US Cannabis Legalization: The Latest Updates



The US remains one of the most profitable cannabis markets in the world. However, the federal government still classifies cannabis as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act.

Currently, medical cannabis is legal in 33 US states, and recreational cannabis is legal in 11 states. In addition, 15 states have decriminalized cannabis. These numbers might soon increase, as some states are likely to legalize it soon.

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US states likely to legalize cannabis

Recreational cannabis

  • Arizona has already legalized medical cannabis. After a failed attempt at legalizing recreational marijuana in 2016, the state’s new initiative for adult-use cannabis will likely appear on the 2020 ballot. However, a recent poll by OH Predictive Insights suggests that only half of Arizona voters showed support for legalizing marijuana.
  • Arkansas has also legalized medical cannabis. The Arkansas Adult-Use Marijuana Initiative will likely appear on the ballot on November 3, 2020. To get certified for the ballot, the initiative should collect 89,151 signatures before July 3, 2020. As of now, two ballot initiatives to legalize marijuana have been filed in the state.
  • Florida is more likely to legalize recreational cannabis in 2020. As of now, there are three initiatives to legalize recreational marijuana. The chances of at least one initiative passing to the ballot appear very good. The most popular initiative, Make It Legal Florida, has already secured the required signatures. A recent poll by the University of North Florida suggests that 64% of voters support the legalization of adult-use marijuana in Florida.
  • Missouri legalized the use of medical marijuana through a ballot initiative in 2018. The initiative to legalize recreational marijuana and expunge nonviolent cannabis-related crimes in the state may appear on the 2020 ballot.
  • New Jersey legalized medical marijuana almost a decade ago. However, the state is still restrictive about adult-use cannabis. After a two-year struggle, the initiative to legalize recreational marijuana might appear in the 2020 ballot.
  • North Dakota has legalized the use of medical cannabis, but it’s previously rejected the proposal to legalize adult-use marijuana by a vote of 59% to 41%. Currently, two groups are working to include initiatives to legalize recreational cannabis in next year’s ballot.
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Medical cannabis

  • South Dakota currently does not allow cannabis for either medical or adult-use purposes. However, two initiatives have been submitted related to marijuana legalization—one for a medical marijuana program and another for recreational marijuana. The state has already received the required signatures, boosting its chances of appearing on the ballot.
  • Idaho is one of the 17 states that haven’t legalized the use of medical marijuana. However, an initiative to legalize medical cannabis has been filed with the secretary of state. If the supporters collect 55,057 signatures by April 30, 2020, the initiative will appear on the ballot next year.
  • Mississippi is one of the most conservative marijuana states in the US. As of now, cannabis is illegal for both medical and recreational purposes. However, the initiative to legalize medical cannabis has already received the required number of signatures to appear on the 2020 ballot.
  • Nebraska legislators have already failed three times to legalize medical marijuana. Despite the trend, voters might allow the state’s marijuana legalization to see the light of the day. Supporters are collecting signatures to include a proposal to legalize medical marijuana on the 2020 ballot.

Recent updates

Recently, The US House Judiciary Committee passed the MORE ACT by a vote of 24 to 10. This bill will now be voted on in the House and then the Senate. If it passes, it will decriminalize cannabis at the federal level. It’s also aimed at expunging marijuana-related crimes. In another update, the US government cut grants for treating opioid addiction using medical marijuana.

Major Canadian cannabis companies are making their way into the US market. Canopy Growth (CGC) (WEED) recently launched a new CBD brand called First & Free. The company already sells capsules and tinctures through its websites for users in the US market. Another Canadian company, Aurora Cannabis (ACB) (ACB.TO), is also planning to enter the US cannabis market soon.


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