2015 has been a very big, very important year for marijuana…in some parts of the world, anyway. It’s good to see sense slowly but surely prevailing in the United States, where full legalisation seems to be a more realistic prospect than ever before.
By the time the summer arrived, no less than 23 North American states had rolled out marijuana laws to some degree decriminalising it. Some only chose to permit medical marijuana for the time being - Hawaii, Delaware, Michigan and Vermont for example – while others lifted recreational pot bans almost entirely, like Washington, Alaska, Colorado and Oregon.
So there’s really no better time to once again visit that all-important question – where next? Chances are that in the run-up to the presidential election, weed will be a bigger talking point than ever, so which states are we expecting to follow suit with their own legislative overhauls in the near future?
What’s become abundantly clear in Nevada as of recent years is that more people seem to want a change in the law than are opposed to it. What’s more, they’ve already taken steps to permit the use of medical marijuana, meaning that recreational legalisation really can’t be too far behind. Some expect to see big changes as early as next year.
Medical marijuana has been legal in California for some time now and the state is renowned for its important pot research and study. Nevertheless, efforts to bring recreational pot under new, more relaxed laws have never moved very far without stalling altogether. Legalisation at some point or another is a foregone conclusion, though at the moment it’s unclear as to when this might happen.
Another state famed across the US for its proactive approach to medical marijuana, Maine is slowly but surely getting itself on the full legalisation bandwagon. It’s reported that some areas of the state are already legalising recreational pot use, so a state-wide change in the law is likely to be announced imminently.
Medical marijuana has been legal in Arizona since 2010, with the state having apparently expressed interest in total legalisation by the mid-2016. Nothing has yet been outlined in an official capacity, but it’s again pretty much a foregone conclusion that it’s happening.
Press reports from Connecticut have spoken of the way in which law enforcement officials have apparently been extremely reassured by the lack of incidents/challenges created in general since medical pot went legal in 2012. As such, there’s barely any opposition to full legalisation, which is expected to follow soon enough.
Michigan had made something of a deal of getting its medical pot system in order – it’s been legal there for over seven years now but they’re still ironing out a good few kinks in the chain. It’s been said that full decriminalisation could happen as early as next year – critics don’t see it happening quite so soon.
The Ohio public is apparently split right down the middle when it comes to weed legalisation – 53% supporting the idea and 44% opposing it – the rest being undecided or indifferent. As such, this would seem to suggest that the majority will eventually get its way, as for when on the other hand is another story.
Last but not least, around 57% of Rhode Island residents are in favour of pot legalisation and the state introduced a recreational marijuana bill at the beginning of 2015. As such, big changes are expected for the better in 2016.