More and more states, including traditionally conservative “red” states, have been legalizing medical marijuana and others have begun to jump on the bandwagon to progress and reform to legalize weed.
In fact, as of April 2022, there are a total of 37 states, along with DC, and the U.S. territories of Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, the US Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico who have all made it legal for patients to purchase and use medical marijuana. Of those 37 states, 17, along with DC, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands, have all stepped up in leading the way by fully legalizing recreational weed. Even for states where weed has yet to be legalized, of the country’s 50 states, only 19 still criminalize it!
All of these facts and figures should serve as encouragement. Just think, since 1996, when California became the first to legalize recreational marijuana, now almost 75% of the entire county, excluding US territories, has legalized medical marijuana; 34% has legalized recreational weed, and only 38% of the country is still stuck in draconian and archaic thinking by criminalizing it! That is some significant progress in a matter of 26 years, which has happened in large part thanks to the tireless work of cannabis activists. What’s even better is that there are more states who currently appear to be poised to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in 2022. Provided below is an alphabetical list of five of these states and where things are at for each one.
Five states that could legalize cannabis this year
While legalizing and regulating weed in the country’s first state fell short of two votes in March 2022, state representative Ed Osienski came up with a way to make one ounce of recreational marijuana legal. In 2015, possessing less than 28 grams of weed was decriminalized with the penalty being $100 and likely confiscation. His plan would eradicate the fine and confiscation, and would only require a simple majority of 21 House votes, which Osienski has, to pass the bill. However, the caveat to this is that users would not be able to buy marijuana at a store. As such, his bill includes a 15% sales tax and the creation of a system that would give sellers the right to grow and sell marijuana in stores, all of which would require 25 votes in the House and 13 in the Senate. If this is passed, and if Delaware’s governor, John Carney, who has not said or implied that he would not sign it into law, then Delaware could very well be the next state to legalize weed!
In a state where just under 70% of voters support legalization, things appear to be progressing. As of April 2022, Maryland Governor Hogan allowed HB 837 to become law without his signature, so long as state residents vote in favor of it. Long story short, what this means is that in November 2022 a bill known as HB 1 will be on the ballot. If a majority vote yes to HB 1, then the piece of legislation known as HB 837 will allow residents 21 and older to legally possess as much as 1.5 ounces of weed and grow no more than two plants, effective July 2021.
Minnesota is and has long been something of a walking oxymoron in so many ways. This is a state where medical marijuana is legal, recreational weed is decriminalized, their own governor, Tim Walz, has not only openly called for but included funding to legalizing marijuana, and where it was technically legalized weed in May 2021, but the bill was stalled in committee and it is therefore technically still illegal! However, the bill is not dead and the state legislature has reconvened! So, here’s to hoping that the Land of 10,000 Lakes soon becomes the Land of 10,000 Legal Tokes in 2022!
A state that has long prided itself as being the Show-Me State, may soon be showing how progressive this generally politically/socially conservative state can be! In the upcoming 2022 midterm elections, Missourians will have the rare opportunity to legalize recreational marijuana statewide for adults over 21. This comes four years after residents voted to legalize medical marijuana for patients with qualifying conditions. The effort to legalize recreational usage is backed by the Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association, the ACLU of Missouri, all six active chapters of Missouri NORML, and the Missouri Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Missouri governor, Mike Parson, opposes the efforts. Stay tuned for the final outcome!
In January of 2022, the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted by an overwhelming majority in favor of HB 1598 to legalize the possession and home growing of marijuana by those who are 21 and older! However, it has to go before the state senate and pass what is known as a super majority, where 60% of state legislators are needed to vote in favor of progress and reform. Seventy-eight percent of New Hampshirites are in favor of legalizing weed and provided it passes the state senate then in November of 2022 legislation HB 1598 is slated to be on the ballot, which will require 67% of the vote for this reform to be realized.
Could there be a sixth state?
In conclusion, while there’s a lot of evidence that Ohio is on its way to legalizing marijuana in the near future with even Republicans introducing proposals to legalize weed, it currently remains to be seen if it will make it onto the 2022 ballot. That said, even if it does not, it is believed that it will happen in the very near future.
Written by Kim Thompson
Along with being an award-winning creative and literary writer, Kim works as a freelance copywriter, editor, and proofreader both domestically and internationally.
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