Last month, I made a list of the eight states most likely to legalize marijuana in 2018. The number one state on that list was Vermont, which just so happened to officially legalize recreational cannabis yesterday. So now that Vermont’s out of the way, here are the seven states most likely to legalize marijuana next.
Current Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner opposes recreational marijuana, but he’s highly unpopular and facing re-election next November. The top Democrats running for the gubernatorial nomination have either endorsed marijuana legalization or say they are open to it. So it may not be until 2019 at the earliest for Illinois to legalize marijuana, but there’s still a good chance of it happening.
A 2016 ballot initiative to legalize marijuana in Arizona failed by only a couple of percentage points. Another initiative is on the way this year. If the initiative makes it onto the ballot, it might finally be able to make it over the hump.
5. Rhode Island
Current Rhode Island governor Gina Raimondo has expressed reservations about legalizing recreational marijuana in the past. However, in her recent budget proposal, she included a dramatic expansion of the state’s medical program, which indicates she may be opening up to the issue. If the state’s legislature decides to pass a recreational law, there’s a better chance now that she may reluctantly sign it.
Next November, Michigan voters will get the chance to approve recreational marijuana legalization through a new ballot initiative. A new poll that came out just today says that 57 percent of voters in the state approve of legalization. That’s pretty good news for next November’s initiative.
A task force created by Delaware Governor John Carney is expected to issue a report on how to change a current bill to legalize marijuana and make it as solid as possible. The state legislature is expected to vote on the actual bill sometime this Spring. So we may be only a few months away from big news coming out of Delaware.
2. New Hampshire
Earlier this month, the New Hampshire House of Representatives passed a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana. However, the state’s governor says he will not pass the bill and is waiting for a commission studying the issue before making a decision. As soon as that commission comes back and says it’s a good idea, New Hampshire will finally make this the law.
1. New Jersey
Democrat Phil Murphy is finally in the governor’s house, meaning a pro-marijuana politician is in charge of the state. Considering his support for legalizing recreational cannabis, it’s only a matter of time before that becomes law in New Jersey.