The 5 States Most Likely to Legalize Marijuana Next

Here are the five states most likely to legalize marijuana next.

Nine states have legalized recreational marijuana; all but one of them allows marijuana retail outlets. Although numerous other states are discussing legalization, these are the five states most likely to do so next, with one state in particular at the head of the pack (spoiler alert; it’s Michigan).


As we recently wrote about, Michigan is the only state where voters are essentially guaranteed to be voting on legalization this year (the state is still verifying the over 360,000 signatures that were submitted to ensure that 252,523 are valid). This puts it far ahead of the pack. The initiative would allow for possession of up to 2.5 ounces and cultivation of up to 12 plants; cannabis retail outlets would be allowed to sale to those 21 and older.

New Hampshire

In January New Hampshire’s House of Representatives voted 207 to 139 to legalize marijuana for those 21 and older. Unfortunately the measure has stalled in the Senate; they must approve the measure in order to send it to Governor  Chris Sununu.

Although the Senate’s inaction makes it unlikely the state will legalize marijuana this year, advocates are optimistic that it will happen soon.

 New Jersey

Governor Phillip D. Murphy, elected last year, has vowed to legalize marijuana for all uses within his first 100 days in office. Unfortunately it’s not entirely in his hands; the legislature has to pass a legalization bill before he can sign it. Still, having the governor in support of the issue is huge, and is in stark contrast to the previous governor – Chris Christie – who was staunchly opposed to legalization and undoubtedly would  have vetoed any legalization measure.


In 2016 legalization proponents were successful in putting a legalization initiative to a vote. The measure failed, but not because voters didn’t want legalization; they didn’t like that the initiative would have setup a monopoly among marijuana businesses. Now, supporters of the measure are working to place a new initiative on the ballot. Fixing their previous mistake, they are taking much more input from the public, and are removing the monopoly provision.

New Mexico

In 2017 New Mexico’s House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee voted 3 to 1 to legalize marijuana. Although this was an exciting and unexpected move, the proposal the committee approved failed to move further along in the legislative process. Still, any legislative committee approving a legalization bill is an incredibly positive sign, as is the fact that 61% of state voters support legalizing marijuana according to recent polling.


Whichever of these states (or another state if we’re wrong) is next to legalize, they will join Washington, Colorado, Oregon, Alaska, California, Maine, Nevada and Massachusetts.

About Emily Watkins 158 Articles
Emily Watkins is a PhD student majoring in public policy. Emily has been a freelance editor for multiple websites, and has spent hundreds of hours volunteering to help legalize marijuana. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, and can be reached at