Colorado and Washington State legalized marijuana in 2012. If all goes well, Oregon, Alaska, and Washington D.C. will also legalize marijuana in 2014. Assuming that happens, which states will legalize marijuana during the 2016 Election? Many states are already ramping up efforts for 2016, and there’s a chance that some states might even legalize between now and 2016 via their legislatures. Below are the states that I feel have a great shot at 2016. If your state is not on the list, but you feel that it should be, feel free to add it in the comments section, along with why you feel 2016 is your state’s year. Also, if you feel that a state is on my list but shouldn’t be, feel free to state why in the comments:
The states listed above either have strong campaigns already working on the ground (and $), or are located in the North East part of the country where legalization via the legislature is most likely to happen in my opinion. I’m not trying to guarantee that all of the states listed above will succeed, but if asked which states I’d bet on, those would be them.
What the legalization models will look like in each state is up in the air, but I think those states have the best shot at legalizing marijuana by the end of 2016 in one form or another. Missouri might seem like a long shot to some people, but I work very closely with their campaign, and it’s one of the strongest campaigns I’ve ever seen. If that campaign team was in most other states, those states would make this list too.
There are other states that have a good shot, like Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Ohio, Wisconsin, and perhaps Minnesota, but I think those states are still farther away than the states listed above. Other states, especially Idaho, will have to wait until marijuana is legalized at the federal level before someone can smoke marijuana within state borders without fear of prosecution. I would predict that federal marijuana legalization will happen in 2017/2018, and no later than 2020. I used to predict a date that was much farther out, but the winds of change are much stronger these days, and picking up momentum.