Following the legalization of recreational marijuana in four states, there are at least eleven other states considering changing their policies this year.
Not only are lawmakers expecting to expand Connecticut’s five-year-old medical cannabis legislation, but Martin Looney, the state’s Democratic Senate President pro tem, introduced a bill recently that would legalize marijuana for recreational use.
The Missouri Recreational Marijuana Legalization Initiative did not make the ballot in 2016, however the state did pass medical use. Missouri’s secretary of state, Jason Kander, has endorsed a petition behind the initiative pushing to legalize recreational use.
3. New Hampshire
Senate Minority Leader Jeff Woodburn said he would introduce recreational legislation this year, but first, a group of legislators introduced House Bill 215 on January 4, commissioning a study of the current cannabis laws in other states. Results of that research will be released on December 1, 2017.
4. New York
Governor Andrew Cuomo recently proposed a measure that would decriminalize cannabis, according to the Washington Times. In his 2017 legislative agenda, he wrote, “Data consistently show that recreational users of marijuana pose little to no threat to public safety.”
5. Rhode Island
For seven years, Rhode Island lawmakers have introduced legislation that would allow the use of marijuana recreationally. It would impose a 23% tax.
6. South Carolina
South Carolina passed a bill in 2014 allowing cannabis oil for medical use, however lawmakers recently introduced the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act, which would legalize cannabis for terminally ill individuals, as well as people with “debilitating medical conditions.”
Two cities in Tennessee have already decriminalized marijuana; recently, Representative Jeremy Faison told The Marijuana Times that he wants full medical use across the state and plans to introduce a bill in the 2017 legislative session to legalize medicinal use.
On the first day of the 2017 legislative session, lawmakers in TX filed multiple requests to decriminalize cannabis. Instead of being thrown in jail, anyone caught with minor amounts of marijuana would be charged with a civil infraction and a $250 fine.
House Speaker Greg Hughes told the Deseret News that medical cannabis could be the biggest issue of the session. However, word on the street is that most legislators in Utah think it is smart to wait for the federal government to act.
Governor Terry McAuliffe stated he wishes to legalize medical cannabis this year, and legislators in Virginia are following through. They filed a bill this month to decriminalize cannabis and only fine for possession.
Medical cannabis is only legal for people suffering from seizures in Wisconsin, but lawmakers hope to expand the current law to make medicinal marijuana legal for all.