The Next States To Legalize Cannabis | Growers Choice Seeds

The Next States To Legalize Cannabis

Next States to Legalize Cannabis

As of April 2024, 24 states plus Washington D.C. and three territories have legalized recreational marijuana. A total of 38 states, three territories, and Washington D.C. have a comprehensive medical marijuana program in place, and 9 states allow qualified medical patients to access low-THC, high-CBD products.  As such, there are only three states in total where any and all forms of cannabis, including low-THC, high-CBD products, are illegal (source 1).

In addition, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is poised to reclassify marijuana as a “less dangerous drug.” While the medical uses of marijuana would be recognized with this reclassification, it would not legalize cannabis for recreational adult use on the federal level (source 2). However, it is thought that this huge shift could not only be a step in the right direction in terms of marijuana eventually being legalized by the federal government but that it is, according to Matthew Schweich, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project, “a historic and meaningful change at the federal level that I think is going to give many state lawmakers a little less hesitation to support a bill” (source 3). In short, this move by the DEA on the federal level may help the states that are poised to legalize cannabis before the end of 2024.

Speaking of which, let’s look at the states that may legalize medical or recreational cannabis in 2024.

 

Florida

This November, not only will Floridians, like the rest of the country, be voting on whether to allow the existing form of “U.S. democracy” to continue or to hand the reigns to an incompetent would-be despot, they will also be voting on Amendment 3 (source 4). If this amendment, which was approved by Florida’s Supreme Court on 1 April to be allowed to appear on the November ballot, is approved by at least 60% of state voters, then recreational marijuana will become legally available to residents who are 21+ (source 5).

Pennsylvania

Currently, a 200-plus page bill that would legalize marijuana for adult consumers is being considered by state legislators (source 6). If passed, Democratic Governor Josh Shapiro has said he would sign it into law. According to the bipartisan bill’s GOP co-sponsor, Aaron Kaufer, who is overall optimistic about this bill passing has also admitted that there are some challenges: We’ve got a Democrat-led House, a Republican-led Senate and Democrat governor. Trying to thread that needle and work together to find an area of compromise … that has been the effort to try to get something done” (source 7).

South Dakota

This November 5th, South Dakotans will be voting on Measure 29, which would legalize the use, possession, and distribution of recreational marijuana (source 8). This was South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws’ third attempt to get this initiative before state voters, which they found out on 3 June 2024 from the Secretary of State that it finally will be (source 9).

Hawaii and New Hampshire

While it was looking hopeful for Hawaii and New Hampshire to pass recreational cannabis laws in 2024, both states recently suffered setbacks in their State Houses, and both bills in both states are currently dead in the water as they have been killed or tabled (source 10) (source 11). However, Hawaii did approve an expungement pilot program for cannabis possession. Hopefully, 2025 will bring about better results for the residents of both states.

 

External References

  1. National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). (2024). States where medical and recreational cannabis are legal in 2024. Retrieved from the NCSL website.
  2. AP News. (2024). “US poised to ease restrictions on marijuana in historic shift, but it’ll remain controlled substance.” Retrieved from the AP News website.
  3. AP News. (2024). “As the US moves to reclassify marijuana as a less dangerous drug, could more states legalize it?” Retrieved from the AP News website.
  4. Florida Division of Elections. (2022). Adult Personal Use of Marijuana Amendment 3. Retrieved from the Florida Division of Elections website.
  5. USA Today. (2024). “Florida Supreme Court OKs ballot measure allowing recreational pot.” Retrieved from the USA Today website.
  6. Pennsylvania House of Representatives. (2024). Establishing an Adult-Use Cannabis Program in Pennsylvania. Retrieved from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives website.
  7. Pennsylvania Capital-Star. (2024). “Pa. House introduces marijuana legalization bill as momentum for recreational cannabis builds.” Retrieved from the Pennsylvania Capital-Star website.
  8. South Dakota Secretary of State. (2024). 2024 General Election Ballot Measures. Retrieved from the South Dakota Secretary of State website.
  9. South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws (SDBML). (2024). Measure 29 to be on the 5 November 2024 ballot. Retrieved from the SDBML website.
  10. Honolulu Civil Beat. (2024). Hawaii Senate Kills ‘De Facto’ Weed Legalization. Retrieved from the Honolulu Civil Beat website.
  11. AP News. (2024). “New Hampshire remains New England’s lone holdout against legalizing recreational marijuana.” Retrieved from the AP News website.

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