The legalization of marijuana remains a controversial issue as we head into another election year. Many publications, from Rolling Stone Magazine to 24-7 Wall Street, have made predictions about which states will likely legalize cannabis next. Will it be your state?
Much of the information posted has been based on wishful thinking and mainstream rhetoric, but now a 270-page report entitled “The Market for Legal Cannabis Products in the 50 United States” gives some credible predictions for which states will soon legalize marijuana. 
Foremost in the report is the assumption that Michigan and Nevada will be the front-runners for establishing a taxed and regulated cannabis industry within the next year, while suggesting that Indiana, Ohio, and Texas will probably be three of the last states to make similar reforms.
“With dramatic changes in both public opinion and the legal landscape regarding marijuana, it is clear that future consumption of marijuana in the U.S. will be under a much different legal regime than in the past. . .While we do not yet know what this would imply for both state and federal laws, we believe a serious effort to review the available data with numerous indicators could provide us with much better information than what was available in the past.”
Other states which show promise for legalizing soon include: Arizona, Maine, and Missouri. And as much as California has huge market potential for a cannabis industry, it seems unlikely that it will upgrade its legislation beyond current medical marijuana allowances for some time – certainly, not before 2017.
Florida, a state where pot proponents have initiatives to legalize both medical and recreational marijuana in 2016, was also ranked as having a high market potential—but analysts believe the state will only allow medical marijuana for the next several years.
According to the report, Rhode Island and Vermont will be the first two states in the nation to legalize a recreational marijuana market by way of state legislature.
The authors of the report said that they believe their predictions to be “sober and realistic,” but they also don’t account for wild cards, as can happen in any social change. For example, if California can find a way to whittle down their 12 initiatives and present a single proposal to the voters in 2016, the state could easily legalize a recreational market with ease.
Regardless of which states legalize first, it is clear the nation has met its tipping point, and the legalization of marijuana for both medicinal and recreational purposes is inevitable.
- Michigan and Nevada will be the front-runners for establishing a taxed and regulated cannabis industry within the next year.
- Indiana, Ohio, and Texas will probably be three of the last states to make similar reforms.
- Other states which show promise for legalizing soon include: Arizona, Maine, and Missouri.
- Analysts believe Florida will only allow medical marijuana for the next several years.
- Rhode Island and Vermont will be the first two states in the nation to legalize a recreational marijuana market by way of state legislature.
Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.