Last updated: August 25, 2017

 

Nearly 70% of Americans live in states that have reformed their marijuana laws by allowing medical marijuana, imposing a fine — not possible jail time — on marijuana possession, or making marijuana legally available and regulated for adults’ use.

With polls showing that 60% 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. Bills have been filed in at least 34 states to rethink failed marijuana policies, and several advanced.

West Virginia became the 29th state with a comprehensive medical cannabis law on April 19, 2017, when Gov. Jim Justice signed S.B. 386 into law. Meanwhile, on July 18, New Hampshire became the final state in New England to decriminalize (or in two of the states, legalize) simple possession of marijuana when Gov. Chris Sununu (R) signed HB 640 into law.

For the first time in history, a state’s legislature — Vermont’s — sent a governor a bill to make marijuana possession and cultivation legal for adults’ use. Although Gov. Phil Scott (R) vetoed the bill, he signaled that he would sign a measure that includes some specific revisions, which could pass either during a special session or when the Legislature reconvenes in January 2018. 

Although the below lists only include bills to adopt new laws to legalize and regulate marijuana for adults, to adopt comprehensive medical marijuana laws, or to replace possible jail time with fines for marijuana possession, several other reforms were also enacted. For example, Louisiana and Kansas reduced penalties for certain marijuana offenses; Colorado, New Hampshire, and Vermont added PTSD to their existing medical marijuana programs; and Iowa and Virginia added in-state access to their low-THC medical cannabis programs.

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 and Regulation Legislation

States with bills to legalize and regulate marijuana: 23 + D.C.

  • Arizona (H 2003, died upon adjournment)
  • Connecticut (S.B. 11, H.B. 5194, H.B. 5539, H.B. 6518, all died in committee; however, a similar provision could be included in the budget)
  • Delaware (HB 110, did not advance before the Legislature adjourned for the year, but will carry over to 2018)
  • Georgia (SB 295, did not advance before end of session)
  • Hawaii (HB 449, HB 1464, HB 205, S 548, all died upon adjournment)
  • Illinois (HB 2353, SB 316, did not advance before the Legislature adjourned for the year, but will carry over to 2018)
  • Kansas (SB 178, did not advance before the Legislature adjourned for the year, but will carry over to 2018)
  • Kentucky (S 76, died upon adjournment)
  • Maryland (SB 0927, SB 0928, HB 1185, HB 1186, all dead upon adjournment)
  • Minnesota (HF 926, HF 927, HF 2714, SF 1320, did not advance before the Legislature adjourned for the year, but will carry over to 2018)
  • Mississippi (S.B. 2379, H.B. 1443, H.B. 1444, these bills died in committee)
  • Missouri (HJR 21, constitutional amendment, dead upon adjournment)
  • New Hampshire (HB 656 has been retained in committee; SB 233, which would have made possession and cultivation legal and set up a study committee on regulating production/sales, was killed 19-4)
  • New Jersey (S 3195, A 2068)
  • New Mexico (H.B. 89, S.B. 278, SJR 19, died upon adjournment
  • New York (S 3040, A 3506, did not advance before the Legislature adjourned for the year, but will carry over to 2018)
  • Pennsylvania (S.B. 213)
  • Rhode Island (H 5555, S 420, died upon adjournment)
  • Texas (HJR 46 and SJR 17, constitutional amendments, neither were considered by committee before deadlines passed)
  • Vermont (H. 490; H. 167 was amended to legalize and regulate marijuana in the Senate and approved in 21-9 vote; also H. 170, which would make it legal for adults to grow and possess marijuana but does not set up a regulatory system, passed the House in a 75-71 vote; S. 22, which was amended by the Senate to include the language of H. 170 plus a study commission to consider a regulatory system, passed the Senate and House but was vetoed by Gov. Scott, who signaled he would sign a revised version of the proposal; during its June 21 veto session, the Senate passed H. 511 — a similar, compromise bill that met Gov. Scott’s approval, but the House did not have the supermajority needed to consider it during the one-day veto session; H. 511 can be considered when the Legislature reconvenes during a special session or in 2018)
  • West Virginia (H. 3035, did not advance before end of session)
  • Wisconsin (AB 482)
  • Wyoming (HJR 11, constitutional amendment, failed vote and died upon adjournment)
  • Washington, D.C. (B22-0030, being blocked from consideration by Congress)

(Eight states have already passed laws to regulate marijuana like alcohol.)


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: 13

  • Alabama (H 269, died upon adjournment)
  • Arizona (H 2002, died upon adjournment)
  • Florida (HB 1403, SB 1662, died upon adjournment)
  • Hawaii (SB 16, SB 169, HB 107, HB 1358, HB 1463, these bills all died in committee)
  • Iowa (SF 266, died in committee)
  • New Hampshire (HB 640 became law, which the House approved 318-36 on March 8, 2017, and the Senate approved 17-6 on May 11; Gov. Sununu signed it on July 18, 2017)
  • New Jersey (A 2050, A 2614 — makes marijuana legal but does not impose regulation, subject to voter approval)
  • New Mexico (SB 258, which passed the Senate in a 33-9 vote, but died in the House)
  • South Carolina (H 3162, did not advance before the Legislature adjourned for the year, but will carry over to 2018)
  • Tennessee (HB 831, SB 1116, did not advance before the Legislature adjourned for the year, but will carry over to 2018)
  • Texas (HB 81 was approved by the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee on April 10 and heads to the Calendars Committee; SB 170 was never scheduled for a hearing and did not advance)
  • Virginia (SB 908, pre-filed, HB 1906, SB 1269)
  • Wisconsin (S 318, A 409)
  • Wyoming (H 157, failed in committee and died upon adjournment)

(Twenty-two states  including New Hampshire — and Washington, D.C. have already decriminalized or legalized marijuana possession.)


Effective Medical Marijuana Bills

States with bills to create comprehensive medical cannabis programs: 16

  • Indiana (S 255, H 1316, H 1303, died upon adjournment)
  • Iowa (HF 198, HF 199, HSB 132, these bills did not advance before the Legislature adjourned for the year, but will carry over to 2018)
  • Kansas (SB 187, HB 2348, did not advance before the Legislature adjourned for the year, but will carry over to 2018)
  • Kentucky (S 57, did not advance before the end of session)
  • Mississippi (H.B. 179, died in committee)
  • Missouri (S 56, S 153, H 437, died upon adjournment)
  • Nebraska (LB622, passed Judiciary Committee, died upon adjournment)
  • North Carolina (H 185, S 579, S 648)
  • Oklahoma (HB 1877, did not advance before the Legislature adjourned for the year, but carries over to 2018)
  • South Carolina (S 212, H 3128, H 3521 — was voted out of subcommittee 3-0;   none of the bills advanced to the floor before the Legislature adjourned for the year, but all carry over to 2018)
  • Tennessee (HB 830, SB 1119, did not advance before the Legislature adjourned for the year, but carry over to 2018)
  • Texas (HB 2107, SB 269, SJR 18; HB 2107 passed the House Public Health Committee on May 5, 2017 but was not scheduled for a floor vote before a deadline; neither SB 269 nor SJR 18 were scheduled for a hearing and did not advance)
  • Utah (SB 211, died upon adjournment)
  • Virginia (H 2135, died in committee)
  • West Virginia (SB 386 passed the Legislature — 28-6 and 76-24 — in early April and was signed into law on April 19, 2017)
  • Wisconsin (AB 75, AB 482, AJR 7, S 38, SJR 10)

(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.