Three States Most Likely to Legalize Marijuana in 2019

2018 was a big year for marijuana legalization in the United States. The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 was the biggest piece of pro cannabis federal legislation passed in the 21st century, opening the doors for hemp farming on a national scale.

On the state level, Vermont passed legislation legalizing cannabis statewide in January. Utah legalized medicinal cannabis without THC restrictions in March. Alaska, Kansas, and Oklahoma passed industrial hemp laws in April. Oklahoma legalized medicinal cannabis in June.

2019 looks to be even more progressive when it comes to pot laws. There are a handful of states that are poised to legalize cannabis in the next year, but these three are especially likely for two reasons:

  • The governors and state legislatures have expressed interest in pursuing progressive marijuana laws
  • Jobs in the legal cannabis industry already exist in these states – and as we know, money talks

Below are the three states most likely to fully legalize marijuana in 2019 according to those criteria:

New York

Governor Andrew Cuomo has gone from calling marijuana a “gateway drug” to saying “it’s time to legalize the adult use of marijuana once and for all.” He backed up his words by creating a task force whose goal is to legalize marijuana in New York State as soon as possible.

NYC mayor Bill de Blasio followed suit and reversed his position on legalization shortly after Cuomo declared that he was in favor.

in 2018 the state legislature went blue (along with most of the rest of the country) and now Democrats control a majority at the state level. Republicans have obstructed marijuana laws in the past, but they will no longer be able to stymie legislation.

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The newly elected governor J.B. Pritzker (D) made his position about legal cannabis known when he held a campaign press conference outside of a dispensary. Wasting no time after winning the election, he said that he would pursue marijuana legislation “nearly right away.”

And the economists support his decision. The Illinois Economic Policy Institute and the University of Illinois determined last month that legalizing cannabis would add 24,000 new jobs and $1 billion to the state’s economy by 2020.

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Incoming governor Tim Walz (D) has promised to “replace the current failed policy with one that creates tax revenue, grows jobs, builds opportunities for Minnesotans, protects Minnesota kids, and trusts adults to make personal decisions based on their personal freedoms.”

Like New York, Minnesota’s legalization hopes got a boost from the so called “Blue Wave” in 2018 as they will also swear in a majority Democrat state House in 2019. Republicans still control the state Senate (by a single vote), but with only one of three branches of Minnesota’s government, their bargaining power is relatively low. Also, the financial benefits to legalizing marijuana are tough for anyone to argue with.

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