Today, more than two-in-three Americans support marijuana legalization, including 49 percent of respondents who self-identify as “conservative,” according to Gallup’s 2020 polling. Even in a historically conservative state like Texas, nearly two-in-three respondents, 64 percent, supported legalizing and taxing marijuana in the 2021 Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation Poll.
In the span of eight short years, the number of states in the U.S. allowing adult-use marijuana has gone from zero to fifteen. Most of these efforts have happened via state-wide ballot initiatives.
Now, lawmakers or governors in 10 states have proposed marijuana legalization during their respective 2021 legislative sessions. This includes proposals in Connecticut, Florida, New Mexico, New York, Maryland, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, and Virginia. If all those efforts are successful, nearly half of U.S. states would have legalized marijuana for adult use.
Similarly, Congress appears ready to consider the decriminalization of marijuana at the federal level this year. After the House of Representatives voted in late 2020 to decriminalize marijuana through the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2019, or MORE Act, Senate leadership has now voiced similar support for marijuana reform.