While California has been on the forefront of cannabis legalization, making medical marijuana legal more than 20 years ago with the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, and more recently with recreational cannabis being legalized through the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, other states have not been as lucky.
Many hope to change that this coming year, with at least 12 states on deck to consider some form of cannabis legalization in 2018.
This is huge news, not only for those particular states, but also for California and other states that already have legalization in place. The more states rally behind legalization, the stronger we stand against outdated federal laws, which still classify cannabis as a Schedule I narcotic under the Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. Section 812. According to a recent report from Newsweek, more than 60% of Americans now support full legalization.Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been adamant about his opposition of state legalization, but our California marijuana legalization lawyers in Riverside know that a united voice from the states sends a strong and clear message that we as a country are ready to move forward.
The following states will potentially make moves toward legalization this year, according to the Newsweek report:
- Vermont: After the state legislature approved recreational marijuana legalization earlier in 2017, the governor said he first wanted to create studies on the effects legalization has had on public health issues. In December, the governor said he was comfortable moving forward. If things go as expected, this would be the first time a state government passed legalization laws rather than through a ballot initiative.
- New Jersey: New Jersey elected a new Democratic governor, who ran on marijuana legalization and promised to sign adult recreational use into law in his first 100 days, assuming the state legislature provides a bill.
- Michigan: Advocates gathered the required amount of signatures, pending confirmation, to get a recreational marijuana measure on the ballot in November.
- Delaware: A task force was assigned to study the impact of the legal marijuana industry. Results are expected back soon to help the state legislature determine how they want to move forward.
- Rhode Island: Rhode Island is eager to make a decision about legalization soon, with other New England States jumping on board. A study is out to help the statehouse determine recommendations, and int he meantime advocates hope to get a bill in place to decriminalize possession of small amounts of cannabis.
- Connecticut: A symbolic vote by the Hartford City Council to legalize recreational marijuana is expected to spark debate at the state level.
- Ohio: The advocacy group that led a failed ballot initiative in 2015 is ramping up for a second try for recreational marijuana in the 2018 election.
- Oklahoma: Medical marijuana will appear be up for a vote by citizens sometime this year.
- Kentucky: Momentum is building in the state government to get a bill through the state legislature legalizing medical marijuana.
- South Dakota: Signatures are under review to put a medical marijuana initiative on the November 2018 ballot.
- Utah: Advocates for medical marijuana are in the midst of collection necessary signatures, which would be due by April to make the cutoff for the November ballot.
- Missouri: Signatures are also being collected in Missouri in hopes of getting a medical marijuana initiative on the ballot in November.
Our Riverside lawyers look forward to more states joining California toward making marijuana accessible to people all over the country. With laws rapidly changing across the nation, it’s more important than ever for marijuana businesses to seek guidance from our experienced legal team.
The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients, defendants, workers and those facing criminal marijuana charges. Call us at 949-375-4734.
Marijuana Legalization 2018: Which States Might Consider Cannabis Laws This Year, Jan. 2, 2018, By Linley Sanders, Newsweek
More Blog Entries:
Medical Marijuana Expands to More States, Dec. 2, 2017, California Marijuana Lawyers Blog