More than a dozen state legislatures are considering medical or adult-use cannabis legalization bills this year as momentum builds following the 2020 election, which saw five states pass legalization measures, and the U.S. House’s approval of the MORE Act, which would federally deschedule cannabis.
“The Election Day legalization victories certainly added to the momentum for other states to pursue marijuana reform, particularly in the Northeast, and lawmakers in several states have already taken action by introducing legislation to legalize marijuana,” Violet Cavendish, communications manager for The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), tells Cannabis Business Times and Cannabis Dispensary.
MPP is focusing its efforts on advancing legislation to legalize and regulate adult-use cannabis in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Rhode Island and Virginia this year, Cavendish says, adding that New York and New Mexico are also key states to watch as state lawmakers consider legalization proposals.
On the medical cannabis front, MPP is actively working with patient advocates this year to advance legislation in Kentucky and South Carolina.
“Legalization has proven to be a winning issue, and we expect to see continued progress for state-level marijuana reforms this year,” Cavendish says.
NORML is also lending its support to many of these policy reform efforts, and Deputy Director Paul Armentano says the organization will be actively involved in adult-use legalization efforts in New Mexico, Virginia, New York and Connecticut this year, while also focusing on the implementation of New Jersey’s adult-use cannabis program.
NORML will also lobby in favor of home cultivation in Washington State, as well as expanded medical cannabis access and a reduction of criminal possession penalties in Texas. The organization is also looking to advance medical cannabis legalization in South Carolina.
“In several other states, we are also supporting efforts to expand existing