Likelihood of Northeast Legalization

June 24, 2019

As the FDA continues to hold conversations around legal pathways for the CBD industry, multi-state operators and CPG companies are in full swing. One of the greatest challenges is navigating the state-by-state regulatory differences. These differences often reflect the political environment of each state which may impact how MSOs and other companies enter the market. Furthermore, it makes consumer segmentation significantly more challenging. As part of our trend analysis, we compare cannabis laws and political background in each state to evaluate the socio-political, cannabis ecosystem. For most of these states, polls have shown that at least 50% of the population support cannabis legalization. Though all of these states have legalized medical cannabis, regulatory and legislative measures have prevented full implementation and incorporation of cannabis usage which can correlate with social acceptance of cannabis and, correspondingly, CBD use. Except for Pennsylvania and New Jersey, cannabis use is decriminalized or has reduced penalties in the Northeast region. 

Here is a list of Northeast states that rank from least to most likely to pass legislation for recreational cannabis.


New York - 96.92

New York City has had a progressive perspective on cannabis but due to racial tensions and pushes for social justice reform in cannabis within the city, politics has stymied legalization efforts. The association between race and drug use has continued to prevent support for cannabis.


Pennsylvania - 104.69

Philadelphia and Pittsburgh were among the first in the country to decriminalize cannabis use. However, the rest of the state has yet to agree on cannabis legalization. 


New Jersey - 113.21

The government in New Jersey has been reluctant in legalizing medical cannabis with the strictest medical cannabis laws in the country. In 2013, NJ police made 24,765 arrests, the highest in two decades which is at odds with the decline in national arrests. 


Massachusetts - 124.21

Massachusetts has had a rocky history with cannabis but also holds the largest event for the support of legalization, the Boston Freedom Rally, in Boston.


Maine - 163.61

Maine is one of the few states that, from the very beginning, has had a progressive and positive association with cannabis. 


Vermont - 252.61

Though legalization came much later than other states, Vermont is the first state to legalize recreational marijuana through state legislature. Vermont does not have direct initiative ballot processes and must rely on the government to provide constitutional amendments.


Using our multi-sourced approach, we estimated the NE states that are most likely to legalize recreational cannabis.