24 States and Counting: The Next 10 States Likely to Legalize Recreational Marijuana

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

As we approach mid-2024, it’s becoming increasingly clear which states are on the verge of legalizing recreational marijuana this year or next, and which are still some distance away. Below, we outline the 10 states most likely to legalize recreational marijuana next.

  • New Hampshire

In April, New Hampshire’s House of Representatives voted 239 to 141 to pass House Bill 1633, which seeks to legalize recreational marijuana. Last week, the Senate approved the measure with a vote of 14 to 10 but introduced amendments, necessitating its return to the House for a final decision before it could be sent to Governor Chris Sununu, who has expressed willingness to sign the Senate-passed version into law.

However, the House voted yesterday to reject the Senate’s amendments, prompting the formation of a conference committee to reconcile the differences between the two chambers. If they can agree on a unified bill that maintains the governor’s support, New Hampshire could soon become the 25th state to legalize recreational marijuana.

The proposed law would permit individuals aged 21 and older to possess up to two ounces of marijuana—down from four ounces in the original House version—10 grams of marijuana concentrates, and edibles containing up to 2,000 mg of THC.

  • Florida

Amendment 3, set for a vote this November, would permit individuals 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.” The proposed limits would allow possession of up to three ounces of dried marijuana flower and up to five grams of marijuana concentrates.

Licensed marijuana retail outlets would have the authority to distribute the plant, with existing state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries also allowed to “acquire, cultivate, process, manufacture, sell, and distribute such products and accessories.”

Polling released in November by the University of North Florida shows strong support among likely voters at 67%, well above the 60% threshold needed for this constitutional amendment to pass, compared to the usual majority requirement of 50%.

  • South Dakota

South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws recently submitted approximately 30,000 signatures for their initiative to legalize recreational marijuana for individuals aged 21 and over. This total far exceeds the 17,508 signatures required to qualify the measure for the November 2024 presidential election ballot. While the initiative will not be officially placed on the ballot until it is confirmed that a sufficient number of these signatures are from registered South Dakota voters, the group has collected enough that more than 40% would need to be invalid for the measure to not make it to the ballot.

If enacted, the initiative would allow individuals aged 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and cultivate up to three marijuana plants at a private residence. It would also establish a system of licensed and regulated marijuana stores to distribute marijuana and marijuana products.

  • North Dakota

North Dakota Secretary of State Michael Howe recently approved an initiative to legalize recreational marijuana, paving the way for supporters to start collecting signatures for a potential vote in either the November 2024 or 2025 elections. The proposed initiative would permit individuals aged 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana, four grams of marijuana concentrates, and 1,500 milligrams of adult-use cannabinoid products, including up to 300 milligrams in edible form. Additionally, it would allow the personal cultivation of up to three marijuana plants and authorize licensed stores to sell marijuana and related products.

The nonprofit political committee New Economic Frontier now has one year to gather 15,582 signatures from registered North Dakota voters to qualify the measure for the ballot. If the signatures are collected by July 8, the initiative will appear on the November ballot this year. If gathered after July 8, it will be slated for the 2025 general election ballot.

  • Hawaii

This year, Hawaii came closer than ever to legalizing recreational marijuana. The state’s Senate passed Senate Bill 3335 with a 19 to 6 vote. Subsequently, the bill passed through three different House committees and received a procedural vote from the entire chamber. Its journey was halted at the House Finance Committee, where the chair refused to schedule a vote before the deadline, effectively stalling the bill for the year.

The proposed law would have allowed individuals aged 21 and over to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and up to five grams of marijuana concentrates, which would be purchasable from licensed retail outlets. Additionally, the legislation aimed to establish the Hawaii Cannabis Authority and Cannabis Control Board within the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs to oversee the legal marijuana market, including licensing and regulations. Recreational marijuana would be taxed at 14%, and medical marijuana at 4%, with personal cultivation of up to six plants also permitted.

Despite not crossing the finish line this year, proponents are determined to continue their advocacy for legalization next year. With broad support among the public and state lawmakers, it is becoming increasingly difficult for a single committee chair to block the progress towards ending marijuana prohibition in the state.

  • Pennsylvania

In April, State Representative Amen Brown (D) filed House Bill 2210 along 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. HB 2210 is a companion bill to bipartisan legislation filed in July in the state’s Senate.

  • Wisconsin

In October a bicameral coalition of 36 state lawmakers filed Senate Bill 486 and Assembly Bill 506 to 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. With elections this November, the dynamics of the state legislature could shift, potentially driving more support for legalization as we head into 2025.

  • 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”.

  • 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 89 sponsors in the House and 18 sponsors in the Senate.

  • 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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