States That Are Blocking, Attempting to Block or Altering Marijuana Legalization

Illustration via Marijuana and the Law

Ever since South Dakota, Montana land Mississippi legalized adult use and or medical marijuana in November, Republicans have been pushing back. Let's count the ways:

• In Montana, on May 19, the legislature amended the language of Initiative 190, reducing the number of home grow plants to two per person in a home and instituting a 20% sales and a cap on THC potency. NORML executive director Erik Altieri commented: “This is yet another recent example of Republican lawmakers pushing back against the majority of voters who support reforming our failed marijuana laws."

• In Mississippi, on May 14, medical-marijiuana Initiative 65 was overturned by the State Supreme Court. A suit brought by a local mayor called the iniitiative process "improper." At issue was the number of Congressional districts in the state. 

• In Florida, on April 22, the state Supreme Court ruled that an initiative effort by Make it Legal Florida was "misleading" and it could not appear on the 2022 ballot. The organization had already compiled more than 500,000 signatures to get on the ballot (they need nearly 900,000). Now, they have to start over. What was misleading about the language? According to Chief Justice Charles Canday, "A constitutional amendment cannot unequivocally ‘permit’ or authorize conduct that is criminalized under federal law. A ballot summary suggesting otherwise is affirmatively misleading.”

• In South Dakota, on February 8, a circuit court overturned Amendment A. "The failure to submit Amendment A through the proper constitutional process voids the amendment and it has no effect," Judge Christina Klinger wrote in her decision. The ruling is being appealed in the state Supreme Court.

• In Idaho, the legislature is attempting to institute a state Constitutional ban on legalizing "certain psychoactive drugs," such as marijuana. This would prevent medical or recreational legalization from happening in the state.

In addition, in states that have recently passed legalization bills - New York, New Jersey, New Mexico and Virginia - there has been absolutely no Republican support. However, some Dems have joined the Republicans and voted againt cannabis.

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer shrugged off the disloyal Dems, stating on April 20: "Hopefully the next time this unofficial holiday 4/20 rolls around, our country will have made progress in addressing the massive over-criminalization of marijuana in a meaningful and comprehensive way."

Just don't expect much help from across the aisle.


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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.