The USA has been a ripple effect of the marijuana legalization, and the last two years have been the biggest ones yet – but there are many more states on the ballot to legalize marijuana next year.
It seems that there is going to be legal marijuana on most of the East Coast by 2016, or at the very least, most of them are putting their ballots in.
Although legalizing marijuana is still controversial, and many leaders still oppose the idea, ballots are going into fully legalize marijuana across the East, including states such as Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont and Rhode Island.
It´s likely that in the next few years, the majority of states in the USA will be all about legal marijuana. So who will be first to legalize recreational marijuana on the East Coast?
Massachusetts is probably the biggest contender in the race to be first to legalize recreational marijuana on the east side. Advocates have already begun collecting signatures for the 2016 ballot in support of legalization. At this stage in Massachusett´s marijuana policy, there is a maximum $100 fine for possession of an ounce or less, a result of decriminalization in 2008.
Since then, Massachusetts has been looking to implement either a marijuana regulation campaign, or to move directly into fully legalized marijuana. The Republican Governor is highly opposed to the proposal, but it seems that the people are moving in that direction. The Democrats have favored legalization in Massachusetts over the Republicans.
Eric Casey, a campaigner to regulate marijuana, says that the ballot next year to legalize will be one of the main factors that brings the youth out to vote next year.
Maine is another big player in the legalization game, having allowed medical marijuana since 2009, and with the popular vote among the people moving towards legalization. Maine has one of the highest consumption rates in the USA, with 16.24% of residents 12 or over reportedly using marijuana.
Although Maine´s marijuana laws are not as progressive as other states, it remains a contender because it has been on a slow and steady road towards legalization since 2009. With other states in the area legalizing, it´s likely that Maine will jump on the bandwagon, too.
Vermont is the third biggest state of pot users in the USA, with almost 20% of residents saying that they use it. Medical marijuana in Vermont has been legal for over a decade now, and it may very well be the first state to legalize by way of the legislature, not the people.
Politicians and senators in Vermont support the idea of completely legal marijuana, with Senator Zuckerman sponsoring a bill to end prohibition. This has been in the works since February of this year, and unfortunately, hasn´t come into fruition yet. However, the state of Vermont leads the race in terms of the support of the legislature, meaning people thus far have not needed to ballot for the change.
Rhode Island has among the most lenient marijuana laws for states that have not yet legalized recreational marijuana. Although the plans to pass a bill for recreational marijuana has been put on hold for the time being, the majority of residents in the state support its legalization.
Before the end of the year is through, the legislature is said to come to a decision on an Act for marijuana regulation and control. However, if this doesn´t happen, it´s entirely possible that the people will go to a ballot, given tat 57% of them support the legalization of marijuana in Rhode Island.
Connecticut has been nothing short of a complete success since decriminalizing marijuana in 2011. Since decriminalizing, Connecticut has drastically improved the number of marijuana arrests and has become the sixth lowest arrest rate in the country.
To add to that, 63% of the residents of Connecticut said that they would be in favor of legalizing marijuana, and the legislature doesn´t seem against it either. There are several bills in Connecticut’s state law that regulate and control marijuana use in the state, allowing adults to use it.