In the beginning of 2021, 13 states had recreational cannabis legalization measures up for vote. Five of those states succeeded in legalizing cannabis for all adults. Those were Connecticut, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York and Virginia. These five states brought the national total of states with legal recreational cannabis to 19.
States where recreational cannabis is legal:
- Washington, D.C.
- South Dakota (a legalization measure was approved but is pending a lawsuit)
- New Jersey
- New York
- New Mexico
States considering legalizing recreational cannabis in 2022:
- North Dakota
Of the nine states with cannabis legalization measures on the ballot this year, we are most bullish on Maryland and Florida succeeding. A March 2021 survey from Goucher College found two-thirds of Marylanders supported full legalization, including more than half of Republican voters, so the effort stands a good chance of success. The Supreme Court of Florida struck down two earlier cannabis ballot measures, saying summary language submitted by backers was misleading because it did not specifically warn about conflicting federal law, or accurately describe possession limits. This time, the group leading the effort, Regulate Florida, is confident their ballot language will pass legal muster. We are also keeping a close eye on Missouri, as the Legal Missouri 2022 campaign leader, John Payne, says they have a “strong coalition and strong fundraising,” giving the campaign a “80-90 percent” chance of success this year.
It is no surprise that so many states are looking to legalize. Two in every three Americans believe that cannabis should be legalized at the state and federal levels. This demonstrates how the attitudes of Americans towards cannabis have changed over time. We look forward to a future where legalization happens on a federal level and accessibility is wide and far, until then, we will support the states leading the charge!