There was much reason for hope that marijuana legalization would be approved in several state legislatures in 2019. In January of 2019, I suggested that such action could be taken that year in any of six states — Connecticut, Illinois, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island. By year end, Illinois was the only new state to legalize, doing so via legislation approved by the state legislature and signed by the governor.
The governor of United States territory Guam also signed into law marijuana legalization legislation in 2019.
The advancement of marijuana legalization in the states was less last year than many legalization proponents had hoped. But, the momentum remains strong. Legalization is a wave that appears set to wash over the entire country.
It is a new year, and with it comes new prospects for marijuana legalization. Expect there to be more action toward legalization in state legislatures. That includes in the states I mentioned in 2019, except Illinois that has already legalized and New Jersey where the state government has decided to put forward a ballot measure through which voters this year will decide the matter.
With 2020 a presidential election year, there is potential for marijuana legalization to take place via ballot measures as well. Phillip Smith, in a Monday Salon article, addresses where he believes marijuana legalization could be decided by popular votes this year. Smith writes that South Dakota, in addition to New Jersey, already has a ballot measure approved for consideration by voters in 2020. Smith also discusses marijuana legalization ballot measures that could qualify to be decided by voters this year in seven additional states — Arizona, Arkansas, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Oklahoma.
Read here Smith’s article, in which he also discusses some state medical marijuana ballot measures to watch for this year.