Nationwide Cannabis Reform Update-What’s In Store For 2023

We’ve only just finished the first quarter of 2023 and we’re already seeing movement for cannabis reform in more states. There are currently several promising initiatives working their way quickly through state legislatures.

Current Legalization Status in the U.S.

One state just approved a medical marijuana program last week. If the most likely measures pass, it would bring our total to 44 states with some form of legal cannabis, with 23 permitting adult recreational use.


Delaware House and Senate chambers recently passed two measures that would legalize cannabis for adult use. HB1 simply legalizes cannabis in the state. The other, HB2 is a regulatory measure that creates the regulatory framework for licensing and sales. Both Bills are now awaiting Governor action.


Minnesota becomes 23rd state to legalize recreational cannabis use. Governor, Tim Walz, signed cannabis legalization Bill on May 30, 2023 making possession, use, and growth legal for adults 21+ beginning August 1st.


Governor Josh Shapiro (D) is working to convince lawmakers in the state of the fiscal benefits of adding legalized recreational marijuana sales to their already operating medical program. The governor introduced his 2023-2024 budget request, which included a proposed tax revenue if lawmakers were to legalize the recreational sales of cannabis in the state.

Medical Marijuana Programs in New States

Kentucky just approved MMJ, who’s next? Kentucky just became the 38th state to allow medical marijuana with Senate Bill SB47 that passed the Senate and House just last week and was signed by the governor on Friday, March 31st.

North Carolina

The North Carolina Senate took no time to pass Senate Bill SB3, which would create a limited medical marijuana program in the state. The bill would allow patients with “debilitating medical conditions” access to cannabis from licensed dispensaries.

South Carolina

South Carolina is pushing hard to pass the S.C. Compassionate Care Act this session. While the bill is advancing through Committees, there is an urgency to get it passed in the full Senate and moved to the House before the session deadline.

Federal Government Advances for Cannabis Issues

So far, things are moving slowly on the federal front. Biden’s requested Cannabis Scheduling Review by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services continues to be ongoing.

Decriminalization Efforts Across the Nation

We’re seeing a nationwide shift in perception surrounding the use of cannabis in its various forms. Only 10% of all Americans believe that cannabis should remain illegal in all forms.

Events and Advocacy

The U.S. Capital Building will host a Marijuana Policy Forum on 4/20. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, (D-NY) will speak at the event. The event, The National Cannabis Policy Summit’s Congressional Forum will focus on federal reform and promoting equity.

Bankcard International Group’s Contribution

Bankcard International Group is an industry leader in high-risk merchant accounts and Cannabis Payment Processing. We have almost 20 years of experience with high risk merchants with more than 10 years supporting cannabis industry merchants.

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