Legal States in 2022?

Stephen Andrews
03 Jan 2022

Midterm elections are scheduled for November 8, which means legalization is likely to spread and more states join the legal cannabis market by the end of 2022. Which states are most likely to pass legalization on marijuana, and how are legislators and advocates progressing with drafting and crafting the bills? Find out in this article.


Marijuana activists in Ohio successfully filed a petition to the state at the end of December in a bid to have state legislators discuss and progress with legalization. 

The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CTRMLA) reportedly collected 206,943 signatures, more than required to get the legislature to act. Activists needed to collect 132,887 valid signatures from registered voters for the statutory initiative during this first phase of the effort.

The signatures were collected in less than four months. Legislators are now required to consider if owning up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis for adults 21 and above, and up to 15 grams of marijuana concentrate will be legal in Ohio. The legislation also seeks to legalize homegrowing up to six marijuana plants with a maximum of 12 plants per household. 

County officials need to verify the collected signatures, after which follows a four-month period to adopt the measure, reject it, or embrace an amended version. If state lawmakers fail to adopt the measure, organizers will need to collect an additional 132,887 signatures to put the legalization question on the ballot in November 2022. 


In December, a top Maryland lawmaker pre-filed a bill to have marijuana legalization on the state ballot in 2022. Del. Luke Clippinger (D) chairs Maryland's cannabis workgroup, and the bill he promotes seeks to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot. 

The bill is tagged as House Bill 1, which means it's a priority. It will be formally introduced during January, and should it move on the ballot, it will ask voters the following question: "Do you favor the legalization of adult-use cannabis in the State of Maryland?" 

If the vote favors legalization, Maryland legislators will then be tasked to develop rules regarding the "use, distribution, possession, regulation, and taxation of cannabis within the state."


Hopes are that marijuana ends up on the ballot in Missouri in November as well. Two different groups are taking the lead on the marijuana question in the Midwestern state. 

Rep. Shamed Dogan, R-Ballwin, who is entering his final year in the House, has pre-filled a ballot resolution to legalize marijuana and expunge civil and criminal records among non-violent offenders. House Joint Resolution 83 aims to ask Missouri voters later this year whether they favor the legal adult use of marijuana and subject plant products to state tax interests. 

Legal Missouri 2022 is another group pushing the legalization effort in the Midwestern state. The group also seeks to make marijuana legal for persons aged 21 and above. The group also seeks to expunge non-violent cannabis-related offenses automatically, however, the draft proposed by this group differs from Dogan's in terms of tax regulation. Whether Missouri legislators agree to bring the marijuana question on the ballot in November, they will first need to dissect particularities on tax matters. 


A recent article from The New York Times puts Oklahoma in the spotlight and ponders how this is the new "marijuana boom state" in the block. And indeed, attracted by relaxed rules and low costs to set up a business, cannabis entrepreneurs have flocked to the Sooner State. However, the state of Oklahoma still doesn't have an active law that legalizes the adult use of cannabis, but that just might change by the end of this year. 

Oklahoma cannabis activists filed multiple 2022 ballot initiatives at the end of last year with a higher purpose to remodel and upgrade the country's existent medical marijuana program. 

A spokesperson from Oklahomans for Responsible Cannabis Action (ORCA) said the ballot initiatives aim to address pains and issues that appeared with introducing the medical cannabis program back in 2018. At the same time, the initiatives are caring to establish a market for responsible recreational use of the plant and its products. 

Oklahoma passed State Question 788, which legalized medical marijuana four years ago. Since then, the medical sector has generated approximately 40,000 jobs while the state serves up to 400,000 patients who have a license to use medical marijuana goods. Unlike in other programs around the US, Oklahoman doctors can recommend cannabis for any condition they deem fit; there's no list of particular diseases for which cannabis can be prescribed. 

Oklahoma activists unsuccessfully tried to bring the adult-use legalization question on the ballot in 2020 after signature-gathering that started in 2019 fell short due to the pandemic outbreak. With the new attempt, activists will need to collect almost 178,000 valid signatures from registered voters for each initiative they want to put on the ballot. 

legal states cannabis 2022.


Cannabis activists in Florida were rejected by the state Supreme Court last summer when they filed for cannabis reform. However, they are now reattempting to bring adult-use legalization on the ballot in 2022. 

Regulate Florida, the group working on adding the proposal to the ballot must collect over 223,000 signatures to obtain Supreme Court review and another 890,000 valid signatures by January. 

The court review in 2021 found that the ballot summaries were "affirmatively misleading" as they said adult-use cannabis would be made legal in the state without using explicit language to highlight cannabis would remain unlawful under federal law. Advocates at Regulate Florida worked their way with the wording before asking voters once again to print, sign and mail out the new petition. 

A spokesperson from Regulate Florida said in December there had been a great return from mailers and the organization is still in the process of sorting and counting the signatures. Truelieve, one of the most successful cannabis dispensaries in Florida, has also helped the petition effort by directing supporters to the petition page to obtain more votes.

More information on the petition is available here.


The Arkansas Recreational Marijuana Initiative also has a chance to appear on the state ballot in 2022 as an initiated constitutional amendment. The measure seeks to legalize cannabis for adults 21 years of age and above, regardless of residency. 

The group Arkansas True Grass was the first to file a proposal that seeks to permit the recreational use of cannabis. Their legislation also wants to allow residents to grow up to 12 plants for personal needs. The proposal also looks into expunging marijuana-related convictions and discusses tax revenue distribution. 

A second initiative from Arkansas for Marijuana Reforms aims to amend the state's current medical cannabis laws - Amendment 98 - as well as to supplement with recreational. 

Suppose the vote is successful at the end of the year. In that case, it will make Arkansas the first state among its neighbors and only the second state in the South, following Virginia, to establish a legal market for adult use of cannabis. 


Support for cannabis legalization in Pennsylvania is currently at a record high. The most recent poll suggests that 60 percent of state voters would approve a bill to legalize cannabis. 

In October, Pennsylvania introduced a bipartisan Senate bill to end prohibition at the state level. While it took months to craft the bill, some of its provisions, such as questions on tax, are still debated among legislators. 

In the meantime, the Philadelphia City Council has placed a referendum on the local November ballot, a clear signal to the state it's time to legalize. The idea is that a successful local vote will fuel statewide legislation. 

Sandwiched between New York and New Jersey, some of the most recent states to introduce cannabis legalization, the pressure has never been higher on Pennsylvania authorities also to adopt favorable laws on cannabis. 

So, those are seven states that have the power to change the legal cannabis landscape in the US this year. Every time a new state introduces a legal market on the adult use of cannabis, the nation inches closer toward federal legalization. And this year it just could be a turning point!

Happy New Year and good luck with voting later in the day!

Stephen Andrews