Washington, Colorado, Oregon, Alaska, Massachusetts, Maine, California and Nevada have all legalized marijuana, and Vermont’s Legislature just approved a bill to join this list. Which state will be #10?
Below is a list (in no particular order) of the top five states we believe are the most likely to legalize marijuana next, becoming the 10th state in the U.S. to do so (which would make 20% of the entire country).
Just days ago, by a vote of 207 to 139, New Hampshire’s full House of Representatives approved House Bill 656 which would legalize marijuana for those 21 and older. This makes the state an easy choice for this list, and gives it a large head start on most other states. However, its fate in the Senate is far from certain, and passage will be much more challenging. It’s also uncertain if Governor Chris Sununu would allow it to become law. Still, it’s hard to not get the feeling that legalization in New Hampshire isn’t very far away.
Newly elected Governor Phillip D. Murphy has vowed to legalize marijuana within his first 100 days in office. This is in stark contrast to New Jersey’s last governor, Chris Christie, who was staunchly opposed to legalization. Although Governor Murphy may or may not be able to follow through on this promise, it’s all but guaranteed that legalization will soon be a reality in New Jersey.
Michigan is the only state where a marijuana legalization initiative is already on this year’s general election ballot. This gives voters the opportunity to make Michigan the 10th legal marijuana state – that is, of course, unless another state legalizes through their legislature prior to November.
In 2016 Ohio voters rejected an initiative that would have legalized marijuana. However, the proposal’s failure had far more to do with its bad design (creating a monopoly among a few growers) rather than the fact that it would have legalized cannabis. Some of the proponents of the measure are now attempting to get a new measure – one done which much more community input and no monopoly – on this year’s November ballot. Polling in the state shows majority support for legalization among voters, so if the measure is placed on the ballot it has a decent chance of passage.
Last year New Mexico’s House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee voted 3 to 1 to approve legislation to legalize marijuana. Unfortunately the measure hasn’t advanced any further. However, a legalization bill making it through any legislative committees is a solid sign that there’s an appetite for reform. According to polling, there’s strong appetite for legalization among New Mexico voters, with 61% in favor and just 34% opposed.
About Anthony Martinelli
Anthony, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog, has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove. He has also been published by multiple media outlets, including the Seattle Times. He can be reached at TheJointBlog@TheJointBlog.com.