bring prohibition to an end by legalizing recreational marijuana. Some believe that this change will force the United States to think about accelerating legalization efforts.
Illinois & New York Governors Sign Bills that Allows Marijuana to be an Alternative to Opioid Use
In August 2018, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed legislation allowing marijuana to be used as an alternative for opioid use to manage pain. The law also makes the application process much easier for patients.
In September, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed similar legislation allowing medical marijuana to be used to treat acute pain and opioid abuse. In the two months following the legislation, the number of certified patients in the MMJ program has grown 18%.
The hope is that these changes will provide new pain management options and cut down on the amount of opioid addiction in the states.
Washington DC Reduces Smoking Penalty
In September 2018, the penalty for smoking marijuana in public in Washington DC went from an arrest to a citation and a fine of just $25.