Cannabis Legalization and Expansion Across the US

On February 22, 2023, the state of Vermont passed House Bill 639, legalizing the recreational use of cannabis for adults 21 and over. The newly renamed Liquor and Cannabis Commission is responsible for regulating the commercial marijuana market, issuing business licenses, and collecting 8.5% Meals and Rooms Tax for sales to adults.[0] House Bill 344 also seeks to permit adults to possess up to 3/4 of an ounce of cannabis, 5 grams of hashish, and certain cannabis-infused products.[0] Law permits the growing of a maximum of six plants in a home environment, with three of them allowed to be in an adult stage.[0]

Recreational cannabis is now legal in many states across the U.S., with an estimated 18% of adults having used marijuana in 2019. In addition to allowing private and government dispensaries, HB 639 also allows for the creation of on-site consumption lounges and cannabis delivery services.[0] Consistent with Board of Pharmacy regulations enacted last year, this text prohibits the sale of unregulated synthetic cannabinoids.[0]

Washington State Senate has also passed Senate Bill 2321, which protects employees who consume cannabis off the job from employment discrimination.[1] Under the proposal, employers cannot sanction employees for a positive drug test alone; however, employers would still be permitted to administer drug tests and they would still be permitted to refuse to hire an individual based on a positive drug test result.[0] The bill excludes certain employment positions, such as in the airline and aerospace industries, as well as any jobs that require a federal background investigation or security clearance.[2]

In New York City, a medical marijuana dispensary opened its doors in February 2023 to become the first cannabis supplier in the state to open for business.[3] The same law that legalized recreational cannabis use in 2019 also made individuals previously charged with minor cannabis offenses eligible to have their records expunged, with Governor Pritzker announcing 492,129 cannabis-related convictions had been expunged and 9,219 low-level cannabis convictions had been pardoned at the end of 2020.

Illinois House Democrats have also formed a cannabis working group Thursday that will aim to steer the burgeoning industry’s expansion in a business-friendly way while still satisfying the equity goals of the landmark 2019 legalization law.[4] In 2019, the law which legalized recreational cannabis also allowed individuals who had been charged with minor cannabis offenses to have their records cleared. In Fiscal Year 2022, Illinois recorded a record-high $1.[5]

0. “State Policy Weekly Update 2/22/2023 – NORML”, 26 Feb. 2023,

1. “GOP lawmakers tout cannabis poll (Newsletter: February 24, 2023 …”, 26 Feb. 2023,

2. “State senate passes bill that would ban pre-employment cannabis …”, 26 Feb. 2023,

3. “Meridian cannabis dispensary opens | Local News |”, 26 Feb. 2023,

4. “House Dems' cannabis working group to engage industry | Local …”, 26 Feb. 2023,

5. “Illinois House Dems' cannabis working group will engage industry …”, 26 Feb. 2023,