2015 was a huge year for marijuana, which obtained more momentum than ever in its progress toward full legalization. Halfway through the year, 23 states and Washington D.C. had marijuana legalized in some form (medical or recreational). Medical marijuana was legalized in states like Hawaii, Delaware, Michigan and Vermont. While Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington went completely legal, offering recreational sales as well.
With the presidential election coming up, this year could and will most likely be another compelling time for marijuana legalization. So which states are considering joining the rest of the 23 states that are now pro-marijuana?
Nevada came in first, qualifying with almost 60,000 more signatures than required for the 2016 ballot. Seems like Nevada is well on its way to taking its legalization and finally making the transition from just medicinal to fully recreational.
The Golden State legalized medical marijuana way back in 1996. The initial ground rules were never set for regulation, which caused legislators to be slightly hesitant for full legalization. But just recently Gov. Jerry Brown signed in three new laws to that will assist in setting up a legitimate structure that could break ground for legalization, reported by the Los Angeles Times.
Maine is well-known for running a progressive medical marijuana program. As the state slowly prepares for complete legalization, some parts of Main have already been legalizing, according to the Huffington Post. The Maine Marijuana Legalization Initiative would allow adults 21 and older to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana, including concentrated forms of the drug.
2010 was the year medical marijuana was finally legalized but Arizona is shooting for recreational to be legalized by summer 2016. A marijuana legalization campaign is nearing its goal of gathering 150,000 valid signatures to get on the November ballot. The initiative would ask Arizona voters to legalize marijuana for recreational use and establish a network of licensed cannabis shops where sales of the drug would be taxed.
Medical marijuana reform passed in 2012 in Connecticut, and since then it’s been an extremely slow build towards recreational legalization. Local police are fully preparing for the law to pass, saying that medical marijuana has caused no problems so far, the Connecticut Post reported.
Medical marijuana was legalized 8 years ago in Michigan in 2008. In order to ensure the most efficient system the state is still creating and passing laws. Groups are petitioning for the state to fully legalize marijuana next year.
A frenzy has been brewing in Ohio and a heated debate has ensued over the legalization of marijuana due to lack of funding. It’s a tight race if you look at the polls, 53% of voters currently support legalization and 44% oppose, as claimed by an October Quinnipiac University poll, reported by Cleveland.com.
Rhode Island lawmakers were presented with a recreational marijuana bill in January that will be a hot topic next year. Lawmakers in support of the bill say it will eradicate the black market and help generate tax income. An October poll by the Marijuana Policy Project found 57% of Rhode Island residents would prefer regulated as opposed to having it banned.
Gov. Peter Schulman said he’s been tracking Colorado’s success with legal marijuana. He’s organized meetings discussing the logistics of legalization, which means it could be in the near future.