Now that Maine has officially legalized marijuana possession and cultivation, joining Washington State, Colorado, Alaska, Oregon, California, Massachusetts, Nevada, and Washington, D.C., which state will be the next to end cannabis prohibition? There are several states to watch and the great state of Maryland just put itself in the conversation after reports that two bills to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana will soon be filed by state lawmakers. If so, there will be a new reason to call Maryland “the Free State.”
With decriminalization on the books, albeit for the possession of only under 10 grams, as well as an existing medical program, Maryland is certainly following the pattern of states that have ended marijuana prohibition. The only thing really holding back the state from legalizing cannabis is the fact that Maryland residents don’t have the initiative power, so they must end their state’s War on Weed through the legislative process. With 61% of Marylanders supporting legalization, it’s only a matter of time before the politicians catch up their constituents.
Michigan and Arizona (who almost ended prohibition last November), two states with the initiative process, should be great candidates to successfully pass legalization laws by the end of 2020. Even though Florida’s initiative process requires a 60% vote, the 71% vote for medicinal use in 2016 could place the Sunshine State on the map for 2020 as well. Vermont, Hawaii, and Rhode Island, all progressive states with decriminalization and medical laws, are all frontrunners with Maryland to be the first state to legalize marijuana through the legislative process.
Who will be the next state to legalize marijuana? Who knows, but with all of the great progress we have been making, we won’t have to wait too long to find out. So long as Donald Trump’s next attorney general, likely Jeff Sessions, doesn’t set progress back a few years, but the federal government will certainly have their hands full trying to stem the tide of cannabis freedom.