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-three states and the District of Columbia have enacted medical marijuana laws, and four states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational use of pot. Still, that’s an increase over previous years, and more legalization efforts are expected. Public opinion has shifted over time. Alaska, for example, legalized marijuana in 1975, only to outlaw it, legalize it, outlaw it and legalize it again. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

Sources:, Alaska Law Journal, Times reporting

Credits: Graphic by Paul Duginski; programming by Anthony Pesce