Special Report

The Next States to Legalize Recreational Marijuana

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1. Connecticut
> 18 and over population: 2,837,855
> Annual marijuana use — 18 and older: 19.2% — 15th highest
> State and local tax collections per capita, 2018: $8,494 — 10th highest

As of July 1, Connecticut became the 19th state to legalize adult recreational use of marijuana. Adults 21 years and older can possess up to 1.5 ounces (42.5 grams) of cannabis. This latest law follows the state’s legalization of medical marijuana use in 2012. The state is currently working on an application process for people wanting to enter the marijuana sales business, which reportedly will take a year.

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2. Delaware
> 18 and over population: 769,818
> Annual marijuana use — 18 and older: 18.1% — 16th highest
> State and local tax collections per capita, 2018: $5,525 — 5th highest

Delaware has permitted medical marijuana use since 2011. In 2014, the state classified possession of less than 6.2 ounces (175 grams) of marijuana as a misdemeanor and possession of less than 1 ounce (28 grams) a civil infraction.

Two Delaware House of Representatives committees approved a bill to legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis for adults, but was two votes short of passage in March 2022 in the House. The sponsor of the failed bill split the bill in two parts which would make it legal to have up to an ounce of weed for personal and recreational use.

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3. Hawaii
> 18 and over population: 1,115,685
> Annual marijuana use — 18 and older: 15.3% — 25th lowest
> State and local tax collections per capita, 2018: $7,332– 4th highest

In 2000, Hawaii was the first state to legalize medical marijuana through state legislature, rather than ballot measures. However, the Aloha State has yet to approve recreational use of marijuana. Two bills — one to expand the decriminalization of marijuana possession and another legalizing recreational cannabis — have failed in the state Legislature at this time.

The state in 2019 lowered the penalties for small amounts of marijuana. Residents found to have 3 grams or less of cannabis face a $150 fine rather than the previous penalty of 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

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4. Maryland
> 18 and over population: 4,713,393
> Annual marijuana use — 18 and older: 16.1% — 22nd highest
> State and local tax collections per capita, 2018: $6,527 — 20th highest

Maryland permits medical use of cannabis with patients and caregivers registered with the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission. Recreational use remains illegal. Residents possessing less than 10 grams of marijuana for personal use will be fined $100. Penalties increase on subsequent offenses, with a fourth offense resulting in one year in prison and a $1,000 fine.

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5. Minnesota
> 18 and over population: 4,336,963
> Annual marijuana use — 18 and older: 16.7% — 18th highest
> State and local tax collections per capita, 2018: $6,418 — 15th highest

Minnesota Gov. Tim Waltz signed in May a bill to legalize medical cannabis use for patients 21 years or older. The State House of Representatives passed a bill in May to legalize recreational marijuana, but the measure stalled in the State Senate.

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