Cannabis advocates saw a number of significant marijuana reform victories in 2021, but there are no plans for slowing down this year.
Across the country, activists and some lawmakers in different states are working on more cannabis reform measures to bring to the ballot in November. Some states are taking it even further with the potential legalization or decriminalization of psychedelics and other drugs making a bid for ballot action in 2022.
Legalization Into 2022
Cannabis can now legally be purchased for recreational use in 18 states, Washington D.C. and Guam. In many other states marijuana is legal for medical use or has at least been decriminalized. In 11 states, cannabis is fully legal.
This year many advocates are hopeful for more reform and legalization, exceeding a previous record year. With a number of initiatives and bills in legislature, 2022 may be another successful year for cannabis legalization.
Voters in over six states could see recreational or medical cannabis legalization initiatives on the ballot come November.
In Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma and North Dakota efforts are underway to add rec legalization to the ballot. In Nebraska and Idaho, advocates are seeking to get medical cannabis legalization referendums on the ballot this year. In Florida and Wyoming, activists are targeting 2024 for adult-use and medical marijuana measures to reach the ballot.
Many advocates are hopeful for another year of sweeping success, similar to 2020. Marijuana referendums were victorious for recreational markets in Montana, New Jersey, Arizona and South Dakota.
The 2020 ballot box proved strong public support for legalization nationwide, most notably in more conservative states. According to polls from Pew Research, two-thirds of Americans support adult-use marijuana legalization.
Nonetheless, there are always legal challenges when it comes to cannabis reform and legalization, particularly surrounding anti-marijuana officials. State supreme courts recently shot down voter-approved legislation in South Dakota for recreational use and Mississippi for medical use.
Here are the top states in the running for cannabis reform and legalization in 2022:
Arkansas – Arkansas Recreational Marijuana Amendment of 2022 (Arkansas True Grass)
Maryland – House Speaker Adrienne Jones has said she intends to pass a bill referring recreational cannabis legalization to voters
North Dakota – To Tax and Regulate Cannabis Like Alcohol and Tobacco (Legalize ND)
Ohio – Ohio Marijuana Legalization Initiative (Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol)
Oklahoma – The Oklahoma Marijuana Regulation and Right to Use Act (Oklahomans for Responsible Cannabis Action), Adult-use Marijuana Regulation Act brought (New Approach political action committee)
Idaho – Idaho Medical Marijuana Act of 2022 (Kind Idaho)
Nebraska – Nebraska Medical Cannabis Regulation Act
Kentucky – Rep. Jason Nemes filed a scaled-back version of his pervious medical marijuana bill
Delaware – Rep. Edward Osienski filed a new version of his adult-use cannabis legalization bill
Hawaii – Bill to legalize recreational marijuana from last year that cleared the Senate and is still alive for the 2022 session
Minnesota – Last year a bill to legalize marijuana moved through House committees with full chamber approval but the bill is still alive for 2022