More than half of all state legislatures considered legislation in 2019 to legalize the possession or use of marijuana, a new record that illustrates a normalization of an issue that lawmakers once saw as a third rail.
Only a few states actually passed legislation dealing with marijuana this year, and just one — Illinois — legalized its recreational use among adults. But backers of legal marijuana point to the broad debate itself as evidence that a once-niche issue has gone mainstream.
“Virtually every legislature in the country is taking a close look at its marijuana policies, and many have adopted significant reforms in 2019,” said Karen O’Keefe, who directs state policy at the pro-legalization Marijuana Policy Project, which released a report Monday on marijuana’s legislative progress.
In all, 27 states considered legislation that would have legalized commercial sales, recreational use or possession of marijuana, according to the Marijuana Policy Project. Legislators in Iowa, Tennessee and Virginia — all states in which both chambers are controlled by Republicans — considered their first marijuana legalization bills, though none of them passed.
Read more at The Hill.