The 4 States That Still Have a Legitimate Shot to Legalize Marijuana This Year

Of the numerous state-level efforts to legalize marijuana that were active to start the year and that will continue into 2025, these four states remain the most viable options to legalize marijuana this year.

Despite it only being April, a considerable number of states have legislatures whose sessions have already ended, or have already passed deadlines for when a bill must be passed out of committee. For example, a Hawaii bill to legalize marijuana is officially dead for the year, despite being approved by the full Senate and three House committees, because the chair of the House Finance Committee failed to give it a vote before the 2024 deadline for bills to be passed out of committee and sent to their full chamber of origin.

That being said, there are still four state-level efforts to legalize marijuana that have a legitimate possibility of being successful.

Here are the four states with a real shot to legalize marijuana this year:

  • Florida

On April 1 the Florida Supreme Court ruled that Amendment 3, an initiative to legalize marijuana for everyone 21 and older, can officially be placed on November’s presidential election ballot. This puts the issue in the hands of voters, with a 60% majority required for passage given it’s a constitutional amendment.

According to polling released today, 56% of Florida voters support legalizing marijuana, short of the 60% requirement, but close (especially when you take into consideration the poll’s margin of error).

Polling released in November by the University of North Florida found support among likely voters to be considerably higher at 67%.

If passed into law, the initiative would allow for the possession of up to three ounces of marijuana, while establishing a system of licensed, regulated and taxed marijuana retail outlets.

  • South Dakota

In 2020 an initiative to legalize marijuana was approved by voters, but thrown out by the courts due to a technicality. In 2022 a similar initiative was rejected by voters, but received a commendable 47%.

Now, the political organization behind the two initiatives 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.

  • Pennsylvania

Proponents of legalizing marijuana in Pennsylvania got a burst of momentum in recent days and weeks. Just last week Representative Amen Brown (D) filed House Bill 2210 with a bipartisan group of five cosponsors. Two days later, the Health Subcommittee on Health Care held a hearing to discuss marijuana legalization.

Under the proposed law, those 21+ would be allowed to possess up to 30 grams of marijuana, which they could purchase from a licensed marijuana retail outlet. The law would allow medical marijuana patients to grow up to five plants, but it would not allow home cultivation for recreational users.

The bill’s filing comes just two months after polling found that 63% of registered voters in the state want recreational marijuana to be legal.

According to a recent report conducted by the Pennsylvania Independent Fiscal Office (IFO), the state would garner nearly $300 million in annual tax revenue from marijuana sales by FY 2028 to 2029 if marijuana is legalized this year for recreational use.

Unlike many state legislatures that end their session in the first half of the year, Pennsylvania’s Legislature meets throughout the year.

  • New Hampshire

Just last week, by a vote of 239 to 136, the full House of Representatives voted to pass House Bill 1633, moving it to the Senate.

Under the proposed law, those 21 and older would be allowed to purchase, possess and use marijuana for any use. The measure would allow 15 licensed marijuana retail outlets to open throughout the state, with marijuana taxed at 10%. Licensing and regulations would be handled by the state’s Liquor Commission.

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.

Governor Sununu, who has called marijuana legalization in Pennsylvania “inevitable“, made comments following the vote indicating that although he does not support it in its current iteration (he wants state-operated marijuana stores), he’s hopeful it can be amended in the Senate in a way that can garner both his support and the support of the House.

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