Modified on: 03/10/2023
Cannabis legalisation usa: these are the pro-marijuana states
Is cannabis legal in all US states?
For the moment, the answer is no.
In the run-up to the next election, however, other states in the US may join those that have already legalized cannabis for medical and recreational purposes.
I guess you’re wondering which ones they are.
This article will show which states are pro-cannabis and what could change with the 2022 midterm elections.
Which states have legalized marijuana for recreational and medical purposes?
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 19 states and the District of Columbia have legalized the use of marijuana for recreational purposes:
- New Jersey;
- New Mexico;
- New York;
- Rhode Island;
Recreational cannabis is also legal in Washington, DC, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands.
As of October 2022, however, 37 states have legalized the medical use of cannabis to varying degrees:
- New Hampshire;
- New Jersey;
- New Mexico;
- New York;
- North Dakota;
- Rhode Island;
- South Dakota;
- West Virginia.
In addition, the District of Columbia and the territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the US Virgin Islands have legalized medical marijuana.
However, it is essential to note that each jurisdiction has its criteria regarding the conditions under which cannabis can be prescribed, the licensing process for medical marijuana, and the quantity that can be sold.
Voting 2022: These are the states that will decide on the legalization of marijuana
Marijuana could become legal in almost half of the United States after the 2022 mid-term elections if voters in five states approve ballot propositions submitted on 8 November.
In Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, North Dakota and South Dakota, citizens are being asked to vote in favour of legalizing marijuana for recreational use.
According to polls, the measure looks set to pass in three states: Arkansas, Maryland and Missouri.
However, the outcome is less certain in the Dakotas.
Oklahoma’s voters will also have the opportunity to vote on the legalization of recreational marijuana in a special election in March.
If the legislation passes, they will join the 19 states already in favour and the District of Columbia. In contrast, marijuana is completely outlawed in only thirteen states, with no possibility of medical or recreational use.
This is a remarkable change from the 2012 election when Colorado became the first state to legalize marijuana fully.
So, what to expect after 8 November?
Cannabis will be ‘on the ballot’ in Arkansas after the State Supreme Court overturned a decision by the Election Commission, not to mention that the country had first approved medical marijuana in 2016. If voters approve Issue 4—an amendment that would allow the ‘possession, personal use and consumption of cannabis by adults, as well as its cultivation and sale—the state will become one of very few in the South to legalize cannabis for recreational use.
Missouri has a similar amendment. The most recent MJBizDaily poll shows support, with only 35% of likely voters opposing the measure in late September. However, consumers fear that if the proposal passes, they will still face severe penalties for recreational marijuana use if it occurs in public and carries more than the legal amount.
North Dakota voted against legalization in the 2018 midterm elections, but supporters of legalization have a better chance of success this time, thanks to increased campaign funds.
South Dakota voters had already approved the recreational use of marijuana in 2020, but the state Supreme Court rejected the decision. The outcome of the vote is uncertain: data from a recent poll show that nearly 40 per cent of respondents are in favour of legalizing the recreational use of marijuana, while 51 per cent are against it.
Who supports and opposes marijuana ballot initiatives?
The overwhelming majority of Americans support the legalization of marijuana, with a record 68% in favour. Moreover, it is an issue with bipartisan support, with about 50% of Republicans. “In this era of hyper-partisan politics, the legalization and regulation of marijuana are one of the few policy issues on which voters on the left and right agree,” Paul Armentano, deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), wrote in a post on his blog.
This year, the cannabis industry has invested nearly $10 million in state legalization efforts.
But support is far from universal.
The Arkansas Family Council Action Committee argues that the legalization of marijuana will increase petty crime and substance abuse.
Not surprisingly, opponents point to Colorado as evidence that legalization may have adverse effects. However, the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice regularly reports findings on the effects of cannabis after legalization. For example, some might point to the harrowing statistics released last year. The number of DUI citations in which drivers tested positive for marijuana increased by 120% from 2014 to 2020.
Not to mention that nearly three-quarters of 10- to 17-year-olds in treatment for substance abuse say marijuana is their primary drug.
However, the report’s authors state that it is still difficult “to draw conclusions about the potential effects of marijuana legalization and how its use may affect youth, safety and public health” due to a lack of historical data and possible increased participation in surveys and research as the social stigma surrounding cannabis decreases.
This article has compiled a list of US countries that have approved cannabis for medical and recreational purposes. Afterwards, we overviewed the current political situation, considering the midterm elections in 2022.
According to recent polls, it would appear that the majority of the US favours the legalization of marijuana, a point on which the left and the right mutually agree; however, we will have to wait for new developments and the conclusion of the elections