The U.S. now has 33 states that allow medical marijuana and 10 that allow recreational marijuana. Marijuana won big in the 2018 elections, and that trend is expected to continue in 2019.
Governors voicing support for marijuana legalization also increased in 2018, Forbes noted. And as legislation passes those governors hopefully won’t drag their feet signing marijuana-related bills into law.
“2019 could be a banner year for legalization via state legislatures,” said Mason Tvert from the MPP. “Several states across multiple regions of the country are strongly considering ending prohibition and regulating marijuana for adult use. A growing number of state lawmakers and governors are either getting behind these efforts or coming to the realization that they cannot hold them up much longer. The steady growth of public support we’ve been seeing around the country will likely translate into some major state-level victories for marijuana policy reform.”
In 2019, these states are on track to legalize marijuana for adult-use:
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- Rhode Island
- Vermont (Possession and home cultivation already permitted, but new legislation aims to allow retail marijuana sales.)
Other states likely to legalize some form of marijuana:
South Dakota, Nebraska and Mississippi may have ballot measures for medical marijuana legalization in 2019. Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Texas may decriminalize marijuana possession. Kansas’ new governor supports medical marijuana legalization. In South Carolina, lawmakers are expected to make legalizing medical marijuana a priority.
Some states, such as Arizona, Florida, Ohio and North Dakota, will spend 2019 preparing ballot measures to legalize recreational marijuana in 2020.
Justin Strekal of NORML said, “In state after state, lawmakers are coming out of the woodwork in favor of legalization. Be it on the grounds of criminal justice reform, community-police relations, racial justice, tax revenue or that they just see the writing on the wall, the political evolutions are accelerating at a tremendous rate.”