2024 is lining up to be a big year for marijuana law reform, with multiple states putting forth serious efforts to legalize marijuana.
There are currently 24 states where recreational marijuana has been legalized, an astounding feat when you consider that at the start of 2012 that number was zero. In 2024, numerous statewide organizations and lawmakers are attempting to make their state the next to take the leap into allowing legal marijuana, but some are further along in the process than others.
Below are the states on track to legalize marijuana in 2024.
In March of last year Hawaii’s full Senate voted 22 to 3 to legalize recreational marijuana. Despite such strong support, the proposal didn’t receive a vote by the House of Representatives before the end of the legislative session.
Just last month Senate Democrats vowed to continue the push for legalization, naming it one of their top legislative priorities for the year. With the House having more time to consider the issue, proponents are hopeful they’ll act on any measure approved by the Senate.
According to polling released last year, 52% of adults in Hawaii support legalizing marijuana, with just 31% opposed and 17% undecided.
An initiative to legalize recreational marijuana is likely to appear on the November ballot in Florida. A challenge by the state’s attorney general has the Florida Supreme Court considering whether or not the proposal should be removed from the ballot, with the deadline for their decision set for April 1. Governor Ron DeSantis recently indicated he does not belove the court will rule against the initiative, saying “I think the court is going to approve that. So it’ll be on the ballot”.
Given it’s a constitutional amendment, the initiative needs support from 60% of voters to be passed into law. Polling released in November by the University of North Florida’s Public Opinion Research Lab found support among likely voters to be well above that, at 67%.
If passed into law, the initiative would allow those 21 and older “to possess, purchase, or use marijuana products and marijuana accessories for non-medical personal consumption by smoking, ingestion, or otherwise.” Licensed marijuana retail outlets would be allowed to distribute the plant, with any of the state’s licensed medical-marijuana dispensaries allowed to “acquire, cultivate, process, manufacture, sell and distribute such products and accessories.”
In April New Hampshire’s House of Representatives voted 272 to 109 to pass a bill that would have legalized recreational marijuana for everyone 21 and older. Although the measure didn’t receive a Senate vote, in August Governor Sununu siged into law legislation creating a commission designed to prepare the state for the legalization of marijuana and give recommendations on how lawmakers can most effectively achieve that goal.
In September a legislative committee held a work session on House Bill 544, a proposal filed by State Representative Daniel Eaton that would legalize recreational marijuana like alcohol.
In November Governor Sununu said that marijuana legalization in New Hampshire is “inevitable“.
A nonprofit behind an initiative to legalize recreational marijuana for everyone 21,and older, including establishing a system of licensed, regulated and taxed marijuana stores, is currently gathering signatures in an attempt to put the issue before voters this November.
A similar measure was on the 2022 general election ballot, and although it was rejected by voters it received a commendable 47%. Proponents say they’re confident that support has risen enough over the past couple years to get them over the 50% threshold.
According to polling release last month, a plurality of voters in the state support legalizing marijuana, 45% to 42%. Although support for legalization was 2% lower than support for the 2022 initiative, opposition was 10% lower.
In May State Representative David Delloso filed a bill to legalize recreational marijuana along with 20 cosponsors. In July State Senators Dan Laughlin (R) and Sharif Street (D) introduced separate bipartisan legislation that also would have legalized marijuana for recreational use.
In November a legislative committee held a hearing to discuss recreational marijuana legalization. No specific agreement was reached, but the hearing itself was a clear indication that the issue is on the forefront of many lawmakers’ minds.
Neither measure advanced out of their respective chambers, but with the Democrats recently taking control of the House of Representatives and Governor Josh Shapiro now saying he supports allowing state-run marijuana retail outlets, advocates are hoping momentum is on their side and passage of a marijuana bill could be possible in the coming legislative session.
For a look at the three federal bills most likely to pass the US House and Senate in 2024, click here.