How Many States Legalized Recreational Marijuana?
Since the introduction of recreational marijuana legislation, several states have legalized it. Among them are California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, and Massachusetts. But what are the consequences of legalizing recreational marijuana? The legal market is now a $4.4 billion industry, and the illicit market is likely three times as large. Many legalizing states have learned from Colorado and New York, which made the mistake of not ensuring that consumers can afford to purchase the product.
Although Colorado was the first state to legalize recreational cannabis in 2012, eighteen others followed suit within 10 years. Although marijuana remains illegal federally, many strains contain psychoactive compounds, including THC, which produces the “high” that we are so familiar with. By legalizing recreational marijuana, more than half of all Americans support its use. And the numbers keep growing. In 2020, sales in Colorado alone are expected to hit $2 billion.
Delaware, on the other hand, is on the cusp of legalizing recreational marijuana. The state passed medical marijuana legislation in 2011, but did not legalize pot sales. Then in 2018, it legalized marijuana for adults over 21. In July, House Bill 150 was headed for a floor vote, but was postponed because of the state’s notorious drug war. Currently, Oklahoma is home to one of the more liberal medical marijuana markets, and it is likely that voters will approve it through a ballot initiative.
Although South Dakota is not a recreational marijuana state, it has legalized the medicinal use of the drug. Its voters approved Amendment A, which allows adults over 21 to possess and distribute one ounce of cannabis for personal use. Despite this, South Dakota’s legalization of recreational marijuana has been threatened by a constitutional amendment in 2021. This will probably not happen for several years, as the voters have not passed a legalization law yet.
While the number of states that legalized recreational marijuana has steadily increased over the past decade, New York became the 15th state to do so, though retail sales are unlikely until late 2022. Regardless of whether the state passes or fails to pass the legislation, every state on this list had already legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes before the vote. A final step towards legalization should be passed in every state to allow the legal use of recreational marijuana.
After Arkansas, New Mexico will become the 17th state to legalize recreational cannabis. The Cannabis Regulation Act will go into effect June 29 of 2021. It will legalize home cultivation and possession of up to two ounces of flower. In addition, home growers will be able to cultivate up to six mature plants for personal use. Retail sales will be permitted in April 2022. It will be legal to buy and sell marijuana in New Mexico by the end of 2022.
Washington legalized recreational marijuana in 2018. Though home grow remains illegal, it is now legal for adults 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of usable cannabis. They can also grow up to six plants and have their criminal records expunged. While the laws are still vague, marijuana use is not legal in public. However, medical marijuana patients can possess cannabis in the form of infused pills, oils, or dry leaf or plant form and administer it by vaporization.