The struggle for the legalization of marijuana for medical use in the US started in the 1970s. In 1996, California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana. It was followed by Oregon, Alaska, and Washington in 1998. Fourteen years later, Colorado and Washington legalized recreational marijuana in 2012.
Today, medical marijuana is legal in 37 states, including D.C. and three territories. Recreational marijuana is legal in 21 states. There has been consistent lobbying and campaigning to ensure all U.S. states legalize marijuana. Many stakeholders are eager to know what states will legalize weed in 2023.
Delaware could be one of the next states to legalize weed in 2023. Its legislators passed two bills for the legalization of the possession of marijuana. The bills also provide a framework for guiding the adult-use sector. They hoped the Governor would sign the bills into law, but he didn’t.
The legislators have created another two bills that will put Delaware on the list of states legalizing weed in 2023. The new HB 1 and HB 2 bills excluded the permission for marijuana gifting clause that was present in the previous bills. The new bills have been passed by the committee and await voting by the full House in March 2023.
If you are curious to know what states will legalize weed in 2023, Ohio might be at the top of the list. There were issues of signature technicality which hindered the success of a statewide ballot in November 2022. The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol failed to meet the signature requirement by the January 3 deadline and thus went to court to block the voting. Ohio is still on the list of the next states to legalize weed in 2023 if the General Assembly considers the proposal by the CRMLA legislatively.
Maryland certainly is one of the states legalizing weed in 2023. Legislators are almost completing the process after residents voted for legalization in November 2022. The laws will not take effect until July 1, 2023. The state is considering limiting personal possession of marijuana to up to 1.5 ounces. Those who break the law will not be incarcerated but might be fined up to $100. Legislatures in Maryland could pass the bills in the next few months to provide the framework for the marijuana industry in the state.
When considering what states will legalize weed in 2023, residents of Rhode Island are already buying adult-use marijuana. The state legalized recreational weed in May, and Governor Dan Mckee signed the bill into law. All civil and criminal marijuana possession charges were automatically expunged. Although it is still new, marijuana sales in the state started on December 1st. Already, there are five hybrid stores in the states retailing both medical and adult-use marijuana.
There were hopes that the legalization bill would be passed last year, but the legislators in the Senate didn’t pass the bill. There is a renewed hope that Minnesota might become one of the next states to legalize weed in 2023. The bill has been revived in the legislature following Governor Tim Walz’s remarks that the bill should be given priority in the 2023 legislative session.
There is a 243-page document already filed before the House under House File 100. According to the Minnesota Post, the bill that was filed in January is likely to be passed this year. The Governor has already included a budget for legalizing weed in 2023 in his current state budget proposal.
Hawaii now has a new pro-reform politician Gov. Josh Green. Legislators in the state have high hopes of legalizing weed in 2023. Hawaii State Representative Jeanne Kapela said she intends to file a weed legalization bill this year. She added that legalization aims to build a sustainable and indigenous growing method that will ensure the sector will improve the needs of U.S. residents and those of Hawaiians and not benefit the multi-state companies.
On November 15, 2022, the Governor of Kentucky, Andy Beshear, signed an executive order. The order aimed to allow the state’s residents to possess and use minimum amounts of legal marijuana for the treatment of various health conditions. From January 1st, Kentucky residents were allowed to possess up to 8 ounces of medical marijuana at a time.
The law requires them to keep their purchase receipt as proof that the marijuana is legal. The Governor noted that the executive order is not sustainable and cannot be a substitute for legalization. His promise to work with the state legislators to push for legalization might make Kentucky one of the next states to legalize weed in 2023. The bill will lead to the legalization of both medical and adult use of marijuana.
Missouri approved cannabis legalization in the last midterm election. The legislators passed amendment 3, which expunged existing marijuana prohibitions. Missouri adults are now free to possess up to 3 ounces of marijuana and grow up to 6 plants at home. Additionally, up to 144 new micro businesses in the state now have licenses to retail medical marijuana. Sales will attract a 6% tax which will be used to provide healthcare for veterans and other similar expenditures.
Pennsylvania State has taken longer than enough to legalize marijuana. Surprisingly, most of its neighbors have legalized recreational marijuana. The state’s GOP legislators have been against any legalization attempts. Luckily, the state’s Democrats reclaimed some seats in November 2022. They won 3 special elections on February 7, which gave them an upper edge in the House. The few seats could be enough to propel Pennsylvania as one of the next states to legalize weed in 2023.
Recent interviews show Republican legislators in Wisconsin have almost come to a consensus on legalizing medical marijuana. The legislators, however, insist that they will only offer their support to a restrictive program. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has hinted that he will only support a very restricted form of medical marijuana, which must only be sold to individuals with a real medical condition. Although it is not clear whether Wisconsin will legalize marijuana in 2023, the hints are a good sign that there might be significant progress this year.