These five states are the most likely to pass cannabis legislation in 2018

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Newsweek 01/02/18

Annureet Kaur

With the elections coming up, cannabis legalization has become a hot topic nationwide, once again.

After California, Nevada, Maine and Massachusetts legalized social cannabis use in 2016, no other states took the opportunity to initiate a ballot to legalize cannabis socially in 2017. Florida, North Dakota and Arkansas, however, legalized medical cannabis, with West Virginia being the latest addition to the ‘cannabis friendly’ states.

However, things are going to be different in 2018. Advocates in several states took initiatives to place medical and social cannabis on the election ballot in 2018, which could mean legalization of cannabis use in at least six states.

Social Cannabis

Vermont

Vermont definitely tops the list on states that are most likely to legalize cannabis use in 2018.

Governor Phil Scott, who originally vetoed the cannabis legalization bill in 2016 in order to study the plant further, has recently said social cannabis legalization in Vermont is underway. Scott told Vermont Public Radio that he is ‘comfortable’ approving a social cannabis law in 2018.

“A number of states have already legalized it surrounding us,” said Scott. “Whether we like it or not, it’s here and it’s being utilized, so we have to take steps to promote the general public.”

The Governor’s words show that cannabis legalization can be a domino affect with Vermont following its neighboring states Maine and Massachusetts’ ways into legalization.

New Jersey

New Jersey Governor-elect Phil Murphy has claimed to make efforts with the senate to legalize social cannabis in the state in 2018. Murphy is a strong advocate of cannabis legalization, which he says will help reform the state’s criminal justice situation as well as generate tax revenue. With the Governor-elect’s big promise, New Jersey is surely going to be one of the new ‘cannabis friendly states’ in 2018.

Michigan

Next, cannabis advocates in Michigan are showing various efforts to legalize cannabis in the state. Advocates have collected 360,000 signatures last November in favor of putting a social cannabis legalization measure on the 2018 ballot.

While they failed to get social use on the 2016 ballot, Michigan advocates are sure things will be different this year with several surveys showing public support for cannabis legalization. Other factors that may come in to play are the fact that Michigan has one of the highest number of medical cannabis patients, 215,556 to be exact, and California being the highest with about 1.5 million cannabis patients. With 2.2 percent of the population being cannabis patients, cannabis legalization doesn’t seem like a far fetched idea at all. If legalized, Michigan will be the first state to end cannabis prohibition in the Midwest.

Medical Cannabis

Missouri

Speaking of the Midwest, Missouri is next on our list. Missouri has not one, not two, but three different potential medical cannabis legalization measures coming up on the 2018 ballot.

An organization called New Approach Missouri is gathering signatures to put legalization measure on the 2018 ballot. The organization told St. Louis Post-Dispatch it has already collected 100,000 out of 170,000 signatures necessary to place the measure on the 2018 election ballot. If legalized, Michigan and Missouri might lead to a domino affect for other states in the Midwest to legalize some form of cannabis use in the coming years or elections.

Oklahoma

Cannabis advocates have already collected enough signatures to place cannabis legalization measures on the 2018 election ballot. Governor Mary Fallin said she will soon announce whether the question will be on the June ballot or the general election ballot in November 2018.

Utah

Utah is the next state hoping to place cannabis legislation measures on this year’s ballot. A Salt Lake Tribune survey in October found that 75 percent of state’s registered voters support legalization of cannabis. Another poll conducted by UtahPolicy.com found 74 percent of residents were in favor of legalization.

While the heavily conservative state might allow medical cannabis use for patients with HIV, AIDS, cancer, PTSD and other conditions; lawmakers will prohibit the smoking of the plant.

Others

While these are just six states are highly likely to legalize cannabis use in 2018, here are other states that also may end cannabis prohibition in some way in 2018:

  • Ohio (Social)
  • Rhode Island (Social)
  • Delaware (Decriminalize)
  • Virginia (Decriminalize)
  • Illinois (Decriminalize)
  • Connecticut (Decriminalize)
  • Kentucky (Medical)
  • South Dakota (Medical)

With almost 14 states taking initiative to place cannabis legalization measure on the ballot, 2018 is surely going to be a big year for the cannabis culture. More and more states are following Colorado, Washington and Oregon’s first footsteps into total legalization of the plant.

It’s just the third of the January, so let’s wait to see how things unravel in the new year 2018 with cannabis legislation.