There are currently 29 states in America with some form of legalized medical marijuana. Most politicians have begun to change their minds about the legitimacy of medicinal cannabis. But some states continue to resist efforts to legalize the drug even for medicinal purposes. Here are the 10 states most likely to legalize medical marijuana.
Technically, Texas has some form of medical marijuana legalization. The problem is it’s so restrictive that it may as well still be illegal. The level of THC allowed is one of the lowest in the country, and there are only a couple of conditions applicable. However a poll from 2016 found that more than 70 percent of Texans support medical marijuana. If Texas could pass a very limited medical marijuana law, they may pass a legitimate one in the future.
9. South Carolina
Both the South Carolina House and Senate held hearings and debated medical marijuana bills this past year. Neither passed their bills, but they decided to hold them over until 2018. Considering how much attention and effort was put into these bills, it’s possible legislators are still trying to figure out the details before passing a bill.
Earlier this month members of the Tennessee state government convened a committee to study the impact of legalizing medical marijuana. While bills to allow medicinal cannabis have failed in the past. a positive recommendation by this committee could change the motivations for legislators.
Right now, both the Wisconsin Senate and Assembly have medical marijuana bills in front of them. While neither has pushed them forward as of yet, they also haven’t outright rejected them. It also helps that earlier this year Governor Scott Walker actually signed a bill allowing small amounts of cannabis possession to treat seizures. Unlike many Republicans, Walker doesn’t have a particularly strong anti-marijuana background, which means he may sign the legislation if the legislature acts on it.
6. North Carolina
The North Carolina House has a bill in front of them that would legalize medical marijuana. The bill was introduced in February and no vote has taken place yet, but the fact that it hasn’t been voted down or sent back to committee is at least somewhat encouraging. It also helps that 74 percent of North Carolinians support it.
Last fall, an effort to get a medical marijuana initiative on the 2016 ballot in Oklahoma succeeded. But a lawsuit prevented it from actually getting on the ballot. Earlier this year the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled the initiative will be on the November 2018 ballot. These efforts rarely fail, so that is a good sign for Oklahoma.
Kentucky is an odd state when it comes to medical marijuana. Many state legislatures express interest in legalizing medicinal cannabis, but don’t because a Republican governor threatens to veto it. Kentucky is the opposite. Republican Governor Matt Bevin declared his support for medical marijuana while on the campaign trail in 2015 and said there’s “unequivocal medical evidence” about its benefits. And yet in both 2016 and 2017 the Kentucky legislature failed to pass bills that would legalize medical marijuana. But with an election year upcoming and Bevin’s continued support, there are positive signs for Kentucky.
Nebraska has long been in the spotlight for medical marijuana. For the past few years, the state’s legislature has considered bills that would allow medicinal cannabis, only for the efforts to fail. In 2017, a renewed effort received 10 co-sponsors. Unfortunately, a vote was never held. But legislators continue to beat the medical marijuana drum, and with 60 percent of Nebraskans supporting the cause, it could become a reality sooner rather than later.
Last year, Missourians looked like they were poised to legalize medical marijuana. However, a judge disallowed thousands of signatures on the initiative, which also removed it from the ballot. The organization behind that initiative, New Approach Missouri, is collecting signatures again and hope to get it on the ballot in 2018. A new poll shows about two-thirds of Missouri voters support medical marijuana, meaning if it ends up on the ballot, it will most likely pass.
Technically, Iowa legalized medical marijuana in May. But the law is not expected to be implemented until 2018. The state is still trying to figure out the specifics for the law, such as what conditions will be covered and who will be allowed to sell and grow medicinal cannabis. So Iowa will definitely have legalized medical marijuana at some point in 2018, but we still don’t know what will 100 percent be covered.