Cannabis in the USA 2023 – Everything You Need to Know!

Marijuana is one of the world’s biggest cash crops. It is sweeping the USA, and you should know the law before buying cannabis in the USA. That’s why 420 Expert Adviser has come to rescue you! Read this informative buying guide to learn almost everything about cannabis in the USA.

Marijuana is the most regularly used psychotropic drug in the United States after alcohol. More than 11.8 million young adults reported weed use in 2018. Its usage is more prevalent among men than ladies. 

Cannabis in the History of the USA 


The USA has a complex history of cannabis. Before the 1900s, cannabis was generally used and grown across the USA. When the first pilgrim people showed up at the country’s shores, they were encouraged to grow hemp as a useful material for texture and rope. 

However, this all changed in 1937 with the introduction of the Marihuana Tax Act. This was the first move towards complete prohibition, and its effects are still present today. 

cannabis in the USAAccording to a book named The Emperor Wears No Clothes by Jack Herer, the biggest driving force for cannabis’ prohibition was Randolph Hearst.

He was a renowned press nobleman, and the hemp plantations grown by his Mexican neighbors interrupted his expansion plans. 

Hearst began to lose both land and money. Eventually, a large portion of his business. 

Hearst was furious, so he chose to use his own publications to denounce marijuana. This media campaign, stating the plant to be dangerous and evil, soon stopped his competitors’ hemp realm.

He also utilized his newspapers to spread racist mistruths about Mexican criminals and their excessive cannabis consumption. 

Some influential figures, such as Harry J Anslinger of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, sponsored Hearst. Unsurprisingly, they were successful in destroying the hemp industry in the country. 

As the years went on, the situation began to change in the USA. But it’s taken a long an excellent opportunity for it to recuperate from the force of Hearst’s media smear campaign.

Marijuana Laws in the USA 

cannabis in the USAIn the USA, marijuana remains a controlled substance at the federal level. However, individual states can set their own regulations on how to use cannabis.

This includes legalizing the drug for both medicinal and recreational purposes. As a result, numerous states presently have a created medical cannabis sector.

In addition, a growing number have also chosen to legalize the recreational use of the drug. 

The 11 States (Plus D.C.) in the USA with Legal Recreational Cannabis

Rules about distribution, possession, personal cultivation, and concentrates vary across state borders.

NORML, a nonprofit group that promotes marijuana reform, has a more point by point, state-by-state rundown.

District of Columbia

Controlled Substances Act 

The government passed the law as a component of President Nixon’s Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970. Among other factors, it established a classification system for drugs.

They divided the drugs into one of five categories – ranging from Schedule I, high potential for abuse, a significant risk to safety to Schedule V, worthy medical treatment.

Cannabis was in the category of Schedule I drug, along with heroin and LSD, among others. 

Hostile to the Drug Abuse Act 

In 1986, the authorities initiated the Anti-Drug Abuse Act. This act founded mandatory minimum sentencing laws for offenders, including those caught using cannabis.

Factors like the amount of drugs the person was caught with and which drug it was, determined the exact term of the sentence. 

The government revised the law in 1988 and introduced minimum punishment for minors caught using weed. Unsurprisingly, this act ended up in a rise in the prison population, with more people incarcerated for drug-related crimes. 

Current Federal Penalties 

The federal laws of the USA focus on the times a person commits the offense, rather than the actual cannabis quantities. 

Possession of cannabis is punishable by as long as one year in prison and a minimum penalty of $1,000 for a first conviction. For a second offense, the offender might be imprisoned for as long as two years with a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 days.

Moreover, the offender has to pay a fine of $2,500. Both of these instances are regarded as crimes in the eyes of the law, not offenses.

However, any further instances might be classified as a crime, and the penalties are harsher. The minimum prison sentence is 90 days, and the maximum is up to three years. The judge can increase the fine up to $5,000. 

To make matters more confused, the authorities isolate each case of cannabis possession into two categories – usual possession or possession with the intention to distribute.

If the police find a person with small amounts, this must be for personal use, and the above sentences apply. If the police find anybody with drug material, such as a smoking pipe, they apply the same penalties. 

However, if the authority finds a person with larger quantities, or if they are caught with a device or assets related to selling drugs, such as a set of scales or lots of cash, this is regarded as a more serious crime.

Medical Marijuana and CBD 

Medical Marijuana 

A significant number of the USA’s states have now legalized medicinal marijuana. In 1996, California was the first to do so, and since then, the majority of other states have followed their model. 

cannabis in the USAHowever, medicinal cannabis remains illegal at the federal level. The higher authorities regard cannabis as a Schedule I drug, regardless of whether a person using it for medicinal or recreational advantage. 

President Obama encouraged federal prosecutors in 2009 not to punish individuals who distributed cannabis for medicinal purposes, following their state law.

It was later reinforced in 2013 when the U.S. Division of Justice released a statement saying that they anticipated “strong, state-based enforcement efforts (… ) and will concede the right to challenge their legalization laws as of now.” 

It is possible that the federal law might change, as President Trump has spoken out in favor of medicinal marijuana in the past. 

However, he issued a signing statement in 2019 on medicinal marijuana, which gives his administration the authority to enforce federal drug laws, even against individuals who conform to the state laws.


Some states in the USA have allowed cannabis and its derivatives (including CBD) for medicinal or recreational use. However, CBD is still illegal at the federal level, and technically, the authority has classified it as an illicit Schedule I drug. 

It means that, while CBD can be used legally in parts of the country, one cannot transport it across state borders. This is problematic for companies that make CBD products.

Some companies have tried to guarantee that their products should be classified as dietary supplements or herbal extracts, leading the FDA to issue “cease and desist” letters, emphasizing that the federal law does not consider CBD in these terms.

This opinion was further clarified in 2016 when the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) made a new category to classify extracts of the cannabis plant (like CBD). It emphasized, under no uncertain terms, that it was still illegal. 

The following are the states where medical marijuana is legal. Let’s have a look!

The USA States That has Legalized Medicinal Marijuana 

In addition to the 11 states, including D.C., these 22 states have legalized just medical marijuana with legalized recreational weed.

New Jersey
New York
North Dakota
New Mexico
New Hampshire
Rhode Island
West Virginia

Cultivation of Cannabis Plant 

Cultivating cannabis is classified as ‘drug manufacture’ under USA federal law. This means it is a criminal offense. The quantity of cannabis plants the offender is caught growing decides the punishment. 

Can You Sell Cannabis in the USA?

The jurisdiction considers the sale or supply of cannabis as a considerably more serious offense than possession. There are set fines in place for the transportation, sale, or smuggling of drugs; and these are determined based on the following: 

  • What drug was being sold or transported 
  • Where the offender distributed it 
  • Where the police arrested the offender (penalties differ from state to state) 
  • If the drugs were distributed to minors 

Cannabis is not, at this point, classified as a ‘hard drug,’ and as such, the penalties for trafficking are less than for other substances, such as cocaine or LSD. 

If the police find anyone trafficking less than 50 kilograms, the offender might face a prison sentence of as long as five years, plus a fine of $250,000 for a first-time offense. If caught a second time, the judge can increase the sentence as long as ten years in prison and a $500,000 fine. 

The penalties vary for someone who tries to traffic amounts of 50 to 99 kilograms. In this case, the offender can get a sentence of as long as 20 years in jail, plus a $1 million fine for the first offense. 

If the quantity of cannabis is 100 to 999 kilograms, then the judge might give a five to 40-year prison order, plus a $500,000 fine. If the sum is 1,000 kilograms or more, the offender may get life imprisonment and a $1 million fine.

The judge can double the penalties if the offender has supplied cannabis to a minor or within 1,000 feet of a school. 

Gifting or sharing small quantities of cannabis with another person without any money changing hands is regarded as possession, not sale or supply.

How and Where to Buy Cannabis in the USA?

Even if cannabis is illegal in the USA, few states have changed their stance and started regulating their regulations regarding cannabis. Let’s see where you can buy cannabis in the USA and how! 

If you live in a state that allows the sale of marijuana seeds, your best risk is to shop locally for high-quality seeds. It means visiting a dispensary, local farmers market, or seed organization in your state to make your purchase.

There, you can get the in-person assist you with needing to make your purchase legally. 

It is also a choice to purchase cannabis seeds online from an online marijuana seed bank and then have the seeds dispatched to you, so long as you are abiding by state law.

The experts at 420 Expert Adviser have made a list of the top 10 marijuana seed banks that ship to the USA with quick shipping time. Have a look at them Here!

The risk here is that the authorities might seize your package. While it is impossible that you would face criminal charges, there is no guarantee of how federal law treats marijuana products.

Can You Buy Cannabis Seeds in Other States or Countries?

You shouldn’t experience any difficulty buying cannabis seeds in another state or country if it’s legal there. It is bringing the seeds back to the home state that might get you into trouble. 

You cannot bring cannabis seeds across the state borders in the United States because marijuana products are still illegal under federal law.

Though uncommon, transporting the products across state lines could result in federal criminal charges. This is genuine even if you are purchasing cannabis seeds in a state that authorizes it and entering a state that also permits it. 

The same is valid for buying cannabis seeds in another country. It might sound like a great plan to purchase cannabis seeds while visiting one of the world-renowned marijuana seed banks in places such as the Netherlands or the United Kingdom.

But when you return the U.S. with your goods, Customs and Border Protection will seize any seeds they find, even if your plane landed in a state where they are legal.

Can Tourists Buy Cannabis in the USA?

Just like an American citizen, tourists are authorized to the same privileges surrounding cannabis. Although each state will have particular regulations about the quantity of cannabis you can buy, the smoking of weed in the states outlined above won’t attract the law (provided you follow their guidelines).

Make sure you check the state you are traveling to, making sure you have a solid grasp of the “dos and don’ts” surrounding pot.

A Few Simple “Watch-outs” 

To purchase legal cannabis, you should visit a dispensary. If you have never visited any dispensary before, the experience may surprise you.

A long way from the shady bedrooms that numerous individuals are used to buying weed from, dispensaries are often well-lit, well-presented establishments. 

Purchasing cannabis at a dispensary isn’t as easy as visiting a regular high street store. You must have an I.D. when making an order, and cash is king.

No payment provider offers help or services for transactions made in a dispensary at present. However, to ease the situation, dispensaries typically have ATMs.

These ATMs usually omit or obscure the organization’s details, so there aren’t any off-kilter questions from the bank. 

Even though you can purchase and browse all marijuana strains at a dispensary, you cannot smoke them at the same place. This may sound strange, but any smoking in or around the dispensary is prohibited.

It makes them different from cannabis coffeeshops. Dispensaries exist to offer customers with a product where you are free to pick your product. 

Finally, some basic cannabis knowledge will help. Picking the strain that looks pleasant is excellent, but it might ruin your first cannabis experience unless you know the usual effects.

Make sure that you ask your agreeable budtender if they have any recommendations based on their preference and experience level. 

As dispensaries prohibit smoking on their premises, you need to find someplace by yourself to light-up.

Attitudes Towards Cannabis in the USA 

According to a Pew Research report, 67% of Americans accept the government should legalize the use of marijuana. The ratio is almost double what it was in 2000—31%—and five times in 1969—12%.

A study in the University of New York uncovered the percentage of adults aged 50 to 64 reporting cannabis usage has increased in the last decade to 9%, and usage among adults 65 and older has risen seven times during the same period to almost 3%.

According to Cowen analyst Vivien Azer, the U.S. marijuana industry will generate $85 billion in sales in 2030. 

President Trump’s View on Cannabis

The present of the USA, Donald Trump, has (until this point) adopted a more ambiguous viewpoint on cannabis laws. 

Buzzfeed News had a story about Trump’s secret in 2018, ‘hostile to weed’ committee – with plans to dispatch a series of public campaigns to deride the drug.

The report uncovered that the committee wanted to ignore any facts or details about positive factors relating to medicinal marijuana, and instead, focus on the negatives. 

However, other sources guarantee that Trump favors legalizing cannabis, or in any event, for medicinal purposes.

Greg James, the publisher of Marijuana Venture, commented that Trump is not a man with convictions, but rather a person who does whatever he thinks will win some short-term approval from his base.

Interestingly, former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions also stated that cannabis was not as dangerous as heroin. During a hearing, he clarified that their policy is that the federal law remains in effect. A state can legalize cannabis for its law enforcement purposes, but it still remains illegal concerning federal purposes. 

Cannabis Events in the USA 

The USA hosts many significant cannabis events throughout the year. Here are just a couple of events which you need to have a look: 

NYC Cannabis Parade

The NYC Cannabis Parade has been held since the 1970s and sees individuals joining forces to advocate the legalization of the plant. As well as the procession, there’s also a rally, with many speakers discussing central questions in the industry and music performances. 

The Seed to Sale Show

This B2B (business to business) show, held in Boston, features 3,000 industry leaders and more than 150 exhibitors. It covers all aspects of marijuana entrepreneurialism. 


Hempcon in San Francisco gathers weed lovers and enthusiasts from across the country. There are marijuana vendors, plus competitions and entertainment for visitors to enjoy. 

Cannabis World Congress

This New York-based event seeks to instruct about the golden opportunities in the marijuana and hemp industry. In addition to NYC, this event also takes place in Los Angeles and Boston.

Will Coronavirus Pandemic Delay Cannabis Legalization in the USA? 

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting all the forms of everyone’s life in the world. It might defer cannabis legalization in the USA.

As most of the world’s nations struggle to contain and fight the pandemic, marijuana legalization may no longer be a priority for regional authorities.

Legal cannabis markets would certainly add essential revenue to the budget when this gets over. So legalization could be of tremendous assistance in the aftermath of the coronavirus crisis. But truly, most authorities probably won’t even consider it at first. 

Final Thoughts 

According to the news report in USAtoday, The Democratic-controlled House will decide on legalizing marijuana at the federal level for the first run through in the chamber’s history.

The vote of the house comes as views of cannabis have changed in Washington, and increased numbers of Americans favor the legalization of the drug, whether for recreational or medicinal purposes.

Christopher Andrews
I am Christopher Andrew, the owner of 420 Expert Adviser. I have been in cannabis cultivation for more than ten years, and I'm sharing my experience with you guys using this blog!

1 thought on “Cannabis in the USA 2023 – Everything You Need to Know!”

  1. Hi, here in Michigan, it’s turned into money is god. Not our health. Not our well being. We are being sold mildewed pot, weed, medicine! We are over charged for our meds. The dispo has to charge those prices because the state fees on opening a dispensary is out of this world high, . you can pay off the labs that test our pot and they pass it. I am 50 and have been growing my own since I was 19. This has got to stop!! #takethemoneyoutofpot


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