So far, only Colorado and Washington states have legalized the recreational use of marijuana. But with recent surveys indicating as many as 70 percent of Americans think marijuana will eventually be legal nationwide, it’s likely only a matter of time before your state joins the ranks.
These 6 states may be most likely to legalize marijuana, in some form, in the near future:
- 1. Alaska is looking like a likely candidate. They first had a ballot measure ready to go before voters in August, but had to move it back to the general election in November. Marijuana has already been decriminalized (with possession offenses carrying mere fines), and a medical pot system is in place in the state, but 55 percent of Alaskan voters would like to see it legalized for recreational use.
- 2. Maine is another contender for legalizing pot. Portland, Maine legalized it in November and the Marijuana Policy Project is assisting in a grassroots campaign throughout the state. It likely won’t see the ballot before 2016. Currently, around half of Maine voters approve of legalization, a number that could climb significantly with a concentrated effort by advocates.
- 3. Oregon came close to legalizing in 2012, but fell short with 53 percent voting against the measure and 47 for the measure. Advocates there have been pushing for a new ballot initiative, and as of April were gathering signatures to get it on this November’s ballot.
- 4. Vermont will have to rely on state lawmakers to legalize pot, as they have no citizen-initiated ballot process. Governor Peter Shumlin supports marijuana reform, but stops short of supporting legalization. However, his reelection could be a sign that voters there are ready to take the leap.
- 5. New Hampshire was one of the first states where lawmakers suggested legalization. There, the House of Representatives passed a preliminary vote in favor, but the bill was killed when it failed to pass a committee vote. That bill was modeled after the laws in Colorado and Washington, and had the support of 60 percent of voters in the state.
- 6. Massachusetts has already decriminalized marijuana and passed a medical marijuana law back in November. Support for legalization holds at 50 percent for the time being, but groups like Bay State Repeal have begun working on a campaign to get it on the 2016 ballot.
Marijuana laws are in a state of flux across the country. What was once a taboo topic is being discussed everywhere you look, as both the people and those they elect recognize that prohibition was both unnecessary and ineffective.