Here are the states that may legalize marijuana in the coming year:
The recreational legalization of marijuana is expected to be discussed by the state’s officials in early 2017. Sen. Margaret Rose Henry, during a Medical Marijuana Act Oversight Committee meeting in October, said: “It’s time to certainly look at it.”
The senator is responsible for drafting the state’s medical marijuana bill and Delaware’s Democratic Governor-elect John Carney also supports the decriminalization of marijuana in his state.
After neighboring state Massachusetts fully legalized pot for adults over 21, Rhode Island is expecting marijuana legalization in 2017.
“We’re looking at it,” said Rhode Island Gov. Raimondo, Providence Journal reported on Oct. 29. “If I could get myself comfortable that we, the state, could legalize in a way that keeps people safe, keeps children safe, folks aren't getting sick, then I would be in favor.”
Despite Gov. Chris Christie being opposed to marijuana legalization, lawmakers are ready to explore the possibility. After visiting Colorado in October to evaluate the impact that legalization has had on the state, Sen. Nicholas Scutari, who was a part of the delegation, expects a vote in 2017.
“We want to learn from their experiences and improve on it as much as we can. This is not a joke… this is big money and it's great savings to the state,” Scutari said, according to local news source NJ.com.
Texas is making decriminalization a priority on its 2017 lawmaking agenda. State officials will consider reducing charges for possession by adopting a model that fines people $250 without giving them a criminal record.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe has expressed his inclination towards legalizing medical marijuana and told local radio station WTOP in October: “I do support it for medicinal purposes. I will sign any bill you can get to me, because I'm a big believer in that.”
“The time of laughing and snickering about marijuana and marijuana cigarettes is over. We've got serious businessmen who have approached me on this now and say they are taking it to the governor,” Sen. Perry Clark told The Courier-Journal last year.
Clark filed for a bill — called the Cannabis Freedom Act — to legalize medical marijuana use in the state, which will be presented to the people of the state in 2017.
Rep. Bill McCamely has suggested the state could use marijuana legalization as a way to resolve New Mexico’s $600 million deficit and, according to a poll conducted by the Albuquerque Journal in October, 61 percent of New Mexico’s voters would support the recreational use of marijuana, increasing the possibility of a new bill being presented to the state during the 2017 legislative season.
Bernie Sander’s Vermont almost passed adult-use legalization this year and is expected to take up the issue again when the next session opens in January.
After local advocacy groups failed to meet a deadline to garner the 157,788 signatures required to put medical and adult-use cannabis measures on the November ballot, they are expected to regroup in 2017 and push a medical or adult-use measure on the ballot in 2018.