State laws A widening embrace of marijuana

Although polls show Americans have warmed to the idea of legalizing cannabis, law has lagged behind sentiment. Twenty-four states and the District of Columbia have enacted medical marijuana laws, and two states have legalized recreational use of pot. Still, that’s an increase over previous years, and more legalization efforts are expected in 2014. Public opinion has shifted over time. Alaska, for example, legalized marijuana in 1975, only to outlaw it, legalize it and outlaw it again. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

Sources:, Alaska Law Journal, Times reporting

Credits: Graphic by Paul Duginski; programming by Anthony Pesce