Legal Pot Coming Soon? 50-State Marijuana Law Roundup.

Proposed marijuana bills and initiativesIsaac ReeseThe march towards good sense and marijuana freedom continues apace. To give a glimpse of what’s in store for 2014, here’s a 50-state guide to legislation and ballot measures that are in the works thus far this year.

By my count, 13 states may follow Colorado and Washington State’s lead and legalize recreational use—either at the ballot box or in state capitols. Medical marijuana is on the table in 16 states. Five states may decriminalize possession, replacing criminal penalties with civil fines.

Of the 20 states that do not have a push underway this year, 12 have already OK’d medical marijuana or decriminalization. Additionally, activists in at least three states with nothing currently underway are organizing 2016 initiative drives.

The following leans heavily on reportage from The Daily Chronic and an ACLU report, The War on Marijuana in Black and White.

Alabama – Decriminalization

Sponsored by Rep. Patricia Todd (D-Birmingham), HB 76 reduces the penalty for first-time possession of up to an ounce for weed to a civil fine that would not appear on one’s record.

Additionally, Todd is sponsoring HB 104 with former state trooper Rep. Mike Ball (R-Madison) and Allen Farley (R-Jefferson). The bill allows the patients with serious neurological conditions, or their parents, to seek relaxed sentencing when they are prosecuted for possession. Police in Alabama made 5,235 arrests for possession in 2010.

Current law
Recreational: No
Medical: No
Decriminalization: No

Alaska - Recreational

State election officials announced this week that an initiative that would legalize recreational marijuana has reached the required number of signatures. There are still more signatures to be verified, but at this point it looks like a near certainty that the measure will qualify for the August ballot.

“It’s clear to everyone that prohibition is a failed policy,” says Tim Hinterberger, a professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage’s School of Medical Education and an initiative co-sponsor.

In 2010, police in Alaska made 2,028 arrests for marijuana possession.

Current law
Recreational: No
Medical: Yes
Decriminalization: Yes

Arizona – Recreational

Activists are gathering signatures to put a measure legalizing recreational use on the November 2014 ballot. Word on the street, however, is that signature gathering is behind schedule and financial backing is lacking. A 2016 initiative push is expected to garner more support.

A flaw in Arizona’s medical marijuana law made national news last year after an appeals court convicted a patient who was not impaired of DUI. The court ruled that state lawmakers meant to criminalize driving for weeks after marijuana ingestion—well after any psychoactive effects have worn off. And judges are duty bound to enforce stupid laws, because checks and balances. Wait, what?

Law enforcement made 18,348 arrests for marijuana possession in 2010.

Current law
Recreational: No
Medical: Yes
Decriminalization: No

Arkansas – Medical

Campaigners are gathering signatures for two medical marijuana initiatives. Both measures would allow patients to buy from non-profit dispensaries; one would allow patients to grow their own if there is no dispensary near their home. If voters approve both measures, the one with the most votes takes effect.

Last fall, the Arkansas Baptist State Convention passed a resolution urging pastors to oppose medical marijuana from the pulpit, calling legalization “poor policy” that is “based on bad science.” Here’s Reason’s Jacob Sullum on the science. And here is the Scientific American on the same.

Police in Arkansas made 6,310 arrests for marijuana possession in 2010.

Current law
Recreational: No
Medical: No
Decriminalization: No

California – Recreational

Four groups have filed potential referendums with state election officials. Supporters must gather 500,000 signatures by April to qualify for the November ballot. At least one of the measures could save California taxpayers $100 million a year in police, court, and prison costs according to the state’s attorney general.

California voters approved medical marijuana in 1996, but the intervening years, especially under President Obama’s tenure, have been a rough ride for dispensary owners, who have found themselves on the receiving end of federal raids, asset forfeiture, and some serious prison time—all while obeying state law. Dick moves, Mr. President.

In 2010, police in California made 57,262 arrests for marijuana possession.

Current law
Recreational: No
Medical: Yes
Decriminalization: Yes

Colorado – Great Success

Activists, regulators, and politicians are hashing out a post-prohibition regulatory regime. (Pun intended. But I’m done.)

Proponents sold legalization as a bid to treat marijuana like alcohol, so it should not surprise that there are some tricky regulatory issues to work out (or leave festering). States are still tinkering with their alcohol control systems many decades after killing capital-p Prohibition.

Police in Colorado made 10,343 arrests for marijuana possession in 2010, costing taxpayers nearly $38 million in incarceration, police, judicial and legal expenses. The figure does not include losses to individuals arrested. Outlook for 2014: zero arrests for possession. Mucho revenue.

Current law
Recreational: Yes
Medical: Yes
Decriminalization: Yes

Connecticut – Nothing

Medical marijuana got the OK in Connecticut in 2012, but will not go on sale until this summer. In the meantime, police recently busted a terminal cancer patient for growing his own (and broadcasting this fact on YouTube). Also, the guy had a little cocaine. But, come on—terminal cancer.

In 2010, police in Connecticut made 8,815 arrests for marijuana possession.

Current law
Recreational: No
Medical: Yes
Decriminalization: Yes

Delaware – Nothing

Delaware approved medical marijuana in 2011, but state officials are still hammering out details. Last fall, regulators proposed limiting sales to one dispensary that has leave to grow only 150 plants, meaning long commutes and an unsteady supply for many patients.

The proposed rules fly in the face of official pronouncements. In August, Governor Jack Markell (D) wrote that “[t]he sensible and humane aim of state policy in Delaware remains to ensure that medical marijuana is accessible via a safe, well-regulated channel of distribution to patients with demonstrated medical need.”

Law enforcement in Delaware made 2,554 arrests for marijuana possession in 2010.

Current law
Recreational: No
Medical: Yes
Decriminalization: No


Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Snark Plissken||

    Reform cannot come soon enough to New Mexico, where multiple motorists accuse police of extremely invasive body cavity searches based on ultimately unfounded suspicions of drug, including marijuana, possession.

    That sort of egregious abuse of power is not going to be checked by the simple legalizing of pot.

  • ||

    We could legalize all drugs and they'd simply change their search to one for plastic explosives or smuggled diamonds or FYTW.

  • Zeb||

    You sound like the people who think that gangs and organized crime wouldn't be affected if drugs were legalized. I think it would go for cops somewhat like it would for other gangs. They will still do a lot of the same bad things, but there will be a lot less work of that sort to go around.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Where is our modern day Lincoln, with the implacable remorselessness and sheer force of Will to whip these heretics back into towing the federal lion?

  • Cytotoxic||

    The modern day Lincoln would be the one whose implacable remorselessness and sheer force of will ends drug prohibition.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    "‘Can’t make this up’! NC NAACP tells voter ID protesters to bring photo ID to Moral March [pics]

    "...As bused-in protesters and professional agitators prepared to promote their progressive causes — including oh-so-racist voter ID requirements — the state NAACP told participants make sure to have photo ID handy “at all times.” According to the “Important Dos and Don’ts for Marchers!!!” you should bring a “driver’s license, passport or other valid photo id” to the march."

    http://twitchy.com/2014/02/08/.....arch-pics/

  • Irish||

    The moral march is hilarious. A huge percentage of them are union members that were bussed in from California, New York, and Jersey. They've been claiming 100,000 people are there, which is about 10 times more than reality.

    Example of stupidity:

    @ChristofPierson: RW reaction to #MoralMarch has same stench as Klan reax to the Civil Rights Movement.

    Making fun of Moral March is equivalent to police shooting black people with hoses because they wanted to end segregation.

  • ||

    Making fun of Moral March is equivalent to police shooting black people with hoses because they wanted to end segregation.

    Are you trying to imply it's not?

    Your mockery is just like siccing police dogs on these people.

  • ||

    People really seem trapped in the immigration article, no?

  • ||

    Look who is trapped there, and thank your lucky stars.

  • ||

    You make a compelling point.

  • Irish||

    It's Tulpa and Bo, isn't it?

    Question: Isn't it actually means 'is it not.' Why is the abbreviation not 'Is't not' instead of 'isn't it?'

  • playa manhattan||

    It's an abbreviation for "is not".

  • Cytotoxic||

    Tulpa is being extra-retarded for the immigration article. He and his fellow nativists sense that the endgame for immigration is approaching and it doesn't bode well for anti-immigration types. They will be politically disowned and cast out to Loser Land. In their fear, they raise the derp.

  • Irish||

    I wandered back into that thread for a moment, saw it had reached 200 posts, and slowly closed the browser.

    When a post like that hits 200 comments, it's bound to be mostly awful.

  • Otisjay||

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    It's Tulpa's favorite subject. The pragmatist suddenly has "principles" when it involves deporting brown people.

    No matter what it costs, no matter how many must die, we must enforce immigration law because it's the right thing to do!

    /T-tard

  • Christophe||

    Nah, Tulpa's pragmatism always was a facade for violating people's rights. I think he gets off on it.

  • Cytotoxic||

    LAW AND ORDER LIBERTARIANISM

  • mnarayan||

    They finally collided. I've been awaiting this day for months.

    *tears of joy*

  • playa manhattan||

    My mind is already made up. No need for that nonsense.

    Norovirus be damned, I'm off to got get some authentic tacos.

  • playa manhattan||

    Who am I kidding? I'm going to get a surf and turf bowl at Baja Fresh.

  • ||

    Loser. Last night I had a 16oz ribeye (black and blue) with bone marrow butter, cheesy grits (with more butter) and hand made blueberry sorbet. And three martinis. It was good.

  • playa manhattan||

    Prime? Angus? Dry aged? Bone in?

    It had better be all of these things..

    P.S. I'm going to Fogo de Chao next week. Suck it.

  • ||

    I have two Brazilian steakhouses within a few blocks of me. I've been to them (and actually have a Groupon for one which I need to use), and they were quite good. But I like to go after an insane lifting session so that I'm ravenous and need protein.

    And you of all people should know that "Angus" is just a breed that is extremely common and doesn't mean shit regarding the quality.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Two brazillion steakhouses? That's a lot!

  • Lou Dobz||

    That's two more than I have!

  • Cytotoxic||

    You'll be shedding for 7-10 days after symptoms clear! It's highly infectious and transmissible! Don't spread it.

  • playa manhattan||

    Time to sign up for the Reason Cruise!

    Seriously, though, I'm beginning to think urgent care was wrong. My kid came home from school sick on Thurs, I got sick last night, and now we are both pretty much fine.

  • ||

    Norovirus resistance is highly heritable. If you have two copies of the A version of this SNP, you lack a functioning FUT2 gene and are most likely resistant to the virus. Genetic changes other than the SNP 23andMe reports may allow people to be resistant even if they do not have the AA genotype.

    I'll hang out with you, playa. I gots me some resistance.

  • playa manhattan||

    You got a 23 and me?

  • ||

    I did it years ago and re-upped with their latest chip. I'm sure I've mentioned it before.

    I'm only 2.7% neanderthal.

    And am apparently highly prone to gout (who the fuck gets gout?) and prostate cancer, and resistant to getting norovirus and Alzheimers (yay, I'll be lucid as my joints fill with uric acid!)

    Also I definitely got my tits cut off because of Angelina Jolie.

  • playa manhattan||

    Alzheimers? I don't plan to live that long.

    What's the average life expectancy for males in your lineage?

  • ||

    My biological father was adopted and died in his early 30s of non-heritable causes (Kaposi's sarcoma on the lungs). Part of my job is doing medical histories and the giant question mark on my father's side of the family is what led me to be an early adopter for consumer genetic testing. I'll get a full genome sequence when it comes down to ~$2000.

    My maternal grandfather is in his late 80s and is doing extremely well.

  • playa manhattan||

    Closed adoption, I would assume?

  • ||

    I've heard some details about it, but I don't know much about it, and for some reason I'm nervous about digging too far into it. I should ask his adopted sister. She probably knows quite a bit more.

    From what I've heard his father was a married professor someplace in SoCal and his mother was having an affair with him. He broke things off and she found out she was pregnant after the fact and put the child up for adoption. I don't have anything more specific than that.

  • playa manhattan||

    An extra-martial affair is probably one of the best case scenarios for an adoption in that era.

  • ||

    If the story is true I got a heavy dose of "academic" and "terrible at monogamy" from both sides of the tree.

  • Zeb||

    I really hope I take after my mom's side too. Both of my father's parents lost their minds. Both my mother's parents lived into their 90s with sharp minds.

  • Zeb||

    I have a friend who had (or has, I don't know if it really goes away completely) gout in his late 20s. I think it's pretty easy to manage with drugs and diet.

  • OneOut||

    Eat some fresh cherries and it goes away over night.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Don't worry, the immigration article has porous borders - people will escape soon enough.

  • Ornithorhynchus||

    Why isn't Oklahoma shown as blue on the first map? The article clearly states that there is a bill proposed. Unfortunately, I doubt it has any chance in our idiotic legislature. We really need to get it on the ballot.

  • Zeb||

    Oklahoma has some of the harshest penalties for pot too, don't they?

  • Zeb||

    Oklahoma has some of the harshest penalties for pot too, don't they?

  • PH2050||

    While this is encouraging news, for those of us who have jobs in healthcare we are still subject to urinalyses for THC until things change at the federal level. Hopefully, the actions of the states force that to occur.

    OT: Borderlands 2 is 50% off on Steam this weekend. I used to own it on XBox 360 but never finished it and all the DLC. Does anyone here own it? Is it good on PC or is it a shitty console port?

  • playa manhattan||

    I understand the first part of what you said, but the second part is gibberish...

  • PH2050||

    Stop othering me, you cis non-gaming shit lord!

  • ||

    I wouldn't even call it a port. It's very good on PC.

  • ||

    That's because it's not a port. I have an nVidia GeForce GTX 560 Ti and I max out every setting in B2, and it looks fantastic.

    I still play that damn game more than anything else I have. I can't wait for B3.

  • PH2050||

    Thanks for your input. Just bought it.

    Screw the SJW bullshit, the Commando was my favorite class to play. I had a sick build that let me throw out 2 turrets that slagged everything and I did insane damage with rifles and grenades.

    However, since I bought the complete GOTY pack that includes all the DLC and classes, I may try out the Mechromancer or Psycho class.

    Didn't know they're working on a third game, I'm looking forward to it.

  • ||

    Well, of course there will be a third just because they've proven that the Borderlands franchise is super popular and makes a mint. I don't know if they've started development yet.

    I always play the Siren, since she's the most customizable and is also best at (natch) a hit and run style of playing, which is what I like the most. I just put a ton of points into her Cataclysm tree, get myself some severely badass SMGs, a good Bee if I can get it, and a SMG-boosting mod, and it's wave of destruction time. I've also been told the Gunzerker is super fun to play because of the dual-weapon wielding.

  • PH2050||

    Yeah a friend of mine refuses to play anything but his Gunzerker haha. I had tried the Siren out but since she wasn't like my FemShep Adept in Mass Effect 3 I guess I lost interest. Although, I don't think I specced into that tree so maybe I will try that, if I get some good gear.

    Bee is so OP, it's what helped me solo Terramorphous(sp?) back when I played on the 360.

  • Eggs Benedict Cumberbund||

    Siren is almost too easy. Converge, subsequence, dp unkept Harold, and a bee is the path to mass destruction.

  • Eggs Benedict Cumberbund||

    Zero takes patience aplenty. I have on in uvhm...lots of planning.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    Try Rust. You'll love it.

  • Beezard||

    The add ons are so tits. I haven't stopped Gunzerking for months. It's kind of pathetic really.

  • Eggs Benedict Cumberbund||

    B2 is also out for download on Xbox 360. The game is fantastic. I would go with steam on pc though. Lot's of fun with save games and nodding potential.

  • ||

    I just finished Bioshock Infinite. The ending felt like a let down and the beginning was a little too eager to rip the veneer off of Columbia, but the music was awesome:

    Everybody Wants to Rule the World

  • Irish||

  • PH2050||

    That was my favorite, also.

  • ||

    That's a close second for me.

    Girls Just Wanna Have Fun was a pretty great surprise too.

  • PH2050||

    The music where you're getting baptized is pretty intense. You guys have got me looking up the soundtrack for purchase lol

  • PH2050||

    I enjoyed Bioshock Infinite, not as much as I enjoyed the first one but for me it was still fun. I totally agree with you about the music!

  • The Bearded Hobbit||

    NM legalization law stalls.

    http://www.kob.com/article/sto.....vbTTPv-Ygc

    ... Hobbit

  • ||

    The electorate is regaining some of it's power every-time they vote to legalize Marijuana.

    We cannot count on our sad proven non-performers in government to repeal this 60 year old foolish law.

    Only the people can and should decide what they want.

  • Hyperion||

    Maryland, recreational pot, legal?

    Haahahhahahhhaa. Oh, fuck , hahhahhaaaaaahhaaahahhhaaaa, omg, hahaaahhhaaahhhhaaaaaa, oh it hurts, HAHHAHAAHHAAAAHAAAAHHHAAAAA, PLEASE, MAKE IT STOP!!!!!

    Ok, wow, gasp, sigh, ..... Ok, if they would have said Maryland is going to pass the death penalty for possession of pot, then I would have taken it seriously.

  • Beezard||

    Maryland will legalize pot so long as they can force you to be on it at tax payer expense.

  • MuhROADS||

    I live in MD, they are so liberal here, they love control more than they love pot.

  • Paul Pot||

    If a couple of states legalize, a couple of states decriminalize and a couple more states allow medical cannabis then it will be a very good year.
    And what of the rest of the world?
    How many more nations will follow Uruguay?
    Canada may be next year if they change government.
    Big changes to the drug war over the next couple of years!

  • Hyperion||

    And what of the rest of the world?

    meh...

    How many more nations will follow Uruguay?

    Skeptical. How many countries are willing to stand up to the international bullying of the USA?

    Next states, maybe Maine, Oregon, or Kentucky, that's my best guess.

  • Beezard||

    Maryland actually has a phony decriminalization. I"the penalties have gone down to a criminal citation under a certain quantity. There is a counter move in the Maryland legislature for further decriminalization as a way to cock block legalization.

  • SQRLSY One||

    Fuck Texas! NAZI Germany will legalize pot before Texas even THINKS about legalizing scratching-your-own-butt-hole, w/o a license, GAWD-DAMN-it!!!

  • ibcbet||

    We cannot count on our sad proven non-performers in government to repeal this 60 year old foolish law.

  • Emilyjohn||

    I read in Reason that it's "good sense" that pot is being legalized in so many states.

    I don't think it's "good sense" at all, but just one more clear indication of the cultural deterioration in our nation.

    Of all the people I know who drink alcoholic beverages, I cannot think of anyone who consumes the alcohol to get high. The consumption is merely a social construct.

    The couple of individuals I know who use pot consume it specifically to get high.

    This misguided exercise in permissiveness will hurt a lot of people, mostly innocents.

  • Beezard||

    Because pot prohibition doesn't hurt people? Even innocents? and every one you know drinks alcohol just to look like they were drinking alcohol? Fascinating.

  • MuhROADS||

    Awww yiss.

  • Shelbyw||

    Marijuana has become such a common drug in the U.S. that is kind of a surprise that these actions have not been taken earlier. The fact that medical use is not legal in all states is odd, it seems only right that if there is a way to help someone that is suffering from a disease that we do whatever it takes to give them some kind of relief. it also is only expected that the recreational use will become legal in many more states. the drug is already used so often by people while it is still illegal that it will not make a big difference. i think the number of states on this list will continue to grow until the entire map is colored in with orange and blue.

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