According to national polls — including Pew, Gallup, Quinnipiac, and CNN — more than 65% of Americans support legalizing cannabis for adults’ use. State-by-state polling shows majority support in every single state. Yet, only 19 states, home to 44% of the U.S. population, have passed laws to legalize and regulate cannabis for individuals over 21.
Those states that have legalized cannabis are blue, red, and purple: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.
MPP played a leading role in the campaigns to enact 11 of the 19 legalization laws, including the first two states to legalize cannabis through the state legislature, rather than the ballot box — Illinois and Vermont.
Below you will find more information about those laws and how they are working, along with materials to make the case for allowing adults to use a substance that is safer than alcohol.
NOTE: A few of the below documents have not yet been updated for the newest legalization states — Connecticut, New York, Virginia, and New Mexico — which were all signed into law since March 31, 2021. In addition, all of these documents include South Dakota as a legalization state. There, the state Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision soon on a lawsuit seeking to overturn the law. If the law were overturned, there would be 18 — not 19 — legalization states.
The Case for Legalizing Cannabis and Regulating Sales