The 2010s: The Decade of Marijuana Legalization

Image via CNBC

Here's a flashback to the most significant events of the second decade of the 21st Century in the marijuana-law reform.



Prop 19, a ballot inititiative to legalize marijuana, was defeated in California. 



Legalizers won the first-ever campaigns to regulate recreational (now dubbed adult) use on Election Day in Colorado (Amendment 64) and Washington (Initiative 502).



Legal sales kicked off in Colorado and Washington and two more states - Oregon (Measure 91) and Alaska (Measure 2) - voted to legalize, also via ballot initiatives. Initiative 71 passed in Washigton, DC as well, but did not allow commercial sales. In Oregon, Measure 80 went down to defeat.



An effort to pass legalization in Ohio (Issue 3) was unsuccessful.



The biggest year in legalization history saw four states pass adult-use voter initiatives - California (Prop 64), Massachusetts (Question 4), Maine (Question 1) and Nevada (Question 2). Only Prop 205 in Arizona lost.



In July, the Vermont legislature became the first to enact a legalization measure. However, it lacked language to allow for commercial sales. On Election Day, Michigan voters passed Prop 1. Sales started on December 1.



In May, Illinois became the 11th state to legalize marijuana and the second via legislature. Unlike Vermont and DC, Illinois ended prohibition and signed on for a commercial market, which begins January 1.



The first year of the next decade promises to be a good one for cannabis. People come out to vote in record numbers for presidential elections. A New Jersey measure will be on the November ballot, as will likely be the case in Arizona (again), Florida and North Dakota. Legislatures in New York, New Mexico, Connecticut, Rhode Island and elsewhere may follow Illinois's lead. 


A Personal Note

I devoted all of this decade to CelebStoner, which was founded in 2007 after I left High Times. I was also editor-in-chief of Freedom Leaf magazine and from 2014-2019. I'm now working for Centennial Media on their marijuana titles and, of course, continue to update CelebStoner with breaking news.


Hempy, Happy and a Healthy Holidays to All

It's going to be a big year with the presidential election in November. Federal legalization will probably not happen and we will need to add more states to the legalization rolls. Have a good holiday season and come back recharged for 2020.

Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.