Marijuana

The State of Marijuana Legalization

A 50-state guide to the legality of pot

|

The march toward marijuana legalization is accelerating faster than many of the most optimistic drug reformers previously thought possible. Just 14 months after voters in California rejected a historic proposition to lift state prohibitions on recreational pot, the stuff is now for sale over the counter in Colorado and Washington, with the U.S. Department of Justice currently tolerating nearly all of the federally prohibited transactions.

At least 14 states are on pace to consider full legalization, either at the ballot box or in state legislatures, during this calendar year. Medical marijuana is also on the table in 17 states. Eight states are considering decriminalizing possession, replacing criminal penalties with civil fines.

Of the 18 states that do not have a pot push underway this year, nine have already OKed either medical marijuana or decriminalization. Meanwhile, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are preparing bills that would drastically reduce drug-related federal sentences, provide legal clarity to banks lending to marijuana-related businesses, and lift the prohibition on industrial hemp.

To give a snapshot of where marijuana freedom is heading for in the near term, reason presents a 50-state guide to weed legislation and ballot measures currently in the works. This list leans heavily on reportage from The Daily Chronic and a report from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), The War on Marijuana in Black and White.

Alabama-Decriminalization

A bill called HB 76, sponsored by Rep. Patricia Todd (D-Birmingham), would reduce the penalty for first-time possession of an ounce or less of pot to a civil fine that won't appear on criminal records. Additionally, Todd is sponsoring HB 104 with Rep. Allen Farley (R-Jefferson) and Rep. Mike Ball (R-Madison), a former state trooper. It would allow patients with serious neurological conditions, or their parents, to seek relaxed sentencing when prosecuted for possession. A similar bill (SB 174) reached the Senate floor in early February. "The parents that want to help their children are not criminals," police officer Dustin Chandler, whose daughter is the inspiration for the bills, told AL.com. "It's an issue of doing the right thing for the children of Alabama."

Current law

Recreational: No

Medical: No

Decriminalization: No

Arrests in 2010 for marijuana possession: 5,235

Alaska-Recreational

State election officials announced in January that an initiative to 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," initiative co-sponsor Tim Hinterberger, a professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage's School of Medical Education, told The Washington Post.

Current law

Recreational: No

Medical: Yes

Decriminalization: Yes

Arrests in 2010 for marijuana possession: 2,028

Arizona-Recreational, Decriminalization

Activists are gathering signatures to place a measure legalizing recreational use on the November 2014 ballot. Preliminary word, according to The Daily Chronic, is that signature gathering is behind schedule and financial backing is lacking, making a 2016 initiative push more likely. Lawmakers, meanwhile, have introduced separate bills that legalize recreational use (HB 2558) and decriminalize possession (HB 2474). One flaw in Arizona's existing medical marijuana law made national news last year after an appeals court convicted an unimpaired patient for driving under the influence. The court ruled that state lawmakers intended to criminalize driving for weeks after marijuana ingestion, well after any psychoactive effects have worn off. The Arizona Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case last November but has not issued a ruling.

Current law

Recreational: No

Medical: Yes

Decriminalization: No

Arrests in 2010 for marijuana possession: 18,348

Arkansas-Medical

Campaigners are gathering signatures for two medical marijuana initiatives. Both measures would allow patients to buy from nonprofit dispensaries; one would allow patients to grow their own if there is no dispensary near their home. If voters approve both, the one with the most votes wins. Last fall, the Arkansas Baptist State Convention passed a resolution urging pastors to oppose medical marijuana from the pulpit, calling legalization "poor policy…based on bad science."

Current law

Recreational: No

Medical: No

Decriminalization: No

Arrests in 2010 for marijuana possession: 6,310

California-Recreational

While a group of prominent legalization proponents has decided to focus on a ballot push in 2016, two other organizations are trying to gather enough signatures to put legalization to voters this November. Supporters must gather 500,000 signatures by April to qualify for the November ballot. At least one of the measures could save taxpayers an estimated $100 million a year in police, court, and prison costs, according to the state attorney general. California voters approved medical marijuana in 1996, but the intervening years, especially during the tenure of President Barack Obama, have been a rough ride for dispensary owners, who have found themselves on the receiving end of federal raids, asset forfeiture, and lengthy prison sentences.

Current law

Recreational: No

Medical: Yes

Decriminalization: Yes

Arrests in 2010 for marijuana possession: 57,262

Colorado-Regulated Freedom

Activists, regulators, and politicians are hashing out a post-prohibition regulatory regime. Proponents sold legalization as a bid to treat marijuana like alcohol, so it should not surprise that there are some tricky practical issues still being worked out. After all, states are still tinkering with their alcohol control systems many decades after killing Prohibition.

Current law

Recreational: Yes

Medical: Yes

Decriminalization: Yes

Arrests in 2010 for marijuana possession: 10,343, which cost taxpayers an estimated $38 million in incarceration, police, judicial, and legal expenses, a figure that does not include losses to individuals arrested. Outlook for 2014: zero arrests for possession, zero related legal expenses, plus millions in new tax revenue.

Connecticut-Nothing

Medical marijuana got the OK in Connecticut in 2012, but will not go on sale until this summer. "We're hoping that a competitive market produces prices that are as close to the cost of production as we can get them," consumer protection commissioner William Rubenstein told the New Haven Register. In the meantime, police recently busted William Bradley, who claims to have terminal cancer, for growing his own (and broadcasting that fact on YouTube).

Current law

Recreational: No

Medical: Yes

Decriminalization: Yes

Arrests in 2010 for marijuana possession: 8,815

Delaware-Nothing

Delaware approved medical marijuana in 2011, but state officials are still hammering out details. Last fall, regulators proposed limiting sales to a single dispensary that's allowed 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, Gov. Jack Markell (D) wrote that "the 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."

Current law

Recreational: No

Medical: Yes

Decriminalization: No

Arrests in 2010 for marijuana possession: 2,554

District of Columbia-Recreational, Decriminalization

In February 2014, city council members preliminarily approved a decriminalization bill that replaces criminal penalties for possession of an ounce or less of marijuana with a $25 civil fine. The bill was scheduled for a final vote in March. According to a April 2013 survey conducted by Public Policy Polling, 75 percent of D.C. residents support decriminalization, and 63 percent support legalizing recreational use, which could go on the ballot as soon as November. Activists have filed language for a referendum on the latter and are now gathering signatures.

Current law

Recreational: No

Medical: Yes

Decriminalization: No

Arrests in 2010 for marijuana possession: 5,115. 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.

Florida-Medical

In January, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that a ballot initiative legalizing medical marijuana meets all the relevant legal requirements, clearing the way for residents to vote on the issue this November. In February, Sen. Jeff Clemens (D-Lake Worth) introduced SB 962, which would also legalize medical marijuana. According to the Miami Herald, polls put support for the measure between 65 and 82 percent, despite opposition from Republican Gov. Rick Scott, the Florida Sheriffs Association, and the Florida Medical Association.

Current law

Recreational: No

Medical: No

Decriminalization: No

Arrests in 2010 for marijuana possession: 57,951

Georgia-Medical

Rep. Allan Peake (R-Macon) introduced a bill in January 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 this program has been inactive for more than 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," Rep. Tom Dickson (R-Cohutta) told the Dalton Daily Citizen. According to a January 2014 poll commissioned by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, 54 percent of Georgians favor legalization of marijuana for recreational use, and decriminalization is favored by 62 percent to 32 percent.

Current law

Recreational: No

Medical: No

Decriminalization: No

Arrests in 2010 for marijuana possession: 32,473

Hawaii-Decriminalization

Legislators killed a recreational bill in February, though 66 percent of Hawaiian voters support legalization according to a February 2014 poll commissioned by the Hawaii Drug Policy Action Group. A full 77 percent no longer support criminal penalties for possession. A bill (SB 2358) to decriminalize possession is still alive. Separately, House Majority Floor Leader Rida Cabanilla (D-Waipahu) has introduced a bill directing a working group to draft a plan allowing farmers to grow marijuana for export. Last year, legislators liberalized the state's 14-year-old medical marijuana law, increasing the amount of cannabis patients are allowed to possess.

Current law

Recreational: No

Medical: Yes

Decriminalization: No

Arrests in 2010 for marijuana possession: 1,448

Idaho-Nothing

Medical marijuana failed in the Idaho legislature in 2011 and 2012. Last year, lawmakers passed a nonbinding resolution opposing marijuana legalization, and nothing is on the agenda so far for 2014. "The main purpose I think for government is to keep people safe and healthy and educated, and it appears that, that type of drug would be a deterrent to that in the trafficking in and out is usually with the crime groups," Rep. Maxine Bell (R-Jerome) told a local news channel. Idahoans can expect more outrages like the state welfare agency seizing the children of multiple sclerosis sufferer Lindsey Rinehart in April 2013 after police found drugs and paraphernalia during a raid on her house.

Current law

Recreational: No

Medical: No

Decriminalization: No

Arrests in 2010 for marijuana possession: 3,468

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 expected to take four months.

Current law

Recreational: No

Medical: Yes

Decriminalization: No

Arrests in 2010 for marijuana possession: 49,904

Indiana-Nothing

A bill to decriminalize possession died in committee without being considered. "This deserves a hearing," sponsor Sen. Karen Tallian (D-Porter County) told the Post-Tribune. "I am going to file it every year until I get one."

Meanwhile, HB 1185, introduced by Rep. Sue Errington (D-Muncie), would allow patients with a prescription for marijuana to seek reduced sentences when prosecuted for possession. A bipartisan bill, SB 357, which would legalize industrial hemp passed the Senate in February.

Current law

Recreational: No

Medical: No

Decriminalization: No

Arrests in 2010 for marijuana possession: 12,850

Iowa-Nothing

A medical bill failed this year. "I could cry I'm so disappointed," Tina McDermott, who thinks marijuana could help ease the symptoms of her son's epilepsy, told the Sioux City Journal. Republican Gov. Terry Branstad opposes medical marijuana, claiming that results in other states "have not been good." And recreational pot, Branstad says, "would be damning to the health and welfare of the citizens of our state."

Current law

Recreational: No

Medical: No

Decriminalization: No

Arrests in 2010 for marijuana possession: 6,123

Kansas-Medical

Medical marijuana legislation has failed in Kansas four years in a row. New legislation has been filed in the House and Senate this year, but no hearings have been scheduled. Meanwhile, the outrages of prohibition keep piling up. In January, the jailhouse death of 58-year-old patient Brenda Sowell, who had been arrested for possession after legally purchasing marijuana in Colorado, made national headlines. 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.

Current law

Recreational: No

Medical: No

Decriminalization: No

Arrests in 2010 for marijuana possession: 5,035

Kentucky-Medical

SB 43, which would legalize medical marijuana, was filed by Sen. Perry Clark (D-Louisville) in January. "Cannabis is medicine. It just happens to be a prohibited medicine," says Clark. Rep. Mary Lou Marzian (D-Louisville), a registered nurse, has filed a similar bill (HB 350) in the house. 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, who was arrested along with his wife for possession last year. Marijuana "takes my pain away," Crawford told The Courier-Journal in January 2014. "It makes me feel normal. And I don't want to be blind."

Current law

Recreational: No

Medical: No

Decriminalization: No

Arrests in 2010 for marijuana possession: 6,540

Louisiana-Reduced criminal penalties

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) spoke out in favor of medical marijuana in January. But legislators showed very little enthusiasm for substantial reform at a hearing earlier in the month. Voters, however, support legalization. In a September 2013 poll commissioned by the ACLU, 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," Rep. Dalton Honore (D-Baton Rouge) said 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.

Current law

Recreational: No

Medical: No

Decriminalization: No

Arrests in 2010 for marijuana possession: 13,435

Maine-Nothing

A bill that would have legalized recreational use did not survive a November 2013 legislative council vote. 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," former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy warned in a November 2013 statement released to the press.

Current law

Recreational: No

Medical: Yes

Decriminalization: Yes

Arrests in 2010 for marijuana possession: 2,842

Maryland-Recreational, Decriminalization

All three Democratic gubernatorial candidates have endorsed decriminalization. One of them, Del. Heather Mizeur (D-Montgomery) has introduced a decriminalization bill this year (HB 0879), though she has publicly supported legalizing recreational use as well. Del. Curt Anderson (D-Baltimore) and Sen. Jamie Raskin (D-Montgomery) have filed legislation that would legalize recreational use-HB 0880 and SB 0658, respectively. "The vast majority of Marylanders have come to the realization that the current war on drugs is failing with respect to marijuana," Raskin told Southern Maryland Newspapers Online. Maryland law allows criminal defendants in possession cases to introduce evidence during sentencing that they were using it for a medical purpose. The law also allows for academic hospitals to conduct medical marijuana research, but so far 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.

Current law

Recreational: No

Medical: Yes, but no

Decriminalization: No

Arrests in 2010 for marijuana possession: 23,663

Massachusetts-Nothing

Activists in Massachusetts are working to place an initiative before the voters in 2016. State regulators issued permits for the state's first medical marijuana dispensaries in January, after voters approved them in 2012. "Our taxpayers have been long overburdened," Amesbury City Councilor Donna McClure told The Boston Globe. "We didn't recruit these businesses, but [the new dispensaries] represent opportunities for both long- and short-term revenue growth."

Current law

Recreational: No

Medical: Yes

Decriminalization: Yes

Arrests in 2010 for marijuana possession: 1,191

Michigan-Nothing

In December, Gov. Rick Snyder (R) signed legislation that will allow pharmacies to stock marijuana-once the federal government reclassifies the drug as a Schedule 2 substance. Another bill that would give 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," Sen. Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge) told the Detroit Free Press. "I do not favor the wild, wild west of dispensaries coming back."

Current law

Recreational: No

Medical: Yes

Decriminalization: No

Arrests in 2010 for marijuana possession: 17,830

Minnesota-Medical

Legislators may consider two bills (HF 1818 and HF 2099) that would legalize medical marijuana this session. "Frankly, as a fan of limited government, I think doctors and patients are the best people to make healthcare decisions," bill sponsor Sen. Branden Petersen (R-Anoka) told City Pages in January 2014. "And I think that's a very reasonable position that more people can get behind." A January 2014 poll by St. Cloud State University put support for medical among voters at 76 percent. Gov. Mark Dayton (DFL) has said, however, that he will not support legalization unless law enforcement leaders do as well. And that support has not been forthcoming. HF 1818 sponsor Rep. Carly Melin (DFL-Itasca) told the Capitol Report: "It's like negotiating with a brick wall. All along I have said that I am willing to amend the bill. But they won't move at all."

Current law

Recreational: No

Medical: No

Decriminalization: Yes

Arrests in 2010 for marijuana possession: 7,494

Mississippi-Medical

In February, legislation (SB 2745) legalizing the use of a marijuana extract with no psychoactive effects passed the senate. "The Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics doesn't have a problem with legislation," bill sponsor Josh Harkins (R-Flowood) told the Clarion-Ledger. "You can't get high from this."

Current law

Recreational: No

Medical: No

Decriminalization: Yes

Arrests in 2010 for marijuana possession: 8,166.

Missouri-Recreational, Medical, Decriminalization

Legislators are considering three separate bills: one to legalize recreational use, one to legalize medicinal use, and one to decriminalize possession. In January, state election officials approved language for a ballot measure that would legalize recreational marijuana, but activists have decided to wait until 2016. "I was a judge for seven years-too many people's lives got disrupted and sometimes ruined for no good reason," Rep. Chris Kelly (D-Columbia) said in a press call.

Current law

Recreational: No

Medical: No

Decriminalization: No

Arrests in 2010 for marijuana possession: 18,416

Montana-Nothing

State regulators gave activists permission to begin gathering signatures for an initiative legalizing recreational use, but reformers made the strategic decision to wait until the 2016 elections. Voters legalized medical marijuana in the state in 2004, though that hasn't stopped the feds from putting the screws to dispensary owners.

Current law

Recreational: No

Medical: Yes

Decriminalization: No

Arrests in 2010 for marijuana possession: 1,210

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.

Current law

Recreational: No

Medical: No

Decriminalization: Yes

Arrests in 2010 for marijuana possession: 7,437

Nevada-Nothing

Activists are gathering signatures to 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 only 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," Las Vegas City Councilman Bob Coffin told a local news channel in February 2014.

Current law

Recreational: No

Medical: Yes

Decriminalization: Yes

Arrests in 2010 for marijuana possession: 9,139

New Hampshire-Recreational, Decriminalization

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. But Gov. Maggie Hassan, a Democrat, has promised to veto the bill should it also pass the state Senate. According to an October WMUR Granite State poll, 60 percent of voters support the bill, which is sponsored by Steve Vaillancourt (R-Manchester), and only 36 percent oppose. Another bill, sponsored by Rep. Adam Schroadter (R-Newmarket), would decriminalize possession. Legislators will also consider a bipartisan bill allowing patients to grow their own supply at home. 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

Arrests in 2010 for marijuana possession: 2,769

New Jersey-Recreational

Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D-Union) has announced plans to introduce a bill legalizing marijuana. According to a Lake Research Partners poll commissioned by the Drug Policy Alliance, 59 percent of voters approve. In 2012, Scutari sponsored a decriminalization bill that would have reduced penalties from jail time to a $50 fine for possessing an ounce-and-a-half or less. Embattled Republican Gov. Chris Christie called for an end to the war on drugs during his January State of the State address. As Christie gave the speech, he had two bills on his desk-one on industrial hemp and the other guaranteeing that patients not be precluded from receiving donated organs because of their marijuana use. Signing those would have spoken louder than words, but both bills went unsigned and are now dead.

Current law

Recreational: No

Medical: Yes

Decriminalization: No

Arrests in 2010 for marijuana possession: 21,649

New Mexico-Nothing

A bill that would have legalized recreational use did not pass committee. "We'll just keep trying until it happens. I think it's inevitable," bill sponsor Sen. Gerald Ortiz y Pino (D-Albuquerque) told the Associated Press. A decriminalization bill failed in the Senate last year. Reform cannot come soon enough to New Mexico, where multiple motorists have accused police of extremely invasive body cavity searches based on ultimately unfounded suspicions of drug possession.

Current law

Recreational: No

Medical: Yes

Decriminalization: No

Arrests in 2010 for marijuana possession: 3,041

New York-Medical

During his January State of the State address, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced plans to allow 20 medical institutions to prescribe marijuana. The proposal depends on support from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that may or may not be forthcoming. Meanwhile, legislators in the Assembly are proceeding with a medical marijuana bill, A-6357, which marks the 18th consecutive year that Albany has considered making pot available for medical use. This year, however, fully 89 percent of New Yorkers support medical, according to a Quinnipiac University poll. New York decriminalized marijuana possession way back in 1977, as long as the substance is not displayed in public. But police in New York City routinely force passers-by (usually young, male, and non-white) to turn out their pockets, then arrest those who are holding. The NYPD made 5,307 such arrests in 2012-more than 14 per day.

Current law

Recreational: No

Medical: No

Decriminalization: Yes

Arrests in 2010 for marijuana possession: 103,698.

North Carolina-Recreational

The legislature does not go into session until May, but Rep. Kelly Alexander (D-Mecklenburg) has announced plans to introduce a bill legalizing recreational use. While prospects for passage this year are not promising, ultimately legalization "is an inevitable thing," Alexander told The Daily Tar Heel.

Current law

Recreational: No

Medical: No

Decriminalization: Yes

Arrests in 2010 for marijuana possession: 20,983

North Dakota-Nothing

The legislature does not convene in 2014, and there are no initiatives on the November ballot. However, legislators have created a study group to look at alternatives to prison for some nonviolent crimes, including marijuana possession. "When I need jail space for a guy who assaulted his kid or his wife and that jail space is being taken up by someone who had some marijuana, that's where I think these alternatives will work," Williams County Sheriff Scott Busching told The Bismarck Tribune.

Current law

Recreational: No

Medical: No

Decriminalization: No

Arrests in 2010 for marijuana possession: 1,162

Ohio-Recreational, Medical

Activists have until July to gather enough signatures to place a medical marijuana measure on the November ballot. The measure would also authorize industrial hemp. Last year, Rep. Bob Hagan (D-Youngstown) introduced separate legislation legalizing recreational and medical use. Those bills are still on the table, though both have been languishing in committee.

Current law

Recreational: No

Medical: No

Decriminalization: Yes

Arrests in 2010 for marijuana possession: 19,178

Oklahoma-Recreational, Medical

SB 2116, introduced by Sen. Constance Johnson (D-Oklahoma City), would legalize 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 said in a January 2014 press release. "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." A separate bill (SB 902) Johnson introduced last year that would legalize medical marijuana is still alive.

Current law

Recreational: No

Medical: No

Decriminalization: No

Arrests in 2010 for marijuana possession: 10,478

Oregon-Recreational

There are two separate petition drives underway for ballot initiatives that would legalize the recreational use of marijuana. In Salem, state legislators will consider SB 1556, which also put a measure legalizing recreational pot before voters in November. "The war on drugs has been lost and we need to come up with something that works for us," Rep. Phil Barnhart (D-Eugene) told The Oregonian in September 2013.

Current law

Recreational: No

Medical: Yes

Decriminalization: Yes

Arrests in 2010 for marijuana possession: 9,849

Pennsylvania-Medical

In January, two state senators-one Republican and one Democrat-filed a bill that would legalize medical marijuana. But Republican Gov. Tom Corbett has said that he will veto it unless the feds rescind the drug's Schedule I status. "It makes my head want to explode," bill sponsor Daylin Leech (D-Montgomery) told The Patriot-News. "Rather than give non-addictive marijuana to people who are sick-and I'm talking about the pills and oils that don't even get you high…we're going to continue to give them Oxycontin and Klonopin and Ativan and all these drugs that are addictive."

Current law

Recreational: No

Medical: No

Decriminalization: No

Arrests in 2010 for marijuana possession: 21,287

Rhode Island-Recreational

In February, Sen. Joshua Miller and Rep. Edith Ajello introduced legislation that would legalize the recreational use of marijuana. According to a January 2014 Public Policy Polling survey, 53 percent of Rhode Island residents support such a measure, while 41 percent are opposed. But Gov. Lincoln Chafee, a Democrat, 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 one ounce of marijuana last year.

Current law

Recreational: No

Medical: Yes

Decriminalization: Yes

Arrests in 2010 for marijuana possession: 2,253

South Carolina-Nothing

Though the state technically legalized medical marijuana way back in 1980, the law was never implemented because it does not comply with the federal criminal code. A separate attempt to legalize medical failed last year. That's a huge disappointment to people like Ben Ried, who says he wrote every representative and senator in the state, seeking help for his son who has a rare form of epilepsy. The reply? "Crickets," Ried told a local news station. "Crickets in response. Nothing from any of them." This year, legislators will consider SB 839, which would legalize industrial hemp operations.

Current law

Recreational: No

Medical: No

Decriminalization: No

Arrests in 2010 for marijuana possession: 16,669

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 a bill on industrial hemp.

Current law

Recreational: No

Medical: No

Decriminalization: No

Arrests in 2010 for marijuana possession: 1,743

Tennessee-Medical

In January, Rep. Sherry Jones (D-Nashville) filed HB 1385, which would re-legalize medical marijuana. (Tennessee briefly allowed medicinal pot in the 1980s, then quickly prohibited it.) According to a February 2014 poll conducted by Middle Tennessee State University, 69 percent of adults favor allowing marijuana for medical use. "It's just simply a matter of being rational and compassionate," Jones said to the Associated Press in January. "It would apply to only the most severely debilitated people…children suffering a hundred seizures a day, people on chemotherapy, people with multiple sclerosis…people with a plethora of diseases." Separately, joint bills filed in the state House and Senate would legalize industrial hemp operations.

Current law

Recreational: No

Medical: No

Decriminalization: No

Arrests in 2010 for marijuana possession: 18,031

Texas-Nothing

Gov. Rick Perry recently signaled cautious support for decriminalization, 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 2-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.

Current law

Recreational: No

Medical: No

Decriminalization: No

Arrests in 2010 for marijuana possession: 74,286

Utah-Medical

Rep. Gage Froerer (R-Huntsville) introduced a bill in February that would legalize medicinal products with low levels of THC. According to polling, between 51 and 61 percent of Utah voters favor allowing doctors to prescribe marijuana.

Current law

Recreational: No

Medical: No

Decriminalization: No

Arrests in 2010 for marijuana possession: 4,001

Vermont-Recreational

Sen. David Zuckerman (P-Chittenden) has introduced legislation (S 306) that would legalize recreational marijuana use. Another bill (S 160), sponsored by Sen. Jeanette White (D-Windham) would form a committee to study the legalization of recreational use. White also filed a bill (S 247) that would liberalize the state's medical marijuana law, adding Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to the list of treatable conditions and raising a cap on dispensaries' inventory, among other things.

Current law

Recreational: No

Medical: Yes

Decriminalization: Yes

Arrests in 2010 for marijuana possession: 737

Virginia-Nothing

Virginia authorized doctors to prescribe medical marijuana in 1979, but the law has been a dead letter due to preemption by the feds. According to a January 2014 Christopher Newport University 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.

Current law

Recreational: No

Medical: No

Decriminalization: No

Arrests in 2010 for marijuana possession: 18,756

Washington-Regulated Freedom

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

Current law

Recreational: Yes

Medical: Yes

Decriminalization: Yes

Arrests in 2010 for marijuana possession: 8,365, costing taxpayers an estimated $35 million.

West Virginia-Medical

In January, Del. Mike Manypenny (D-Taylor) introduced a bill that would legalize medical marijuana. However, Manypenny thinks the bill, which he's filed in three previous sessions, has little chance of passage. "I keep trying," Manypenny told The Register-Herald. "It's important for people across the state who are suffering from cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder, Parkinson's chronic pain; a dozen different diseases can be treated with medical marijuana."According to a December 2013 Marijuana Policy Project poll, 56 percent of West Virginians support allowing patients to access marijuana with a doctor's recommendation. Only 34 percent are opposed.

Current law

Recreational: No

Medical: No

Decriminalization: No

Arrests in 2010 for marijuana possession: 4,400

Wisconsin-Medical

Rep. Melissa Sargent (D-Madison) has filed a medical marijuana bill, but chances of its passage are slim-to-none because Republicans control both houses of the legislature and are opposed. Similar bills languished last year. "It's not the government's business to tell us what to do in the privacy of our homes," Sargent told the Public News Service. "We as individual citizens of our country should have personal choice, and that personal choice, I think-one of the lines that I feel through my tens of thousands of conversations that I've had with people across Wisconsin-is, 'Are you hurting yourself and other people in your community, or is it just that it might be offensive to someone else?' "

Current law

Recreational: No

Medical: No

Decriminalization: No

Arrests in 2010 for marijuana possession: 15,950

Wyoming-Decriminalization

HB 49, sponsored by Rep. James Byrd (D-Cheyenne), would decriminalize possession. Possession of up to half an ounce would trigger a $50 civil fine; up to an ounce would set you back $100. Activists, meanwhile, are pushing for a 2016 ballot initiative to legalize recreational use. Rep. Sue Wallis (R-Recluse), one of the more libertarian members of the legislature, was expected to introduce a bill legalizing medical marijuana this session, but she passed away in January.

Current law

Recreational: No

Medical: No

Decriminalization: No

Arrests in 2010 for marijuana possession: 2,104