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).
The New Hampshire House of Representatives has approved a bill to make marijuana legal for adults.
House Bill 656, introduced last session by Represenative Glen Aldrich (R-Gilford), would make possession of three-quarters of an ounce of marijuana legal for those aged 21 and older. Home cultivation of up to three mature and three immature plants would also be legalized. It passed the House today with a vote of 207 to 139.
“The House deserves tremendous credit for taking this reasonable step forward”, says Matt Simon, the New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Most Granite Staters understand that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol, and they’re ready to see it treated that way. Allowing adults 21 and older to grow a few plants without penalty will give them a much-needed alternative to buying from illicit dealers.”
Nevada’s Senate Judiciary Committee has voted to establish a commission designed to study the legalization of marijuana.
House Bill 215 will now move towards a vote by the full Senate. Given it has already been passed by the full House of Representatives, passage in the Senate would send it to Governor Chris Sununu for consideration.
The 22-person commission would be tasked with examining “the possible impacts of changing state policy to treat marijuana in a manner similar to the way the state deals with alcohol and shall study the legalization, regulation, and taxation of marijuana including the specific issues related to growing, selling, taxing, limiting use, advertising, promoting, and otherwise regulating marijuana and marijuana-infused edible products.”
New Hampshire Senate Minority leader Jeff Woodburn (D-Dalton) has announced that he will soon introduce legislation to legalize recreational cannabis.
“I think they have forced us to look at our laws and regulations,” says Woodburn, referring to Canada and the fact that their government is in the process of legalizing cannabis. “What we can’t control is what’s happening all around us. We can’t put our heads in the snow.”
Woodburn’s bill will be modeled after successful legalization efforts in other states such as Colorado, where the possession and licensed distribution of small amounts of cannabis is legal for those who are 21 and older. Cannabis will be taxed, though Woodburn hasn’t announced what the rate will be set at; he also hasn’t announced the exact possession limit.
New Hampshire’s full House of Representatives has voted to approve House Bill 494, a proposal to explicitly legalize the cultivation of hemp without the necessity of receiving a license from the state. It was approved unanimously through a voice vote.
House Bill 494 would remove hemp as a controlled substance in the state, with hemp being defined as having no more than 0.3% THC. Unlike the approach taken by many other states that have approved hemp legislation in recent months and years, House Bill 494 would not require a change in federal law before the measure can be implemented, and would not require those wanting to cultivate the plant to receive a license.