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Which State Legislature Will Be The First To Legalize Marijuana?


marijuana reform bill legislature session legislative billsI remember years ago when it seemed like marijuana legalization was quite a ways out. 2010 saw the first statewide vote on marijuana legalization, which blew my mind at the time. After the 2010 election my perception changed and legalization seemed like it was right around the corner, but prior to that it seemed like it was going to take forever to get an initiative approved for the ballot and passed on election day.

2012 of course saw not one, but two states legalize marijuana (Colorado and Washington in case you have been living under a rock). Both of those victories came via the citizen initiative process. I think everyone knew that the first state(s) to legalize would happen via an initiative. But I always hoped that after marijuana reform was achieved via the initiative process, that it would speed up the process of seeing a state legislature legalize marijuana. I was always confident that the citizens would do it, but I often wondered how long it would take for politicians to do it after they saw that the sky didn’t fall, and that there are numerous benefits to legalization.

Marijuana legalization bills are popping up all over the nation right now, which is not new. Bills have been introduced for years, they just have never gone very far. They were seen by many non-marijuana supporters as a radical politician’s attempt at getting attention. My how things have changed. The bills that are being introduced now all have better chances of advancing than they ever have before. Which leads to the question, ‘which state legislature will be the first to legalize marijuana?’

I think the obvious choice right now has to be New Hampshire, which recently passed a marijuana legalization bill in the House chamber. There are many marijuana reformers who are quick to point out that the odds don’t look favorable in the Senate, and there is a looming veto threat out there by the Governor. But they were the first state to pass a legalization bill in any chamber of a state legislature, so I consider them the front runner as long as efforts are alive in their legislature.

Other states that are popular in this discussion are New England states like Maine, Rhode Island, and Maryland. Maine looked like it had a great chance until greedy business interests killed the legalization bill there. There have been veto threats in Rhode Island, which I think has hampered success in their legislature. Maryland I think has a great chance of passing, despite opposition expressed by their Governor. Why do Governor’s try to squash democracy before it even starts? I will never understand that.

I have always rooted for Oregon to be first, and I think there is a strong argument why my home state could be the first to legalize marijuana via the legislature, although, I’d imagine we will see a legislative referral for the 2014 election, not an outright approval. A bill was introduced yesterday in Oregon (Senate Bill 1556) that would allow up to four plants at home, eight ounces at home, and one ounce in transport. People close to the situation tell me that it has a better chance of passing than a similar bill that was introduced last year.

I think in Oregon the Legislature is aware that marijuana legalization is inevitable here, and that the window of opportunity for them to have any input at all is closing more and more with every week that goes by. The people behind Oregon’s 2012 initiative are currently collecting signatures, and a very strong coalition called ‘New Approach Oregon’ is also collecting signatures. The pressure is mounting in Salem to do something, or politicians in Oregon will have to accept whatever version of legalization is passed via the initiative process. It’s an interesting situation that I am very excited to see unfold.

What state legislature do you think will be the first to pass marijuana legalization? Do you think it’s going to be a New England state? Do you think it will be Oregon? Do you think it will be somewhere else?


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  1. Part 2. I also wonder why he visited TWB. He doesn’t seem to have any interest in MJ and has never made any mention of it. That’s too bad from him because legalization is inevitable, in my humble opinion, and there will be lots of opportunities (see what’s going on in CO right now) and likely he and his people could take advantage of some of those opportunities.

    Well, I’ll let him cool his heels for a few more days and I’ll write him again. Maybe he’s reading our exchanges. I hope so.

  2. Part 1. Agree it is my fault for some bizarre reasons. We were discussing the potential for legalizing MJ in NM and he jumped in the middle. I suspect he didn’t see the NM point. Then he latched onto my question about legalizing on reservations and my mention of casinos. That’s another reason I feel he’s not from NM; didn’t know there are (or at least were) casinos. Alcoholism, for some reason he attributed to me when it was you who raised the point; no problem, of course. But I think the thing that most set him off was my mention of water through the hands. I thought it was clearly a figure of speech, but he seemed to take it literally and also turn it upside down. Again, if he’s from SD and not NM I think I can see why. Those reservations in SD are outposts of hell and (besides the poverty, unemployment, alcoholism, education, health issues and probably more that have resulted from the ethnic cleansing) there is an extreme shortage of accessible water; hence his sensitivity.

  3. Yes, I understand. At least you knew enough to start your search, and I appreciate you filling me in. I wonder why he visited The Weed Blog? I can’t be sure, but I think it’s your fault that he’s gone. How is that? I dunno, I just want to blame someone else. :)

  4. My idiocy gets even worse. I see that I believed the last part of his “name” is APACHE; in fact, it’s SIOUX, which puts me back to my original contention that he’s no from NM. Understand?

  5. Ron: No worries. We were both trying to learn here, weren’t we? I’m just sorry that this Native American only wanted to discuss history, instead of the present. The Native American voice is one that has been neglected for far too long…

  6. This is my second reply today. Read the other one first. I feel like an idiot because I just did a search on Apaches and see that I was totally wrong about my comments in the other message. No excuses.

  7. FWIW, I never saw the other comment you alluded to; no problem. I fear we might have scared off our friend. You have to admit that we both made some rather strong points that might bother him.

    Maybe I’m wrong, but I get the feeling he’s not from NM. My bet is on South Dakota, partly because of the “Apache” (Are there many Apaches in NM?) in his name and partly because the bitterness he describes is more indicative of what I think of SD. I would like to find out.

  8. Well. I see. Actually, I don’t see. But if you want to build a fence around Native Americans as a group, and not be included in what the little people are fighting for, that’s certainly your choice.

    Keep in mind, though, that there is strength in numbers. When one is a minority, one needs all the friends one can get.

    It’s too bad, judging from your posts, we seem to agree on a lot of things. And it would have been nice to learn more about Native Americans and how they are doing in this recession. You had a chance to include your voice, which you have done, but I’m not going to take your opinion as representing all Native Americans. I’d like to think there are Native Americans who would not prejudge this white woman just because of some misconstrued internet posts.

  9. BlackcloudSioux on

    You are not someone I would want to be around. Smoke your own Peace pipe.
    I would never share with you. We will never be a part of your 99% society you have made up to protect yourself from the leaders of this National Beurocracy you uphold to, so you can keep hiding from the realty of this brutal nation. Yet, you keep referring to us and need proof of my lies you think I speak upon. Do yourself justice and open your eyes to the truth. The blind leading the blind.
    The indigenous people have our ways, I’m not a militant, only a warrior.
    Your flag I spit upon and hold upside down, after all isn’t that what you do when your country has turned their back upon you? You are controlled and lied to. And yet you need more proof, but called me uneducated. If the great spirit wanted me to be a white man, he would have done so. You are treading on thin ice with your wisdom and past history that you have no part of. Your discrimatory remarks about my people, shows the true color of you and you cannot take that back. Not then, not now and not ever. I show you proof at Pine Ridge. Good luck because you will need it.

  10. Dear Blackcloud Sioux: I use Wikipedia because it is smarter than me, and so far, has never proven inaccurate. If you think that the Wikipedia facts are incorrect, then we should both do something about that. I’ve never posted to Wikipedia, but I’m sure they can be notified in some way of any errors or disputed information. But, I’m gonna need a link or something that includes information on the opposing point of view.

    I appreciated your detailed and passionate response. But, I think you may have misconstrued my views. We are all part of the 99%, are we not? Can we pass, pass, puff the peace pipe?

  11. Ron: I posted a comment earlier, saying something like we were all part of the 99%, etc., because I think our Native American friend thinks I am not on his side. Unfortunately, my finely-crafted comment has disappeared…

    Yes, by all means, I would love to discuss the benefits of cannabis and legalization with a Native American, especially a fellow New Mexican. I’ll mosey on down and respond to him again…

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