Top Cannabis Industry Moments of the Past Decade

With 2020 rapidly approaching, we compiled the top moments in the cannabis industry of the past decade.

This past decade saw incredible growth for the cannabis industry, with multiple countries and dozens of U.S. states passing policies permitting marijuana use, record-high public support for legalization, and billions in legal sales.

To understand how far the industry has come, we looked back at the top cannabis moments of the past decade.

Top Cannabis Industry Moments of the Past Decade

June 19-20, 2010: The first Cannabis Cup by High Times takes place in the United States.

The first Cannabis Cup in the U.S. takes place in San Francisco, California. The event, launched in Amsterdam and now held in several cities across the U.S., celebrates medical marijuana and judges the top marijuana strains and products.

November 6, 2012: Colorado and Washington become the first U.S. states to legalize marijuana for recreational use.

On this day, voters in Washington and Colorado approve historic recreational marijuana ballot initiatives in the 2012 election. Adult-use cannabis has since become legal in nine additional states plus Washington, D.C., for people 21 years and older.

September 29, 2013: The documentary “Weed” airs during primetime on CNN.

The remarkable documentary follows Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s reversal on marijuana and shares the findings around the benefits of medical marijuana. The airing leads to a huge shift in the American public’s awareness of cannabis and its effects.

December 10, 2013: Uruguay becomes the first country in the world to legalize recreational marijuana.

Uruguay’s government legalizes marijuana in hopes it reduces crime rates by limiting the reach of drug cartels. In the years since sales launched, crime rates on the whole have declined.

January 1, 2014: The first recreational marijuana sale in the U.S. happens in Colorado. 

Thirty-two-year-old Iraq war veteran Sean Azzariti makes the very first purchase of adult use marijuana, buying an eighth of Bubba Kush marijuana flower for $59.74, including $10.46 in tax. On this day in 2014, at least 37 stores across Colorado are fully licensed and open to sell marijuana to anyone 21 and older.

December 16, 2014: A historic amendment to protect state medical marijuana becomes law as part of an omnibus spending bill.

The Rohrabacher-Farr amendment prohibits the Justice Department from spending funds on interfering with state-legal medical marijuana programs. Since its initial passage in 2014, the amendment has been renewed each year to remain in effect.
top medical marijuana moments of past decade

November 8, 2016: Voters in eight states approve marijuana measures in a watershed moment for cannabis legalization in the U.S.

Voters in California, Massachusetts, Maine, and Nevada legalize recreational marijuana, while those in Arkansas, Florida, Montana and North Dakota approved medical marijuana measures. The only misstep for cannabis in the 2016 election is a recreational use measure in Arizona, which fails to pass with 52 percent of voters rejecting it.

December 14, 2017: The United Nations makes the recommendation not to schedule cannabidiol (CBD) as a drug.

After examining evidence from animal and human studies and listening to testimony, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that CBD not be considered a drug and therefore not subject to international drug scheduling.

June 19, 2018: Canada becomes the second nation in the world to legalize recreational marijuana, the first Group of Seven (G7) country to do so.

The historic Cannabis Act, approved by Canada’s Senate with a 52-29 vote, paves the way for a nationwide marijuana market. In the year since legal sales launched, Canada’s marijuana market has made an impact on crime, job creation, and more.


October 31, 2018: Mexico’s Supreme Court rules that cannabis prohibition violates the nation’s constitution.

Being the fifth similar ruling on a single issue, the decision from Mexico’s Supreme Court becomes binding on courts nationwide, effectively overturning the country’s ban on marijuana.

December 20, 2018: Hemp and hemp derivatives like CBD are effectively legalized in the U.S. nationwide.

President Donald Trump signs into law an omnibus bill that contains provisions to legalize hemp and hemp-derived products at the federal level. The Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, also known as the 2018 Farm Bill, lifts the decades-long ban on hemp and brings the versatile crop back to America, where it has a long history.

February 1, 2019: The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends reclassifying marijuana under international treaties.

After a review by WHO’s Expert Committee on Drug Dependence, the organization calls for marijuana and its key components to be removed from Schedule IV of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and the 1961 Convention.

September 25, 2019: Federal lawmakers approve a standalone cannabis reform bill for the first time ever. 

In a first-of-its-kind vote, the U.S. House passes the Secure and Fair Enforcement Act of 2019 (SAFE Banking Act), a bill that would allow banks to service state-legal cannabis businesses. The bill was approved 321-103 and has since been sent to the Senate where it has yet to be taken up.

November 21, 2019: A key congressional committee approves a historic bill that would end federal marijuana prohibition in the U.S. 

The U.S. House Judiciary Committee approves the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act by a vote of 24-10. The legislation would remove marijuana from the list of federally controlled substances and allow states to set their own cannabis policies. It’s the very first time a bill created to end U.S. cannabis prohibition is approved by a congressional committee. The bill is still waiting for a full House vote.

Looking Forward to the Next Decade

The events of this decade, particularly of the latter half of it, have confirmed one thing for sure: The cannabis industry is here to stay. While total federal legalization in the U.S. has not yet been attained, the decade’s many monumental moments hint that it could arrive in the near future.

Keep up with the momentous future of the cannabis industry by regularly visiting the Medical Marijuana, Inc. news page.