What Will Happen With Marijuana Legalization in 2020?

As we enter 2020, one of the biggest U.S. states will begin adult-use cannabis sales. Illinois sales start Jan. 1, giving residents in the sixth most populated state in the country access to recreational marijuana.

But where else in the country are there efforts on marijuana legalization in 2020?

In what promises to be an exciting year of elections, marijuana legalization in 2020 will be part of the political mix. Efforts are underway across the country, including some of the biggest states.

Where Marijuana Legalization Stands Now

Illinois will join 10 other states that already allow recreational marijuana sales. They are Alaska, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.

The new law brings the right to buy and possess recreational marijuana to 12.7 million people. Illinois joins California (39.7 million people) and Michigan (10 million) as the three biggest states that now allow recreational marijuana sales. Also, 33 states have legalized medical marijuana.

Marijuana Legalization in 2020 By State

Illinois and Vermont are the only two states to have legalized recreational marijuana without a vote of the people. However, Vermont’s law only legalized possession and cultivation of small amounts of marijuana. Illinois has set up laws to govern the marijuana industry in the state.

Some states may follow what Illinois did, while others seem set to put the issue before voters. Here’s a look at the most likely possibilities for marijuana legalization in 2020 in some of the biggest states.

New Jersey

Unlike Illinois, legislators in the Garden State failed to pass a legalization bill in 2019. Now, they’ve decided to take the route followed by most of the other states and put it to a vote of the people. Both houses of the New Jersey Legislature have approved putting marijuana legalization on the November 2020 ballot.

New York

Lawmakers in New York also failed to approve legalization.in 2019. However, lawmakers in the Democrat-controlled legislature seem poised to give it another try in 2020. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has voiced support for legalization.


As the third largest state in the union, Florida represents the biggest market since California started legal sales in 2018. However, while a group attempting to get legalization on the ballot has made progress, they still may fall short of the 766,000 petition signatures they need. The deadline is in February.


Arizona voters narrowly failed to approve adult-use sales in 2016, but they may vote on the issue again in November 2020. Supporters need 237,645 petition signatures by July 2 to get the issue on the ballot.

Other states where either the state legislator or citizens may vote on legalization include Connecticut and New Mexico.

Clearly, there will be many efforts for marijuana legalization in 2020 across the country. It will add yet another element to what is expected to be one of the biggest and most exciting elections in American history.

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