29 states have implemented medical marijuana laws in the United States, and more are on their way. But what about the ones sitting in the Dark Ages and pretending that marijuana is worse than heroin? How likely are they to pass medical marijuana laws in the future?
Last week, we presented the 10 states most likely to pass medical marijuana laws. So this week we decided to present the 10 least likely to pass it. Here are those states:
10. South Dakota
South Dakota could easily end up on a list to pass medical marijuana in the near future. A group called “New Approach South Dakota” is currently collecting signatures to get a medical marijuana initiative on the 2018 ballot. A similar effort in 2016 failed after the state government noted a notary error in the signature collection. So it’s unclear if the signature collection will succeed.
An effort is currently underway to collect signatures to allow a ballot initiative in 2018 to legalize medical marijuana in Utah. While it’s not clear whether the initiative will even make it onto the ballot, there are some reason to doubt it will pass. More than 50 percent of the state’s population is Mormon, and the church has publicly opposed the medical marijuana initiative. Polls have shown 73 percent of Utah voters would support the measure, so it may turn into a nasty battle next fall.
We put Texas on our “Most Likely to Pass” medical marijuana based on a poll that said more than 70 percent of Texans support it. The issue is that incumbent Governor Greg Abbott has not expressed support for the issue, and will almost certainly win re-election in 2018.
Earlier this year, Indiana passed a law that allowed people with severe epilepsy to use products containing cannabidiol as long as it was less than 0.3 percent THC. Sounds good, right? Well, the only problem is as soon as the bill was passed, the state police began confiscating products containing CBD from stores throughout the state, even if it contained no THC.
So somehow a law that allowed people to use CBD products led to a crackdown on CBD products. Sounds like a state that doesn’t know what to do about medical marijuana.
Mississippi is a weird state when it comes to marijuana. It is one of 22 states where possession of marijuana is decriminalized, and yet it also does not allow medical marijuana except in for people with extreme seizure conditions. An effort to expand that law to include other seriously ill patients failed earlier this year. The proposed changes to Mississippi’s medical marijuana laws would still have been some of the strictest in the nation, and they still couldn’t pass.
Virginia’s future status of medical marijuana is basically a giant question mark at the moment. The state is set to select a new governor and new legislative delegates next month.The Democratic candidate in the race has expressed support for medical marijuana, while the Republican has not made his position clear on the subject, although he does not support decriminalization so it’s logical to assume he’s anti-medical as well. Polls have shown the Democratic candidate leading by 10 points, while others have shown a dead heat.
Basically, Virginia will be a giant question mark until we know who controls the state legislature and the governor’s office.
Alabama is historically an extremely conservative state. It also doesn’t help that it produced famed anti-marijuana crusader Jeff Sessions. Some have even speculated that it would be the last state to legalize medical marijuana. But nearly 60 percent of Alabamans support medical marijuana, so there may be a slight glimmer of hope.
Several marijuana legalization bills were proposed to the Wyoming legislature in 2017. One bill that would decriminalize marijuana failed in committee, and another that would simply lower penalties on marijuana possession couldn’t pass the state senate. And a bill that would allow doctors to prescribe low-THC medical marijuana couldn’t even pass. Wyoming’s a long way away from allowing medical marijuana.
Earlier this year, two proposal faced the Kansas State senate over possibly allowing medical marijuana. One would’ve straight up legalized it, while the other would allow patients to use low-THC cannabis-derived products. Both bills died in committee.
Considering it is one of only two states that doesn’t acknowledge any medical benefits of cannabis (the other is the next on this list), there’s not much hope that Kansas will change any time soon.
Idaho is perhaps the most anti-marijuana state in America. It is one of only two states that does not acknowledge medical cannabis in any way. In 2015, a bill that would prevent seriously ill citizens from being prosecuted for possession of marijuana oils with low THC content barely passed the state legislature before being vetoed by Governor Butch Otter. Otter even wrote a letter to President Trump in January asking him to interfere with states that have legalized medical marijuana.
On the bright side, Otter announced he will not seek re-election in 2018, so it’s possible a more marijuana friendly governor will take his place. But considering there’s virtually no momentum for cannabis in Idaho, don’t get your hopes up.