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Medical marijuana bills are advancing in the Republican-controlled legislatures of North Carolina, Alabama and Kansas for the first time. Efforts to expand limited medical programs in bedrock conservative states like Texas and Louisiana also appear close to passage.
“Medical cannabis is where we see the most common ground between Democrats, Republicans and Independents,” said Heather Fazio, a pro-marijuana advocate in Texas, where lawmakers are considering a major expansion of the state’s strict medical pot program.
Today, more than two-in-three Americans support marijuana legalization, including 49 percent of respondents who self-identify as “conservative,” according to Gallup’s 2020 polling. Even in a historically conservative state like Texas, nearly two-in-three respondents, 64 percent, supported legalizing and taxing marijuana in the 2021 Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation Poll.
In the span of eight short years, the number of states in the U.S. allowing adult-use marijuana has gone from zero to fifteen. Most of these efforts have happened via state-wide ballot initiatives.
Here’s a summary of five key states to watch:
As polls show record support for marijuana legalization, advocates say the midterm elections could mark the point of no return for a movement that has been gathering steam for years.
"The train has left the station," said Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., a leading marijuana reform advocate in Congress. "I see all the pieces coming together... It's the same arc we saw two generations ago with the prohibitions of alcohol."
The revenue increase will be driven by the evolution of high-population markets in New York, Michigan, Ohio, New Jersey, and Texas.
Delegates at Democratic party conventions in two separate states voted to add marijuana legalization planks to their official platforms this weekend.
Dude, I knew it was bad for marijuana smokers in New Jersey, but I didn’t know it was this bad. The gulf is much wider than I would’ve guessed. It’s like the difference between a dimebag of schwag and an ounce of kind bud. (Sorry if my pot references are dated. I’ve been out of the game for almost 20 years. By the way, are we still using beepers to contact our dealers?)
New Jersey may be closer than ever to having legal weed, but people in the Garden State are more likely to be arrested for marijuana than almost anywhere else in the country.
A recently published analysis of marijuana arrest data shows that in 2016 New Jersey was third in the nation in total marijuana arrests -- after Texas and New York -- and second only to Wyoming in marijuana arrest rate.
In 2016, 35,700 people were arrested in New Jersey for either marijuana possession or distribution, according to data from the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting program.