Marijuana legalization may be on the ballot in these four states in 2024

It’s been more than a decade since Colorado and Washington state made recreational marijuana legal, and in the years since, 24 states and Washington D.C. have followed. Seventeen other states have legalized medical marijuana, with varying exceptions in each state’s laws.

Four more states – Florida, Idaho, Nebraska and South Dakota – may soon join that growing list. Advocates in each state are hoping to get a referendum on their November general election ballots, so voters can choose if they want to legalize the use of recreational or medical marijuana.

Here's where each of the states’ efforts stand as of April 20:


What’s on the Florida ballot?

Florida’s amendment on recreational marijuana, Amendment 3, would allow anyone 21 years of age and older to use and possess up to three ounces of marijuana. Weed could also be purchased through dispensaries without the use of a medical marijuana card, among other changes to the state’s law.

Will it pass?

Floridians will need to vote at least 60% in favor of legalization for the referendum to pass. It’s a high bar, but advocates in the state say it’s doable – a November poll from the University of North Florida found that 67% of residents were in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana.

The cannabis industry also seems poised to tap into an already thriving market. The Florida-based cannabis company Trulieve spent $40 million on the effort to collect the needed signatures to put recreational marijuana on the November ballot. Other cannabis companies have raised $15 million for the initiative.

They could likely earn back that money two-fold. Medicinal marijuana is already a booming business in the Sunshine State, with nearly 800,000 customers. Florida also has one of the fastest growing populations in the United States, as well as a thriving tourism industry.

It would be up to the state legislature to decide if to tax the product and by how much, but other states have seen large financial boons after marijuana legalization.


What’s on the Idaho ballot?

Idaho is one of only five states that prohibits the use of marijuana of any kind, including for medicinal purposes, representing some of the strictest laws on the books.

The political action committee Kind Idaho has been working to change that for years. The group is currently collecting signatures for their Idaho Medical Marijuana Initiative, which would focus on providing medical marijuana to people with chronic health conditions or those who are terminally ill. Among other provisions, it would also protect such individuals’ caregivers from prosecution and criminal sanction if they possessed or grew marijuana for their patients.

Will it pass?

The Idaho Medical Marijuana Initiative, which was first proposed by Kind Idaho in 2022, is not on the ballot yet. The group is still collecting signatures and will need to submit a total of 62,896 signatures by May 1 to appear on the November ballot.

If it appears on the ballot, advocates are hopeful that it stands a good chance of passing. According to a 2022 poll by the Idaho Statesman, 68% of respondents said they were in favor of decriminalizing cannabis for medical purposes.

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What’s on the Nebraska ballot?

Cannabis in Nebraska is illegal, both for medicinal and recreational purposes. Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana is a ballot committee working to qualify two medical cannabis initiatives for the November general election ballot.

The first ballot initiative – The Patient Protection Act – would protect those “with serious health conditions and their caregivers from arrest for the use of medical cannabis as recommended by a health care provider.”

The second initiative, called The Medical Cannabis Regulation Act, would establish a Nebraska Medical Cannabis Commission that could regulate private businesses that manufacture and provide medical marijuana to qualified patients.

Will they pass?

As of March, the group reportedly had at least 40,000 of the required 87,000 signatures for each ballot initiative, with the deadline to submit the petitions on July 3. They are hoping to collect a significant number of signatures during their statewide event on April 20.

Recent polling found that 70% of Nebraskans are in favor of legalizing medical marijuana, a hopeful sign for advocates if the measures make it on the November ballot.

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South Dakota

What’s on the South Dakota ballot?

The South Dakota Marijuana Legalization Initiative may appear on the November ballot if the citizen-led measure gets enough signatures. The deadline to submit the needed 17,509 signatures is May 7.

The measure would legalize the use, possession and distribution of medical marijuana.

Will it pass?

If the measure appears on the ballot, it stands a good chance of passing. South Dakotans already voted to legalize both medicinal and recreational weed in the 2020 election. But the amendment that legalized recreational weed was struck down as unconstitutional the following year, leaving only medical cannabis legal in the state.

Currently, South Dakota has some of the harshest laws penalizing cannabis – possession of any amount can land someone in prison for 10 years and with a fine up to $20,000.

The United States’ patchwork of marijuana laws can be confusing at best. It’s a good idea to check where your state stands on legalization.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Marijuana ballot measures: 4 states that could legalize weed in 2024