Marijuana

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

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Proposed marijuana bills and initiatives
Isaac Reese

The 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


Marijuana decriminalization
Isaac Reese

District of Columbia – Recreational, Decriminalization

On February 4, 2014, city council members preliminarily approved a decriminalization bill that replaces criminal penalties for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana with a $25 civil fine. The bill goes to a final vote in March.

In 2010, law enforcement in D.C. made 5,115 arrests for marijuana possession. Even though whites and blacks use marijuana at similar rates, African-Americans are eight times more likely to be arrested for possession in D.C., according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

According to a poll, 75 percent of D.C. residents support decriminalization. Moreover, 63 percent support legalizing recreational use, which may go on the ballot this November. Activists have filed language for a referendum and are now gathering signatures.

Current law
Recreational: No
Medical: Yes
Decriminalization: No

Georgia – Medical

Rep. Allan Peake (R-Macon) introduced a bill last week that would allow physicians at five university medical centers to prescribe marijuana extracts with limited psychoactive effects to patients suffering from severe seizures. Georgia law already allows such prescriptions for glaucoma and cancer patients, but the board overseeing the program has been inactive for over 15 years.

"If you've read the emails we have gotten from parents who have children with seizure disorders that this can treat, I couldn't understand how you wouldn't be in favor of it," says Rep. Tom Dickson (R-Cohutta).

Maryland has adopted a similar law, but none of the eligible institutions have been willing to prescribe marijuana, leaving patients without legal access. Fortunately, members of the Georgia medical community have signaled they support the program.

According to a poll, 54 percent of Georgians favor legalization of marijuana for recreational use. Some 62 percent favor decriminalization while only 32 percent oppose. In 2010, police in Georgia made 32,473 arrests for marijuana possession.

Current law
Recreational: No
Medical: No
Decriminalization: No

Florida – Medical

Last week, the Florida Supreme Court ruled an initiative legalizing medical marijuana meets all the relevant legal requirements, clearing the way for residents to vote on medical this November.

Polling puts support for the measure at between 65 and 82 percent, despite opposition from Governor Rick Scott (R), the Florida Sheriff's Association, the Florida Medical Association, and people who hate freedom. Police in Florida made 57,951 arrests for marijuana possession in 2010.

Current law
Recreational: No
Medical: No
Decriminalization: No

Hawaii—Nothing

House Majority Floor Leader Rida Cabanilla (D-Waipahu) has introduced a bill directing a working group to put together a plan to allow farmers to grow marijuana for export. The bill does not allow for recreational use, though 66 percent of Hawaiian voters would support such a measure according to a poll.

A full 77 percent no longer support criminal penalties for possession.

Last year, legislators liberalized the state's 14-year-old medical marijuana law, increasing the amount of cannabis patients are allowed to possess. In 2010, police in Hawaii made 1,448 arrests for marijuana possession.

Current law
Recreational: No
Medical: Yes
Decriminalization: No

Idaho—Nothing

Medical marijuana failed in the Idaho legislature in 2011 and 2012. Last year, legislators passed a non-binding resolution opposing marijuana legalization, and nothing is on the agenda so far for 2014.

That's too bad, because law enforcement in the state have an unhappy penchant for kidnapping the children of medical marijuana activists.

Law enforcement officers made 3,468 arrests for marijuana possession in Idaho in 2010.

Current law
Recreational: No
Medical: No
Decriminalization: No

Illinois – Nothing

Legislation legalizing medical marijuana took effect January 1, but patients still face criminal penalties until state regulators set up the program, a process that is expected to take four months. Gun owners need not apply.

In 2010, police in Illinois made 49,904 arrests for marijuana possession.

Current law
Recreational: No
Medical: Yes
Decriminalization: No

Indiana – Decriminalization

Introduced by Sen. Karen Tallian (D-Porter County), SB 314 would lower the penalty for possession of up to two ounces of weed to a $500 fine. The bill also allows for industrial hemp production and legalizes possession for scientific research.

Meanwhile, HB 1185, introduced by Rep. Sue Errington (D-Muncie), would allow patients with a prescription for marijuana to seek reduced sentences when they are prosecuted for possession. A bipartisan bill, SB 357, focuses solely on industrial hemp.

Law enforcement in Indiana made 12,850 arrests for marijuana possession in 2010.

Current law
Recreational: No
Medical: No
Decriminalization: No

Iowa—Nothing

A medical marijuana bill failed in the legislature last year, and a bill this year looks unlikely. Governor Terry Branstad (R) opposes medical marijuana, saying results in other states "have not been good."

Recreational pot, meanwhile, "would be damning to the health and welfare of the citizens of our state," says the governor.

Arrests for marijuana possession in 2010: 6,123

Current law
Recreational: No
Medical: No
Decriminalization: No

Kansas – Medical

Medical marijuana legislation has failed four years in a row. Another medical bill is expected to be filed this year. "I think it is a foregone conclusion that [marijuana] will be legalized," writes a Paola, Kansas law enforcement officer, "but over a number of years, millions of dollars, and court battles. I do believe that marijuana is a gateway drug and is not good for our society."

But recent incidents in Kansas may lead others to conclude that prohibition is not good for society. The jailhouse death of a 58-year-old Kansas woman arrested for marijuana possession made national headlines in January. Brenda Sewell was returning home from Colorado where she had purchased the drug legally, possibly to manage several health issues.

In 2012, a Kansas SWAT team subjected a family of four to an hours-long, early-morning raid, only to discover an indoor-tomato growing operation. After observing Robert Harte's 13-year-old son exiting a gardening store, police dug through the family's trash, finding wet leaves that were determined to be marijuana after a field test. But the test was a false positive. In fact the family had just been brewing tea.

Police in Kansas made 5,035 arrests for marijuana possession in 2010.

Current law
Recreational: No
Medical: No
Decriminalization: No

Kentucky—Medical

State Sen. Perry Clark (D-Louisville) filed SB 43, which would legalize medical marijuana, in January. "Cannabis is medicine. It just happens to be a prohibited medicine," says Clark. Polling puts support among Kentucky voters for medical marijuana at between 60 and 78 percent.

No doubt that comes as welcome news to 41-year-old quadriplegic and glaucoma sufferer Eric Crawford. Marijuana "takes my pain away," says Crawford, who was arrested along with his wife for possession last year. "It makes me feel normal. And I don't want to be blind." In 2010, police in Kentucky made 6,540 arrests for marijuana possession.

Current law
Recreational: No
Medical: No
Decriminalization: No

Louisiana – Reduced criminal penalties

Legislators held a hearing on medical marijuana in January, which evinced very little enthusiasm for substantial reform. Voters, however, support legalization. In a poll, 53 percent approved of recreational marijuana while only 37 percent opposed. Support for medical marijuana came in at 65 percent.

"This state is behind on medical marijuana use," said Rep. Dalton Honore (D-Baton Rouge) at the hearing. "If I had my choice today, I'd say let's put it to the people of the state of Louisiana to vote on. And I would assure you it would pass."

Legislators will consider HB 14, which reduces, but does not eliminate, prison time for marijuana possession. In 2010, Louisiana law enforcement made 13,435 arrests for marijuana possession.

Current law
Recreational: No
Medical: No
Decriminalization: No

Maine – Nothing

A bill that would have legalized recreational use did not survive a legislative council vote before the 2014 session. The council screens bills before they can be introduced. Sponsor Rep. Diane Russell (D-Portland) plans to file another bill for 2015.

"Maine is on the brink of creating a massive marijuana industry that will inevitably target teens and other vulnerable populations," says former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI). Click here for video of Reason's Nick Gillespie debating Kennedy on legalization.

In 2010, police in Maine made 2,842 arrests for marijuana possession.

Current law
Recreational: No
Medical: Yes
Decriminalization: Yes

Maryland – Recreational

Marijuana legalization is on gubernatorial candidate Del. Heather Mizeur's (D-Montgomery) campaign platform. In the legislature, Sen. Jamie Raskin (D-Montgomery) has filed a bill (SB 0658) that would legalize recreational use. "The vast majority of Marylanders have come to the realization that the current war on drugs is failing with respect to marijuana," says Raskin.

Maryland law allows criminal defendants to introduce evidence that they possessed marijuana for a medical purpose as a mitigating factor during sentencing. The law also allows for academic hospitals to conduct medical marijuana research, but all of the eligible institutions have declined to participate. So while Maryland has legalized medical marijuana, it remains off limits to patients for the foreseeable future.

Maryland law enforcement made 23,663 arrests for marijuana possession in 2010.

Current law
Recreational: No
Medical: Yes (but no)
Decriminalization: No

Massachusetts—Nothing

Activists in Massachusetts are working to put an initiative before the voters in 2016. State regulators issued permits for the state's first medical marijuana dispensaries last week, after voters approved medical in 2012.

"Our taxpayers have been long overburdened," says Amesbury City Councilor Donna McClure. "We didn't recruit these businesses, but [the new dispensaries] represent opportunities for both long- and short-term revenue growth."

In 2010, police made 1,191 arrests for marijuana possession in Massachusetts.

Current law
Recreational: No
Medical: Yes
Decriminalization: Yes

Michigan—Nothing

In December, Governor Rick Snyder (R) signed a bill that will allow pharmacies to stock marijuana—once the feds reclassify the drug as a Schedule 2 substance. Another bill that would allow localities more control over dispensaries has passed the house but remains stuck in the senate.

"Lansing had 38 licensed dispensaries. They were in stores, next to schools and next to churches that had rehab programs," says Sen. Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge). "I do not favor the wild, wild west of dispensaries coming back."

Arrests for marijuana possession in Michigan in 2010: 17,830

Current law
Recreational: No
Medical: Yes
Decriminalization: No

Minnesota – Medical

Legislators will consider a bill legalizing medical marijuana this session, which begins later this month. The bill has popular and bipartisan support. A recent poll put supports for medical marijuana at 76 percent.

"Frankly, as a fan of limited government, I think doctors and patients are the best people to make healthcare decisions," says Sen. Branden Petersen (R-Anoka), who sponsored the bill. "And I think that's a very reasonable position that more people can get behind."

Police in Minnesota made 7,494 arrests for marijuana possession in 2010.

Current law
Recreational: No
Medical: No
Decriminalization: Yes

Mississippi—Nothing

The University of Mississippi grows marijuana for the federal government's research program. But in-state patients are out of luck; medical marijuana bills have failed in the state legislature for five straight years. Nothing is on the agenda so far in 2014.

Mississippi law enforcement officers made 8,166 arrests for marijuana possession in 2010.

Current law
Recreational: No
Medical: No
Decriminalization: Yes

Missouri – Recreational, Medical, and Decriminalization

Legislators are considering three separate bills that would (1) legalize recreational use, (2) legalize medicinal use, or (3) decriminalize possession. In January, state election officials approved language for a ballot measure that would legalize recreational marijuana.

"We're proposing to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol," says Dan Viets, chairman of Show-Me Cannabis. "If the polling is not promising, we might not even put it on the ballot."

Arrests for marijuana possession in Missouri in 2010: 18,416

Current law
Recreational: No
Medical: No
Decriminalization: No

Montana – Nothing

State regulators gave activists permission to begin gathering signatures for an initiative that would have legalized recreational use. But said activists have made a strategic decision to wait until the 2016 elections to proceed.

Voters legalized medical marijuana in the state in 2004. That hasn't stopped the federal government from putting the screws to dispensary owners, however.

In 2010, Montana law enforcement made 1,210 arrests for marijuana possession.

Current law
Recreational: No
Medical: Yes
Decriminalization: No

Nebraska – Medical

Activists are gathering signatures to get a medical marijuana initiative placed on the ballot this November.

Also, legislators are considering a bill authorizing patients who suffer from severe seizures to obtain a marijuana extract with limited psychoactive effects.

In 2010, Nebraska police made 7,437 arrests for marijuana possession.

Current law
Recreational: No
Medical: No
Decriminalization: Yes

Nevada—Nothing

Activists are gathering signatures to a get a recreational measure on the ballot in 2016.

Nevada voters approved medical marijuana in 2001, but state legislators dragged their feet on implementation until last year. Now local governments are preventing patient access. Las Vegas, for instance, is considering a year-long moratorium on dispensary applications.

"That's not helping people that are sick," says Las Vegas City Councilman Bob Coffin.

Nevada law enforcement made 9,139 arrests for marijuana possession in 2010.

Current law
Recreational: No
Medical: Yes
Decriminalization: Yes

New Hampshire – Recreational

In January, the New Hampshire House of Representatives passed a bill legalizing marijuana, becoming the first legislative body in the country to OK recreational use. Governor Maggie Hassan (D) has promised to veto the bill should it also pass the senate.

According to an October poll, 60 percent of voters support the bill, which is sponsored by Steve Vaillancourt (R-Manchester). Only 36 percent oppose. In 2010, police in New Hampshire made 2,769 arrests for marijuana possession.

Legislators will also consider a bipartisan bill allowing patients to grow their own supply at home. Governor Hassan signed a bill legalizing medical marijuana last year, but the measure did not include home cultivation.

Current law
Recreational: No
Medical: Yes
Decriminalization: No

New Jersey – Recreational

State Senator Nicholas Scutari (D-Union) has announced plans to introduce a bill legalizing marijuana. According to a poll, 59 percent of voters approve. Scutari previously sponsored a decriminalization bill that would reduce penalties from jail time to a $50 fine for possession of up to about an ounce-and-half.

Governor Chris Christie (R) recently called for an end to the war on drugs. As he gave the speech, he had two bills on his desk—one on industrial hemp and the other guaranteeing patients are not precluded from receiving donated organs because of their marijuana use—that would have spoken louder than words. But both bills went unsigned and are now dead—a "pocket veto."

In 2010, police in New Jersey made 21,649 arrests for marijuana possession.

Current law
Recreational: No
Medical: Yes
Decriminalization: No

Medical marijuana
Isaac Reese

New Mexico – Recreational

In January, state senator Gerald Ortiz y Pino (D-Albuquerque) announced plans to introduce a bill legalizing marijuana for recreational use. If legislators OK the bill, it will go to voters for approval in November. A decriminalization bill failed in the senate last year.

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. In 2010, New Mexico police made 3,041 arrests for marijuana possession.

Current law
Recreational: No
Medical: Yes
Decriminalization: No

New York—Medical

During his State of the State address last month, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced plans to allow 20 medical institutions to prescribe marijuana to patients. The proposal depends on support from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which may or may not be forthcoming. Meanwhile, legislators in the Assembly are proceeding with a medical marijuana bill, A-6357.

The legislature has seen a medical marijuana bill introduced every year since 1997.

New York decriminalized marijuana possession in 1977—as long as it's not displayed in public. But police in New York City regularly force passersby (of the non-white, young male variety) to turn out their pockets, and then arrest those who are holding. The NYPD made over 5,307 arrests in this way in 2012—over 14 per day.

Police made 103,698 arrests for marijuana possession statewide in 2010.

Current law
Recreational: No
Medical: No
Decriminalization: Yes

North Carolina—Nothing

A medical marijuana bill failed last year. Nothing is on the agenda just yet, but the legislature does not go into session until May. North Carolina police made 20,983 arrests for marijuana possession in 2010.

Current law
Recreational: No
Medical: No
Decriminalization: Yes

North Dakota – Nothing

The legislature does not convene this year, and there are no initiatives on the November ballot. Police in North Dakota made 1,162 arrests for marijuana possession in 2010.

Current law
Recreational: No
Medical: No
Decriminalization: No

Ohio – Recreational, Medical

Activists have until July to gather enough signatures to place a medical marijuana measure on the November ballot. The measure also authorizes industrial hemp production.

Last year, Rep. Bob Hagan (D-Youngstown) introduced separate legislation legalizing recreational and medical use. Those bills are still on the table, though they have both been languishing in committee for months.

In 2010, police in Ohio made 19,178 arrests for marijuana possession.

Current law
Recreational: No
Medical: No
Decriminalization: Yes

Oklahoma – Recreational

Introduced by Sen. Constance Johnson (D-Oklahoma City), SB 2116 legalizes recreational use and home cultivation. "By taxing and regulating marijuana we can take the lucrative market out of the hands of criminals and drug cartels and put it in the hands of tax-paying, law-abiding businesses," Johnson says. "More importantly, we can stop arresting adults simply for using a substance less harmful than alcohol and focus our law enforcement resources on violent crimes and real threats to public safety."

Law enforcement made 10,478 arrests for marijuana possession in Oklahoma in 2010.

Current law
Recreational: No
Medical: No
Decriminalization: No

Oregon – Recreational

There are two separate petition drives underway that would each legalize the recreational use of marijuana. In Salem, state legislators will consider SB 1556, which would also legalize recreational. "The war on drugs has been lost and we need to come up with something that works for us," says Rep. Phil Barnhart (D-Eugene).

Arrests for marijuana possession in 2010: 9,849

Current law
Recreational: No
Medical: Yes
Decriminalization: Yes

Pennsylvania – Medical

In January, two state senators—one R and one D—filed a bill that would legalize medical marijuana. Governor Tom Corbett (R) has said that he will veto medical marijuana, however, unless the feds rescind the drug's Schedule I status. In 2010, police in Pennsylvania made 21,287 for marijuana possession.

Current law
Recreational: No
Medical: No
Decriminalization: No

Rhode Island – Nothing

According to a poll, 53 percent of Rhode Island resident support legalizing marijuana for recreational use while 41 percent oppose. But Gov. Lincoln Chafee (D) told the Associated Press in January that he thinks it's too soon to move forward.

Medical marijuana has been legal in the state since 2006, and legislators decriminalized the possession of up to ounce of marijuana last year. In 2010, law enforcement in Rhode Island made 2,253 arrests for marijuana possession.

Current law
Recreational: No
Medical: Yes
Decriminalization: Yes

South Carolina – Nothing

Though the state technically legalized medical marijuana in 1980, the law was never implemented because it does not comply with federal law. A separate attempt to legalize medical failed last year.

This year, legislators will consider SB 839 which would legalize industrial hemp operations. Police in South Carolina made 16,669 arrests for marijuana possession in 2010.

Current law
Recreational: No
Medical: No
Decriminalization: No

South Dakota—Nothing

Decriminalization and medical marijuana bills failed in the legislature last year. Nothing is on the agenda yet for 2014, though legislators may consider an industrial hemp bill. Marijuana arrests in South Dakota in 2010: 1,743.

Current law
Recreational: No
Medical: No
Decriminalization: No

Tennessee – Medical

In January, Rep. Sherry Jones (D-Nashville) filed HB 1385, which would re-legalize medical marijuana. Medical marijuana was briefly legal in the 1980s in Tennessee.

"It's just simply a matter of being rational and compassionate," says Jones. "It would apply to only the most severely debilitated people … children suffering a hundred (epileptic) seizures a day, people on chemotherapy, people with multiple sclerosis … people with a plethora of diseases."

Separately, joint bills filed in the house and senate would legalize industrial hemp operations.

Law enforcement in Tennessee made 18,031 arrests for marijuana possession in 2010.

Current law
Recreational: No
Medical: No
Decriminalization: No

Texas – Nothing

Governor Rick Perry recently signaled support for decriminalization (sort of), but the legislature is not in session this year, nor is an initiative on the ballot.

Lowlights in Texas' war against marijuana last year include a SWAT raid of a small organic farm in Arlington and the murder of a two-year-old who had been yanked from her pot-smoking parents and placed in foster care. Prosecutors have charged her foster mother with the crime.

In 2010, Texas law enforcement made 74,286 arrests for marijuana possession.

Current law
Recreational: No
Medical: No
Decriminalization: No

Utah – Medical

Rep. Gage Froerer (R-Huntsville) is expected to introduce a bill that would legalize medicinal products with low levels of THC for patients in Utah. According to polling, between 51 and 61 percent of Utah voters favor allowing doctors to prescribe marijuana. Update: The bill is live.

"I know medical marijuana doesn't help everything, but it's a lesser evil than some of the prescription drugs on the market today," says poll respondent Mike Haechten.

Arrests for marijuana possession in 2010: 4,001

Current law
Recreational: No
Medical: No
Decriminalization: No

Vermont – Recreational

Sen. David Zuckerman (P-Chittenden) has introduced legislation (S 306) that would legalize recreational marijuana use.

Sen. Jeanette King (D-Windham) filed a bill (S 247) that would liberalize the state's medical marijuana law, adding PTSD to the list of approved disorders and raising a cap on dispensaries' inventory, among other things.

In 2010, police in Vermont made 737 arrests for marijuana possession.

Current law
Recreational: No
Medical: Yes
Decriminalization: Yes

Virginia—Nothing

Virginia authorized doctors to prescribe medical marijuana in 1979, but the law has been a dead letter because it was pre-empted by federal law. According to a poll, 72 percent of Virginians support medical marijuana, but no legislation has been filed this year. A bill that would kill the moribund 1979 law has been proposed this session, however.

Virginia, this is your war on drugs.

In 2010, law enforcement made 18,756 arrests for marijuana possession in Virginia.

Current law
Recreational: No
Medical: No
Decriminalization: No

Washington – Great Success

With prohibition lifted, the powers that be in Washington are negotiating the creation of new rules and regs. For instance, 10 state representatives—one R and nine D's—filed a bill in January seeking to ban local governments in the state from banning marijuana businesses. Dozens of localities have enacted bans and temporary moratoriums on such businesses.

Police in Washington arrested 8,365 people for marijuana possession in 2010, costing taxpayers nearly $35 million in police, judicial & legal, and corrections expenses. The figure obviously doesn't include the impact on those arrested. Projected losses in 2014: zero. Projected upside: how can you put a dollar amount on freedom?

Current law
Recreational: Yes
Medical: Yes
Decriminalization: Yes

West Virginia – Medical

In January, Del. Mike Manypenny (D-Taylor) introduced a bill that would legalize medical marijuana. According to a poll, 56 percent of West Virginians support allowing patients to access to marijuana with a doctor's recommendation. Only 34 percent oppose.

In 2010, law enforcement in West Virginia made 4,400 arrests for marijuana possession.

Current law
Recreational: No
Medical: No
Decriminalization: No

Wisconsin – Medical

Rep. Melissa Sargent (D-Madison) has filed a medical marijuana bill, but chances of its passage are slim to none because (unenlightened) Republicans control both houses of the legislature. Similar bills languished last year.

Arrests for marijuana possession in Wisconsin in 2010: 15,950

Current law
Recreational: No
Medical: No
Decriminalization: No

Wyoming – Medical, Decriminalization

Sponsored by Rep. James Byrd (D-Cheyenne), HB 49 would decriminalize possession. Possession of up to half an ounce would trigger a $50 civil fine—up to an ounce will set you back $100.

Rep. Sue Wallis (R-Recluse) is expected to introduce a bill legalizing medical marijuana. Activists, meanwhile, are pushing for a 2016 ballot initiative that would legalize recreational use.

In 2010, police in Wyoming made 2,104 arrests for marijuana possession.

Current law
Recreational: No
Medical: No
Decriminalization: No

Note: Special thanks to Isaac Reese, who is a good guy, for the graphics.

NEXT: How Courts Failed the Constitution: Clark Neily on "Terms of Engagement"

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  1. 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.

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

      1. 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.

  2. 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?

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

  3. “‘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/

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

  4. People really seem trapped in the immigration article, no?

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

      1. You make a compelling point.

      2. 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?’

        1. It’s an abbreviation for “is not”.

        2. 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.

          1. 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.

        3. 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

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

          2. LAW AND ORDER LIBERTARIANISM

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

          *tears of joy*

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

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

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

        1. 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.

          1. 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.

            1. 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.

              1. Two brazillion steakhouses? That’s a lot!

                1. That’s two more than I have!

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

        1. 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.

          1. 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.

            1. You got a 23 and me?

              1. 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.

                1. Alzheimers? I don’t plan to live that long.

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

                  1. 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.

                    1. Closed adoption, I would assume?

                    2. 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.

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

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

                    5. 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.

                2. 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.

                  1. Eat some fresh cherries and it goes away over night.

    3. Don’t worry, the immigration article has porous borders – people will escape soon enough.

  5. 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.

    1. Oklahoma has some of the harshest penalties for pot too, don’t they?

    2. Oklahoma has some of the harshest penalties for pot too, don’t they?

  6. 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?

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

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

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

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

          1. 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.

            1. 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.

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

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

    3. Try Rust. You’ll love it.

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

    5. 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.

  7. 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

      1. That was my favorite, also.

      2. That’s a close second for me.

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

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

    1. 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!

  8. NM legalization law stalls.

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

    … Hobbit

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

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

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

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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!!!

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

  16. 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.

    1. 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.

  17. Awww yiss.

  18. 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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