Map: The post-election U.S. marijuana landscape

By Eli McVey

Nearly 60% of the U.S. population now lives in states that have legalized some form of marijuana use and sales, illustrating the rising acceptance of cannabis nationwide and highlighting the industry’s immense potential for future growth.

Rewind just 10 years and the map was essentially the inverse of where it is now, with pockets of light green dotting a largely white landscape.

Last week, three new states joined the marijuana club: Arkansas, Florida and North Dakota, which legalized medical cannabis. Four others that already had medical marijuana laws on the books legalized recreational: California, Maine (though a recount is possible), Massachusetts and Nevada.

These new markets could create $7 billion to $8 billion in additional retail revenue for the industry, according to estimates by Marijuana Business Daily.

In total, 29 states plus Washington DC have legalized MMJ, while eight states plus DC have legalized recreational.

After the big win in California last week, the entire West Coast has now legalized marijuana for recreational use, while 21% of the U.S. population lives in states with adult-use laws.

The entirety of the Northeast and most of the northern border states have some form of legal marijuana laws on the books, leaving large swaths of the South and Midwest as the only legalization holdouts.

The remaining states without legal marijuana are largely conservative – with the exception of Virginia, each of these states voted for Trump in last week’s election – but that does not necessarily preclude them from pushing something through in the future.

Support for marijuana legalization does not fall strictly on party lines, as Arkansas, Florida and North Dakota all passed medical marijuana initiatives and went for Trump in the election.

Momentum for marijuana legalization seems to have reached a fever pitch, and current trends suggest it will continue at a brisk pace for the forseeable future.

Eli McVey can be reached at [email protected]

7 comments on “Map: The post-election U.S. marijuana landscape
  1. Al Iron on

    Key to these advancements will also be the education needed that it is only “safe” at ~25 years of age or older when brain development is complete. It may be crucial to have a legal age limit set as is done for alcohol.

    We have still not educated everyone on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and now there are cases of babies being born with, at least to me, horrifying levels of THC in them. The birth mother’s comments are invariably some form of “its safe to use” or “its herbal, how can it be harmful.”

    Something that will need to be factored into the business will be the possibility of the legalized age as well as “additional” taxation imposed to address these types of potential health issues.

    • James Frawley on

      Great points. I know that in Massachusetts the legal is will be 21. I also know that I educate my two children about the dangers of drug use; going through every recreational drug from caffeine to heroin.
      I also teach them that prohibition has never worked and they were in the booth with me when voted to legalize.

    • Jaime on

      Yes. Paramount is the mother’s responsibility to obtain prenatal care as soon as she realizes she’s pregnant or is planning on getting pregnant and through breast feeding. This also means that providers need to be on the same page when it comes to cannabis use and pregnancy in addition to everything else whose exposure to the fetus can lead to negative outcomes. Amazingly, the typical screening ( blood/urine ) don’t routinely ( or rarely ever ) incorporate a panel that tests for alcohol/nicotine levels, even though there are decades worth of verified documentation of the potentially severe permanent damage that these substances cause. One of the adverse side effects of cannabis consumption during breastfeeding, is that some of the active ingredients are passed into the baby. This can cause the newborn to sleep too long and not regularly wake ( cry ) for expected feedings. This can affect the child’s physical development ( smaller stature ) not to mention possible neuro deficits that are even less understood. Alcohol and nicotine are still the worst exposures. Knowing one’s water source and what’s in it is also very important. If there’s any question of its safety, seek another source for ingestion.

  2. Paul Sorensen on

    I first smoked pot as a junior in high school in 1973 (one ounce lids for $15.00). I can’t express how thrilled I am at the status of legal cannabis in the U.S. in the year 2016. Amazing!

    • Gary on

      There are four (4) states that still have absolute cannabis prohibition; Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska & South Dakota. In South Dakota you can get in some serious trouble if you have cannabis in your system, even if consumed in a legal state.

  3. Melinda Rhodes on

    With everything, we must look at the downside . Anything taken into your body while you are pregnant must be considered – even not eating a balanced diet. That little person you are supplying needs all the good stuff. 🙂 So, pregnant people should refrain from using anything harmful – including too much McDonalds. With that said, it’s a good thing that is happening. Taxes will come into states which in need, regulations will happen for who can use, how old you must be to buy it, something will be developed like the breathalyzer to monitor operating machinery and motor vehicles. I’m guessing there will still be some kind d of restrictions for those of us who drive commercial vehicles. People who have pain or illness will have other options. Cannabis oils which have positive affects on cancer will be developed. Stocks for this will soar once it is federally accepted, this will take time – probably the ten year plan. Key here is education. Educating the uninformed public of the benefits not just the myths.Educating our children about addictions, talking to your kids on all these levels not just smoking pot but also alcohol other drugs and other behaviors. Setting a fine example for youth . Legalization is a good thing – bring it on. Canada has the right idea.


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