The 3 States With Marijuana Legalization Bills Advancing Through the Legislature

Among the states that have not yet legalized recreational marijuana, most have active marijuana legalization bills. However, only a few states have bills that are actually advancing through their state’s legislature this session.

Currently there are 24 recreational marijuana states (23 that allow licensed sales), all of which passed their legalization laws since 2012. The vast majority of the remaining states have lawmakers working to make their state the next to legalize, but only some of these efforts are actually advancing through the committee process.

Below are the states with bills moving through the legislature:

  • New Hampshire

Earlier today the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted 239 to 141 to pass House Bill 1633, which would allow those 21 and older to possess up to four ounces of marijuana, 10 grams of marijuana concentrates and edibles with up to 2,000 mg of THC. If the measure is passed through the Senate, it will be sent to Governor Sununu who said in November that marijuana legalization in New Hampshire is “inevitable“. Although Governor Sununu has previously opposed marijuana legalization, in recent months he’s indicated a willingness to support an approach that established state-operated marijuana stores.

A similar measure stalled in the Senate last year, but proponents of legalization are hopeful that enough senators have shifted their view that it could actually have a chance this session, especially with the governor more open to the idea.

  • Hawaii

Last week the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to pass Senate Bill 3335 to legalize recreational marijuana, the same day it was passed through the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services Committee. The measure, which is based on an outline put forth by Attorney General Anne E. Lopez, is expected to soon be considered by the full Senate, which voted 22 to 3 to pass a different legalization bill last session.

The proposed law would allow those 21 and older to purchase up to an ounce of marijuana and five grams of marijuana concentrates from licensed marijuana retail outlets, supplied by licensed growers and processors. The legislation would establish the Hawaii Cannabis Authority and Cannabis Control Board within the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs in order to oversee a legal marijuana market, with recreational marijuana taxed at 14% and medical marijuana taxed at 4%. The personal cultivation of up to six plants would also be allowed.

Although the House of Representatives failed to act on last year’s legalization bill, proponents of this year’s measure are hopeful that after a year of consideration and with a new, more moderate bill, the House will vote to legalize this session.

According to polling released last year, 52% of adults in Hawaii support legalizing marijuana, with just 31% opposed and 17% undecided.

  • Virginia

It’s worth noting that Virginia legalized the possession of recreational marijuana in 2021. However, the law does not allow legal marijuana sales, making Virginia the only legal marijuana states to not allow licensed distribution of marijuana and marijuana products.

Earlier this month Virginia’s full Senate passed a bill to change this by establishing a system of licensed, regulated and taxed marijuana stores. The vote came a day after the House of Delegates approved a competing measure that would also authorize licensed marijuana sales.

A conference committee has been established for lawmakers to work out the differences between the two bills and coalesce around one language.

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