Last updated: November 12, 2018

 

With polls showing that 64% of Americans support making marijuana use legal and around 90% support for allowing medical marijuana, lawmakers are increasingly realizing the public supports marijuana policy reforms.

In January 2018, Vermont became the first state to legalize marijuana legislatively. Vermont’s new law allows adults to grow and possess a limited amount of marijuana, while a task force continues to explore regulating and taxing sales. Meanwhile, on September 21, the Northern Mariana Islands became the first U.S. territory to legalize and regulate marijuana for adults. Its new law also includes a medical marijuana program. While most legislatures have adjourned for the year, New Jersey’s legislature is still meeting, and there is a strong possibility the state will legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for adults this fall.

In a handful of states, voters themselves decided marijuana policy this year. On June 26, Oklahoma voters approved a medical marijuana ballot initiative. On November 6, voters in Michigan approved an initiative legalizing and regulating marijuana for adults’ use. Meanwhile, a legalization measure in North Dakota fell short. Also on Election Day, voters in Utah and Missouri enacted medical marijuana ballot measures.

The below lists 2018 state bills to adopt new laws to legalize marijuana for adults, to adopt comprehensive medical marijuana laws, or to replace possible jail time with fines for marijuana possession. Most legislatures have adjourned for the year, but it’s not unusual for marijuana policy reforms to be multi-year efforts, and we expect similar proposals to be filed in 2019, with even more legislative success.   

Click on the state names to learn more about efforts in your state and to take action in support of marijuana policy reform.


Marijuana Legalization Legislation

States with bills to legalize — and in most cases regulate — marijuana for adults: 23, plus the Northern Mariana Islands

  • Arizona (HCR 2037, would have put the question before voters; died when the legislature adjourned)
  • Connecticut (HB 5111, HB 5112, HB 5394, HB 5458, SB 487; HB 5458 was voted down in the General Law Committee; the Joint Committee on Appropriations voted to advance HB 5394 on April 5; the bills died when the legislature adjourned)
  • Delaware (HB 110, the House voted 21-15, with five not voting, in favor of the bill on June 27, 2018. The bill failed because a three-fifths supermajority is required of any Delaware bills with fees or taxes. The legislature adjourned on June 30.)
  • Georgia (SB 295, SB 344, SR 475, SR 614, the latter two would have put the question before voters as a constitutional amendment; the bills died when the legislature adjourned)
  • Hawaii (HB 449, HB 1464, HB 205, S 548; the bills died when the legislature adjourned)
  • Illinois (HB 2353, SB 316)
  • Kansas (SB 178, died when the legislature adjourned)
  • Kentucky (SB 80, died when the legislature adjourned)
  • Louisiana (HB 274, would have removed penalties for cannabis, becoming effective only if the legislature regulates and taxes cannabis; died when the legislature adjourned)
  • Maryland (SB 1039 and HB 1264, would have put the question before voters as a constitutional amendment; the bills died when the legislature adjourned)
  • Minnesota (HF 926, HF 927, HF 2714, HF 4541, SF 1320; the bills died when the legislature adjourned)
  • Mississippi  (HB 474, died in committee)
  • Missouri (HB 1731, HB 1448; the bills died when the legislature adjourned)
  • New Hampshire (HB 656 passed the full House on January 9 in a 207-139 vote, but it was sent back to a second committee, which recommended interim study; the House approved the recommendation in a second vote, effectively killing the bill)
  • New Jersey (S 830, A 1348, A 3819)
  • New Mexico (SJR 4, HB 312; the bills died when the legislature adjourned)
  • New York (S 3040B, A 3506b, the legislature recessed without voting on the bills but it could return to session)
  • North Carolina (SB 791, would allow possession of four ounces, but no cultivation or sales; the bill died when the legislature adjourned)
  • Pennsylvania (SB 213, HB 2600)
  • Rhode Island (S2895, died when the legislature adjourned)
  • Vermont (H. 511, H.490; Gov. Phil Scott signed H. 511 into law on January 22. It passed the House in a 81-63 vote on January 4, 2018 and passed the Senate in a voice vote on January 10. The new law allows adults to grow and possess limited amounts of marijuana. H. 490 would have regulated and taxed marijuana. It died when the legislature adjourned.)
  • West Virginia (HB 3035, died when the legislature adjourned)
  • Wisconsin (AB482)
  • Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (HB 20-178 passed the House 18-1-1 on August 8, the Senate 6-0-2 on August 30, and was signed into law on September 21.)

Nine states have passed laws to regulate marijuana like alcohol — all by ballot initiative: Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. A 10th, Vermont, allows adults to possess and cultivate marijuana, but does not yet allow regulated sales.


Bills to Remove Possible Jail Time — Often Imposing a Fine — for Simple Possession (“Decriminalization”) 

States with bills to stop jailing those who possess small amounts of marijuana: 11

  • Alabama (HB 272, died when the legislature adjourned)
  • Arizona (H 2014, died when the legislature adjourned)
  • Florida (HB 1203, died when the legislature adjourned)
  • Hawaii (SB 16, SB 169, HB 107, HB 1358, HB 1463; the bills died when the legislature adjourned)
  • Iowa (SF 266, died — did not advance before a legislative deadline)
  • Louisiana (HB 611, died when the legislature adjourned)
  • New Jersey (S472)
  • New Mexico (SB 141, died when the legislature adjourned)
  • Tennessee (HB 831, SB 1116; the bills died when the legislature adjourned)
  • Virginia (SB 954, SB 111, HB 1063 — was defeated in a 7-1 subcommittee vote; all bills are dead — the legislature has adjourned)
  • Wisconsin (AB409, SB318)

Twenty-three states and Washington, D.C. have decriminalized or legalized marijuana possession.


Effective Medical Marijuana Bills

States with bills to create comprehensive medical cannabis programs: 14

  • Georgia (HR36, would have put the question before voters as a constitutional amendment; it died when the legislature adjourned)
  • Indiana (S 307, HB 1106;  died when the legislature adjourned)
  • Iowa (HF 198, HF 199, HSB 132, died — did not advance before a legislative deadline)
  • Kansas (SB 187, HB 2348; died when the legislature adjourned)
  • Kentucky (HB 166, SB 118, SB 272, died when the legislature adjourned)
  • Mississippi (HB 1204, SB 2261, SB 2821, died in committee)
  • Missouri (HB1554, HB2321, HJR81; HB 1554, a very limited bill, passed the House 122-44 but did not receive a Senate floor vote; the legislature’s regular session has adjourned; there are also three ballot initiatives)
  • Nebraska (LB622, passed Judiciary Committee in 2017; Legislative Resolution 293CA — constitutional amendment that would be referred to voters; both bills died when the legislature adjourned in 2018)
  • North Carolina (H185, S579, S648, died when the legislature adjourned)  
  • Oklahoma (HB 1877, died when the legislature adjourned)
  • South Carolina (S 212, H 3128, H 3521 — H 3521 was voted out of subcommittee 3-0 in 2017 and S 212 was voted out of subcommittee 2-3 on March 21, 2018, but neither bill received a floor vote before a legislative deadline)
  • Tennessee (HB 830, SB 1119, died when the legislature adjourned)
  • Virginia (HB 974, HB 1064, died in committee)
  • Wisconsin (AB 75, SB 38, AB482; the latter also allows adult use; the bills did not advance before a legislative deadline)

In addition, on June 26, 57% of Oklahoma approved a medical marijuana ballot measure. In November, Utah and Missouri voters approved medical marijuana measures. Thirty-two states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands have effective medical marijuana laws.


Don’t see your state?

If you live in a state that still prohibits marijuana and no lawmakers have taken the lead to change that, send your state legislators a note to ask them to stand up for humane and sensible marijuana policies. Take a few moments to email them in support of medical marijuanadecriminalization, or legalizing and regulating marijuanaAnd, wherever you live, please ask your member of Congress and U.S. senators to support legislation to protect individuals who are complying with state medical marijuana and legalization laws.