By Tom Angell
Supply: forbes.com
The tally of states that let the use of marijuana is poised to jump in a huge way once more in 2019, largely mainly because a slew of pro-legalization candidates for governor also won at the ballot box on Election Day—giving cannabis reform bills a enormous enhance toward being signed into law sooner rather than later.

“2019 could be a banner year for legalization by means of state legislatures,” Mason Tvert, spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, mentioned in an e mail. “Numerous states across several regions of the nation are strongly thinking of ending prohibition and regulating marijuana for adult use. A increasing quantity of state lawmakers and governors are either acquiring behind these efforts or coming to the realization that they can’t hold them up significantly longer. The steady development of public assistance we’ve been seeing about the nation will most likely translate into some big state-level victories for marijuana policy reform.”

Right here are the states that are most most likely to legalize marijuana subsequent year, in alphabetical order:


Meanwhile, the state Senate president, who sponsored a legalization bill final year that did not move below unsupportive—but outgoing— incumbent Gov. Dannel Malloy (D), says that passing a bill subsequent year is “a considerable income item” for the state.
Even the Home Republican deputy minority leader, who opposes legalization, says he “would consider it would pass” when it is brought to a vote on the floor. “Several of these opposed to legalization have left the Legislature.”


Incoming Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) created assistance for legalizing marijuana a centerpiece of his campaign, starting in the primary race against fellow Democrats. At 1 point he even held a press conference outdoors of a health-related cannabis dispensary.

A study from the Illinois Financial Policy Institute and the University of Illinois determined final month that legalizing  marijuana would create 24,000 jobs, produce additional than $500 million in tax income and infuse roughly $1 billion into the state economy general by 2020.


Incoming Gov. Tim Walz (D), who is taking more than for an outgoing Democratic governor who opposes legalization, has pledged to “replace the present failed policy with 1 that creates tax income, grows jobs, builds possibilities for Minnesotans, protects Minnesota youngsters, and trusts adults to make individual choices primarily based on their individual freedoms.”

Walz’s efforts to legalize will get a enhance from the newly elected Democratic Home majority, even though Republicans manage the Senate by 1 seat. Nonetheless, the election of a pro-legalization governor puts Minnesota on the list of states to watch to finish prohibition in 2019.

New Jersey

Although the governor and lawmakers have quibbled more than facts such as tax prices and regulatory structures, progress is currently getting made toward acquiring a bill to Murphy’s desk. Senate and Assembly committees authorized marijuana legalization legislation final month, demonstrating that momentum exists to choose up the concern in the new year, when the governor and legislative leaders will continue to negotiate the finer points of precisely how to finish prohibition.

New Mexico

Throughout a debate she said legalization will bring “hundreds of millions of dollars to New Mexico’s economy.” She has also supported cannabis reform measures as a member of Congress.
The state’s Home speaker mentioned that if a legalization bill were to make it to the floor, “it would almost certainly pass.”

Even a Republican senator who is personally opposed to legalization now publicly admits that it is most likely on the way quickly, saying, “I do not want recreational marijuana, but I realize the political reality that it is right here.”

New York

And Cuomo, who says that ending cannabis prohibition is 1 of his prime priorities for 2019, is not the only prominent elected official to evolve on marijuana this year. 3 days following the governor endorsed legalization, so did onetime opponent Bill de Blasio, the Democratic mayor of New York City.

The push to make marijuana legal in New York got yet another enormous enhance on Election Day, when Democrats took manage of the state Senate, exactly where Republicans had extended stymied cannabis reform efforts.

Rhode Island

Although Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) has been cautious about legalization more than the years, her rhetoric has shifted not too long ago, even going so far as to recommend that the state may possibly be successfully peer pressured into ending cannabis prohibition by neighboring states that are moving ahead.
“I’m not certain at this point it is sensible to say we’re not going to legalize and regulate,” she mentioned.

Home Speaker Nicholas Mattiello (D), who has similarly been reluctant about legalization, is also now pointing to other states as a purpose to additional seriously think about altering Rhode Island’s laws.

“I am mindful that Massachusetts has legalized it, I think Connecticut is going to legalize it,” he mentioned. “I consider we’re almost certainly going to finish up with additional social charges devoid of the revenues and that would almost certainly be the worst predicament of all.”


Advocates think the Democratic-led legislature is most likely to send a bill adding legal cannabis commerce to the desk of Gov. Phil Scott (R) in 2019. Although Scott signed the much less ambitious legislation into law this year, he did so only reluctantly, and has expressed issues about going additional till the state has a far better program in location to detect impaired driving. That mentioned, the state Senate has currently authorized legal marijuana sales legislation in previous sessions, and the Home seems additional open to undertaking so now that possession is legal—setting up a possible showdown more than the concern in between lawmakers and the governor in the coming months. It remains to be observed regardless of whether Scott would veto a broad legalization bill or regardless of whether lawmakers would be in a position to muster sufficient assistance to override him if he does so.

Nonetheless, with the regional dynamic heavily shifting in favor of legalization in the Northeast, Vermont is a crucial state to watch when it comes to cannabis in 2019.

Other Cannabis Moves To Watch

The above covers the states that appear poised to totally legalize marijuana in 2019. But there are other individuals that appear potentially prepared to do so by means of ballot initiatives in 2020 or that could pass other cannabis-connected legislation in the upcoming new year.

In Kansas, for instance, Gov.-elect Laura Kelly (D) supports legalizing health-related cannabis, setting the state up to join its neighbors, Missouri and Oklahoma, in enabling sufferers to use the drug with their doctor’s recommendation.

Incoming Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) says he desires to decriminalize marijuana and let health-related cannabis, and also supports letting voters make a decision on a referendum to totally legalize marijuana.

In Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Wolf (D), who till not too long ago mentioned that the state is not prepared for legalization, now says that he’s prepared to take a critical appear at the concern. He also supports moving ahead quickly with much less far-reaching moves to decriminalize cannabis possession.

In Texas, not too long ago reelected Gov. Greg Abbott (R) indicated during a debate that he is open to some type of marijuana decriminalization—something the state Republican Celebration officially endorsed this year. Meanwhile, advocates will also push lawmakers to legalize health-related cannabis.

And advocates are making it a priority to encourage South Carolina lawmakers to legalize health-related cannabis.

Seeking ahead to 2020, states like Arizona, Florida, Ohio and North Dakota could think about ballot measures to totally legalize marijuana, when Mississippi, Nebraska and South Dakota could see health-related cannabis concerns go just before voters during that year’s higher-turnout presidential election.

“In state following state, lawmakers are coming out of the woodwork in favor of legalization,” Justin Strekal, political director for NORML, mentioned. “Be it on the grounds of criminal justice reform, neighborhood-police relations, racial justice, tax income or that they just see the writing on the wall, the political evolutions are accelerating at a tremendous price.”