States with Pending Cannabis Legislation

States with Pending Cannabis Legislation

Shelby Knight

Multiple states have pending cannabis legislation for both medical and adult-use markets. Early business planning is the best way to prepare for upcoming licensing opportunities. States with cannabis bills filed include:

Nebraska: A Nebraska senator is kicking off the start of the new session with another attempt to legalize medical marijuana in the state.

Sen. Anna Wishart (D) has been fighting to enact the reform over the past several years, pursuing medical cannabis legalization both through the legislature and activist-led ballot campaigns.

Now she’s filed a new bill to provide patients with certain conditions access to marijuana if they receive a doctor’s recommendation. It appears to largely mirror a revised version of legislation that advanced in committee in 2021 but ultimately stalled out in the GOP-controlled unicameral legislature.


Kentucky: Legislation is currently pending in Kentucky, House Bill 521 and Senate Bill 186, which seeks to legalize the possession, cultivation, and use of medical cannabis and adult-use cannabis by individuals age 21 and older in the state, as well as establish a regulatory framework for retail sales.

This legislation, the L.E.T.T.’s (Legalize, Expunge, Treat, and Tax) Grow Bill, creates a Cannabis Control Board to regulate both medical and adult-use cannabis markets. It outlines social equity provisions for the board and industry at large, provides employment protections for lawful cannabis consumers, and permits individuals with prior marijuana-related misdemeanor convictions to petition the courts for the expungement of their criminal records.

The bills would allow adults age 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana in a public place and up to twelve ounces in private, to transfer up to one ounce among adults without remuneration, and to personally cultivate up to ten mature plants. If the legislation is passed, the legal sale of medical and adult-use cannabis to consumers would take effect beginning July 1, 2024.


North Carolina: Pieces continue to fall into place for what could be a thriving medical cannabis market inside the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians’ Qualla Boundary in 2023.

After it was made legal in 2021 and in the lead-up to medical marijuana being more widely available to buy and sell within its jurisdictional boundaries, EBCI Council members Jan. 12 voted to approve a resolution allowing legal language on the regulation of medical marijuana to be sent to the N.C. General Assembly, “to further the agenda effectively and efficiently coordinating in the administration of medical cannabis laws across the jurisdictions of the state of North Carolina and Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians,” according to the resolution.

EBCI Chief Richard Sneed briefly addressed the council on the matter Jan. 12.


South Carolina: A bill introduced in the general assembly on Thursday to legalize medical marijuana has received praise from one activist group, and is just one of two bills of it’s kind introduced just weeks into the 2023 General Assembly session.

The bipartisan bill introduced in both houses this week, called “The Compassionate Care Act”, received praise from Americans for Prosperity South Carolina (AFP-SC), whose director says will help those suffering from chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, and side effects from cancer chemotherapy. The bill would allow physicians to prescribe marijuana to patients with debilitating medical conditions and have it purchased from businesses certified and regulated by the state. The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and the State’s pharmacy board would also be required to create regulations alongside what would be a newly-established Medical Cannabis Advisory Board.

Another bill proposed back on January 10 of this year called the “Put Patients First Act”, is similar to the previous bill but seeks to allow dispensaries the ability to grow marijuana. It also seeks to require medical cannabis users and caregivers use an ID. The different proposed legislature have been approved for committee review.


Delaware: Democratic lawmakers in Delaware are making another attempt to legalize and create an adult-use cannabis market after several failures over the past decade.

According to the Delaware News Journal of Wilmington, two bills introduced Friday in the state House of Representatives would set up another likely confrontation with Democratic Gov. John Carney, an outspoken opponent of legalization who’s vetoed earlier attempts. Delaware’s House speaker, Democrat Pete Schwartzkopf, has also opposed legalization efforts, the News Journal reported.

House Bill 1 would remove all penalties for possessing 1 ounce or less of marijuana for those 21 and older.

HB 2 would establish a regulatory framework to possess, grow and sell cannabis as well as require a super majority for passage since it deals with taxation.


Hawaii: Hawaii lawmakers have officially filed bills to legalize marijuana in the state on Thursday, and advocates are optimistic that the reform may finally be enacted with a new pro-legalization governor in office.

Rep. Jeanné Kapela (D) and Sen. Chris Lee (D) are sponsoring the companion legislation in their respective chambers, with more than a dozen initial cosponsors signed on in total. The measures were partly informed by the finalized recommendations for legalization that a state task force developed last year.

Kapela talked about her plans to file the legislation during a press briefing last week with representatives of major advocacy organizations—including the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), ACLU of Hawaii and Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii.


Minnesota: Another Minnesota House committee approved a bill to legalize marijuana on Thursday, with about a dozen more panels left to go before it reaches the floor.

The House Judiciary Finance and Civil Law Committee passed the measure in a voice vote, with amendments. It now moves to the House Environment and Natural Resources Finance and Policy Committee.

This comes about a week after the bill advanced through the House Commerce Finance and Policy Committee. Rep. Zack Stephenson (D) and Sen. Lindsey Port (D) are sponsoring the legislation, which was first unveiled earlier this month, in their respective chambers. Port said that her companion bill will receive committee consideration in the coming weeks, but no meetings have been scheduled yet.


Ohio: Two Republican state lawmakers in Ohio have introduced a bill to revamp the state’s medical marijuana laws that would create a new state agency to oversee the program and allow more patients to use cannabis medicinally. The measure, Senate Bill 9, was introduced by state Senators Steve Huffman and Kirk Schuring on January 11 and on Tuesday was referred to a legislative committee for consideration. The bill is similar to another proposal from the last legislative session, Senate Bill 261, that failed to gain approval in the Ohio House of Representatives after passing in the Senate in December 2021.

Both pieces of legislation attempt to update Ohio’s medical marijuana law, which was passed by the General Assembly and signed into law in 2016. Under the new bill, a new state agency, the Division of Marijuana Control, would be created as part of the Ohio Department of Commerce to regulate the state’s medical marijuana program. The legislation also creates a 13-member commission responsible for oversight of the new agency and the medical program.


South Dakota: Lawmakers in South Dakota on Thursday took a step toward making significant changes to the state’s medical cannabis program.The Republican-controlled state Senate approved a bill that would broaden the list of qualifying conditions for a medical marijuana prescription, while also transferring the power to set those conditions from the South Dakota Department of Health to the state legislature.

The bill passed by a vote of 20-15, according to local news station KELO, and the legislation now moves to the state House of Representatives, where Republicans also maintain a sizable majority.

Under South Dakota’s medical cannabis law, a patient with one of the following “debilitating conditions” may use medical cannabis once he or she obtains approval from the Department of Health: A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces one or more of the following: cachexia or wasting syndrome; severe, debilitating pain; severe nausea; seizures; or severe and persistent muscle spasms.


Colorado: Less than two weeks into the Colorado Legislature’s 2023 session and we’ve already seen three big marijuana bills introduced.

Two of those bills were introduced on January 9, the first day lawmakers convened at the State Capitol. One of the measures proposes an overhaul of the state’s marijuana delivery and Social Equity Licensing programs, while a different bill would give more disciplinary power to state regulators investigating bad actors in the pot industry.

Proposals regarding the potency of commercial marijuana products, declining pot tax revenue and intoxicating hemp products are also being discussed at the Capitol, but no other cannabis bills have been revealed yet. Find a rundown of the current three cannabis measures below, with more to come as they’re introduced. (The summaries come from the original language of the bills, which could be amended.)


Indiana: Indiana lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have made a push to legalize marijuana, but it is dependent on changes made at the federal level first.

Indiana House Bill 1039 was introduced Monday, authored by State Rep. Jake Teshka, R-District 7, and co-authored by Rep. Steve Bartels, R-District 74, Rep. Doug Miller, R-District 48, and Rep. Justin Moed, D-District 97.

If passed, once marijuana is removed as a “federal schedule I controlled substance,” it would legalize marijuana use for anyone 21 years and older, and for people with serious medical conditions who have a doctor’s permission. The bill would also create the Indiana Cannabis Commission to oversee, implement and enforce regulations. It would also create a cannabis excise tax and revenue would be deposited in the state general fund.


Tennessee: Two Democratic lawmakers in Tennessee have introduced legislation to legalize medical and adult-use cannabis in the state.  A pair of Democratic state lawmakers in Tennessee this week introduced a bill to legalize both medical marijuana and adult-use cannabis in the state. The bill, known as the “Free All Cannabis for Tennesseans Act” (HB0085), was introduced in the House by Representative Bob Freeman—supported by fellow Democrat Senator Heidi Campbell—on Tuesday.

If passed, the bill would legalize the possession, use, and transportation of up to 60 grams of marijuana or up to 15 grams of cannabis concentrates for adults aged 21 and older. The measure also legalizes the home cultivation of up to 12 cannabis plants by adults in a secure location at home. Under the bill, parents and legal guardians would also be permitted to administer medical cannabis products to their minor children with a doctor’s authorization.


West Virginia: A new push to legalize marijuana in West Virginia will allow adults over 21 to possess one ounce or less of cannabis and private consumption.

House Bill 2091, introduced by Danielle Walker (D-Monongalia) on the first day of the legislative session, proposes changes to the 1931 Code of West Virginia. The bill is heading to the House of Health & Human Resources Committee for review. Under the new measure, “cannabis should be regulated in a manner similar to alcohol,” but its use would be prohibited on government property as well as driving under the influence.

Cannabis sold by a cultivation facility to a retailer would be taxed at a rate of 15 percent of the sales price. One of the bill’s provisions seeks to create a special fund in the State Treasury named the “Cannabis Transfer Tax Fund.” Retailers would be required to deposit all licensed revenue in a new fund.


Wisconsin: The Democratic governor of Wisconsin says he’s “confident” that lawmakers in the state’s Republican-led legislature will produce a passable, bipartisan medical marijuana legalization bill this session, and that he’s ready to sign such a measure—as long as the majority party doesn’t come up with a “flawed” plan that’s overly restrictive.

In a pair of new interviews, Gov. Tony Evers (D) reacted to remarks from Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu (R), who said last week that Republicans are “getting pretty close on medical marijuana,” keeping the door open for reform this session.


Florida: The effort to make recreational marijuana use legal in Florida could be up to voters. However, in order for the topic to make it on the 2024 ballot, the online petition needs a certain number of signatures. According to the Florida Division of Elections website, that number is 891,589. Right now, the petition has 148,418 signatures. Safe and Smart Florida Political Committee is leading the charge.

It is called “Adult Personal Use of Marijuana,” which would allow anyone at least 21 years old to be able to possess or buy marijuana products and accessories for non-medical reasons.


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