In the year 2023, a number of states in the US are expected to take steps towards legalizing cannabis for adult-use or medical purposes. This article highlights some of the states that could pass legislation or send measures to voters to legalize cannabis, and provides specific details on the measures and the current status of each state's campaign.
The state of Delaware is making another attempt at legalizing cannabis, having introduced two new bills, HB 1 and HB 2, which have already passed out of committee and could be put to a full House vote as early as March.
Meanwhile, Hawaii lawmakers are optimistic about passing adult-use legalization this year, with support from the state's new pro-reform governor, Josh Green.
In Maryland, where residents voted in favor of legalization in November, the legislature is expected to pass a bill in the coming months to establish a legal and regulated cannabis industry.
In Minnesota, legalization also appears promising this year, with Gov. Tim Walz proposing a biennial budget that includes allocations for implementing an adult-use cannabis program and expungements.
Ohio has reintroduced a bill to legalize adult-use marijuana and impose a 10% tax on retail sales, which could go to voters in November 2023 if the Republican-held statehouse does not pass it.
In Oklahoma, a special election will be held on March 7 to vote on adult-use marijuana legalization, after a measure to put it on the November 2022 midterm election ballot was prevented by errors on the part of state workers.
Finally, Pennsylvania may finally join its regional neighbors in legalizing adult-use marijuana, as Democrats won some key seats in the state House, giving them a slight edge over Republicans, who still hold a majority in the state Senate.
South Carolina also has two medical marijuana bills pre-filed, one of which permits residents to use medical marijuana and allows dispensaries to open, while the other lays the groundwork for a more comprehensive medical marijuana program.
Wisconsin Cheeseheads are coming to a consensus on medical marijuana legislation, according to recent interviews. However, lawmakers stress that any program will be tightly controlled, with only those suffering from legitimate medical conditions being eligible to receive it.
As the momentum towards cannabis legalization continues across the US, the year 2023 is shaping up to be an important year for the movement. With states like Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Minnesota, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania making significant progress towards legalization, it seems like the tide is turning in favor of cannabis reform. While each state has its unique challenges and opportunities, the growing support for legalization among lawmakers and the public alike bodes well for the future of cannabis in the US. As we move forward, it will be important to continue advocating for sensible cannabis policies that prioritize public health and safety while respecting individual freedom and autonomy.