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These states could legalize marijuana next in 2023



The march towards legalization continues, Leafly Nation! 

In 2023, we expect a handful of states to pass legislation—or send measures to voters—to legalize adult-use cannabis or medical marijuana.

Read on to learn more about the states we’ve got our eyes on, the specifics of the measures themselves, and where these various campaigns currently stand.


Last year, Delaware lawmakers passed a pair of bills to legalize cannabis possession and establish the framework for an adult-use industry. They hoped that the former bill would force Gov. John Carney (D) to green-light the latter—otherwise the state would effectively create an unregulated “gifting” economy. Carney, however, vetoed the possession bill

This year, lawmakers are taking another crack at it: They’ve already introduced a pair of new bills to legalize cannabis: HB 1 and HB 2. The main difference from last year’s effort? The possession legalization bill doesn’t permit gifting. 

Both new bills have already passed out of committee. They could get a full House vote as early as March.


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With support from the state’s new, pro-reform governor, Josh Green (D), Hawaii lawmakers are optimistic that they can pass adult-use legalization this year. In January, state Rep. Jeanné Kapela (D) made clear her intention to file a legalization bill.

“Our society’s most marginalized people would be first in line to participate in the cannabis industry that we are seeking to grow,” Kapela said at an event announcing the upcoming bill

“Agricultural and business practices would be based on sustainable and indigenous cultivation methods, ensuring that cannabis operations uplift the needs of U.S. residents, the needs of Hawaii’s people, not the profits of multi-state corporations,” she added.


Maryland residents voted in favor of legalization in November (by a 2-to-1 margin, no less), but legal possession won’t go fully into effect until July 1, 2023. In the meantime, Maryland considers the personal possession of up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis subject solely to a civil fine of up to $100. It will not result in arrest or incarceration. 

We are expecting the Maryland legislature to pass a bill in the coming months to establish the framework for a legal and regulated cannabis industry. In other words: You’ll be able to possess legally on July 1, Maryland, but you can’t buy legally until the legislature establishes the rules.


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Legalization looks promising in MInnesota this year. In late January, Gov. Tim Walz (D) released his proposed biennial budget, and it includes allocations to implement an adult-use cannabis program and to implement expungements. 

A 200+ page bill has begun making its way through various state legislative committees. The Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party (DFL) holds a slim majority in both houses of state government.

Minnesota Public Radio reports the bill would put an estimated 15% tax on sales and prohibit counties from fully banning licensed stores. The bill doesn’t yet include a start date for the program. 


This January, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R) re-introduced a bill to legalize adult-use marijuana and implement a 10% tax on retail sales. LaRose initially proposed the act last year, but was forced to delay putting it front of voters.

If the Republican-held statehouse does not pass the act (and to be clear, no one expects them to), the measure could go to the voters in November 2023. 

While voters may be more likely than state lawmakers to advance legalization, it’s far from a guaranteed win. In 2015, Ohio voters resoundingly voted against adult-use by a margin of nearly two-to-one. But that measure was a notoriously flawed proposal that caught flack from even the most ardent legalization supporters. 


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Even though activists gathered enough signatures to put adult-use to voters on the Nov. 2022 midterm election ballot—via a measure known as State Question 820—errors on the part of state workers prevented the measure from actually appearing on the ballot

As a result, Oklahoma will vote to legalize adult-use marijuana during a special election on March 7. A poll released late last year showed 49% of adults support the measure, 38% oppose it, and 13% were undecided.


Many of Pennsylvania’s regional neighbors—Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, DC—have all legalized adult-use marijuana, but the Keystone State has been slow to join them. State GOP lawmakers have blocked legalization bills, but in the Nov. 2022 election state Democrats wrested back some seats. Then, on February 7, Democrats won three special elections that gave them a slight edge in the state House: 102 to 101. That tiny majority may be enough for the Keystone State to finally pass a legalization bill through the House; Republicans retain a majority in the state Senate.

If a legalization bill manages to clear the state House and Senate, Pennsylvania’s new pro-reform Gov. Josh Shapiro (D) will likely support it.

South Carolina

Two medical marijuana bills have been pre-filed in South Carolina. One bill permits residents to use medical marijuana and allows for dispensaries to open; the other bill lays the groundwork for a more comprehensive medical marijuana program.

State senator Tom Davis (R) introduced a medical marijuana bill last session that died in the state House.


In recent interviews, leaders in Wisconsin’s dominant Republican party have signaled that they have nearly reached consensus on medical marijuana legislation. 

Lawmakers emphasize that they would only support a restrictive program. “I support a form of medical marijuana, where it is very restricted, so it’s only going to folks who have a true medical condition,” state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said in a recent interview.

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adult-use legalization

Which states will legalize marijuana in 2024?




While President Biden does not appear keen to champion federal legalization anytime soon, the beginning of 2024 nonetheless finds us at the precipice of a remarkable crossroads: Since Ohio became the 24th state to legalize adult-use marijuana in November, nearly half of all US states have gone green. Furthermore, 38 states have legalized medical marijuana. And when it comes to the number of Americans who live in states with rec cannabis, we’ve officially crossed the halfway point.

So whaddaya say, Leafly Nation? Let’s keep the ball rolling!

In 2024, several more states could write bills—or send measures to voters—to legalize adult-use cannabis or medical marijuana, sending us over the hump.

Read on to learn which states we’ve got our eyes on, the specifics of the measures themselves, and where these various campaigns currently stand.


A legal battle over the fate of a legalization voter initiative is underway in Florida, where the organization Smart & Safe Florida has raised $40 million for a campaign to put a measure on the 2024 ballot; virtually all of the funds have come from the MMJ dispensary franchise Truelieve. The measure is sparse on specifics but legalizes holding 3 ounces of marijuana, and up to 5 grams of concentrate. 

Opponents of the ballot measure believe it violates a single-subject requirement for such initiatives. The state Supreme Court heard arguments on the case in November, and must give it a thumbs up or down by April 1. Stay tuned!


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Fortunately, Hawaii has a pro-legalization governor. Unfortunately, lawmakers in the state House recently kneecapped the legalization bill SB 669, even though the state Senate passed it with near-unanimous support. Legislative sessions last two years in Hawaii, and advocates remain somewhat hopeful they can revive SB 669 in 2024. In its current form, the bill would allow medical dispensaries to become rec stores, add both a 10% sales tax and a 10% excise tax, legalize possession of 1 ounce, and weed gardening, among other provisions.


Over in Idaho, which has some of the most draconian marijuana laws in the country, activists with Kind Idaho have until next April to gather 63,000 signatures to put a medical marijuana legalization measure on the 2024 ballot. The measure legalizes possession of four ounces, legalizes weed gardening, adds a 4% excise tax, and allows for an extensive list of qualifying conditions.

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Hey, this one doesn’t even require looking into the crystal ball. This March, Gov. Andy Beshear (D) signed medical marijuana into law. The state will accept licenses and get the program set up in 2024; it will launch on January 1, 2025.


Will the third time be the charm? A team of tireless advocates in Nebraska are at it again to put a medical marijuana initiative on the 2024 ballot. They’ve got until July to gather 87,000 signatures for two separate measures; one of which adds legal protections for patients, and the other requires the state to set up regulations for a medical program. Then, if they meet signature requirements, activists will likely have to tangle (again) with the state’s remarkably prohibitionist legislature and 17th-century governor. Bon chance, Nebraska!


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Even though Pennsylvania boasts one of the most vocal pro-legalization senators in the country, and a pro-legalization governor, and even though all but one of its neighbors have legalized, lawmakers in the Keystone State have been unable to get a bill over the finish line. The long and short of it? Enough Republicans won’t budge to get a bill through the state legislature, and Democrats can’t unite behind a single proposal. Hopefully, 2024 is the year PA can break the impasse and unite with its neighbors in marijuana matrimony.

South Dakota

Legalization advocates in South Dakota won’t take “no” for an answer. In 2020, the Mount Rushmore State voted 52-48 to legalize adult-use cannabis and medical marijuana, but the state’s prohibitionist (and arguably anti-democratic) governor Kristi Noem (R) succeeded in getting the adult-use measure overthrown. Then, a separate measure failed at the ballot box in 2022. Now, two separate groups of activists are gathering signatures to put separate legalization measures on the 2024 ballot.

Did we miss a state? Leave a comment below and let us know. Stay tuned to Leafly News for legalization updates in all of these states as we move toward the 2024 election!

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