According to national polls — including Pew, Gallup, and CNN — more than 65% of Americans support legalizing cannabis for adults’ use. Fifteen states and Washington, D.C. have legalized cannabis for individuals over 21, and all 15 states — Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, South Dakota, Vermont, and Washington — have approved taking cannabis production and sales off the criminal market and regulating and taxing them. (D.C. legalized the possession and cultivation of limited amounts of cannabis by adults 21 and older, but due to the fact that D.C. cannot control its own budget, Congress has been able to block the District from taxing and regulating cannabis sales.)
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: Voters in Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota approved adult-use cannabis legalization initiatives on November 3, 2020. We are in the process of updating our materials, but some do not yet reflect these changes. With these four states, we count 15 states that have ended marijuana prohibition.
The Case for Legalizing Cannabis and Regulating Sales