Legal Cannabis Possible in 11 U.S. States Next Year

By Jonathan Blecher on December 9, 2019

There were efforts around the country to establish legal, adult-use cannabis this year. However, just Illinois enacted its Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (CRTA) over the summer, passing the state legislature and earning the governor’s signature. Fast forward to 2020. States that failed in their 2019 legalization efforts could make other attempts at passage. Some others will try their r first attempts at adult-use legalization or expansion

Keep an eye on these states in 2020:


Arizona tried in 2016, but it looks like they are ready to have another go with a new proposal for 2020.

They’ve renamed the effort the “Smart and Safe Arizona Act”. It was filed in August and has the support of the Arizona Dispensaries Association. Read this report from the Phoenix New Times. The ballot measure legalizes cannabis for adults and allows home cultivation of up to six plants per adult. You can max out at 12 plants per home under this plan.

Ballot measures require a lot of signatures to qualify. In Arizona, a minimum of 237,645 signatures is required by July to make it on the 2020 ballot in November.

There’s some opposition to this effort, however, by a new cannabis industry group. They want to work with the state legislature to bring a competing proposal to the 2020 ballot, the Phoenix New Times reported.


proposed constitutional amendment that was proposed last July would allow only licensed medical cannabis dispensaries to sell to the adult-use market. The Drug Policy Education Group put that forth and two others are also collecting signatures for competing for constitutional amendments, according to The Motley Fool.


Florida has two proposals to place adult-use cannabis initiatives on the 2020 ballot.

“Make It Legal Florida” collected about 390,000 signed petitions as of mid-November, which prompted a court review of the group’s constitutional amendment verbiage. The proposed amendment would allow the state’s licensed medical cannabis dispensaries to serve a broader adult-use market.

“Regulate Florida” is still collecting signatures before the Feb. 1, 2020 deadline for a constitutional amendment that would broadly legalize adult-use cannabis in the state.

The state’s Commissioner of Agriculture, Nikki Fried is behind expanding adult-uses cannabis.

New Jersey

The New Jersey General Assembly introduced a resolution in November that would place this issue in front of voters in the 2020 election. New Jersey’s governor, Phil Murphy, campaigned on legalization. Efforts stalled in the Senate over the summer.

Senate President Steve Sweeney also said he would move forward with bills to expand the state’s medical cannabis program and expunge existing marijuana convictions.

South Dakota

Cannabis supporters submitted petitions to change cannabis policy on the 2020 ballot. One of the petitions would legalize medical cannabis. The other would legalize adult-use cannabis only.

The adult-use proposal is supported by “South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws”. They submitted signatures recently for a constitutional amendment that would legalize, regulate, and tax cannabis for adults over 21. The amendment requires the legislature to enact laws to regulate the growing, processing, and sale of hemp in South Dakota.

The State is trying to verify the signatures.


Two Democratic state senators introduced an adult-use legalization bill in October that focuses on small business development and social equity. Gov. Tom Wolf conducted a press conference in September where he urged the legislature to take up policy reform.

Rep. David Delloso introduced a legalization bill in October that would distribute products to adults 21 and older through state-run retailers.

Not surprisingly, Gov. Wolf was part of the Regional Cannabis Regulation and Vaping Summit in October organized by N.Y. Governor Cuomo, where they had support from the governors of New Jersey and Connecticut to discuss the issue on a regional level.

New Mexico

The governor appointed a workgroup of policy leaders from across New Mexico. They drafted recommendations in October for an adult-use cannabis program and submitted the report to elected officials.

Legislation to legalize adult-use cannabis advanced in the NM House of Representatives, but ultimately stalled in the Senate.


“MontanaCan” submitted the Marijuana Regulation Act (Ballot Issue No. 5) to the secretary of state over the summer. There are other groups proposing similar legislation. It’s possible some will join forces.

The “MontanaCan” proposal legalizes adult-use cannabis and establishes the regulating and taxing of the industry by the state.

New York

New York’s attempt at full legalization died in the legislature this year. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is not giving up. The governor hosted the Regional Cannabis Regulation and Vaping Summit.

North Dakota

“Legalize ND” proposed a new version of an adult-use ballot effort in July. The proposed a different ballot attempt in 2018, which was defeated. This time around the proposal puts limits on cannabis possession, bans home growing and requires a 10-percent tax on cannabis sold at dispensaries.


Delegate Steve Heretick announced plans to file a cannabis legalization bill in 2020 after he tried earlier this year, but got hung up in a stalled legislature this year.

Virginia’s Attorney General announced his support for adult-use legalization in June. He assured the public that he will work with state leaders to take steps toward policy reform.

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