Every State Could Legalize Marijuana By 2021


The market for medical marijuana and recreational marijuana is growing rapidly, as lawmakers in more states pass legislation legalizing it. Already, 28 states have medical marijuana laws on the books, and eight states have passed recreational marijuana laws, too. According to the latest research by GreenWave Advisors, those numbers are about to climb significantly.

Where marijuana is legal now

Last November’s election reshaped the marijuana state map. Ahead of the election, voters in only four states (Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington) had voted to establish recreational markets for adult use of cannabis, and 24 states had passed medical marijuana laws.

A map of the United States showing which states have approved medical and/or recreational marijuana.


As a result of the election, four more states will open up recreational markets — California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada. Another four states passed laws allowing medical marijuana, including Florida.

Every state could legalize marijuana soon

GreenWave’s founder Matt Karnes thinks that we’re on the cusp of a significant increase in the number of states that will pass medical and recreational marijuana laws.

A person rolls a marijuana cigarette.


Plans are already underway to get marijuana proposals on ballots in 2018 and 2020, and depending on how those votes go, medical marijuana or recreational marijuana could be legal in all 50 states — plus D.C. — in 2021.

Donald Trump and his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, could be key to that prediction’s coming true. In the past, the federal government has deferred to the states when it comes to marijuana legalization, but that could change.

On the campaign trail, Donald Trump supported medical marijuana, but he was less than enthusiastic about recreational marijuana. His appointment of Jeff Sessions as the country’s top lawyer also creates uncertainty.

Sessions has been a vocal opponent of marijuana, and he may not be willing to continue with a lassez-faire policy when it comes to enforcing federal laws prohibiting marijuana. Recently, he suggested enforcement of federal marijuana laws could intensify, and in a speech in Virginia, he said that marijuana was “only slightly less awful” than heroin.

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