As state after state fires up their own initiatives to legalize marijuana in the U.S. during the 2015 calendar year, others are eyeballing the 2016 Presidential election for legislating common sense marijuana laws in their home state.
Currently in the US, 17 States have marijuana legislation in the works. From Arizona to Wyoming and everywhere in between, the status quo of marijuana’s prohibition in the United States has gone under the microscope of public opinion.
Below are the 17 States that hope to change their current marijuana laws.
After spending millions of dollars, there’s little doubt that the Arizona Marijuana Legalization Initiative will make it onto the ballot for the November 2016 primary election. First cultivated by (D) State Rep. Mark Cardenas at the beginning of the year, the initiative would expand Arizona’s current medical marijuana program, permitting its citizens over the age of 21 to possess and use marijuana recreationally.
After rejecting the wording for the The Arkansas Marijuana Legalization Amendment, which many were hoping would appear on the state’s 2016 ballot, Arkansas’s voters will instead be allowed to vote on the 2016 Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act (AMCA). If passed, the measure would allow qualifying patients living more than 20 miles away from the nearest dispensary to cultivate up to five mature plants for medicinal purposes purposes.
Way back in 1996, residents of California – a.k.a. the Golden State – became the first citizens in the U.S. to vote for legalizing medical marijuana. Nearly 20 years later advocates and politicians alike hope to expand that common sense approach, introducing six proposals to legalize pot for recreational use— of which four have now gathered enough signatures to put their initiatives on the November 2016 ballot.
God willing, the Georgia Marijuana Legalization Amendment will appear on the November 2016 ballot. The pro-pot proposal, initially fired up by (D) State Sen. Curt Thompson last November, would legalize the recreational cultivation, possession, sale, and use of marijuana for adult state residents. And much like Colorado, the tax revenue generated from recreational pot sales would cover the new industry’s regulatory expense. With the remainder going towards Georgia’s education and transportation infrastructure.
The Idaho Medical Marijuana Initiative needs your signature to make it on the November 2016 ballot. In order to qualify for the Idaho ballot, activists must collect nearly 48,000 signatures (equal to 6% of the state’s registered voters) in no less than 18 legislative districts. The 2016 movement to legalize medical marijuana was originally cultivated by New Approach Idaho, a pro-weed grassroots 501(c)(3) organization. Tired of waiting, many of Idaho’s voters are hoping for an outcome that mirrors a 2010 survey conducted at Boise State University, which reported “74% of Idahoans support medical marijuana.”
Two optimistic initiatives to legalize recreational marijuana for residents 21 and over hope to appear on the state’s ballot for the November 2016 election: the Maine Legalize Marijuana Initiative and the Maine Marijuana Legalization Initiative, headed by the pro-marijuana organizations Legalize Maine and the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), respectively. Activists will need to collect north of 60,000 valid signatures to get their measures on the 2016 ballot.
Despite the governors pledged to “vigorously” oppose legalization, supporters of the The Massachusetts Marijuana Legalization Initiative are working diligently to get their initiatives on the November 2016 ballot. Provided supporters collect enough valid signatures and HB 1561 passes, those over the age of 21 in Massachusetts would be allowed to grow, buy, and use pot recreationally.
Thanks to the help and financing of the Oakland County Republican political consultants, Michigan’s Marijuana Legalization Initiative is slowly working its way onto the November 2016 ballot. Supported by pro-pot advocates within the Michigan Comprehensive Cannabis Law Committee, the initiative, once approved, would permit adults over the age of to cultivate, purchase, and own marijuana for recreational purposes.
With the help of over 800 volunteer signature gatherers, The Mississippi Marijuana Legalization Initiative needs 107,000 signatures in order to make it on the November 2016 ballot. Provided the petitioners collect enough valid signatures to get the initiative on the 2016 ballot, Mississippi’s electorate will cast a final vote on whether or not to enact recreational pot laws. If passed, initiative would stipulate that adults over the age of 21 can legally possess an unlimited amount of stash and cultivate up to 9 mature pot plants for personal consumption.
While Hemp and medical marijuana are already legal in the great state of Missouri, The Missouri Marijuana Legalization Initiative is hoping to make recreational marijuana legal in November 2016. The pro-pot advocacy group, Show-Me Cannabis, which has headed the movement to collect signatures to help pass HB 1138, making it perfectly legal for adults to have, cultivate, and smoke or eat marijuana for their personal enjoyment.
Despite Montana’s regressive stance on medical marijuana, supporters of a Montana Marijuana Legalization Initiative are working hard to cultivate support for a ballot initiative aimed at legalizing pot via the November 2016 ballot. Provided this initiative receives an adequate number of signatures, and Montana’s voters approve of the measure, the state would permit those residents over the age of 21 to cultivate, possess, and consume recreational marijuana – just for the fun of it.
Notwithstanding Oklahoma and Nebraska suing Colorado over their sale of legal marijuana, a new Nebraska Medical Marijuana Initiative sponsored by NORML is looking to debut on the November 2016 ballot. Provided the Nebraska petition gathers enough signatures to get the initiative on the ballot, Nebraska’s residents would then be able to decide for themselves and vote for or against a statewide medical marijuana system.
High a top the list of states that are likely to legalize recreational marijuana in 2016, the Nevada Marijuana Legalization Initiative, sponsored by MPP, has already made it on the November 2016 ballot. Backed by State Sen. Richard Segerblum (D), the Nevada initiative would legalize the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana; those adults over the age of 21 would be legally permitted to consume pot for recreational purposes.
14.) New Mexico
Currently, getting popped with more than 8 ounces of weed in New Mexico could lead to a yearlong stint in the county jail; hoping to change that, The New Mexico Marijuana Legalization Amendment is working hard to make it on the November 2016 ballot. If passed, the measure would allow residents 21 or older to possess and use cannabis for recreational purposes. The New Mexico state legislature would allow production, processing, transportation, sale, and taxation of pot in the state.
On August 13, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted proclaimed that Ohio’s initiative to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes had received the required number of valid signatures to secure their place on the November 2015 ballot. Provided the measure pass, Ohio would join the ranks of Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska, becoming the fifth state to legalize pot for recreational use.
16.) South Dakota
A South Dakota Medical Marijuana Initiative is hoping to make it on a 2016 ballot. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Melissa Mentele, the founder of the South Dakota Family Coalition for Compassion, which drafted the initiative to legalize medical marijuana in the state. If passed, the bill would allow any registered patient or caregiver to carry up to 2 oz. of marijuana. Registered growers will be allowed to cultivate up to three cannabis plants – provided they are kept in an enclosed and secured structure.
And last but not least … two Wyoming marijuana legalization initiatives are struggling to make it on the state’s November 2016 ballot; one initiative is for medical reasons and the other for recreational use. The first initiative was backed by Wyoming chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws; the second is being supported by legalization advocacy groups Wyoming NORML and the Wyoming Cannabis Activists. Supporters of these two measures will need to collect more than 25,000 valid signatures to get their respective measures on the ballot.