While 2017 hasn’t made the list of states where it’s legal to use cannabis longer, 2018 seems quite promising in this regard. A number of things signify that more states are willing and likely to join the stream.
The states where it has already been legal to use weed in medical or recreational purposes (or both of these) have all passed respective legislation through voter initiatives. However, there seems to be a change in the trend. The next wave of legalization is likely to be the one initiated and followed through by lawmakers this time. What states can we expect it from?
The latest poll has shown the biggest support for marijuana legalization ever, with margin as big as 58 percent in favor to 36 percent against. It’s also interesting that such numbers emerged within just the two last years, getting to current percentage through opposition against cannabis and equal rates for and against within 2013-2015. Among the strongest supporters of new legislation are Democrats and voters under 40 years old, while Republicans, especially those aged 65 and older, are still negative towards legal marijuana use. However, if everything goes smoothly, we are likely to see the legislative proposal on the November ballot, which makes Michigan the first Midwestern state to ease ties over marijuana question.
Pool results of 2013 have shown public support for legal medical marijuana use to be as high as 71 percent and 57 percent for decriminalization (no opinion about legalization was collected though).
With voters support throughout the state, the issue had chances to get to the 2016 ballot, but got delayed. Still, with support of Gov. Mary Fallin it may make it either to June or to November ballots this year.
With new Governor-elect Ralph Northam fully supporting decriminalization of marijuana and proclaiming it in both his blog posts and campaign site, Virginia seems to be just one step away from legalizing the substance. But to add more to an already positive environment, the issue of removing all legal penalties for marijuana use for both medical and recreational purposes seems to have Republican support within the state, too! Having voted against decriminalization just a year before, last year Virginia Senate Majority leader Thomas Norment changed his mind in its favor after asking Virginia State Crime Commission to undertake a study that would examine outcomes of legalizing the plant. Even now it is obvious that such a measure will result into significant decrease of arrests on marijuana use and possession and also ensure abolishment of discrimination that people with history of convictions experience in their lives afterwards.
To get matters even better, a number of other states are on their way of joining in. Similar positive background has formed in New Jersey, Missouri, Utah, Vermont. With backing of either local politicians or powerful individuals, the question is very likely to be brought to public consideration and further to state ballots within the next couple of years in such states as Ohio, Illinois, Delaware, Connecticut and Rhode Island.
So, is there a statewide legalization movement to be expected in the near future? Growing public support indicates that, even with often negative stance of Republicans towards the issue, this is a very probable thing to happen.