Last updated: February 11, 2019
Only 23 states allow citizen-initiated ballot initiatives, meaning in most states the only way to reform marijuana laws is via the legislature.
With polls showing that 66% of Americans support making marijuana use legal and around 90% support for allowing medical marijuana, lawmakers are increasingly getting the message that constituents want them to act on sensible and humane marijuana policies. In 2018, Vermont became the first state to legalize marijuana legislatively (as opposed to by ballot initiative), and 15 state legislatures have enacted medical cannabis laws.
The below lists 2019 state bills to adopt new laws to legalize marijuana for adults, to adopt effective medical marijuana laws, or to replace possible jail time with fines for marijuana possession. Legislative sessions are just getting underway. We anticipate more bills being filed in the coming weeks.
Click on the state names below 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: 18
- Connecticut (HB 5595)
- Hawaii (HB 1515, HB 1581, HB 708, SB 606, SB 686, SB 702)
- Illinois (SB 7, HB 902)
- Indiana (SB 213)
- Kentucky (SB 80)
- Maryland (SB 771 and SB 656; HB 632 proposes a constitutional amendment that would go to voters in 2020)
- Minnesota (SF 619 and HF 420; HF 265 proposes a constitutional amendment that would go to voters in 2020)
- Mississippi (SB 2349)
- Missouri (HB 157, HB 551)
- New Hampshire (HB 481)
- New Jersey (S 830, A 1348, A 3819; the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee and the Assembly Appropriations Committee each voted on November 26 to advance S2703 and A4497; both bills carried over to 2019)
- New Mexico (HR 356)
- New York (A. 1617, S. 1527)
- Pennsylvania (HB 50)
- Rhode Island (H 5151)
- Texas (SB 460, SJR, 8, proposes a constitutional amendment that would go to voters in 2020)
- Virginia (HB 2371, HB 2373, both of which died in committee)
- West Virginia (SB 143, HB 2331, HB 2376)
Other states where adult-use legalization bills will be considered in 2019 include Delaware, Iowa, and Wisconsin.
Nine states have already 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. Vermont’s SB 54 would allow and regulate commercial cultivation, product manufacturing, and 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: 10
- Arizona (SB 1284)
- Hawaii (HB 1383, HB 434)
- Indiana (HB 1283, HB 1540, HB 1658)
- Kentucky (SB 82)
- New Jersey (S472, A3468, S1926)
- New Mexico (SB 323)
- South Carolina (HB 3276)
- Tennessee (HB 235, SB 256)
- Texas (HB 63, SB 156)
- Virginia (SB 997, HB 2079, HB 2370, HB 2644; HB 2079, HB 2370, and HB 2644 are stalled in committee; SB 997 was defeated in committee)
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: 10, plus the U.S. Virgin Islands, where the bill has been signed into law
- Iowa (SF 104)
- Indiana (SB 357, HB 1384, HB 1535)
- Kansas (HB 2163, SB 113)
- Kentucky (HB 136)
- Mississippi (HB 1372, SB 2358, SB 2643, SC 537; SC 537 is a constitutional referral)
- Nebraska (LB 110)
- South Carolina (H. 3660, S. 366, H. 3081, H. 3272)
- Tennessee (SB 486, HB 637)
- Texas (HB 122, HB 209, SB 90, SJR 7 HJR 21); the latter two would refer a proposed constitutional amendment to voters in 2020
- U.S. Virgin Islands (Bill 32-0135); On December 28, 2018, lawmakers voted 9-4 to send the bill to the governor’s desk. He signed the bill on January 17.
- Wyoming (HB 278)
Thirty-two states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin 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 marijuana, decriminalization, or legalizing and regulating marijuana. And 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.