Although state legislatures all over the country have been apprehensive to pass measures pertaining to the legalization of marijuana, that could all change in 2018, according to a report from Marijuana Business Daily.
A number of states are set to give serious consideration to recreational marijuana bills next year. Although there have been a couple of close calls over the past couple of years, every solid attempt at state government approved pot legalization has been snuffed out in the eleventh hour.
But industry insiders, like Marijuana Policy Project executive director Rob Kampia, and Drug Policy Alliance senior director of national affairs Bill Piper, say they encouraged by the possibility of legal weed going the distance in the next legislative session.
As far as predictions go, Kampia’s money is on New Jersey, Rhode Island and Vermont.
“New Jersey, I think, is the most likely,” Kampia told MBD. “With a very liberal Democratic legislature, we think (New Jersey) would be ranked No. 1 or be tied with Vermont.”
New Jersey is the top pick since Governor Chris Christie, who has refused to further the marijuana issue while in office, is officially finished come January. All of the gubernatorial candidates in the running to take his place are in support of some level of marijuana legalization, which means 2018 could be a completely different beast in the realm of the pot reform.
But Vermont and Rhode Island could likely get over the prohibitionary hump, as well.
“Vermont – for sure there’s a play there. That might be ranked No. 1,” Kampia said. “Rhode Island – serious play there, but it might be a two-year plan.”
There are also a few opportunities for the issue of medical marijuana to spread into more jurisdictions in the United States. Piper says the DPA is primary “interested in” bringing Louisiana’s medicinal cannabis law up to a respectable standard. The organization also plans to step in to do the same with respect to the CBD-only law in the state of Iowa.
But when handicapping the race for therapeutic pot in 2018, experts feel all of the targets are long shots, at best. Although there has been a lot of talk recently about potential medical marijuana reform in states like Tennessee, Kentucky, and Indiana, none of these are being pegged for success in the coming year.
Nevertheless, Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Utah are all pushing to put marijuana legalization on the ballot in 2018. So it is distinctly possible that we could, once again, see positive outcomes at the hands of voters where many state governments continue to fail.