Four states already have legalized recreational marijuana; Colorado, Alaska, Oregon, and Washington. According to Doug Mcintyre, CEO of 24/7 Wall Street, eleven states are next to legalize it for recreational use: Vermont, New York, California, Massachusetts, Nevada, Minnesota, Connecticut, Maryland, Rhode Island, Maine, and Delaware. These states are similar in that most of them already have legalized medical marijuana and have legislation in place for legalizing it recreationally. One more common factor among them is that they also have significantly reduced the fines and penalties associated with possessing a small amount of the substance.
In Massachusetts, the maximum penalty for possessing a small quantity is only $100. In November of 2016, Nevada voters will have a chance to pass a legislation that would allow the taxation and regulation of marijuana. In 2010 the former governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, signed a bill that reclassified the possession of the flower from a misdemeanor to an infraction. New York State was the first state to decriminalize weed in 1977 and in July of 2015, governor Andrew Cuomo legalized the use of it medically within the state. Vermont has a maximum fine of only $200 for possessing a small amount of the flower and possessing is not punishable by incarceration.
Minnesota opened its first medical dispensary in 2015 and also has significantly reduced its fines for possession. Connecticut is another great example of a state where the fines have dropped substantially and possession of small quantities is not punishable by jail time. In Maryland pot possession is a misdemeanor and the state is already well on its way to legalizing it for recreational use. Rhode Island has the most lenient laws out of all of the states that have yet to legalize recreational use and the maximum penalty for possession of a small amount is only $150. Maine legalized medical marijuana back in 1999 and is also soon to legalize it recreationally. Delaware was the 20th state to decriminalize possession of small quantities.
As you can see, most of the states on the list are states where polling shows that there’s a tremendous deal of support for legalizing medical as well as recreational marijuana. However, keep in mind that there is still an astounding resistance to legalizing this substance and it will take a long time to have recreational marijuana on a national level.