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Voters make Ohio the 24th state to legalize recreational marijuana

Close-up of person light a marijuana joint with a lighter. (Provided Photo/CNN)

(CNN) — Marijuana may remain illegal federally, but, in most states, it’s accessible for adult medical or recreational use.

On Nov. 7, voters in Ohio made it the 24th state to approve legal recreational marijuana.

Indiana lawmakers have not legalized or decriminalized marijuana.

In 38 states and Washington, D.C., voters or legislators have approved comprehensive medical marijuana programs.

In late March, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear signed a law legalizing medical use in his state, but it won’t go into effect until 2025. When it does, all of Indiana’s neighbors will have laws allow some sort of marijuana use.

Twenty-four states and Washington D. C., have passed legal adult recreational use policies. Ohio’s law will go into effect 30 days after the election.

Legalization policies, both medical and recreational, exist in a legal gray area, with variation between states in regulation and taxation.

For example, in Washington D.C., Congress stepped in to stop legal sales, so possession is allowed, but sales are technically not.

A few other states that do not have comprehensive medical programs do allow for small amounts for medicinal use, under very strict circumstances.

The movement to legalize has accelerated since 1996, when California became the first state to legalize medical cannabis.

In 2012, Washington and Colorado were the first states to approve legal recreational use.

Since then, Americans have increasingly supported legal cannabis, and legislatures have taken up the issue more often in recent years.

In 2022, President Joe Biden pardoned individuals convicted for simple possession under federal law and ordered a review of marijuana’s status as a Schedule I drug. Under federal law, Schedule I drugs have no legitimate medical use.

News 8’s Gregg Montgomery contributed to this report.