These 4 States Are On Track to Legalize Marijuana Within the Next 6 Months

As marijuana legalization continues to gain momentum across the United States, four states are poised to make significant strides in the next six months.

Legislative efforts and voter initiatives are advancing in Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Florida, and North Dakota, each working towards establishing legal frameworks for recreational marijuana use. Here’s a closer look at the current status and future prospects in these states.

Pennsylvania

This week during a Twitter Spaces event, Pennsylvania Senators Dan Laughlin (R) and Sharif Street (D) expressed optimism about the potential for marijuana reform in the current legislative session.

Senator Street, who is also cosponsoring House Bill 2500 to legalize recreational marijuana, predicted that the measure could reach the governor by the end of the session. “I think we can get it done,” he said, suggesting that sales could begin by July 2025.

Pennsylvania’s legislative session extends further into the year than most states, giving proponents until September to get a bill to the governor.

House Bill 2500 would legalize marijuana for those 21 and older, establishing a legal framework for the recreational sale of marijuana. It also seeks to expunge past criminal charges related to marijuana distribution.

South Dakota

In November, South Dakota voters will decide on Measure 29, a proposal to legalize recreational marijuana. The initiative, backed by South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws, would allow adults 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and cultivate up to three plants for personal use at home.

Measure 29 also establishes a framework for a regulated marijuana market, including the licensing of businesses for cultivation, processing, and sale. Retail outlets would be regulated and taxed by the state, providing a new source of revenue and ensuring consumer safety.

Recent polling shows mixed reactions from voters, with 45% supporting Measure 29 and 42% opposing it. The remaining voters are undecided or have not disclosed their stance, indicating potential shifts in public opinion as the November vote approaches.

Florida

In November, Florida voters will decide on Amendment 3, which seeks to legalize the possession, purchase, and use of marijuana products and accessories for adults aged 21 and older. This amendment would allow individuals to possess up to three ounces of dried marijuana flower and up to five grams of marijuana concentrates for non-medical personal use, including smoking and ingestion.

The measure would also authorize licensed marijuana retail outlets to distribute the plant. Existing state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries would be permitted to acquire, cultivate, process, manufacture, sell, and distribute marijuana products and accessories.

Recent polling indicates strong support for Amendment 3. A Fox News poll released last week shows that 66% of Florida voters back the amendment, with only 32% opposed. Similarly, a University of North Florida poll conducted in November found that 67% of likely voters support the measure. Both polls suggest that support for the amendment surpasses the 60% threshold needed for it to become a constitutional amendment.

As of May 31, Smart & Safe Florida has raised $60,158,153.76 in support of Amendment 3, according to data from the Florida Department of State Division of Elections. This fundraising total surpasses any previous statewide marijuana legalization effort. For context, proponents of California’s Proposition 64 raised $25 million in 2016, while those behind Ohio’s Issue 2 raised $7 million last year; both initiatives were successfully voted into law.

North Dakota

At the end of April, North Dakota Secretary of State Michael Howe approved a marijuana legalization initiative sponsored by the nonprofit political committee New Economic Frontier. This approval gives the group one year to collect 15,582 signatures from registered North Dakota voters to qualify their measure for the November 2024 ballot, with a deadline of July 8.

As of yesterday, the group has already gathered more than 15,000 signatures, with over two weeks remaining before the deadline.

The proposed initiative would legalize marijuana possession for adults 21 and older, allowing up to one ounce of marijuana, four grams of marijuana concentrates, and 1,500 milligrams of adult-use cannabinoid products, including 300 milligrams in edible form. It would also permit the personal cultivation of up to three marijuana plants and authorize the purchase of marijuana products through licensed stores.

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