10 states have legalized marijuana for recreational purposes. Which state will be the 11th?
Below is a list of the top five states we believe are the most likely to legalize marijuana next, becoming the 11th in the U.S. to do so following Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Massachusetts, Maine, Nevada, California, Vermont and Michigan.
Governor Phillip D. Murphy, elected last year to replace Chris Christie, has made the legalization of marijuana one of his primary goals, keeping with a campaign promise. Last month, by a vote of seven to two and six to one, the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee and the Assembly Appropriations Committee approved legislation to legalize marijuana. Further discussion on the issues have been put off until next year, but even so there is very good reason to believe that New Jersey will be one of, it not the next state to legalize.
Earlier this year, 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. Legalization faces a much tougher battle in the more conservative Senate, but still – the fact that the House not only passed the measure, but passed it handily, makes New Hampshire a given for this list.
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, but a legalization bill making it through any legislative committees is rare, and a solid sign that there’s an appetite for reform. According to polling, 61% of voters in the state favor marijuana legalization, with just 34% opposed.
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 for those behind the effort – than anything else. Some of the proponents of the measure are now attempting to get a new initiative (one with far more community support) on next year’s ballot. Polling in the state shows reason for optimism, with over half of voters in favor of legalization.
Not long ago New York being on a list like this wouldn’t have made a lot of sense – but times have changed. Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has called marijuana a “gateway drug”, just days ago announced his support for legalizing marijuana, and says he plans to push for a measure to do just that within 100 days. Whether or not the legislature will approve such a measure is unknown at this point, but there’s reason to believe they may, with support for the issue rising rapidly in recent years and months.