The subject has been gaining traction for years: To legalize recreational marijuana or not to legalize recreational marijuana? A number of states are poised to once again ask their residents for a decision. Others will ask whether or not the drug should be used for medicinal purposes. The federal government shows no signs of legalizing pot anytime soon — but even the United States Food and Drug Administration has used cannabis-derived compounds as the foundation for a new drug.
What states will likely legalize marijuana next?
Illinois will legalize recreational marijuana by January 1, 2020 after the state legislature voted in favor of H.B. 1438. The bill limits the amount of the drug that can be possessed by nonresidents. Higher doses of THC will be slammed with a bigger tax according to the bill.
Similar legislation has been proposed in New York and New Jersey. Residents may vote on the matter in the 2020 election. That means marijuana may be legalized in either state in 2021 at the earliest.
Ohio might find marijuana legalized by public initiative, which typically enjoys greater support than from lawmakers. There’s a good chance a recreational marijuana will be on the 2019 ballot. That means marijuana may be legalized in Ohio in 2020 at the earliest.
Arizona previously voted against legalization in 2016, but a measure will likely be on the docket in 2020. California previously voted against legalization by a wide margin only to vote in favor a few years later. It’s not a stretch to say Arizona might do the same. If it passes, weed might be legalized in Arizona in 2021 at the earliest.
Florida is more of an unlikely candidate. That said, many people see Florida as a logical choice for legalization because of its success with medical marijuana. Many advocacy groups are turning toward Florida, because if it can happen there — it can happen anywhere.
Thankfully many drug-related convictions will likely be overturned should more states begin to legalize marijuana for recreational use. This would save taxpayers billions of dollars. It would also reduce the stress on an already overburdened criminal justice system. Our prisons are filled to the brim. It might be time to begin the process of emptying them.
Two-thirds of Americans support legalizing recreational marijuana. That our politicians elected to represent our wishes still have no desire to do this says a lot about the state of our political process. It’s broken and we know it.
If you’re fighting a drug-related charge, it’s time to hire a specialized attorney.