Last updated: April 8, 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. Legislatures have already enacted three significant marijuana policy reforms this year: decriminalization was signed into law in New Mexico, medical cannabis was enacted in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam’s Senate and governor approved legalizing and regulating marijuana for adults' use.
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: 25 and Guam
- Alabama (SB 98, this bill would legalize less than two ounces of cannabis, but does not include a regulated system)
- Connecticut (HB 7371, SB 1085, HB 5595, HB 6863, SB 496, SB 690 SB 744; HB 7371 passed out of the General Law Committee on March 25)
- Florida (S. 1298, proposes a constitutional amendment that would go to voters for adults to grow, possess, and use cannabis)
- Hawaii (HB 1515, HB 1581, HB 708, SB 606, SB 686, SB 702; these bills did not advance out of committee before a deadline)
- Illinois (SB 7, HB 902, HB 2477)
- Indiana (SB 213; did not advance out of committee before a deadline)
- Iowa (SF 469; did not advance before a legislative deadline)
- Kentucky (SB 80; the legislature adjourned without voting on the bill)
- Louisiana (HB 509, HB 564, HB 462; HB 462 would create a constitutional amendment to allow cities to call elections to legalize and regulate adult-use cannabis)
- 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 and HF 465 propose a constitutional amendment that would go to voters in 2020; the Senate bills were voted down in committee in a 6-3 vote)
- Mississippi (SB 2349, died in committee)
- Missouri (HB 157, HB 551)
- Montana (HB 770)
- New Hampshire (HB 481, which the House voted 200-163 to pass on April 4, 2019, sending the bill to the Senate)
- 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; the Senate Judiciary Committee reported a revised bill out on March 18, 2019)
- New Mexico (HR 356, SB 577; the House approved HR 356 in a 36-34 vote, then the bill died in the Senate Finance committee; the legislature has adjourned)
- New York (A. 1617, S. 1527, and S. 1509 and A. 2009, which are budget bills that include taxing and regulating cannabis for adults’ use)
- North Carolina (SB 58)
- Pennsylvania (HB 50)
- Rhode Island (H 5828 and H 5151; H 5151 is a budget bill that includes taxing and regulating cannabis for adults’ use)
- 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, HB 3108; these bills did not advance before the legislature adjourned)
- Guam (the Senate approved Bill 32‐35 on March 27 in an 8-7 vote, and it was signed into law by Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero on April 3, 2019)
Adult-use legalization bills are also anticipated in Delaware 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 S. 54 and H. 196 would allow and regulate commercial cultivation, product manufacture, 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: 17
- Alabama (SB 1284)
- Arkansas (HB 1972)
- Arizona (SB 1284, HB 2555)
- Florida (H. 1289, S. 1714)
- Hawaii (HB 1383, HB 434; HB 1383 passed the House — after being amended to apply to only up to three grams — and three Senate committees)
- Indiana (HB 1283, HB 1540, HB 1658; did not advance out of committee before a deadline)
- Kentucky (SB 82, HB 265; the legislature adjourned without voting on the bills)
- Louisiana (HB 59)
- New Jersey (S472, A3468, S1926)
- New Mexico (SB 323; passed the legislature and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed the bill into law on April 3, 2019)
- North Dakota (HB 1155, was voted down in a February 20, 2019 43-47 vote, with four abstentions)
- Oklahoma (HB 2614, SB 1030)
- South Carolina (HB 3276)
- Tennessee (HB 235, SB 256)
- Texas (HB 63, SB 156; HB 63 passed the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee on March 25)
- 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)
- Wisconsin (AB 56, SB 59, budget bill, which includes decriminalization)
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: 15, plus the U.S. Virgin Islands, where the bill has been signed into law
- Alabama (HB 234, SB 236)
- Georgia (SB 232; the legislature adjourned without passing it, but the legislature did approve a bill to allow in-state access to up to 5% THC medical cannabis oil)
- Iowa (SF 104; did not advance before a legislative deadline)
- Indiana (SB 357, HB 1384, HB 1535; did not advance out of committee before a deadline)
- Kansas (HB 2163, SB 113, HB 2303, SB 195)
- Kentucky (HB 136; passed the House Judiciary Committee in a 16-1 vote a week before the legislature adjourned, but did not get a floor vote before adjournment)
- Louisiana (HB 358)
- Mississippi (HB 1372, SB 2358, SB 2643, SC 537; SC 537 is a constitutional referral; did not pass committee prior to a deadline)
- Nebraska (LB 110)
- North Carolina (HB 401)
- South Carolina (H. 3660, S. 366, H. 3081, H. 3272)
- Tennessee (SB 486, HB 637)
- Texas (HB 122, HB 209, HB 1365, SB 400, SB 865, SB 90, SJR 7, HJR 21; the latter two would refer a proposed constitutional amendment to voters in 2020)
- Wisconsin (AB 56, SB 59, budget bill, which includes decriminalization)
- Wyoming (HB 278; these bills did not advance before the legislature adjourned)
- 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, 2019.)
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.