Cannabis has a long and complicated legal history in the United States. It was not always illegal, and public opinion has been shifting towards legalization once again in recent years. Some people support it for medical reasons or simple personal choice, but many governments are tempted by the industry’s ability to create new jobs. While it remains illegal at the national level, many states have already taken steps towards legalizing cannabis, and there are a few more that are ready to pass similar laws in the near future.
Vermont has always had a strong tendency towards progressive politics, so it should come as no surprise that the state is working towards the legalization of cannabis. A bill to legalize it has already made it through both the state Assembly and Senate, but Vermont’s governor vetoed it. The bill allowed personal use and possession, but not a retail market. so it was more restrictive than those of some other states.
That having been said, the veto was not absolute. The bill returned to the legislature with a request from the governor to include more protections against intoxicated driving and children accessing cannabis. The end result remains to be seen, but it is likely that Vermont will pass a legalization measure soon.
Governor Chris Christie has led most of the opposition to legalizing cannabis in New Jersey, but he is going to leave office soon. Many of the state’s senators are in favor of legalization, and they already started planning a legalization effort to begin when the governor leaves office. There is some other opposition, but the bill is likely to succeed in some form.
Rhode Island is taking a more cautious step towards legalization than many surrounding states. While many of its politicians are in favor of it, there is also opposition, and the general trend is towards compromise. The plan that is most likely to pass is to establish a pathway towards legalization for 2018, with efforts to study the proper way to legalization cannabis starting much earlier.
Activists in Michigan have been working towards legalization for quite some time. They had one petition to bring the matter to a vote blocked due to signature gathering requirements, but the second attempt is making excellent progress. The vote for legalization is likely to happen in 2018, and the odds of success there are high.
Missouri came very close to getting legalization on the ballot in 2016, but it came up short by just a handful of signatures on the petition in a single district. The margin of failure was tiny, so many people expect the next effort to succeed. That will put the matter to a vote within a few years, and that vote will probably succeed because it has support from the majority of the state’s citizens.