What we’ve seen in the cannabis industry in the last 20 years is nothing short of amazing. While cannabis is still illegal under federal law, many states have legalized the cultivation and use of cannabis. Support for the legalization of cannabis for medical and/or recreational use is at an all-time high (91%) and continues to rise every year.

One of our goals at Highwire Farms is to help improve the public’s perception by being a source of education for people who want to learn more about the benefits of cannabis and why marijuana should be legal. So, let’s take a look at some of the ways the cannabis industry and cannabis itself have changed because of legalization.

States of Change

To give you a history of marijuana laws in US would take a pretty long time, so here are some highlights from the last couple decades:

At the beginning of 2000, cannabis was illegal in all 50 states, but we’ve come a long way from people buying it through personal connections or trying to grow on their own, all while having to stay under the radar. Slowly but surely, states began shifting toward marijuana legalization and regulation after decades of work from activists, advocates, and lawmakers. Hawaii, Colorado, and Nevada were the first states to legalize medical cannabis on various levels, followed by Maryland, Vermont, Montana, Rhode Island, New Mexico, Michigan, New Jersey, Arizona, California, Delaware, and Connecticut, all between 2000 and 2012. States recognizing the medical benefits of cannabis was a very important step in shifting the public’s perception, eventually leading to states legalizing cannabis for recreational use.

The Road to Recreation

From 2012 to 2020, things really started to pick up speed. In eight years, we went from a handful of states to 36 states allowing the use of medical cannabis, and 14 states and Washington, D.C., allowing recreational use. Colorado was the first state to legalize recreational weed, followed closely by Washington (2013) and Alaska (2014). By 2020, California, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, and Vermont all joined the list of states allowing recreational use. The dramatic increase in legalization has created a cannabis industry that produced $52 billion in sales by the end of 2019 and continues to grow every day. Not every remaining state has a clear timeline for marijuana legalization but with all the progress we’ve seen, it’s a safe bet that it won’t be long. So, what has all this legalization meant for the type of cannabis being sold and used? It’s definitely not the same product it was 20 years ago or what you may have come across in your college days. Remember the dry, flaky stuff you thought was awesome? Thankfully, that’s a thing of the past.

Better, Stronger, Safer

As the legalization of cannabis has increased, the standards of product quality have skyrocketed. The legislation around cultivating cannabis has turned it into a consumer-product, which means professional growers not only have to maintain regulated standards, they also have to compete with other growers for a superior product. Many professional growers have relied on a lot of knowledge and experience in the commercial greenhouse and vegetable farming industries (just like us!) to raise the standards of the cannabis they produce. States that legalized weed have allowed professional growers to hone their craft openly which makes it easier to get better faster.

Between the advancements in technology, equipment, and plant knowledge, and the drive of competition, cannabis today has become much more potent, curated, and safe – not to mention the development of new ways to consume cannabis like edibles, vapes, waxes, and oils. It’s not just finding some to buy and hoping it’s good anymore. It’s become a science that professional growers spend their lives improving and refining in order to provide products that are better, stronger, and safer.

Enjoy the Progress

So, what do all these legalizations and changes in cannabis mean? What’s the end result for you? Well, the growing freedom to enjoy cannabis as a way to improve your quality of life in all sorts of ways. We’re proud to be a part of the future of cannabis by offering information, education, and a variety of high-quality products at Highwire Farms. You can enjoy the progress by joining our Canna Co-Op, where you can get exclusive pricing and member-only discounts, join monthly educational meetings and member-only events, and a lot more.