States That Have Legalized Recreational Marijuana

States That Have Legalized Recreational Marijuana

Recreational marijuana is currently legal in California, Colorado, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Vermont, and Wisconsin. Although not all states have passed legislation to allow this practice, the states listed above have taken significant steps in the right direction. However, the most important thing to remember is that many other states haven’t yet decided to legalize recreational marijuana.

North Dakota

North Dakota voters rejected a measure on the ballot this year that would have legalized recreational marijuana. This is the second time this issue has failed to pass in the state.

A bill on the Legislature’s agenda for next year could change the state’s prohibition on recreational marijuana. This is the STATES Act. The proposal would eliminate criminal penalties for possession and cultivation of marijuana and allow the expungement of records.

The legislation would also require the North Dakota Department of Health and Human Services to regulate the commercial production and sales of marijuana. In addition, it would prohibit home cultivation.

While the bill passed the House, it died in the Senate. The Senate has been a significant hurdle for marijuana reform bills. In the last election, the opposition group Smart Approaches to Marijuana North Dakota (SAMNDO) received more than a million dollars in opposition funding.


The General Assembly is working on a framework for a new adult-use marijuana industry. It will include a reinvestment fund to subsidize minority and women-owned businesses through a weed dispensary.

To make that happen, lawmakers must look closely at the potential risks and rewards associated with a new cannabis industry. They will also need to decide who will be eligible and how many licenses to issue.

The Legislature is also looking at taxation. HB 837, which passed the House in April, includes a community reinvestment fund. This fund will funnel taxes collected from the sale of marijuana into the state’s communities.

While the Legislature’s tax-focused efforts have dominated the headlines, marijuana policy reform continues on various fronts. This includes identifying areas where the medical market has failed. It also ensures that Black entrepreneurs have equal opportunities in the legalized industry.


The first legalized recreational marijuana store in Vermont opened in October 2018. The law allows adults over 21 to purchase and consume cannabis. Until now, cannabis was legal only for medical purposes.

While advocates tout that the sale of cannabis is a step forward, others claim it will lead to irresponsible marketing. Opponents also point to the alcohol industry’s ability to build financial empires on the backs of heavy consumers.

Vermont’s Cannabis Control Board has started work on regulations. While there are no specifics yet, the board has recommended special event licensing.

The state has also set up a marijuana registry. This registry starts a tax-and-regulate system that will eventually allow for legal adult-use sales.

While the state’s first retail dispensary is expected to open in October, other retailers are still awaiting approval from the board. Many growers expect to get their licenses in May, while others are disappointed by the timeline.

New York

New York’s cannabis law¬†embraces the marijuana industry, allowing people to purchase up to three ounces of cannabis and smoke in public. It also prohibits discrimination against people who use marijuana. The law has also eliminated harsh prison sentences for people convicted of marijuana possession.

While New York has had a robust medical market since 2014, it remains to be seen whether the legalization of recreational cannabis will bring about changes. The state is still working to develop regulations for the industry and has issued 282 pages of draft guidelines.

Although the state is still waiting to announce a date for reopening applications for retail business licenses, officials believe it will happen before the end of 2023. In March, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the Seeding Opportunity Initiative, a program aimed at providing equity to individuals the state’s past marijuana laws had unfairly burdened.


Arkansas is amidst a debate over the legalization of recreational marijuana. In recent polls, more than half of voters support it, with only about 6 percent voting against it. The issue will appear on the ballot in November.

Proponents of the measure argue that legalization will decrease petty crimes and substance abuse while increasing the safety of drivers on the road. Opponents point to the fact that the sale of marijuana will continue to be illegal at the federal level.

The measure would allow adults over 21 to purchase cannabis from licensed retailers legally. Under the proposal, marijuana would be taxed at a 10% rate. A portion of the money would be used for law enforcement and drug courts.

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