It’s almost 2018, which means it’s time to start looking ahead for the new year. California and Massachusetts will both implement recreational marijuana laws in the next year, and Maine could as well. But what states are most likely to pass new recreational laws?
Here are the eight states most likely to legalize marijuana in 2018:
Previous ballot initiatives aiming to legalize marijuana in Ohio have failed by large margins. But the state’s medical marijuana program is starting to pick up some momentum, so it’s possible the state’s voters may have changing attitudes on cannabis. Another initiative is attempting to get on the ballot next fall, which could mean a big win for marijuana is coming.
Democrats in Connecticut originally wanted to include marijuana legalization in a bill for state government funding in 2017. But that didn’t make the final cut. But it’s highly likely they’ll push for it again next year, and with nearby Massachusetts set to legalize cannabis this summer, Connecticut may feel some pressure to get on board as well.
In 2016, a ballot initiative to legalize recreational marijuana in Arizona failed by only a few percentage points. Another initiative is on its way in 2018, and considering both Nevada and California, neighbors to Arizona, will have legalized marijuana by then, it’s possible Arizona citizens will want to avoid being left out.
In 2017, a bill proposed in Delaware would legalize marijuana and regulate like alcohol. The bill even made its way through committee and will be considered by the full legislature in 2018. While it’s not clear if the bill hast enough votes, it’s a good sign that it’s made it through the first few hurdles.
4. Rhode Island
Rhode Island politicians are working on a bill that would legalize marijuana that will be introduced in the first legislative session of 2018. Considering a number of East Coast states have either legalized or could soon legalize marijuana, Rhode Island may want to jump on the train before its too late.
Michigan voters have already collected enough signatures to put an initiative on the ballot next November to legalize marijuana. Considering the initiative’s early success, we could see a big victory for marijuana next November.
2. New Jersey
Last month, New Jersey voters elected Democrat Phil Murphy to take over as governor. Murphy will take office in January, and one of his campaign promises was to legalize marijuana within his first 100 days. While the first 100 days may be optimistic, it’s very likely he’ll push for a bill to be passed before year’s end.
Vermont is generally seen as one of the most progressive states in America, yet they are lagging slightly behind when it comes to marijuana. But that may not be the case anymore. Just this month, several prominent Vermont politicians said it’s likely the state will pass a recreational marijuana bill when the legislature meets in January. Who knows, they might actually beat Maine to the punch!
(h/t USA Today)