10 States that are Likely to Legalize Recreational Marijuana Next Year


Illinois was the only state that succeeded in legalizing adult-use marijuana through Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (CRTA), which was passed by the lawmakers and signed into law by the governor this summer. With the end of 2019 approaching, many of the states that failed in legalizing recreation cannabis may try again in 2020. Some states have announced their plans for making their first attempt at policy reform. 

Below are some of the state that may attempt legalizing adult-use cannabis in 2020:


Florida has two active marijuana reform policies for adult-use marijuana initiatives to place in the 2020 ballot. 

By mid-November, Make It Legal Florida had collected about 390, 000 signatures, which prompted the Judiciary to review the group’s constitutional amendment language. The measure would allow the state’s dispensaries to service the recreational market. 

The group is still collecting signatures for a constitutional amendment that would legalize adult-use marijuana in Florida ahead of January 1, 2020, deadline. 

South Dakota

On November 4, Advocacy groups in South Dakota submitted a signed petition qualifying two marijuana policy reforms for the 2020 ballot initiative. One of the policies is for legalizing medical marijuana, and the other is for legalizing recreational marijuana. 

The adult-use policy had more than 50 000 signatures. The proposal would regulate and tax marijuana for people aged 21 and above. It would also request the legislature to create laws governing the cultivation, processing, and sale of hemp in South Dakota. 

The Secretary of State in South Dakota is working to verify the signatures.


Motley Fool reported that the Drug Policy Education Group submitted a constitutional amendment proposal in July. The measure would allow the state to license medical marijuana dispensaries to sell to recreational consumers. Arkansas Marijuana Legalization Initiative and Arkansas Recreational Marijuana are also taking signatures for constitutional amendments. 

New Jersey

On November 18, Politico reported that New Jersey Legislators introduced a resolution that would place adult-use marijuana question on the 2020 ballot for the voters. 

Last month Governor Phil Murphy who was campaigning for legalization, met with governors of New York, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania to coordinate the state’s marijuana policies; however, legalization efforts in New Jersey stalled in the Senate over the summer. 

New York 

This year, the measure seeking to legalize adult-use marijuana was vetoed in the legislature; however, Governor Cuomo has not lost and is willing to try again. In October, Cuomo hosted Regional Cannabis Regulation and Vaping Summit, where Cuomo and Governors from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Connecticut discussed marijuana legalization efforts in their respective states. 


After Del. Steve Heretick’s first attempt at legalizing adult-use marijuana stalled in the legislature this year. In September, Heretick announced his plans for introducing a marijuana legalization bill in 2020. In June of 2019, Mark Herring, Virginia Attorney General, made an announcement supporting recreational marijuana legalization. 

New Mexico

A governor-appointed workgroup consisting of 22 policy leaders from New Mexico finished drafting the recommendations for a recreational marijuana program in October and submitted the report to the elected official. 

This year the bill advanced but stalled in the Senate. 


In 2016, the ballot initiative to legalize recreational marijuana failed by a 3% margin, the state prepared a new proposal for the 2020 ballot. 

According to the Phoenix News Times, the new proposal referred to as the Smart and Safe Arizona Act, which is also backed by the Arizona Dispensaries Association, was filed in August. The measure allows the use of marijuana by people who 21 years and above. It also permits every house to plant a maximum of six plants per adult and up to 12 plants per home. 

The measure needs a total of 237, 645 signatures by July 2, 2020, for it to qualify for the 2020 ballot. 

In September, Phoenix New Times reported that the new cannabis industry has opposed the SSAA and is planning on working with the lawmakers to file a competing proposal for the 2020 elections. 


On June 28, MontanaCan submitted the Marijuana Regulation Act to the Secretary of State Office. The measure would legalize adult-use marijuana, establish the responsibility of the state in facilitating the sector, and implement tax revenue policies. 


In October, two Democratic Senators introduced sprawling recreational legalization legislation that focuses on small businesses and social equity. Governor Tom Wolf supported the measure in a press conference. 

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