Based on the results of recent surveys from Gallup, Pew Research, and General Social Survey, it is clear that Americans want to legalize recreational marijuana now. At present, only four states and the District of Columbia have allowed cannabis to be sold and used for recreational purposes. However, this might pave the way for additional states to do the same, as well as push the Congress to start reforming federal marijuana laws.
According to The Motley Fool, there are three states that seem to be primed to legalize recreational marijuana come 2016. Though it’s still completely up to debate, current initiatives in these states point to a possible expansion of the marijuana industry:
California has always been a marijuana revolutionary and pioneer, with its Compassionate Use of 1996 (Proposition 215) being the first act in the United States to allow medical marijuana to be prescribed by physicians. Though the proposition did not initially pan out the way it was supposed to, it seems like recreational cannabis is now gaining more and more support from Californians, with almost two-thirds of respondents in the recent Tulchin Research poll voting in favor of legalization.
The wheels are turning as well. In 2014, the Marijuana Policy Project of California filed the documents needed to form a campaign committee to formally put marijuana legalization on the 2016 ballot. A “yes” vote from the state could translate to huge revenues that might set a precedent for other states to follow suit.
With medical marijuana already considered legal in the state, the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Nevada has already put the recreational marijuana initiative on the 2016 ballot—the first state to do so. The group has turned in more than 200,000 signatures to support the initiative, almost 100 percent more than what was required.
Once recreational weed is legalized in Nevada, adults aged 21 and up will be allowed to carry up to one ounce of marijuana with them. The tax revenue from pot will go to education funding within the state.
- New York
What makes New York appealing as a recreational marijuana hub is that the state is large enough to serve as a testing point for state-level industry regulation. It’s also the state that most recently legalized medical marijuana, so it’s only apt for it to legalize recreational weed as well.
Since New York isn’t a referendum state, legislators don’t have to put a marijuana initiative in front of New York residents in order to pass it. In other words, the bill can be easily signed into law once it gets through the legislature. At present, the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act has already been introduced to the legislature and is awaiting review.
Other than these three, states that also have active coalitions for marijuana initiatives for 2016 include Maine, Massachusetts, Arkansas, Arizona, Vermont, Missouri, Wyoming, Montana, Michigan, Connecticut, Maryland, Minnesota, Rhode Island, and Delaware.
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