Marijuana laws will come into effect across America in 2024

While we may not easily see changes to cannabis law on dispensary shelves, state policy is constantly changing. As in previous years, 2024 brings with it a host of new policies impacting consumers and businesses alike, from coast to coast and in both adult and medical states.

Read on for a list of some of the most impactful and imminent changes, from revised employment rights for cannabis users to revised licensing policies and even a possible statewide union drive.


Residents have new and improved employment rights

Hippie Hill on April 20, 2023. (David Downs/Leafly)Hippie Hill on April 20, 2023. (David Downs/Leafly)

Guys, this is a big problem! As of January 1, 2024, thanks to bill AB-2188, most employers in California will no longer have the legal authority to refuse to hire, fire, or punish an employee if the employee tests positive for marijuana on a hair or urine test. The bill also ensures that a person applying for a job cannot be required to disclose past consumption records. There are some caveats: Federal employees and Californians who work in construction are not eligible for these protections (though people in state and local law enforcement are!), and drug-free spaces continue to be found in workplaces. Let's celebrate the end of 50 years of unfair, unscientific marijuana urinalysis!


Could double its pharmacy numbers

Thanks to an existing policy that requires the number of pharmacies in the state to be proportional to the number of registered health insurance card holders, Florida officials have begun reviewing nearly two dozen new pharmacy applications. If the state accepts all of these licenses, the number of existing medical pharmacies in the state would nearly double (Florida refers to them as “treatment centers”). Christopher Kimball, director of the state Office of Medical Marijuana Use, expects these dispensaries could open as early as summer 2024.


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new York

Will offer lots more licenses in the first quarter

Visitors to Times Square will have a legally verified marijuana store in their neighborhood for the first time since legalization.  (David Downs/Leafly)Visitors to Times Square will have a legally verified marijuana store in their neighborhood for the first time since legalization. (David Downs/Leafly)

The introduction of legal cannabis in the Empire State has been anything but smooth. But state regulators appear optimistic that retail licensing is gaining momentum and that they will green light stores via a lottery “in batches” starting in the first quarter of 2024. Up and on, New York!


May facilitate unionization of cannabis workers

The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555 union, which represents more than 30,000 people, hopes to enter the cannabis industry in 2024 through a ballot measure that would make union rights easier for cannabis workers. They have until July to collect around 117,000 signatures to put on the November ballot. If passed, the measure would “ensure that companies licensed to sell or process cannabis enter into an agreement that allows their employees to organize and speak out without fear of retaliation.” must.”


Increases the purchasing power of medical patients

At the end of 2023, on December 15, Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro (D) signed Senate Bill 773. The bill allows the state's ten independent growers and processors (as opposed to out-of-state companies doing business in Pennsylvania) to operate as retailers and sell directly to the state's medical marijuana patients. As Marijuana Moment points out, foreign companies have a near monopoly on the PA market, and this bill could give locals a real boost.


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A path to retail sales opens up

OK, that's not guaranteed, but it's too exciting not to mention, Leafly Nation: Nearly three years ago, in early 2021, Virginia lawmakers voted to legalize adult-use cannabis and planned to launch a recreational drug market on 1 January. 2024. But residents of the Old Dominion State still can't actually buy it, and efforts to create a regulatory framework have failed largely because of opposition from Republican lawmakers.

However, in November of that year, Democrats regained control of both chambers of the state legislature (albeit with very slim odds), reigniting optimism that change could soon be coming. (Granted, any legislation would still have to clear cannabis-wary Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin's desk.)

“What the Democrats, who control both chambers, are doing is [create] a path to the governor’s desk for an adult retail sales bill,” NORML development director JM Pedini told MJBiz Daily. But “without the supermajority required to override a veto, any serious legislation must be both pragmatic and palatable to be successful,” Pedini added.


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Protecting applicants from cannabis testing

Thanks to Senate Bill 5123, employers in Washington will be banned from testing most applicants for weed. The law contains more exceptions than its California counterpart: It does not apply to some first responders, some positions in firefighting and law enforcement, in the aviation or aerospace industries, and more. But hell, let’s call it a win anyway!

Did we miss new weed laws for 2024 in your state? Comment below and we will add them.

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