Opinion: The Next 10 States to Pass Marijuana Legalization

United States of America Map Marijuana-min
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It's a challenge figuring out what state is going to make marijuana legal next. A few states may need an umbrella law to make supporters happy, but there are a few states that are almost over the finish line. On a gloomier note, states who legalized medical marijuana before its popularity started really gaining traction seem to be moving at a slow pace towards full legalization.

It seems the northeast has grabbed control of marijuana legalization. The entire northeast is facing a serious increase in opioid overdose and failures in its systems so marijuana may be just the remedy they need. A big part of legalization is profit and states ignoring what this important decision could do, can look... well... foolish. New Jersey just legalized marijuana. Let's see who’s following.

Recreational Marijuana

New Mexico

State legislators are standing behind supporters to legalize marijuana. Senators who are backing the bill believe that its legalization is a much-needed benefit to the economy. New Mexico is currently working to understand the types of regulations necessary to control the drug, using ideas from similar states.

The state has tried to legalize marijuana a few times, but their efforts have failed. Even so, senators feel there is hope. Two-thirds of the House and the Senate must back the legalization, so the majority of residents currently have their fingers crossed.

Maryland

Maryland currently allows medical marijuana, but residents want access to recreational as well. As it stands now, Maryland has reduced criminal penalties and individuals, and sponsors have submitted approximately 30 bills currently waiting to be reviewed. Behind them, over 50% of the residents approve of this progression.

Even though Maryland has over 17,000 cardholders, they still thought they would be able to end medical marijuana. That lawsuit settlement must have stopped them. Wonder why they thought that would work?

Minnesota

When five out of six candidates running for governor support legalization, it's no wonder they made the list. This is on top of Minnesota dropping state-level restrictions they’d held onto for decades. It seems logical for them to do the same with marijuana.

It's hard to believe that states still ban liquor sales on Sundays.

About a decade ago, only around 29% of Minnesota’s residents were in support legalization. Now when polled, over 50% of Minnesotans support it. The current governor is still in denial.

When pushing for new legislation, it will be vital for marijuana advocates to shine a light on what prohibition has done to residents in Minnesota, especially residents of color.

New York

statue of liberty with pot leaf crown
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There was a time that Governor Andrew Cuomo felt that marijuana was such a serious issue that he needed to impose strict regulations to control it. New York has one of the strictest legal actions for marijuana in the country. Well, now, in an effort to join the cool guys, Cuomo has finally let his guard down, allowing legalization to proceed. He is asking for funding to be able to study statistics for his state and the surrounding ones. It seems the governor has finally accepted the future of marijuana.

Its profitability wouldn't hurt the decision either.

A big intent for legalization is using its tax revenue to approach issues currently in the criminal justice system and improve the health of New York’s residents. The approval of medical programs and the extreme need to reconstruct New York's failing systems has Cuomo trying to keep up with the trend.

Connecticut

In 2012, Connecticut became another state to legalize medical marijuana. 24,000 patients have been approved, with more on the way. Existing regulations allow patients to go out to legal states for purchasing, and all of the states surrounding Connecticut have either legalized marijuana or are on the border of approving it. But still, it seems Connecticut has something missing.

This state is currently proposing full legalization as states surrounding it are on the cusp. The government is allowing a public hearing, as most of the residents are in favor of legalization. This northeastern push to make marijuana legal finally has officials in Connecticut looking at regulations around them to see what would work.

Rhode Island

Although Rhode Island's medical society and the current governor oppose it, a bill for full legalization has been approved by the House. This is a big move, as bills for full legalization have been stalled in the past. A commission has been established to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of legalization.

On another positive note, this state has political sponsorships for its legalization. This recent attempt has also added a concluded study. Like Connecticut and most of the northeast, they are being surrounded by legal states with more to come and need to study their regulations and format in order to move forward.

It's a great step in the right direction and it's about time. Liquor is profitable enough to start sharing space with marijuana.


Medical Marijuana

Utah

state of utah made out of ground cannabis
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Who knew a state with such a massive amount of religious residents would want to try using marijuana? 75% percent support it, and Mormons, while not fully onboard, have shown willingness to approach the idea. The good news is a decision to put it on the 2018 ballot has been made. Plans for dispensaries are already being made, along with decisions on how much marijuana a patient could have.

This isn't the first state people think of when it comes to marijuana. But besides its north end, Utah is surrounded by legal states. And it has all that space to grow it. Waste not, want not.

Indiana

Here’s another state that is being swallowed by legal states around it. It's currently on the fence about the idea, but they’ve agreed to study the plant as bills are being pushed through to its Senate. They may be willing to throw up the white flag so 73% of their resident's voices could be heard.

South Dakota

Residents are excited that the first step towards medical marijuana legalization is done. It's a small step, but a step in the name of progress. 14,000 signatures are needed to start the process, and 15,000 signatures have been sent for the initiative. They had hoped to start recreational legalization, but unfortunately, a technicality thwarted that attempt.

While recreational use will not be legalized anytime soon, they are still pushing hard to legalize medical marijuana. But don't be surprised if it's hard to fake a condition in order to get a medical card. If passed, only critical medical issues would qualify.

Tennessee

This was another surprising state, at least to me. But last month, they did the unthinkable: A bill has been introduced in support of medical marijuana... but not marijuana. Makes sense, doesn't it? Oil-based products are as far as they will go at the moment.

While it's not the kind medical marijuana law people are used to hearing about, it's something to celebrate. The Republicans who initiated the bill are embracing the fact that medical marijuana could possibly help their sick residents. It's a remarkable step.

At least to me, it is.


I'm not sure why conservative politicians haven't thrown their hands up in defeat and grabbed the money falling out of the sky. Like a small crack in a windshield, legalization is spreading. It's hard not to recognize that no matter what their decision is, there are states around them ready to increase their revenue and satisfy residents.

It’s just a matter of time before everyone gets on board.