One of the biggest social issues in modern America has been the legalization of cannabis. The nationwide general social survey found that in 2016, 57% of Americans were in favor of the legalization of marijuana for recreational use. Most interesting was that the support seemed to cut across party affiliation lines. Presently, 9 states have legalized recreational marijuana use, these are: Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Washington State, and Washington D.C. Over the next few years, more states are expected to join this list and there is a realistic chance that cannabis will be legalized on a federal level. Here are the four states that are most likely to legalize recreational marijuana use in the near future.
Vermont is most likely to be the next state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Its residents, who are mostly politically left-leaning, are overwhelmingly in favor of the legalization of recreational marijuana. It was also one of the first states to begin the process of legalizing recreational marijuana use through legislative efforts. Over the past years, there have been a number of bills that have been passed in the state legislature (both the state assembly and the Senate) to legalize the recreational use of marijuana but the Republican governor, Phil Scott, has vetoed all of them. Another bill is expected to be passed by the end of 2017 which the governor might sign into law to strengthen his 2018 re-election bid. By the end of 2017, it is realistically expected that the state of Vermont will have legalized marijuana use for recreational purposes.
Illinois is another left-leaning state that might soon legalize the use of cannabis for recreational purposes. For many years now, the state has been facing a lot of difficulties to balance their budget and the financial rewards that have been reaped by states that have legalized marijuana are the biggest motivation. States like Colorado and Washington who pioneered the legalization of recreational marijuana have generated billions of dollars in revenue from taxes and trade licenses. Most analysts expect the current Republican governor, who has been a stumbling block to the legalization push, Bruce Rauner, to lose his re-election bid to the Democratic candidate. This might set the stage for the legalization of recreational marijuana.
Despite being considered a ‘red’ state, there has been a strong grassroots movement pushing for the legalization of marijuana for recreational use. There is an ongoing drive to collect signatures from the residents so that marijuana legalization can be included on the 2018 ballot. There is a chance that Arizona candidates will vote in favor of marijuana legalization in 2018.
New York residents are extremely liberal-leaning and there has been a lot of support for the legalization of recreational marijuana use. The Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo, has been hesitant in the past to support the movement for the legalization of recreational marijuana use but there are indications that he might bow to the will of his constituents and set the ball rolling legislatively by 2018.
There are numerous other states that are making encouraging steps towards the legalization of recreational marijuana use such as Maryland, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. The Colorado and Washington success stories will make it easier for other states to legalize marijuana use and may pave the way for legalization on a federal level.
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