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.
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.
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!