Last updated: February 5, 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.
Already, in the first three weeks of 2018, Vermont became the first state to legalize marijuana legislatively, and the New Hampshire House of Representatives approved a similar bill. Vermont’s new law will allow adults to grow and possess a limited amount of marijuana beginning on July 1, 2018, while a task force continues to explore regulating and taxing sales. Meanwhile, New Jersey’s incoming governor has made legalizing, regulating, and taxing marijuana a goal of his administration. Other states may follow suit.
Several other states are considering allowing medical marijuana or replacing possible jail time with fines for marijuana possession.
The below lists 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.
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: 15
- Delaware (HB 110, passed committee in 2017)
- Georgia (SB 334, SR 614, the latter would put the question before voters as a constitutional amendment)
- Hawaii (HB 449, HB 1464, HB 205, S 548)
- Illinois (HB 2353, SB 316)
- Kansas (SB 178)
- Kentucky (SB 80)
- Minnesota (HF 926, HF 927, HF 2714, SF 1320)
- Missouri (HB 1731, HB 1448)
- New Hampshire (HB 656 passed the full House 207-139 after being amended to simply legalize possession and cultivation for personal use, referred to House Ways and Means Committee for further consideration)
- New Jersey (S 830, A 1348)
- New Mexico (SJR 4, HB 312)
- New York (S 3040B, A 3506b)
- Pennsylvania (SB 213)
- 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 beginning on July 1, 2018. H. 490 would regulate and tax marijuana.)
- West Virginia (HB 3035)
Several more bills are expected, including in Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. Meanwhile, eight states have already passed laws to regulate marijuana like alcohol — all by ballot initiative.
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: 8
- Alabama (HB 272)
- Arizona (H 2014)
- Florida (HB 1203)
- Hawaii (SB 16, SB 169, HB 107, HB 1358, HB 1463)
- New Mexico (SB 141)
- South Carolina (H 3162)
- Tennessee (HB 831, SB 1116)
- Virginia (SB 954, SB 111, HB 1063 — was defeated in a 7-1 subcommittee vote)
Twenty-two states and Washington, D.C. have already decriminalized or legalized marijuana possession.
Effective Medical Marijuana Bills
States with bills to create comprehensive medical cannabis programs: 10
- Indiana (S 307, HB 1106)
- Iowa (HF 198, HF 199, HSB 132)
- Kansas (SB 187, HB 2348)
- Kentucky (HB 166, SB 118)
- Mississippi (HB 1204, SB 2261, SB 2821)
- Missouri (HB 1731, there is also a ballot initiative effort)
- Nebraska (LB622, passed Judiciary Committee in 2017; Legislative Resolution 293CA — constitutional amendment that would be referred to voters)
- Oklahoma (HB 1877)
- South Carolina (S 212, H 3128, H 3521 — was voted out of subcommittee 3-0 in 2017)
- Tennessee (HB 830, SB 1119)
Additional bills are expected and Oklahoma voters will decide the fate of a medical marijuana ballot measure in June. Efforts are also underway to qualify measures for the November ballots in Missouri and Utah. Twenty-nine states, D.C., Puerto Rico, and Guam already 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.