By Tom Angell
The tally of states that let the use of marijuana is poised to jump in a major way once more in 2019, largely due to the fact 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, stated in an e-mail. “Many states across various regions of the nation are strongly thinking of ending prohibition and regulating marijuana for adult use. A developing quantity of state lawmakers and governors are either having behind these efforts or coming to the realization that they can’t hold them up a great deal longer. The steady development of public assistance we’ve been seeing about the nation will probably translate into some significant state-level victories for marijuana policy reform.”

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


Meanwhile, the state Senate president, who sponsored a legalization bill final year that did not move beneath unsupportive—but outgoing— incumbent Gov. Dannel Malloy (D), says that passing a bill subsequent year is “a substantial income item” for the state.
Even the Residence Republican deputy minority leader, who opposes legalization, says he “would feel it would pass” when it is brought to a vote on the floor. “Quite a few 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 one particular 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, create much more than $500 million in tax income and infuse roughly $1 billion into the state economy all round 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 one particular that creates tax income, grows jobs, builds possibilities for Minnesotans, protects Minnesota children, 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 Residence majority, even though Republicans handle the Senate by one particular seat. Nevertheless, 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 having a bill to Murphy’s desk. Senate and Assembly committees authorized marijuana legalization legislation final month, demonstrating that momentum exists to choose up the problem in the new year, when the governor and legislative leaders will continue to negotiate the finer points of specifically how to finish prohibition.

New Mexico

Through 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 Residence speaker stated that if a legalization bill were to make it to the floor, “it would in all probability pass.”

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

New York

And Cuomo, who says that ending cannabis prohibition is one particular of his leading 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 a different enormous enhance on Election Day, when Democrats took handle of the state Senate, exactly where Republicans had extended stymied cannabis reform efforts.

Rhode Island

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

Residence Speaker Nicholas Mattiello (D), who has similarly been reluctant about legalization, is also now pointing to other states as a explanation to much more seriously take into account altering Rhode Island’s laws.

“I am mindful that Massachusetts has legalized it, I think Connecticut is going to legalize it,” he stated. “I feel we’re in all probability going to finish up with much more social fees with no the revenues and that would in all probability be the worst circumstance of all.”


Advocates think the Democratic-led legislature is probably to send a bill adding legal cannabis commerce to the desk of Gov. Phil Scott (R) in 2019. Whilst 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 much better method in spot to detect impaired driving. That stated, the state Senate has currently authorized legal marijuana sales legislation in previous sessions, and the Residence seems much more open to carrying out so now that possession is legal—setting up a prospective showdown more than the problem involving lawmakers and the governor in the coming months. It remains to be observed no matter whether Scott would veto a broad legalization bill or no matter whether lawmakers would be in a position to muster sufficient assistance to override him if he does so.

Nevertheless, 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 look poised to totally legalize marijuana in 2019. But there are other individuals that look 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 permitting individuals 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 determine on a referendum to totally legalize marijuana.

In Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Wolf (D), who till lately stated that the state is not prepared for legalization, now says that he’s prepared to take a severe appear at the problem. He also supports moving ahead instantly with much less far-reaching moves to decriminalize cannabis possession.

In Texas, lately reelected Gov. Greg Abbott (R) indicated during a debate that he is open to some kind 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 take into account ballot measures to totally legalize marijuana, although Mississippi, Nebraska and South Dakota could see health-related cannabis inquiries 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, stated. “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.”