Where Will Weed Move Next?
As Bob Dylan noted, times they are a-changin’.
Recent laws have altered the legal status of marijuana in many states. Perceptions of the drug are changing, as well as its availability and use.
Currently, recreational marijuana use is legal in 8 states and Washington, D.C. These states include Alaska, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Maine, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.
In each of these states, marijuana legalization began with a ballot initiative. For this process, citizens sign a petition. Once the required number of registered voters have signed the petition, the voters can bring about a public vote on a proposed law. Citizens can then vote directly on the proposed change.
This process circumvents politicians somewhat, allowing Americans to vote directly on the law rather than for a leader who votes on the law for them. As a result, states where ballot initiatives are allowed are more likely to legalize recreational marijuana use than non-ballot initiative states.
Last November, voters in 8 states pushed for marijuana laws that made it to the ballot. Voters in Arkansas, Florida, Montana, and North Dakota all approved or expanded medical marijuana laws. Voters in Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, and California approved recreational pot.
Next on the List
Under current laws, about one-fifth of the U.S. population lives in states or districts where recreational pot is legal. Based on the ballot results in November, this number will continue to increase in the coming months and years.
24/7 Wall Street examined several aspects of state characteristics to predict which states will legalize marijuana next. A variety of legal and cultural conditions contribute to the likelihood that a state will make this change in law. 24/7 Wall Street looked at existing marijuana laws in each state, the marijuana usage throughout the state and the legislative process required in each state for legalization.
Based on these factors, their resulting report predicts the following states will be next to welcome marijuana within their borders.
1. Arizona – Annual adult usage 12.7%. A proposition last November to legalize recreational marijuana use failed by a small 52.2% to 47.8% margin.
2. Arkansas – Adult usage 11.3%. Voters here recently approved medical marijuana use for the first time.
3. Connecticut – Adult usage 15.4%. This state has an increasingly strong medical marijuana program, and those caught in possession of marijuana in Connecticut face no criminal charges, only a small fine.
4. Delaware – Adult usage 12.7%. Unlike other states, Delaware may legalize marijuana without the use of the ballot initiative. A bill to regulate and tax marijuana will be considered by the state legislature in January 2018.
5. Florida – Adult usage 12.1%. Last year, Florida residents voted to legalize medical marijuana use, by a large 71.3% to 28.7% margin.
The 24/7 Wall Street report named the following 10 states as the next most likely to fall in line.
- Illinois – 12.3% adult usage
- Maryland – 14.8% adult usage
- Michigan – 15.0% adult usage
- Minnesota – 12.6% adult usage
- Montana – 15.1% adult usage
- New Hampshire – 17.1% adult usage
- New York – 15.0% adult usage
- Ohio – 12.0% adult usage
- Rhode Island – 18.7% adult usage
- Vermont – 20.6% adult usage
https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2017/11/14/pot-initiatives-predicting-next-15-states-legalize-marijuana/860502001/, https://ballotpedia.org/Ballot_initiative, http://247wallst.com/special-report/2017/11/01/the-next-15-states-to-legalize-marijuana/5/
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