11 U.S. States That Are Probably More Than Likely Legalize Weed Next

Legalize cannabis
Marijuana leaves

The tide certainly seems to be changing, and it’s becoming apparent that the majority of Americans are in support to legalize weed.
Marijuana prohibition is entering its 79th year. Colorado’s doobie law went into effect at the beginning of 2014 in the wake of altering mindsets. Compared with 1969, when just 13% supported legalizing weed, today a majority of Americans support legalizing recreational use of the herb.

It is legal to buy dope in four states — Washington, Oregon, Colorado, and Alaska — along within the District of Columbia. Prior to the legalization, all of these states had actually currently minimized the penalties for usage and possession of small quantities of the weed or presented policies allowing medical cannabis use. To recognize the states more than likely to legalize grass next, GOSTRA evaluated the 11 states where by law residents in possession of small quantities of the dope are not punishable by prison time, and medical weed use is allowed.

A considerable share of US states, consisting of all 11 on this list, have actually legalized maryjane eventually. The widely-referenced, however, the complicated term, in fact, indicates a different thing depending on where it is being used. Not to be confused with legalization, states that have decriminalized weed have in some way decreased the penalties for those caught with the substance. Most of the times, this implies the state will no more prosecute or prison those caught with small quantities of the drug for individual usage. In many cases, getting caught with a couple of grams of dope is as serious as a traffic violation.

Traffic light with green weed sign

Other states that have actually legalized, nevertheless, still have reasonably extreme penalties for possession. In Nevada, for instance, the state no more can assign prison time for those caught with a little quantity of the doobie. However, lawbreakers can still be detained, fined heavily, and charged with a misdemeanor.

Numerous useful and ethical arguments have actually helped to catalyze the growing trend of decriminalization and legalization of cannabis. The prospective tax earnings, job creation, and a decrease of the burden of culprits on state jail systems, for instance, have actually likely been an encouraging aspect behind the bills to legalize weed and control the drug in a number of the states on our list. As Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), said that legalizing cannabis “would generate revenue where we now hemorrhage out billions and billions of dollars.”

Nevertheless, according to Morgan Fox, communications manager at the Marijuana Policy Project, the most substantial force in getting referendums and bills on the table is public support within the states. In the majority of the 11 states that might soon legalize weed, current surveys have actually been carried out proving to a bulk of residents support some kind of legalization. In Connecticut, 64% of those interviewed in a March 2015 Quinnipiac University poll said they were for legalizing possession of small quantities of marijuana for grownups.

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The executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) stated that the existing prohibition laws are inconsistent. “If tobacco, alcohol, caffeine, and pharmaceutical items can be legally offered to adults in the USA, it’s difficult to comprehend the constitutional economic or for that matter, ethical arguments put forward on why marijuana can’t be within that very same ambit of choices for adults.”

One aspect that may be driving high public support for legalization in these states is a significant number of users. Of the 11 states that appear next in line to legalize marijuana, nine surpass the national rate of marijuana users. In 2012-13, an approximated average of 12% of Americans 12 and older smoked ganja. In Rhode Island, among the states on our list, more than 21% had.

Allen St. Pierre also noted that the cannabis legalization problem is distinct in that Americans’ political persuasions favor legalization of marijuana. Support for reform can be discovered amongst liberals, however likewise amongst conservatives, especially those with libertarian-leaning beliefs. “It’s tough to make an argument against legalization in a free-market society such as ours,” stated St. Pierre.

Legal and decriminalized pot in the U.S. map

Still, according to Gallup, less than 1/3 of conservative Americans believe marijuana must be legalized, on the other hand with unyielding support from liberals and a considerable majority of moderates. Almost all of the next states anticipated legalizing cannabis are liberal-leaning states.

To determine the next states to legalize weed, GOSTRA evaluated states where possession of small quantities of dope is not punishable by jail and as well as where medical cannabis is presently legal based upon information from The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). We were likewise thoughted as marijuana-related arrests per 100,000 citizens through 2015 provided by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report. Also, we found the approximated proportion of residents 12 and older who had actually utilized doobie sometime in the past year, based on annualized data from 2014 and 2014, from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Public opinion surveys were offered by the Marijuana Policy Project based upon the most current readily available study. All information on existing enforcement policies and penalties were supplied by NORML.

Legal and decriminalized marijuana in USA map

Below we’ve compiled a list of the eleven US states where marijuana is most likely to be legalized.

1. Delaware

Maximum fine for small quantity: $575
Marijuana-related arrests in 2012: 2,912
Marijuana arrests per 100,000: 318
Minimum penalty classification: Misdemeanor

According to a 2014 study carried out by the University of Delaware, 56% of participants in the state agreed that “the use of marijuana should be made legal.” Governor Jack Markell signed in June 2015 a law formally making Delaware the 20th state to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana. Though the law will not take effect until January, when it does, Delaware residents will face a maximum penalty of a $100 fine for possession of up to an ounce of the drug. Before the governor signed the law, marijuana users in Delaware dealt with three months of prison time, a $575 fine, and a misdemeanor on their record for the same offense.

There were 2,912 marijuana-related arrests in 2012 in Delaware, the 12th highest rate of all states per capita. In 2012, about 8 out of 10 adolescents in the state did not perceive light marijuana use as dangerous, a reasonably lax view.

Why should cannabis be legalized poster

2. Rhode Island

Maximum fine for small quantity: $150
Marijuana-related arrests in 2012: 2,320
Marijuana arrests per 100,000: 221
Minimum penalty classification: Civil violation

Marijuana usage in the small New England state is pervasive. An approximated 20% of Rhode Islanders aged 12 and up utilized the pot at least once in 2012. No other state in the country had wider usage.

Of the states that have actually not legalized recreational marijuana usage, Rhode Island’s laws are among the most lenient. Possession of as much as an ounce is a civil violation punishable by a maximum fine of $150. First-time offenders do not face prison time or risk a criminal record. However, possession of amounts more than an ounce carries criminal penalties and potential jail time.

There is presently a bill waiting for evaluation in the state legislature that would actually legalize weed and regulate recreational use of marijuana. Though the Rhode Island legislature went on summer season recess before the Marijuana Regulation, Control, and Taxation Act received final approval, lawmakers might have an opportunity to examine the bill again before year’s end. According to an April 2015 survey performed by Public Policy Polling, 57% of respondents in the state support changing the law to control and tax marijuana likewise to alcohol.

Marijuana legalized in New York

3. New York

Maximum fine for small quantity: $100
Marijuana-related arrests in 2012: 112,974
Marijuana arrests per 100,000: 577
Minimum penalty Classification: Not classified

New York was among of the very first states to legalize marijuana, passing a bill in 1977. Nevertheless, according to the Marijuana Policy Project, Law enforcement agencies have actually been abusing the “public view” loophole, which distinguishes in between where wrongdoers are caught — possessing a small quantity of the drug in the personal privacy of one’s house outcomes in a fine, while possession in a public place can lead to a misdemeanor. Supporting this claim is New York’s exceptionally high marijuana-related arrest rate, which was the highest in the USA in 2013 at 577.24 per 100,000 people — more than double the nationwide rate. Nevertheless, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in 2014 that the city would no more be enforcing the loophole.

In early July 2014, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a medical marijuana bill into law. There are currently 2 bills to legalize weed and tax marijuana in the legislature, which is presently on break.

cannabis legalized in new york

4. Nevada

Maximum fine for a small quantity: $600
Marijuana-related arrests in 2012: 8,524
Marijuana arrests per 100,000: 309
Minimum penalty classification: Misdemeanor

According to the Marijuana Policy Project, Nevada is among of 20 states to legalize possession of small quantities of weed. Though nobody discovered in possession of under an ounce of the reefer can face imprisonment or felony charges, Nevada’s penalties for possession of marijuana are among the harshest of all the states that have decriminalized. Unlike some states that have actually decriminalized the small quantities of the drug, like Massachusetts and California, first-time offenders in Nevada can still be charged with a misdemeanor and be compelled to go through necessary drug treatment.

In spite of the harsher penalties, next year Nevada might become the 5th state to legalize recreational usage of a MaryJane. Voters will have an opportunity to pass the Initiative to Tax and Regulate Marijuana in November 2016. If passed, legalization will have a significant impact on arrest rates and police resources. Since 2012, there had to do with 8,500 marijuana-related arrests in Nevada, the 14th highest arrest rate in the nation.

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5. Connecticut

Maximum fine for small quantity: $150
Marijuana-related arrests in 2012: 3,747
Marijuana arrests per 100,000: 104
Minimum penalty classification: Civil penalty

In a March 2015 Quinnipiac University survey, 63% of Connecticut residents surveyed stated they would be for legalizing the possession of small quantities of pot for adults. The state decriminalized marijuana use in 2011, decreeing that any possession of the substance approximately a half of an ounce would have a maximum penalty of a $150 fine and could not be punishable by jail time. Prior to the law passed, the state’s weed arrest rate in 2010 was 259 per 100,000 people. By 2012 the rate had dropped to just 104 such arrests per 100,000, the sixth-lowest rate in the USA.

Presently, the state likewise has a number of bills in the legislature that would legalize weed use for adult residents and regulate the industry.

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6. Minnesota

Maximum fine for small amount: $200
Marijuana-related arrests in 2012: 12,051
Marijuana arrests per 100,000: 224
Minimum penalty classification: Misdemeanor

The very first medical weed dispensary in Minnesota opened on July 1, 2015. For those who do not get approved for medicinal usage of the drug, possession of 42.5 grams, roughly 1.5 ounces, or less can be classified as a misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine of as much as $200.

According to a research study performed by SAMHSA, from 2010 through 2013, Minnesota teenagers’ mindsets toward occasional marijuana usage have actually unwinded. In 2010, 70.9% of 12-17-year old state residents did not consider smoking weed once a month to be risky behavior. By 2013, 75.4% of teens held the very same perception.

There were 12,051 marijuana-related arrests in Minnesota in 2012. The state’s per capita marijuana-related arrest rate was typical for the nation.

7. Vermont

Maximum fine for a small amount: $200
Marijuana related arrests in 2012: 926
Marijuana arrests per 100,000: 148
Minimum penalty classification : Civil violation

According to a Rand research study on marijuana legalization, Vermonters took in between 15 to 25 metric tons of marijuana, worth between $125 million and $225 million, in 2014. More than 19% of state residents 12 years and over reported using doobie in the past year, the third highest share across the country. Also, according to the Vermont Department of Health, cannabis intake is more prevalent among 12 to 17 year-olds in Vermont than in any other state in the country.

As in every other state most likely to legalize weed, possessing less than an ounce or less of the pot is not punishable by imprisonment. Possessing more than an ounce, the selling of any quantity, or cultivating the plant, nevertheless, is considered a misdemeanor. Selling a half ounce or more, or growing 3 or more plants, is a felony.

8. Maryland

Maximum fine for a small quantity: $100
Marijuana-related arrests in 2012: 22,043
Marijuana arrests per 100,000: 375
Minimum penalty classification: Civil offense

The just recently adopted Maryland Medical Marijuana State Program allows licensed physicians to prescribe marijuana to patients diagnosed with particular conditions. As a result, the state’s very first marijuana dispensary, Greenway Consultations, opened this past June. Still, the possession of more than 10 grams of pot is a misdemeanor in Maryland, and possession of fewer than 50 pounds with the intent to distribute carries a penalty of up to five years imprisonment and fines as much as $15,000.

Nevertheless, there is an excellent possibility Maryland is on track to legalize the substance. Governor Larry Hogan signed a bill supported by marijuana legalization advocates during the current legislative session. The Second Chance Act, under certain scenarios, permits individuals convicted of possessing marijuana, to have their arrest shielded from some records requests. As in the majority of states on this list, a bulk of Maryland residents supports the legalization of marijuana.

USA pot flag

9. Maine

Maximum fine for small quantity: $600
Marijuana-related arrests in 2012: 3,202
Marijuana arrests per 100,000: 241
Minimum penalty classification: Civil violation

Maine has a reasonably high rate of marijuana usage, with an approximated 16.24% of residents 12 and older having smoked pot at least once in 2012, the seventh highest rate in the county. In 2013, Portland, the state’s most populated city, voted to legalize possession of small quantities of the dope for adults. While this still goes against state policy, and police have actually continued to enforce Maine’s prohibition of the drug, it is a sign of the public’s determination to make a change. Possession as much as to 2.5 ounces of the drug in the state is not punishable by prison time, although there are maximum fines of $600 or $1,000, depending on the amount.

The state legalized medical marijuana in 1999 throughout a state tally initiative — the measure passed with 61% of the vote. Possession of a “usable amount” of the drug with a doctor’s notice is legal. In 2009, another initiative passed to permit for medical dispensaries.

10. California

Maximum fine for small quantity: $100
Marijuana-related arrests in 2012: 21,256
Marijuana arrests per 100,000: 56
Minimum penalty classification: Infraction

California remained in the lead of state weed reforms in the 1970s and an early adopter of decriminalization. In 1996, the state passed the Compassionate Use Act, which allowed physician-recommended cannabis usage for medical treatment. In 2010, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation that reclassified the criminal offense of marijuana possession from a misdemeanor to an offense. Regardless of the state’s traditionally progressive position, pot has yet to be legalized. In 2010, a motion to legalize failed by a slim margin.

2 bills proposing weed policy are now on the table, although the success of each stays to be seen. A great deal may be at stake in the success or failure of cannabis that of the state’s sheer size and influence, the viability of federal legislation generally depends on the precedent California may set.

11. Massachusetts

Maximum fine for small quantity: $100
Marijuana-related arrests in 2012: 2,596
Marijuana arrests per 100,000: 39
Minimum penalty classification: Civil offense

Under Massachusetts’ state law, an individual can just be fined a maximum of $100 for possession an ounce or less of grass — the outcome of a 2008 ballot to decriminalize possession of small amounts of the weed. The impact of decriminalization has been dramatic. While there were more than 10,000 marijuana-related arrests in 2008, there was simply about a 3rd as many such arrests in 2009, the very first year the law worked.

Though the state’s cannabis policy is reasonably progressive, it appears that decriminalization has actually not gone far enough for the bulk of voters. In a survey launched in 2015 by the Boston Herald, 53% of state residents were for legalizing pot, while only 37% were against. Supporters of legalization might have an opportunity to alter the state law once again in November 2016. Democratic State Representative Dave Rogers and Democratic State Senator Patricia Jehlen introduced a bill to legalize recreational marijuana usage for adults.

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This article has 2 Comments

  1. We have so many people here in FLORIDA who NEED this amazing plant. With all of the retirees we have and so many ill. We have kids with epilepsy, and adults with many different illnesses that can benefit from medical marijuana. And this does NOT include the fact that EVERYONE has an endocannabinoid system which makes this plant healthy for EVERYONE. Come on FLORIDA legalize now and save many lives.

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