Jacob Sullum on the Next States to Legalize Marijuana


Jacob Sullum

At the beginning of 2014, when Colorado became the first state to allow the sale of marijuana for recreational use, the whole world was watching. "It was insane," says Toni Fox, owner of Denver's 3D Cannabis Center, where the first sale happened. "On January 1, there were close to 200 reporters here. Controlled chaos. It was just packed with reporters."

But the more successful Colorado's model is and the more imitation it inspires, the less attention it will get. "Colorado is not going to be the top dog for much longer," says Kayvan Khalatbari, co-owner of the Denver Relief dispensary. "I think it's only a matter of time before Colorado really gets overlooked."

Khalatbari predicts that "up to a dozen states" will have legal marijuana by the end of 2016, which may not be far from reality. Last year Alaska and Oregon joined Colorado and Washington, where voters also approved legalization in 2012, and similar ballot initiatives have a decent or better chance of succeeding in at least half a dozen states this year and next, while legislators are considering legalization in states such as Vermont and Rhode Island. Jacob Sullum highlights the ballot initiatives to watch.