These 10 States Are Next in Line to Legalize Marijuana

There’s currently 24 states that have legalized recreational marijuana. That number could jump to above 30 in the near future.

Recent developments such as Florida’s Supreme Court ruling in favor of a marijuana legalization initiative, and Hawaii’s full Senate and multiple House committees voting to legalize marijuana, has helped set the stage on which states will be the next to make recreational marijuana legal.  Although a few are further along in the process of making marijuana legal than others, below is a list of the 10 states next in line to make marijuana legal.

  • New Hampshire

New Hampshire’s full House of Representatives voted recently to pass House Bill 1633 to legalize recreational marijuana. The vote was overwhelming, with 239 voting in favor compared to 141 opposed.

The proposed law would allow those 21 and older to possess four ounces of marijuana, 10 grams of marijuana concentrates and edibles 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“. Tomorrow, the House Finance Committee is set to vote on amendments to House Bill 1633 that would implement changes requested by Governor Sununu.

  • Hawaii

Senate Bill 3335 to legalize recreational marijuana has been passed by the state’s full Senate, and like the vote in New Hampshire’s House, it wasn’t  particularly close; 19 to 6. It’s also now been passed by three different committees in the House of Representatives, and it was recently approve by the full House through its second reading.

The legislation now faces two final hurdles before it can reach the desk of Governor Josh Green; the House Finance Committee, and one final House vote.

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.

  • Florida

The Florida Supreme Court has officially rejected a legal challenge to Amendment 3 by Attorney General Ashley Moody. This will allow the initiative to appear on the November ballot.

Amendment 3 would allow those who are at least 21 years old “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.”

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%).

  • South Dakota

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.

  • Pennsylvania

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.

  • West Virginia

Delegate Sean Hornbuckle filed House Bill 4483 in January, with the measure assigned to the House Health and Human Resources Committee. The proposed law would allow those 21+ to possess one ounce of marijuana, while also allowing for the possession f marijuana tinctures, but not marijuana concentrates such as hash, oil and wax.

The legislation would allow a system of licensed and regulated marijuana retail outlets, with the industry overseen by the Department of Commerce.

Although the measure failed to advance before the end of this year’s legislative session, the bill’s sponsor says he plans to refile the measure in 2025, saying he’s “confident” the measure will “have far more support”.

  • Wisconsin

In October a coalition of 36 state lawmakers filed Senate Bill 486 and Assembly Bill 506to legalize marijuana for everyone 21 and older. The companion bills would legalize the personal possession of up to five ounces of marijuana, and the personal cultivation of up to six marijuana plants. Licensed marijuana stores would be authorized to sell marijuana and marijuana products, with a 15% tax placed on marijuana sales.

Although the legislation is not currently supported by the majority of Republicans, who control the state’s legislature, it is supported by Governor Tony Evers, who included marijuana legalization provisions in his proposed state budget this year.

  • Kentucky

The aptly titled House Bill 420 was filed in February by State Representative Rachel Roberts with six legislative cosponsors. The legislation would establish a system of licensed, regulated and taxed marijuana businesses. Marijuana stores would be allowed to sell marijuana and marijuana products to anyone 21 and older, with sales taxed at 9% at the possession limit for dried flower set at one ounce.

The law would allow those previously charged with possessing marijuana to have the charge expunged (removed) from their record, and it provides employee protections so that those who use marijuana legally cannot be fired for their marijuana use as long as it’s off-the-job.

For the full text of House Bill 420, click here.

Separate legislation, House Bill 72, was filed earlier this month by Representative Nima Kulkarni. The proposed law states that a person 21 and older who “possesses, traffics, or cultivates a personal use quantity of cannabis shall not be subject to any penalty for that activity.”

In March Kentucky Governor Andy Beshea signed into law legislation that legalizes medical marijuana, with the law set to take full effect in 2025.

  • Arkansas

An initiative that would significantly expand Arkansas’ medical marijuana program, while legalizing recreational marijuana if the federal government deschedules it, was filed with the state earlier this year. The nonprofit political group Arkansans for Patient Access is currently gathering signatures on their proposed constitutional amendment, in hopes of putting it to a vote this November. The measure would allow medical marijuana patients to grow their own marijuana, while removing the list of qualifying medical marijuana conditions. This would allow physicians to recommend medical marijuana for any condition they deem necessary.

The initiative would legalize recreational marijuana, with the possession limit set at one ounce, if the federal government removes marijuana as a controlled substance. Federal legislation in the US House of Representatives to do just that has 87 sponsors.

  • North Carolina

Senate Bill 346 was filed by Senator Graig Meyer with six cosponsors last year, with the proposal remaining alive in this year’s legislative session. The measure would legalize, for those 21 and older, the possession of up to two ounces of dried marijuana, up to 15 grams of marijuana concentrates (hash, oil, etc.) and up to 2,000 mg in THC worth of edibles, while allowing for the personal cultivation of up to six plants.

If passed the measure would establish a 20% tax on marijuana sales, with localities allowed to institute an additional tax of up to 3%.

More information on Senate Bill 346 can be found by clicking here.

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