Nov 16, 2023 - News

Where Pennsylvania stands on legalizing weed in 2024

Marijuana legalization by state
Note: Some states categorized as illegal permit CBD for medical use. Data: DISA; Chart: Axios Visuals

Pennsylvania remains unlikely to legalize recreational marijuana in 2024.

Why it matters: Ohio became the latest state to legalize recreational cannabis use last week, meaning Pennsylvania is nearly surrounded by states where non-medical weed is legal.

State of play: The political obstacles we told you about earlier this year slowing legalization in the Keystone State remain in place.

Yes, but: Democrats aren't united behind a single proposal and the Republican-controlled Senate would likely thwart any legalization effort.

  • Kim Ward (R-Westmoreland), the party's top leader in the Senate, won't back legalization in Pennsylvania until the federal government ends cannabis prohibition, her spokesperson Erica Clayton Wright tells Axios.

Of note: Some Republicans publicly support the effort and there's a single bipartisan proposal to legalize cannabis in the state Senate.

The other side: "Given Josh Shapiro's support for this issue and [others] running out of legitimate reasons to stand against it … I think that 2024 could be the year," James Whitcomb, founder and CEO of national cannabis insurance company Frontier Risk, tells Axios.

By the numbers: 24 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized recreational cannabis use.

  • That includes all the states around Pennsylvania except West Virginia.

What to watch: It remains to be seen whether legal weed will become an election issue next year.

  • All state House seats are up for election in 2024, while half the state Senate will be on the ballot.

A recent survey shows that more than two-thirds of Americans support legalization.

Share who say they think marijuana use should be&nbsplegal
Data: Gallup; Chart: Axios Visuals

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