Already, 11 states have legalized recreational marijuana — but no one believes that the tide of legalization will stop there. Several more states have taken steps to legalize recreational weed within their borders, and the movements are so long and quick that most experts believe that many of these states will open recreational dispensaries in 2023 or 2023.
Arizona will have recreational weed on the ballot for 2023 — which isn’t the state’s first real attempt to secure recreational dispensaries. In 2016, the measure lost by a meager 3 percent. This time, the Smart and Safe Arizona Act boasts new rules that manage what kinds of weed products can be sold and dedicates the revenue from marijuana sales to public safety and higher education.
Next door to Arizona, New Mexico tends to be a much more liberal state, but its road to legal weed seems to be a bit rockier. Bills to legalize recreational marijuana have been tabled by the state senate for years on end, but now, the governor is demanding that figuring out adult-use cannabis legalization becomes a priority for state legislators in 2023.
Like Arizona, North Dakota had a recreational marijuana initiative on its 2018 ballot — but unlike Arizona, North Dakota’s first attempt failed by a significant margin. This time around, the bill’s builders are stricter with regards to possession limits, home growing, and other factors typical of legalization.
South Dakota is a bit of a long-shot for legal recreational weed, especially considering that the state hasn’t taken any steps to decriminalize the drug. Still, the state is making serious moves to introduce some form of legal weed: Two different initiatives will appear on the state’s ballot, one for legalizing medical marijuana and one for recreational marijuana.
Montana has an astonishing three initiatives concerning weed on the state’s 2023 ballots. One proposal legalizes recreational marijuana, creates a regulating authority, and expunges certain marijuana-related convictions; one proposal adds an amendment to the state constitution, ensuring that adults over 21 can access the drug; and the final proposal offers slightly different rules for how marijuana can be sold, used and taxed.
At the beginning of 2023, Florida had two efforts for legalizing recreational weed, and now it has none. Both Make It Legal Florida and Regulate Florida have disbanded without obtaining enough signatures for ballot initiatives, but that doesn’t stop lawmakers from taking steps to legalize the good herb.
Like some other states, Virginia has tried for many years to pass legal marijuana initiatives — to no avail. This year, several bigwigs in Virginia’s state government have come out in support of legalizing recreational marijuana across the state, making it seem all but certain that Virginians will see some recreational dispensaries open within a year or two.
A state with government-run liquor stores is poised to become the first state with government-run dispensaries. State senators are coming together to build a sprawling legalization bill that could give adults the ability to buy weed products from state-run pot shops. Unfortunately, the bill currently lacks enough Republican support, so Pennsylvanians need to get in contact with their local reps if they want to see a legal weed in the coming years.
Instead of fighting about legal weed amongst themselves, New Jersey lawmakers decided to give the public the option to vote for or against legalizing recreational weed in the 2023 election. New Jerseyites eager for legal weed should consider contributing to the campaign, either financially or with their time and enthusiasm.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has vastly improved his reputation over the course of the COVID crisis, which means his second attempt to pass legislation for recreational weed could go over much better than the first. Cuomo’s plan to legalize marijuana includes bringing illicit weed dealers into the legitimate industry to ensure social equity and reduce back-alley dealings. It’s uncertain how the pandemic has affected Cuomo’s plot, but currently, his vow to legalize marijuana in New York in 2023 still stands.
Unbelievably, New Hampshire lawmakers are suffering under a veritable tsunami of marijuana legislation for 2023. They are sifting through about a dozen cannabis-associated bills, including two that legalize the drug for recreational adult use. Even so, the New Hampshire State House already passed an adult-use legalization bill last year — but it was delayed by the State Senate. Time will tell whether any of the current options make it into law.
Surprisingly to some, Vermont already has recreational marijuana regulations in place — but the state has yet to allow adults legal access to the drug. Years ago, in 2018, the State Senate easily passed a measure that would legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana sales, but the State House has largely ignored it. Many expect the bill to finally see the House floor this year, so Vermonters could finally gain access to that good green — legally, of course.
Oklahoma is a unique case. The state has enjoyed medical marijuana for only about two years, but unlike other states’ medical marijuana regulations, Oklahoma does not have a list of qualifying conditions, and licenses are exceedingly affordable. As a result, it is incredibly easy for adult Oklahomans to acquire the weed products they desire — it’s almost like Oklahoma already has recreational marijuana. Thus, it is hardly a big step for the state to pass legalization legislation, which it could do any year.
Even if some of the states’ initiatives for recreational weed fail, the U.S. could see the number of states with legal weed double in the next few months. It is certainly an exciting time to be in favor of marijuana reform and legalization.
For more information, visit https://weedmaps.com/dispensaries/in/united-states/oklahoma.