The 4 States Likely to Legalize Marijuana By December

There are a handful of states vying to become the 25th to legalize recreational marijuana, but some appear more likely to do so than others.

At the start of 2012, there were zero states with legal marijuana for recreational use. Since Colorado and Washington tied to become the first to do so later that year, 22 other states have followed suit. Now, numerous other states are working to become the next.

With that in mind, below are the four states still on track to legalize marijuana prior to December.

  • Hawaii (via state legislature)

Yesterday two different committees in the Hawaii House of Representatives voted to approved Senate Bill 3335 to legalize recreational marijuana. The measure has already been approved through the full Senate, 19 to 6, and now just needs a full House vote before it can be sent to Governor Josh Green.

The Senate voted 22 to 3 to pass a different legalization bill last session, but it failed to receive a single committee vote in the House, meaning this year’s bill is already much further along in the process.

The proposed law would allow those 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and up to five grams of marijuana concentrates, purchasable from a licensed marijuana retail outlet. The legislation would establish the Hawaii Cannabis Authority and Cannabis Control Board within the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs in order to oversee the legal marijuana market, including licensing and regulations. Recreational marijuana would be taxed at 14% and medical marijuana taxed at 4%. The personal cultivation of up to six plants would also be allowed.

  • New Hampshire (via state legislature)

Late last month New Hampshire’s full House of Representatives voted to pass House Bill 1633 to legalize recreational marijuana for everyone 21 and older. The measure passed with overwhelming support, 239 to 141.

The proposed law would allow for the possession of 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“.

  • Florida (via ballot initiative)

An initiative to legalize recreational marijuana is set to appear on the November ballot in Florida. Polling released in November by the University of North Florida showing support among likely voters to be at an impressive 67%, more than the 60% required for the initiative to be passed into law (since it’s a constitutional amendment it requires more than the normal 50%).

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”. Many legal experts have given the same assessment of the situation.

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.”

  • South Dakota (via ballot initiative)

In 2022 an initiative to legalize marijuana appeared on the general election ballot. Although it wasn’t passed into law, it received a commendable 47%.

Now, the political organization behind the initiative is currently gathering signatures in an attempt to put the issue before voters this November. The initiative would establish a system of licensed and taxed marijuana retail outlets, supplied by licensed growers and producers. Those 21 and older would be allowed to access marijuana stores and could grow their own for personal use.

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 to legalization was 10% lower than opposition to the 2022 initiative. Based on this data, just 28% of those who remain undecided would need to vote in favor of a legalization initiative for it to pass.

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