States that could legalize cannabis in 2021

We saw some significant developments in the legalization of cannabis in the United States in the first six weeks of 2021. The five states that legalized recreational and / or medical marijuana during the 2020 election have already started their program implementation processes, with Arizona aggressively approving more than 100 adult licenses.

Aside from Arizona, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota, which are starting medical and / or adult sales through new programs in the coming year (assuming everything goes smoothly with their schedules), there are other states that have the Legalization Could Enforce The legislative process in 2021. Let’s take a look at some states that have been upset for this very reason.

States That Might Legalize Recreational Cannabis In 2021

There are 11 states that experts talked about in talks about legalization in 2021, and some of those states are more likely to move forward than others.


With New Jersey residents voting to approve adult cannabis in the November 2020 election, other northeastern states are under pressure to legalize as well. Otherwise, residents will travel to New Jersey to purchase recreational cannabis, and states like Connecticut will lose the tax revenues associated with those sales.

Connecticut currently has a very restrictive medical cannabis program, but with Massachusetts to the north, New Jersey to the south, New York to the west (experts expect adult cannabis to be legalized soon), and an ocean to the east that the state will be in the near future be surrounded by legalized states for adult use.

The state parliament has made a public commitment to vote on legalization in 2021. It will soon become very difficult for them to justify non-legalization.


Another part of the blue wave of east coast states that have legalized adult cannabis or are expected to do so in the near future, Delaware is another geographic victim as it is unable to delay legalization for much longer. After all, it’s a short drive over the Delaware Memorial Bridge to New Jersey.

So far the governor of Delaware has opposed legalization, but there is no stopping progress or the will of the people. It seems that Delaware is another state where legalization is inevitable sooner rather than later.


Maryland is a little further south and borders the District of Columbia, where recreational cannabis is already legal, and Virginia, where lawmakers passed two bills to legalize adults on February 5, 2021.

Unlike the Delaware Governor, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has not publicly stated a specific stance on legalization, but the state appears to be further behind in the legalization process through legislation than other states in this article.


Voters in Minnesota’s western neighbor, South Dakota, legalized both adult and medicinal cannabis use at the same time in the 2020 election, gradually changing the marijuana landscape in the Midwest. However, the state’s Republican-controlled Senate is still creating a roadblock that could be difficult to break in the context of recreational cannabis legalization in 2021.

New Mexico

The New Mexico governor wants cannabis legalization, and experts believe 2021 will be the year lawmakers can get legislation legalized by the state’s Senate. With Arizona in western New Mexico legalizing adult cannabis legalization in the 2020 elections and issuing 102 licenses within the first six weeks of 2021, New Mexico lawmakers may feel more motivated to speed things up.

new York

New York is a state to watch for adult legalization in 2021, with the governor and most recently the state’s top Republicans coming on board. With Senate Democrats now having a large majority in the state, legalization is expected to take place this year.

This is good news because if the adult market opened in New Jersey, the state would undoubtedly lose a lot of sales and tax revenue to the Garden State.


In New Jersey (and probably other states that will be soon accessible by car), it’s only a matter of time before Pennsylvania is legalized as well. The governor has pushed for it, but with Republicans still in control of the state, it may not be enough to pass a bill in 2021.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island is surrounded by Connecticut, where adult cannabis could be approved in 2021, and Massachusetts, where it’s already legal. This is another state where it makes more sense to legalize recreational use than to keep it illegal.

The state’s Senate finally seems to be figuring out it and legalization may not get into talks until 2021, especially on how to recover from the negative economic impact of COVID-19.


Bills have already been filed in Texas pending discussion on the legalization of recreational cannabis. It’s unlikely anything will happen in 2021, but stranger things have happened in the cannabis industry.


Virginia is a state to watch in 2021. The governor added money to his budget, which was cleared for legalization in December 2020, and on February 5, 2021, the House of Delegates and the Senate passed two separate legalization laws.


With Illinois generating significant tax revenue from a robust adult cannabis market in the south, Wisconsin is aiming for legalization in 2021. However, it has been unsuccessful in the past, and is likely to continue to do so, if Republican leaders do something related to legalization to be unsuccessful in the near future.

Wisconsin is a state where voters appear ready to approve adult legalization based on voting patterns in previous state and local elections. We’ll have to wait and see if lawmakers pass something based on what residents tell them with their votes.

States That Could Legalize Medical Cannabis In 2021

There are the three states that experts have talked about the most when it comes to medical cannabis legalization this year.


This could go a long way, but Alabama’s House and Senate leaders have publicly stated that they would consider medical cannabis interventions. That’s about the same as before, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult for states not to legalize medical cannabis. We’ll see if they can hold out for another year or if 2021 is the year medical cannabis is finally approved in Alabama.


Polls show the majority of Kentucky residents support the legalization of medical cannabis, and the state governor has publicly declared his support for it. Legislation didn’t make it out of the state’s Senate in 2020, so only time will tell if there will be success in 2021.

South carolina

After five years of “review,” “testifying,” and “filing,” South Carolina Senator Tom Davis publicly stated that there was a good chance medical cannabis could happen in 2021. However, the state’s governor has said he will oppose legalization. Will 2021 be the year? It seems dubious, but there is still a glimmer of hope.

Key takeaways on states that might legalize cannabis in 2021

Some states are certainly further on their way to legalizing adult cannabis or legalizing medical cannabis in 2021, so it will be interesting to see which state lawmakers can actually pass significant reforms this year.

All eyes are definitely on the northeast, where a domino effect of legalization has been predicted since New Jersey residents voted yes to recreational cannabis in November 2020. It’s really just a matter of which state legalized first at this point. What condition do you think it will be?

Do you want to stay up to date on new and changing cannabis licenses in the US, Canada, and international markets? You can do this with the Cannabiz Media License Database. Schedule a demo to see how you can use it for research, lead generation, sales, business development, marketing, and more.

Post a comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *