Legalization has been tremendously successful in Colorado, while Washington has had some good and some bad in my opinion. Which state(s) will be the next to legalize? Below are my picks for 2014, as well as which states I think will wait until 2016:
Alaska is a very libertarian-minded state, and it’s ripe for reform in 2014. Marijuana legalization will be on the ballot August 19th in Alaska. It’s the only state so far that has a marijuana legalization initiative approved for the ballot. And since their vote is in August, not November, I think Alaska will be the next state to legalize unless another states beats them to it via their legislature, which is far from a slam dunk.
My home state of Oregon is currently in the process of trying to gather signatures for two ballot initiatives. One is the same people that were behind 2012’s Measure 80. They made the ballot once, so doing it again is quite possible. However, as 2012 illustrated, national groups are unwilling to work with the people behind this initiative, so victory is no guarantee even if it makes the ballot. The other initiative is by New Approach Oregon, which has national backing, and has a lot of momentum. If the legislature in Oregon refers it’s own version of legalization to voters (odds are looking good!) then New Approach will likely change it’s focus. But if not, look for their efforts to ramp up soon.
There are multiple New England states that may legalize via their legislatures, but there is still a lot of uncertainty right now, so we will have to wait and see. 2016 will see a landslide of states legalize, after which i think we will see the federal government end marijuana prohibition altogether. 2016 predictions include California, New York, Michigan, Massachusetts, Missouri, Arizona, Maryland, Nevada, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Hawaii, Montana, and D.C..