Which states will be the next to legalize marijuana?
Currently 22 states have legalized medical marijuana, two have legalized marijuana for recreational use and nine others have strictly limited medical laws. A number of initiatives, questions and constitutional amendments will appear in states across the country this November. Following that, the weed legalization map of the USA is going to look a lot different.
Alaska – Ballot Measure 2
This is the real deal: full recreational legalization, possession of up to six plants and the manufacture and sale of paraphernalia. With 60% support for the measure statewide, Alaska is a home run for the next state with truly legal weed after Colorado and Washington.
Arkansas – Hemp and Cannabis Amendment
This initiative for full legalization needs to collect several thousand signatures in the next few days in order to appear on the ballot in November, so it might not make it. Even if the 53% of state residents who support decriminalization add their signatures in time, this amendment wouldn't take effect until federal marijuana laws change. There's a separate medical marijuana bill on the table as well.
Weed has been de facto legal here for 18 years, but the state has failed to vote in recreational legalization. There are (count 'em) three pot initiatives on the ballot in November, two for marijuana and one for hemp. However, some advocates believe such initiatives will have a better chance in 2016, a presidential election year, when there's more voter turnout and more young voters to help put it through. Currently, 54% of the population supports regulating marijuana similarly to alcohol.
Update: None of California's legalization ballot initiatives gathered enough signatures to be included on the 2014 ballot. The Cannabis Hemp Initiative may appear on the 2016 ballot.
Florida – Right to Medical Marijuana
A whopping 70% of the state supports legalization of medical marijuana, making this initiative a sure shot for November.
North Carolina – Constitutional Amendment to Legalize Medical Marijuana
Seventy-six percent of those polled in the Tar Heel State support medical cannabis, so if this makes it onto the ballot, it will likely receive strong support from voters. The governor just signed a CBD-only medical marijuana law, so full medical may be just a few months away.
Oklahoma – Medical Marijuana Question
Though it's still gathering signatures, this initiative is likely to be on the ballot in November. With 71% of state residents supportive of legalization, it's likely to go through, despite reported interference from local authorities.
Another state headed for recreational legalization, with three tax-and-regulate initiatives on the ballot this November and strong support from the state's largest union. However, a recent poll showed a slim margin of support — only 51%. It's not as sure as Alaska, but has a good chance of being voted in nonetheless.
Pennsylvania – Referendum question
A state representative has proposed a question on the 2014 ballot asking Pennsylvania residents their views on marijuana legalization. With an astounding 84% of the electorate in favor of medical marijuana, this is sure to pave the way to some legalization action. The state legislature is also quickly making progress toward medical marijuana legislation.
Washington, D.C. – Marijuana Legalization Initiative
This initiative is well on its way to gathering the required number of signatures. District residents strongly support legalization, with 63% saying possession of small amounts for personal use should be legal.
[This list includes all states with pending ballot initiatives, questions and constitutional amendments for comprehensive medical and/or recreational legalization this November. It does not include bill efforts that were defeated or passed on in 2014 session, nor states with pending legislation for strictly limited medical marijuana.]