US Going Green? More Than a Dozen States Could Consider Marijuana Legalization Next Year

The market for legal marijuana could expand well beyond Colorado and Washington very soon.

As in next year.

Lawmakers in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont have already promised to introduce marijuana legislation in 2013. And leading cannabis groups think it’s possible that 10 additional states could follow a similar path.

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) says we could see legalization proposals or ballot initiatives in a total of 13 states: Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Virginia in addition to the five states listed above. The Marijuana Policy Project estimates a similar number but adds Michigan and Missouri to the list of potential states. More might move in this direction as the year plays out and the marijuana movement gains momentum.

Most of these states currently have medical marijuana laws on the books, which could make it easier to pass general cannabis legalization.

To be clear, though, NORML and MPP are not predicting that we’ll see a dozen or so states legalize marijuana next year. Some proposals might never materialize, while others will most certainly die at the hands of politicians and voters (Minnesota’s governor, for instance, says he won’t support any type of marijuana legalization).

But there’s a chance at least one or two of these states will muster up enough support to legalize marijuana, which would be a boon for the cannabis industry.

The market for cannabis will vary by state depending on population, how marijuana-friendly its residents are and whether the law allows retail sales. But the potential is huge, ranging from as little as $100 million in small states like Alaska and Vermont to $1 billion or more in states like Arizona, Massachusetts and Virginia (and much, much more if the nation’s largest population centers like New York and California eventually legalize marijuana).

Legalization in more states would also send another convincing message to the federal government about the population’s changing views of marijuana. And it could benefit the entire medical marijuana industry in an indirect way: The feds might be too consumed with fighting marijuana legalization to pay much attention to medical cannabis dispensaries.

Looking further out, we’ll likely see marijuana legalization measures on the ballot in the next couple years – particularly in 2016, as a greater number of people in general – as well as those with lenient views of marijuana  – tend to vote in a national election. Several states could also legalize medical marijuana in the coming years as well, including Illinois and New York.

12 comments on “US Going Green? More Than a Dozen States Could Consider Marijuana Legalization Next Year
  1. John K Thomas on

    Please, Gov Scott get with the program and let Florida voters decide on the legalization of at least medical marijuana in my state. Our large senior population would benefit greatly from this medicine.

    Reply
  2. AARON HAHN on

    i have MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS this is not about the recreational smokeing of marijuana i want the (RSO)RICK SIMPSON HEMP OIL to try and cure my MS this oil is said to cure all kinds of illness.i live in ohio and this is not available to me. WHY PLEASE HELP ME CURE MY MS!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  3. jeff lowenfels on

    re Alaska: The Alaska Constitution makes it legal to posses and smoke in the privacy of one’s home even though the state legislature has passed limitations. These do not counter the 1975 Raven Decision which is, again, based on Constitutional rights in Alaska. purchAse is another thing however…

    Reply
  4. Thomas Snyder on

    A drug such as marijuana is still kept illegal that is so much less harmful than tobacco & alcohol which is LEGAL… Millions DIE from tobacco and alcohol is a cause of over 500,000 DEATHS… Mind you both are LEGAL… Marijuana has ZERO related cases of DEATH but stays ILLEGAL… How can we justify leaving this plant illegal when the American people want this to be Legal and have our Government say what we can’t use?

    Reply
  5. jack on

    legalize cannabis an herb which cures many ills. also legalize if for relaxation also. its an herb not a drug. alchohol and tobacco kill millions but no laws against them

    Reply
  6. rick.lootens on

    please lagalize it in mo,My wife suffers from seisures,and i have read slot of studies,where medical marijuana helps them.I believe every plant was put here for a reason.this plant was put here for alot of reasons.health benefits,fibers,oil,etc.cmon missouri WAKE UP!

    Reply
  7. Jillian Galloway on

    Marijuana is a significantly milder, safer and less addictive alternative to alcohol. We could prevent a lot of the harm that alcohol causes by letting people choose marijuana instead of alcohol. But we can only do that by legalizing marijuana like wine!!

    Reply
  8. TomTudo on

    Does Governor Scott enjoy watching chronic pain patients continue to suffer here in Florida with the only legal alternative for us in the form of oxycodone? What is wrong with Florida?

    Reply
  9. Chris Pizzolorusso on

    Unfortunately, when we see major banks making money from the laundering of drug cartel money it makes me feel as though we are still a good distance from national legalization. The problem is no one goes to jail for laundering. So, payoffs must be happening somewhere within the government. We may be able to tell who is taking the payoffs by how staunchly politicians are against legalization. The mistake that was made with alchohol and tobacco was allowing it to become an industry complete with marketing and the Madison Avenue touch. The American public must express outrage with the banks, and politicians who allow this. HSBC, Chase JP MORGAN, and many others were caught laundering cartel money. This undermines our democracy and gives the youths of the world a disdain for laws and being lawful. After all, there is still a WAR ON DRUGS isn’t there? So because of a double standard a kid on the streets of Brooklyn or any other non-legalized city can STILL GO TO JAIL for a few joints. It’s just wrong!
    WE MUST EXPRESS OUTRAGE! WRTIE YOUR POLITICIANS>

    Reply

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