11 years ago today – on 4/20, 2012 – there was not a single state in the US that had legalized recreational marijuana.
Fast forward to today and people in 21 states are enjoying legal marijuana this 4/20, with Delaware poised to become the 22nd legal marijuana state by the end of the month. This is an incredible and rapid change in public policy, with over 40% of US states now with legalized marijuana. This comes after decades of propaganda, and hundreds of billions of dollars spent on the drug war which has focused heavily on maintaining marijuana prohibition.
Leading the way, Colorado and Washington were the first to legalize in November, 2012. A decade later, Maryland and Missouri were the most recent to legalize in November, 2022 via a citizen initiative. Also in 2022, Rhode Island lawmakers legalized marijuana in May.
The momentum doesn’t seem to be slowing down. As mentioned above, Delaware is on the verge of legalizing marijuana, with the legislature having already passed a legalization bill that was sent to the governor days ago. The bill’s sponsor is 100% confident that even if the governor vetoes the bill (he has just a few days left to decide), the legislature will override the veto before the end of the month.
In addition, legislation to legalize marijuana in New Hampshire was recently passed by the state’s House of Representatives in a commanding 272 to 109 vote. The battle will be tougher in the Senate, but its chances are much higher than any previous legalization effort in the state (and there’s been plenty).
Legislation to legalize marijuana in Hawaii is also alive, and was passed by the full Senate last month. Unlike most states Hawaii has a year-long legislature, increasing its chances of passing by the end of the year.
If all three were to pass, there would be just one more state needed to reach 25, half of all states. And these of course are just some of the states considering legalization.