Which States Could Legalize Cannabis in 2020?

Which States Could Legalize Cannabis in 2020?

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Cannabis on the 2020 Ballot

2020 is a big year for the ballots in more ways than one. It is especially important for cannabis legislation. Some of the most notoriously anti-cannabis states have begun exploring comprehensive cannabis legislation, allowing for debate around both medicinal and recreational cannabis initiatives within their borders.

As far as we’re concerned, it’s time. It’s time for comprehensive cannabis legislation to allow for new agricultural, economic, and societal endeavors. Hemp has over 25,000 estimated uses, making it a prime commodity for agricultural production. It will also boost economic growth.

Both hemp and marijuana have shown medicinal potential, leading to a decreased reliance on expensive prescription medications and an increase in our scientific understanding of how cannabinoids such as CBD can affect our health and livelihood.

As of right now, only 12 states (including D.C.) have completely legalized cannabis medicinally and recreationally. These states are:

  1. Alaska
  2. California
  3. Colorado
  4. District of Columbia (D.C.)
  5. Illinois
  6. Maine
  7. Massachusetts
  8. Michigan
  9. Nevada
  10. Oregon
  11. Vermont
  12. Washington

While these states are important for the future of cannabis research and the cannabis industry at large, we will not be discussing them today. Instead, we wish to focus on the states that have yet to completely legalize cannabis, or those that have not legalized cannabis at all.

Cannabis legalization is important for all aspects of the cannabis industry, including the CBD industry. Legalizing recreational cannabis on a state-by-state basis removes pre-established roadblocks that tend to interfere with CBD and cannabinoid research. Through legalization efforts in state municipalities, we are able to conduct more research, learn more about cannabis and its effect on our minds and bodies, profit from the cannabis industry and create tax revenue, and take substantial strides towards universal, federal cannabis legalization, the penultimate future of the cannabis movement.

To start, we’ll look at some of the upcoming 2020 ballots that could turn medicinal cannabis states into recreational cannabis states.

States With Current Medicinal Cannabis Legislation

Here are the states that have already implemented medicinal cannabis laws. We will discuss whether or not these states are likely to pass recreational cannabis initiatives on the 2020 ballot, or if these states will include recreational cannabis initiatives on the ballot at all.

Arizona: Recreational Cannabis Likely in 2020

On November 3, 2020, Arizona will likely vote on the Arizona Marijuana Legalization Initiative, also known as the Smart and Safe Arizona Act. This would legalize recreational cannabis within the state, an effort that has failed multiple times in the state’s history. However, public support for cannabis has grown exponentially since their last attempt at legalization in 2016, and taxes placed on the recreational cannabis initiative would add funding to educational programs, police and fire departments, highway development, and health services throughout the state. This proposed initiative is likely to obtain the 237,645 signatures needed to be placed on the ballot.

Arkansas: Recreational Cannabis Possible in 2020

Residents of Arkansas may get the chance to vote on the Arkansas Recreational Marijuana Initiative on November 3, 2020. This initiative, also known as the Arkansas Recreational Marijuana Amendment of 2020, would legalize recreational cannabis for all individuals 21 years of age or older, regardless of residency. Cannabis advocacy groups Arkansas True Grass and the Drug Policy Education Group have both proposed legislation that would legalize recreational cannabis and expunge previous criminal records for cannabis-related arrests in the state, but their proposals face staunch opposition from conservative groups and governors alike. It is unclear if this bill is likely to achieve the needed 89,151 valid signatures to be included on Arkansas’ 2020 ballot.

Connecticut: Recreational Cannabis Unlikely in 2020

Unfortunately, Connecticut doesn’t utilize a signature-based legislative initiative process that allows public groups to propose legislation for the recreational legalization of cannabis. That means that Connecticut lawmakers would have to agree on legislation and get it on Governor Ned Lamont’s desk in time for the 2020 ballot. However, lawmakers failed to do just that in 2019, so it is unclear whether or not recreational cannabis can make its way through the Connecticut ranks in time for voting in November. Some elected officials in the state have proposed a referendum that would allow voters to weigh in on the issue, but such a referendum would take time and a possibly expensive public education campaign. However, Governor Lamont has gone on record stating that legislators need to come up with comprehensive cannabis policies, showing his support for recreational legalization.

Delaware: Recreational Cannabis Possible in 2020

In 2019, Delaware lawmakers advanced HB 110, also known as the Delaware Marijuana Control Act. Representatives of the state will continue to debate and develop HB 110 in 2020 but it is possible that the bill could pass this year, legalizing recreational cannabis in Delaware. This would mean that all Delaware residents over the age of 21 could possess up to an ounce of cannabis flower including up to 5 grams of concentrated cannabis extracts. The intent of HB 110 is to “foster a just, responsible, and inclusive marijuana industry” within the state, allowing for progressive regulation and taxation.

Florida: Recreational Cannabis Unlikely in 2020

In January of 2020, a campaign known as Make It Legal Florida dropped its bid for recreational cannabis legalization in the state, instead opting to refocus its efforts towards the 2022 ballot. The campaign had raised more than $8.6 million and gathered over 700,000 signatures, but the narrow time frame allotted to submit and verify these signatures prompted the postponement to 2022. This means that Florida residents will have to wait for their state to take measures beyond merely the medicinal.

Hawaii: Recreational Cannabis Possible in 2020

During the early legislative stages of Hawaii’s 2020 ballot initiatives, Hawaiian lawmakers have proposed 21 new cannabis-related measures. 10 of these bills were introduced to the House of Representatives while the remaining 11 were introduced in the Senate. Hawaiian government has also carried over 18 cannabis-related bills from the 2019 legislative session; these bills were either stalled or deferred. The majority of these cannabis initiatives pertain to the state’s hemp and medicinal cannabis industries, but 2 bills in the Senate aim to legalize recreational cannabis for adult use and repeal all criminal penalties associated with cannabis. At this time, it is unclear which direction the state will take, but Hawaii has toyed with the idea of universally legalizing cannabis for awhile so only time will tell.

Louisiana: Recreational Cannabis Unlikely in 2020

The Pelican State is unlikely to expand their trajectory past their current medicinal cannabis legislation on the 2020 ballot. Some groups are advocating for the recreational legalization of cannabis within Louisiana, and support for future cannabis legislation seems to be growing. However, without a definitive bill ready for the 2020 ballot, Louisiana residents may have to wait a little longer for recreational cannabis legislation within their borders.

Maryland: Recreational Cannabis Unlikely in 2020

The state of Maryland is all-in on medicinal cannabis, believing in substantiating claims surrounding the plant’s potential impact on our health. However, the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission has stated that the state needs to focus on establishing a smooth-operating medicinal market before considering recreational legalization. In 2019, the state’s General Assembly established a task force known as the Marijuana Legalization Workgroup in order to consider ways in which to legalize cannabis in all forms, but no bills have yet to be introduced. Therefore, recreational legalization seems unlikely in Maryland during the 2020 ballot.

Minnesota: Recreational Cannabis Unlikely in 2020

Ryan Winkler, the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL) House Majority Leader in Minnesota, stated that legislation is being drafted to add recreational cannabis initiatives to the ballot. However, it is unclear if such legislation will reach the ballot in 2020, and Minnesota residents are unlikely to see recreational cannabis by the end of 2020. The Minnesota Senate is controlled by a conservative majority who are adamantly opposed to recreational cannabis legislation, making even the most comprehensive of bills nearly impossible to pass.

Missouri: Recreational Cannabis Possible in 2020

The state of Missouri may have the chance to vote on recreational cannabis legislation on November 3, 2020. Known as the Missouri Marijuana Legalization and Expungement Initiative, this constitutional amendment would legalize all cannabis, enact a 15% tax on non-medicinal cannabis sales, and distribute tax revenue to veterans’ services, state highways, and drug addiction treatment. It would also outline the legality of cannabis cultivation within the state and expunge non-violent marijuana-related criminal and civil offenses. The campaign behind this initiative must receive 160,000 valid signatures by mid-May in order to reach the 2020 ballot.

Montana: Recreational Cannabis Possible in 2020

Montana residents may actually have the chance to vote on two competing recreational cannabis initiatives on the 2020 ballot. The state has shown a happy willingness to accept medicinal marijuana and hemp in the past, due largely to Montana’s huge availability of agricultural land, so it seems that recreational cannabis legislation has a fighting chance in 2020. The first initiative, proposed by New Approach Montana, pushes for legalization for all over the age of 21 and adopts a 20% excise tax on all recreational cannabis. The second initiative, developed by MontanaCan, proposes the legal use of cannabis for all over the age of 18 and instead focuses on a gross sales tax of no more than 5%. Both campaigns offer different regulations on the production and distribution of cannabis as well. However, both proposes must pass official review under the Secretary of State’s office in order to begin collecting signatures, a requirement in Montana.

New Hampshire: Recreational Cannabis Unlikely in 2020

“Live Free or Die,” the motto of a state so enamored with freedom of action and freedom of choice. That is: except when it comes to cannabis, apparently. Both Chris Sununu, the Governor of New Hampshire, and the state’s Senate have made it clear that they are not going to support the legalization and regulation of recreational cannabis in 2020. So, advocates have refocused their efforts on HB 1648, a bill that would legalize possession and home cultivation of cannabis for adults 21 and older. This would not establish a comprehensive system for the sale and continued research of cannabis, but it would begin New Hampshire down a path that’s only endpoint is total legalization. And as surrounding New England states institute their own cannabis policies, it will become increasingly harder for the Granite State to avoid cannabis legislation.

New Jersey: Recreational Cannabis Likely in 2020

New Jersey has one of the only initiatives that is currently guaranteed on the 2020 ballot, meaning Garden State residents will have the opportunity to legalize recreational cannabis in their state on November 3, 2020. The state’s government has long been wishy-washy on cannabis legislation, but now the power is in the hands of the people. Known as the New Jersey Marijuana Legalization Amendment, the measure would legalize the use of cannabis for all people over the age of 21. It would also legalize the cultivation, processing, and retail sale of cannabis. This legislation could make New Jersey the first mid-Atlantic state to legalize recreational cannabis.

New Mexico: Recreational Cannabis Unlikely in 2020

New Mexico attempted to become just the third state — after Illinois and Vermont — to legalize recreational cannabis through their legislature, not using a ballot initiative. However, Senate Bill 115 was rejected by the New Mexico Senate in a 6-4 vote, signifying that recreational cannabis is unlikely for New Mexico residents in 2020. Unfortunate, especially considering that nearly three-fourths of residents support cannabis initiatives in New Mexico.

New York: Recreational Cannabis Possible Yet Unlikely in 2020

Andrew Cuomo, the Governor of New York, has said that cannabis legislation is one of the top items on his agenda. However, his budget submissions in early 2019 sparked disagreement after anti-cannabis figures in the state’s Senate opposed the cannabis-centric language included in the submission. Cuomo has said that he may let the voters decide New York’s cannabis-related fate on the 2020 ballot, but no concrete legislation has yet to emerge. As of early 2020, the state Senate is still just a few votes short of holding a pro-cannabis majority.

North Dakota: Recreational Cannabis Possible in 2020

Legalize ND, a pro-cannabis activist group, has submitted a measure to legalize cannabis for adult use. The group also submitted a less refined version of the measure in 2018 that did not pass, but they hope to achieve greater success with more concrete outlines for regulating the cultivation and possession of cannabis. This measure would also impose a 10% excise tax on all cannabis products and establish a regulatory body to approve licenses for marijuana businesses.

Ohio: Recreational Cannabis Unlikely in 2020

Ohio won’t follow recreational cannabis suit like neighboring Michigan and nearby Illinois, even though Illinois gathered $11 million in only the first week of recreational cannabis legalization on the first day of 2020. Tim Johnson of the Ohio Cannabis and Hemp Chamber of Commerce has drafted a recreational bill that allows for adult cannabis use, expunges marijuana possession convictions, and allows home cultivation of cannabis. However, no lawmaker has stepped forward to sponsor the bill, despite bipartisan and public support among Ohio residents. Although cannabis initiatives are unlikely to appear on the 2020 ballot, Johnson believes that Ohio could let voters decide on recreational cannabis as early as 2021. Only time can tell the future of cannabis in the Buckeye State. But for Browns fans everywhere, we hope it’s sooner rather than later— they need it most.

Oklahoma: Recreational Cannabis Possible in 2020

On November 3, Sooners may have the chance to vote on not one but two recreational cannabis initiatives. The more comprehensive plan comes in the form of State Question 807, which allows for persons over 21 to possess, cultivate, and purchase cannabis from licensed retailers. A previous version of 807 was withdrawn after objections from the medicinal cannabis community, but now 807’s proposed 15% excise tax will not apply to the medicinal cannabis industry in Oklahoma. The second recreational cannabis initiative, State Question 808, does not set any legal age limit for legal cannabis use nor does it specify a specific tax rate. However, Oklahoma currently faces some of the largest opposition to cannabis of any state, at least on paper. A poll in August 2019 indicated a 50% opposition to recreational cannabis legalization. Maybe we’ll see where the real public support lies in November.

Pennsylvania: Recreational Cannabis Possible Yet Unlikely in 2020

Both Governor Tom Wolf and Lieutenant Governor John Fettterman support the full legalization of cannabis in Pennsylvania. However, the problem doesn’t lie with them. Senate Bill 350, known by cannabis advocates as a dream-like, gold-standard cannabis legalization initiative, must garnish support from a heavily Republican-controlled state senate. Such action is unlikely in 2020, but not impossible. However, cannabis activists in the Keystone State have instead turned their efforts towards the Senate’s reelection in 2020: ushering in more pro-cannabis legislators could turn the tides and lead Pennsylvania on the path towards total legalization and regulation in 2021.

Rhode Island: Recreational Cannabis Possible Yet Unlikely in 2020

Lawmakers in Rhode Island have filed recreational cannabis bills for several sessions now but these bills have never been taken to a vote. Governor Gina Raimondo supports the full legalization of cannabis and has indicated that she will make another attempt at legalization in 2020. Additionally, Rhode Island House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello has stated that he’s considering placing a non-binding referendum on the 2020 ballot, giving voters the chance to decide the state’s recreational cannabis future. We shall see what’s in store for the Ocean State.

Utah: Recreational Cannabis Unlikely in 2020

The Marijuana Policy Project once stated, “If we can pass medical marijuana in Utah, we can pass it anywhere.” However, the same vigor doesn’t extend to recreational cannabis, especially in the Beehive State. There are currently no discussions surrounding the legalization of recreational cannabis in Utah nor have any bills been proposed for the upcoming 2020 ballot. It is highly unlikely that such legislation will emerge in time for the ballot, so Utah residents must wait for future cannabis legalization.

West Virginia: Recreational Cannabis Unlikely in 2020

On January 31, 2020, a bipartisan group of West Virginia delegates introduced HB 4625, which would legalize, regulate, and tax cannabis for adults 21 years of age or older. The bill, known as the Normalization of Cannabis Act, is unlikely to gain enough support throughout the state’s government, especially with anti-recreational cannabis Governor Jim Justice at the helm. For now, it seems medicinal cannabis is all West Virginia has to work with.

What Does 2020 Hold for States With No Current Cannabis Legislation?

Now that we’ve looked at all the states with existing medicinal cannabis laws and what their futures may bear for recreational cannabis initiatives, it’s time we look to the "wild cards."

These are the states that have no existing cannabis legislation, medicinal and recreational alike. However, 2020 may prove to be a big year in the legalization of cannabis. In fact, states considered to be the most notoriously anti-cannabis in the country are considering legalization, and even some who may jump straight from total prohibition to full (medicinal and recreational) legalization.

Alabama: Medicinal Cannabis Possible in 2020

Alabama doesn’t have a citizen initiative process in place, so although polling shows that 75% of the state’s residents support medicinal cannabis, the state legislature has yet to act until now. However, Senate Bill 165, introduced by Senator Tim Melson, M.D., aims to make up for Alabama’s lack of comprehensive cannabis policy. While medicinal cannabis is certainly possible in 2020, recreational cannabis is a long, long way off in the Yellowhammer State.

Georgia: Changes to Cannabis Policy Unlikely in 2020

In 2019, the Peach State signed “medicinal cannabis” initiatives into law. However, these laws only accounted for high-CBD, low-THC products, a step in the right direction but falling short of comprehensive cannabis legislation that would better the future of the industry by providing opportunities for fundamental and medical research. Additionally, Georgia is a conservative state marred by gang violence, and the legalization of cannabis could decrease marijuana-related gang violence. However, no concrete legislation has yet to step forward in the 2020 ballot year, so Georgia’s cannabis laws are unlikely to experience any diverse changes in 2020.

Idaho: Medicinal Cannabis Likely in 2020

The Gem State is notoriously anti-cannabis. In fact, we’d consider it one of the least cannabis-friendly states in the United States, no small feat. However, Idaho could do away with some of its anti-cannabis rhetoric and legalize medicinal cannabis through the 2020 ballot. The Idaho Cannabis Coalition has filed a medical marijuana initiative that would establish a licensing system within the state, allowing for dispensaries, growers, processors, and testers to operate within Idaho. This initiative would also allow qualified patients to possess up to 4 ounces of cannabis and grow their own medicine. Recent polling suggests that, if the initiative receives the 55,057 signatures necessary to reach the ballot, it will pass. Recreational cannabis is still far out of reach for Idaho residents.

Indiana: Decriminalization Likely in 2020

Unfortunately for the citizens of Indiana, they will have to wait for their state to catch up with the rest of the country on cannabis policy. Notoriously anti-cannabis, the only medicinal laws in place account for CBD oils that contain no more than 0.3% THC, the exact same designation already federally legalized under the 2018 Farm Bill. However, Indiana lawmakers have proposed SB 114, which would decriminalize up to 1 ounce of cannabis, a small step towards a greener future in the state but nowhere near the rest of the country in terms of progress.

Iowa: Changes to Cannabis Policy Unlikely in 2020

Iowa only allows for medicinal cannabis, but laws only account for cannabis extracts such as CBD oils that contain no more than 3% THC. Plus, access to these medicinal CBD oils is extremely limited, meaning it’s much more efficient for Iowa residents to buy federally-allowed CBD products that contain no more than 0.3% THC. And Iowa’s cannabis policies are unlikely to change through the 2020 ballot as no concrete initiatives have been introduced in state government. In fact, Governor Kim Reynolds is adamantly opposed to recreational cannabis initiatives, stating that until the federal government offers guidelines for comprehensive legal practices around cannabis, Iowa will wait. Furthermore, Reynolds does not seem to believe in the research regarding the potential medicinal efficacy of cannabis products, stating that the research she’s seen points negatively, not positively. We’d love to scour her sources, because we’re having trouble finding what she’s talking about. Good luck, Iowa.

Kansas: Medicinal Cannabis Likely, Recreational Cannabis Possible Yet Unlikely in 2020

Governor Laura Kelly of the Sunflower State sure shines a bright light on the hopes of cannabis advocates found within Kansas’ borders. During television interviews, the Governor has said that implementing medicinal cannabis policies is one of her top priorities for the 2020 legislative year, arguing that it would help families with children suffering from serious illnesses and even help combat the opioid crisis. And while Kelly has said that she is not ideologically drawn towards adult-use marijuana, she’d “probably” sign a recreational cannabis use bill if one found its way to her desk. Get to work, Kansas! We believe in you.

Kentucky: Medicinal & Recreational Cannabis Possible in 2020

Kentucky is yet another state that touts having a medicinal cannabis program, only to offer high-CBD, low-THC products. And in this case, those CBD products fall under the same legality as the 2018 Farm Bill, so Kentucky residents would have access to the same CBD oils regardless of local legislature. That could change drastically in 2020, however. The state is currently discussing medicinal cannabis legislation, but what makes this state a true wild card is that they might become the first to legalize recreational cannabis before legalizing medicinal cannabis. In 2019, State Representative Cluster Howard pre-filed a bill that would legalize recreational cannabis in the state, implement a 6% sales tax on all cannabis products, and send 100% of the tax revenue to either the Kentucky Employees Retirement System’s nonhazardous pension fund (75% of the tax revenue) or the Teachers’ Retirement System fund (25% of the tax revenue). According to Howard, cannabis is an economic issue, not a moral issue, and Kentucky is currently missing out on a multi-billion dollar industry. Hats off to the Bluegrass State.

Mississippi: Medicinal Cannabis Possible in 2020

Mississippi’s Secretary of State is soon expected to announce whether or not Ballot Initiative 65 received enough signatures to reach the 2020 ballot. This initiative would effectively legalize medicinal cannabis within the state, allowing patients suffering from 22 specified medical conditions to possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis every two weeks. In polling from 2019, the most recently available data, 67% of Mississippi residents support medicinal cannabis, meaning that there’s a good chance Ballot Initiative 65 will pass.

Nebraska: Medicinal & Recreational Cannabis Possible in 2020

Oddly enough, Nebraska natives may get to vote on recreational, adult-use cannabis on November 3, 2020, but not medicinal cannabis. The Nebraska Cannabis Legalization Initiative would give any person in the state the right to use any plant in the Cannabis L. genus, which includes varieties of both hemp and marijuana. The Nebraska constitutional amendment, classified Article XV, would outline both commercial and noncommercial use of the cannabis plant and legalization possession, consumption, production, and distribution, a massive leap forward from a state with no current cannabis legislation in place. This initiative was originally filed by Bill Hawkins of the Nebraska Hemp Companyin 2018 and has been approved to gather signatures. However, Nebraska doesn’t operate on a set-signature basis. For Article XV to find its way to the 2020 ballot, it must gather signatures exceeding 10% of registered voters by the signature-gathering deadline, which is July 2, 2020. We will see if Nebraska residents have the steam to make it happen, but we believe in the Cornhuskers.

North Carolina: Changes to Cannabis Policy Unlikely in 2020

The Tar Heel State seems to be moving in the opposite direction. Government agencies within North Carolina have no plans to legitimize medicinal or recreational cannabis policies within their state and instead have opted to implement further restrictions on the federally-legal industrial hemp industry. Under SB 315, “smokable” hemp would become illegal but all other hemp and CBD products would remain legal under the language set out in the 2018 Farm Bill. Not the direction we were hoping to move, especially given that North Carolina won’t even allow medicinal cannabis.

South Carolina: Medicinal Cannabis Possible in 2020

Proponents of medicinal cannabis are pushing for the Compassionate Care Act in South Carolina, a bill that would provide “life-changing relief” for patients suffering from a variety of serious illnesses. The bill is championed by Compassionate South Carolina, who oppose recreational cannabis initiatives as those initiatives commonly murky the waters of their fight for medicinal-use cannabis. Legislators in the state have yet to vote on the Compassionate Care Act, and it is highly unlikely that a recreational, adult-use cannabis bid would be made in time for the 2020 ballot.

South Dakota: Medicinal & Recreational Cannabis Possible in 2020

South Dakota has historically possessed some of the most Draconian of cannabis laws in the country; they are the only U.S. enacting an “internal possession” law, criminalizing those who fail drug tests, even weeks after cannabis use. That could change drastically this year, as the Mount Rushmore State has approved both medicinal and recreational cannabis initiatives for the 2020 ballot. Constitutional Amendment A, as it’s known, has gained support from the Marijuana Policy Projectand the New Approach PAC, which sponsors state-level cannabis legislation throughout the country. This amendment would legalize the personal possession of up to 1 ounce of cannabis and the personal cultivation of up to 3 cannabis plants. It also establishes a system of taxation and regulation and requires the state’s legislative body to decide on comprehensive medicinal cannabis and hemp laws by 2022, finally bringing South Dakota into the 21st century. Additionally, Initiated Measure 26, also supported by the New Approach PAC, allows patients with a qualifying condition to possess up to 3 ounces and grow up to 3 plants for personal use. It also creates a system for the dispensary sale of medicinal marijuana. In both 2006 and 2010, South Dakota voters rejected medicinal cannabis ballot measures, but proponents believe that South Dakotans are finally ready to accept cannabis, possibly at even the recreational level. We’ll find out on November 3, 2020.

Tennessee: Changes to Cannabis Policy Unlikely in 2020

The Volunteer State obviously doesn’t wish to volunteer its time for research into cannabis and all of its potential benefits. It’s notoriously difficult for lawmakers to even make a baby step towards progressive cannabis legislation in Tennessee, but two bills have been introduced in 2020 that aim to decriminalize cannabis in small amounts. Unfortunately, decriminalization does not carry the same weight as legalization, so we just hope Tennessee legislators can compromise and come up with something, especially as state residents continuously poll in favor of cannabis legalization in some form.

Texas: Changes to Cannabis Policy Unlikely in 2020

In 2019, State Representative Joe Moody of El Paso introduced House Bill 63, which would have effectively decriminalized cannabis in small amounts. The bill passed the Texas House on a 103-42 vote, but it died in the Senate. Why? Because Texas isn’t ready for comprehensive cannabis legislation. Texas passed laws that protected the retail hemp and CBD industries within the state, but they have yet to introduce any kind of cannabis-centric legislation for the upcoming 2020 ballot. However,polling states that more than 80% of Texans support legalizing cannabis in some capacity, whether it be medicinal or recreational or a combination of the two. About 53% of Texans support at the very least the legalization of medicinal marijuana, especially as Texas lags behind the rest of the country. Changes to the state’s cannabis policies should not be expected this year, unfortunately.

Virginia: Changes to Cannabis Policy Unlikely in 2020

Virginia adamantly opposes all cannabis legislation, time and time again. Decriminalization may be on the table now that Democrats hold the majority in the state’s House of Delegates, but it’s too early to declare anything. For now, Virginia residents just have to hold tight and hope for the best.

Wisconsin: Changes to Cannabis Policy Unlikely in 2020

Melissa Sargent, a member of Wisconsin’s State Assembly, has been hard at work on a bill to completely legalize cannabis within the state’s borders. However, not a single Republican sponsor has approved the bill, meaning it is unlikely to move anywhere without further development and bipartisan interworking. Her bill would allow adults to purchase cannabis at state-sponsored stores and ensure that Wisconsin has a place in the future of the cannabis industry. However, it is unclear if we will see anything manifest in 2020, especially in time for the November ballot.

Wyoming: Medicinal Cannabis Possible in 2020

Believe it or not, one of the most anti-cannabis states in the country has proposed medicinal cannabis legislation. House Bill 278 would create a set of guidelines for the use and distribution of medicinal cannabis within Wyoming. This move would signify a letting go of outdated cannabis policies found within the state while also staying true to Wyoming’s hardline approach to almost everything: there would be steep penalties for those who do not follow the guidelines laid out in HB 278, including fines and potential jail time. However, we’ll call it a step in the right direction. And it might actually have the support to pass.

What if All States Pass Their Cannabis Legislation This Year?

There are currently 12 states (including Washington D.C.) that allow for the legal adult use of recreational cannabis, but if all states with proposed recreational cannabis legislation pass their bills in November, we could be looking at an enormous spike in the availability of recreational cannabis nationwide.

That number would jump to 28, and the list of states allowing recreational cannabis would then include all of the following. States where recreational cannabis is already legal are denoted in bold:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia (D.C.)
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Vermont
  • Washington

Why is recreational cannabis legalization important? Because the more cannabis is legalized recreationally, the more it becomes accepted by society. Groups that previously opposed cannabis legislation will begin to see the plant's positive socioeconomic impact on society, allowing for an increase in industrious cannabis uses.

This would not only lead to a spike in the hemp market, where hemp will become more commonplace among goods like textiles and building materials, but it would lead to more funding for medicinal cannabinoid research.

With a vast legalization push throughout the country, we could see the number of available clinical research trials into things like CBD increase tenfold.

And what about states that may legalize medicinal cannabis in 2020? There are currently 34 states (including Washington D.C.) with medicinal cannabis laws already in place, but after November 3, that number could become as high as 42. Here are the states that would then allow medicinal cannabis within their borders. Again, states with current legislation are denoted in bold:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia (D.C.)
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming

That would leave the number of states without any cannabis legislation at just 8, and those states would include:

  • Georgia
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • North Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Wisconsin

Nebraska is not included on either of these final two lists as it's possible the state will legalize recreational cannabis but not medicinal cannabis, oddly enough. If Nebraska legalizes recreational cannabis in 2020, they will be the first state to do so prior to establishing medicinal cannabis legislation.

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