There have been many significant changes in state laws regarding hemp and marijuana use over the past two decades since the medical marijuana movement emerged in the 1990’s. Marijuana proponents celebrated their first victory with Prop 215 in California in 1996, making California the first state in the nation to legalize the use of medical marijuana.
Within a couple years, this opened the door for other states to follow suit, bringing the current total to 29 states that allow medical marijuana use, plus US territories Puerto Rico and Guam. Additionally, Oklahoma, Utah, South Dakota and Missouri are expected to pass legislation to allow medical marijuana use by the end of 2018.
Once marijuana has been legalized for medicinal use, recreational use often follows. Currently there are 9 states that allow marijuana for recreational in addition to medical use: Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Colorado, Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts and Washington DC. Additionally, seven more states are expected to pass legislation to legalize recreational marijuana use: Vermont, New Jersey, Michigan, Delaware, Rhode Island and Connecticut.
Only four states currently maintain a total prohibition against the use of marijuana in any way: Idaho, South Dakota, Missouri, and Nebraska. That number is expected to drop to two (Idaho and Nebraska) by the end of 2018.
Despite the move to relax marijuana legislation on the state level, and despite overwhelming public opinion, marijuana remains a prohibited substance by way of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 on the federal level. Under the CSA, the Drug Enforcement Administration still classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug, prohibiting its use for any purpose. In 2014, however, the Rohrabacher–Farr Amendment was signed into law, prohibiting the Justice Department from spending funds to interfere with the implementation of state medical cannabis laws.
Also, in 2014, former President Obama signed into law the Agricultural Act of 2014, which included Section 7606 of the act, Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research, which defined industrial hemp as distinct from marijuana based on the defined standards above. This federal legislation effectively legalized CBD hemp oil has been legal as a nutritional health supplement in all 50 states.