American States Where Recreational Cannabis is Likely to be Legal in 2020

Cannabis is already legal is in various forms in 33 states.  2020 is set to be a year of rapid expansion of the cannabis industry as polls indicate in a number of states the rapidly changing attitude of the public towards cannabis legalization.  As the public understands more that addiction is not about the substance, but about internal psychological issues, the changes towards recreational cannabis and other recreational substances are changing.  A country where all drugs have been legalized, Portugal, has actually had overdoses decrease.  Canada has completely legalized, and Mexico’s courts have ruled cannabis prohibition illegal.  With research available and political momentum worldwide, more American states are ready to legalized cannabis.

New York

Cuomo has promised to legalize cannabis.  2019’s attempt to legalize marijuana in New York State was held up by social justice concerns.  The leadership Black and Latino communities affected by mass incarceration vowed to block legalization until their social justice concerns were met. During the legislation break, those concerns have been discussed between the governor and the state legislature.  The legislation will apparently include reparations for those victimized by mass incarceration due to the war on drugs.

New Jersey

New Jersey is just across the river from New York City. Likely legalization in New York puts pressure on New Jersey.  New Jersey is just across the Hudson River in New York. If cannabis is legal in New York, and not in New Jersey, people from Jersey would just cross the river and go to New York for recreational cannabis.  New Jersey would lose a lot of money. As the state legislature could not come to an agreement on the details of cannabis legalization, they decided to leave it to the voters in November 2020.  Recent polls favor legalization by 62% percent. It will most likely pass next year.


Florida voters voted in medical marijuana in 2016.  Cannabis is likely to appear on the ballot in 2020 for the legalization of recreational cannabis.  Florida would be the first Southern state to legalize recreational cannabis, and it is the third most populous state behind Texas.  Potentially 2020 could see three out of four of the nation’s most populous states (California, Florida, and New York) with legal recreational cannabis.  Florida is already the nation’s second-biggest cannabis market.


Medical marijuana is already legal in Arizona and the state’s industry is mushrooming.  The legalization of medical cannabis failed at the ballot in 2016. However, the state has marijuana on the ballot in 2020. This could be the year to see recreational marijuana legalized in Arizona.


While Mississippi is only now putting medical marijuana on the ballot, it could be the first deep South state to legalize medical marijuana as the South has been behind on the legalization front. Current polls suggest 65 percent of state residents do. Legalization proceeding in Mississippi is a major game-changer.


Arkansas already legalized medical marijuana in 2016.  In 2020 voters will get to chose whether to make recreational cannabis legal.  Along with Florida, it could be the first or the second Southern state to legalize recreational cannabis.

North Dakota

North Dakota voters will be able to approve on recreational cannabis.  If approved this would be the second interior Western state besides Colorado to approve recreational cannabis.  This is significant, as the more states in more regions legalize marijuana, the more the Congress will feel comfortable in ultimately legalization cannabis nationally. 

2020 stands to be a good year for cannabis. 75 percent of New Mexico voters in a recent state-funded poll support recreational cannabis recreation.  The state doesn’t have it on the ballot, but after in the next legislative session, the state legislature will begin discussing legislation for full legalization.  Some other states are considering legislation to legalize medical marijuana.  Even a conservative state like Alabama has proposals to legalize medical marijuana.  Even if Alabama does not legalize medical marijuana in 2020, just the fact that it was proposed is a demonstration of how the American public has evolved on the matter.  This research was made possible by Candid Chronicle.