The Next Ten States to Legalize Marijuana

The Marijuana Policy Project announced Monday it will support efforts to end marijuana prohibition in 10 more states by 2017. The announcement comes one day before the U.S. Senate Judiciary CommitteeUS_Capitol_Dome_resize is scheduled to hold a hearing at which it will address the U.S. Justice Department’s recent decision to allow states to regulate the cultivation and sale of marijuana.

MPP will work with local and national allies to pass voter initiatives in at least five states and bills in five state legislatures to end marijuana prohibition and replace it with systems in which marijuana is regulated and taxed like alcohol. MPP is currently supporting a petition drive led by Alaska activists to place an initiative on the August 2014 ballot, and it will work to pass initiatives in Arizona, California, Maine, and Nevada in the 2016 election. The organization is participating in lobbying and grassroots organizing efforts to pass bills in the Hawaii, Maryland, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont state legislatures by 2017. MPP has been responsible for changing most state-level marijuana laws since 2000, and it was the largest backer of the successful 2012 initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol in Colorado.

“Most Americans are tired of seeing their tax dollars used to arrest and prosecute adults for using a substance that is objectively less harmful than alcohol,” said MPP executive director Rob Kampia. “Voters and state legislators are ready for change, and the federal government appears to be ready, as well.”

The Justice Department announced on August 29 that it will allow Colorado and Washington to move forward with implementation of voter-approved laws establishing state-regulated systems of marijuana cultivation and retail sales.

“Marijuana prohibition has been just as problematic and counterproductive as alcohol prohibition,” Kampia said. “We look forward to working with elected officials, community leaders, organizations, and other local and national allies to develop more effective and efficient marijuana policies.”

142 thoughts on “The Next Ten States to Legalize Marijuana”

  1. I am a 40 year old cancer patient. I have been fighting this disease since 1991. I have undergone numerous surgeries and other major medical problems. The only way i have found to soothe the nausea, hunger, and chronic pains is by using “Natural Herb”. Texas is too big not to care, so please legalize marijuana for all the right reasons.

  2. The only way that Florida is going to pass this new law in any way is to get Rick Scott out of office.
    He will never let any conversation or questions be done or asked about this matter if he has anything to do about it.
    He has already proven it in many way.

  3. To whom it may All concern,
    I’m disabled and in pain all the time. I have multible medical problems. I advocate the use of medical marijuana because it helps with pain nausea and helps to keep an appetite.
    Please consider the legalization of Medical Marijuana for patients like myself.
    Rev. James Bates

  4. I’m seeing these states, and stuff for the future but nothing for PA and we have some of the strict laws involving marijuana and paraphernalia in all states, is it because we are a common wealth . Does that scare law makers and supporters? I’m just one perso but, I’m in need of this law to pass here,move gone down to many bad roads that could of been solved with a simple change in law, if moving was a viable option I would do it… Plz help me and millions others in PA

  5. I really wish people would realize how helpful Medical Marijuana is, until its too late and it happens to them. I have been struggling with arthritis and fibromyalgia for years and now my husband is having issues with his hands. Now he is on board with me. He realized that meds don’t always help. Making it legal will help many people! I hope Missouri Legislators are reading this…

  6. Hello, I’m Gary from state of Indiana and back in 2007 I had to leave my employer due to health Issues as Chronic Pain, 2 Different kinds of Arthritis, along with Lung Cancer, However I’m doing ok with my lung up to this day, as I’m schedule for a yearly follow up with my Lung and have a Ct. Scan done as well then go from there in October, with my pain as I go see Pain Doctor every 3 months, I have concerns with medicines as I been on pain medicines for long time but my point is that if I keep doing this then those medicines will end up eating my liver and kidneys up then I’m dead, while Marijuana doesn’t kill people as I assumed that, also in state of Indiana wouldn’t pass that bill and legalize Marijuana to benefit people needs, when I was 14 years old my grand father passed away in 1979 from natural causes but he has breathing problems so he wanted me go with him to white river to do some Marijuana digging for Marijuana ( then put them in a grocery cart of his own ( you know what I mean ) It’s those light weight folding cart then he put brown paper bag inside the cart with a box on bottom of the cart, so he cut the bottom of it and put them on upside down, so I ask him what is that he called them Medical Plants to help him breathe better then he brought them home during Rush Hour, people honks and wave at us some knew us as they are from our neighborhood BUT anyway he brought them home and I had to help him hanged them upside down, then in next few days I guess he been there before and he smoke them in a home made pipe which remind me as water pipes and then he smokes them then I Question him about that plant as he mention to me that is medical from earth as GOD creates lots of medicines on earth just like fruits, so in about 10-15 minutes later after he smokes Marijuana he started to breathe much better for couples of hours and I asked Grand Father about going to Doctors and he said all they do is take care of your money NOT health, so when I became old enough to drive then we rode there and I drove there and told me where to park and told me to put them in a certain way in a big box that was enough to last thru the winter season then he was happy with enough Marijuana and help him breathe much better, so why can’t government legalize Marijuana and it’s a lot safer than alcohol, so I just wanted to share this story with you and rest of staffs as well, Thanks for your time in reading my messages, you know what blows my mind is that GOOF BALL SNOOPP DOG AND HIS SON SMOKING MARIJUANA ANYTIME, ANYWHERE AS THEY PLEASED AND GET AWAY WITH MURDER IF YOU KNOW WHAT I’M SAYING, AND ALSO I CAN’T STAND SNOOP DOG ANYWAY! THANKS AGAIN, Gary

  7. I have fibromyalgia, arthritis and a curved spine. I was living in Kansas, now in Texas. I tried cannabis twice as an experiment. It really worked. I am scared of getting busted. I feel it should be available on a daily basis. I take strong painkillers that do not stop all the pain, they take too long to work (1 to 2 hours) and have bad side effects. We need to write our senators and congressional representatives often. We need to keep asking. The squeaky wheel gets the grease is an old saying that we need to believe in. It takes a little bit of effort. Find out your state and federal government people and write, call and email them. I hope we can have the freedom to smoke herb without fear of prison. They get their buzz on alcohol freely. Or if we can’t have our rights, take theirs AWAY. Make dangerous alcohol illegal! People die from alcohol poisoning or accidents. I will write a letter to my Texas representatives, I am in the process, editing my rough draft and will print and mail many off. Please join me.

  8. It’s ignorant it’s not legal, alcohol kills millions. In OVER ten thousand years of use age Marijuana has never killed a single soul, that’s all I have to say it pisses me off, we should strip the rights of government officials and law makers of their right to drink booze lets see how that GOES!!!!!

  9. How about Tennessee. As a stage 3 colon cancer survivor I can relate to the good marijuana does for chemotherapy patients.

  10. As a 59 year old who has smoked for 45 years and never been arrested, I’m pleased to see young people speak out! This is one many unfair laws and inequities in our society, the legacy of a small group of people controlling everything. I’m very thankful for witnessing the change taking place in America. The people are speaking out in ways I never imagined I would see.

  11. Where is Iowa in this? I’ve been campaigning on my Facebook page to all my friends but it’s like they’re afraid to get on board. With me I’ve used marijuana since just out of high school, quit in late 80’s into late 90’s. I had ovarian cancer in 98 – 99 wish I’d of had marijuana more then, I had it once in a while & it did help. One of the drugs that I was given for my chemo was to help eliminate bad reactions to the chemo but it made me super hyper/manic like. Then I’d smoke some, it would calm me down. It’s now 15 yrs later & I have been diagnosed with multiple myeoloma , & have used some that a friend left for me. And believe me it has helped where the pain pills really aren’t & I’m on so many other drugs for muscle spasms, depression, anxiety, reflux. I don’t know how much more my liver can take.

  12. Now up to 20 states plus DC for medical use! How many more states before they end this prohibition on cannabis? It was wrong in first place, shouldn’t we as American citizens have the right to use whatever we want as adults? I keep hearing what about the kids, if legalized they could get as easy as they get alcoholic beverages! Their not buying from store; their getting it from their parents frig, same as tobacco, getting from parental unit. But honestly kids get illegal drugs from black market/streets because as a society we can keep making new laws, reword old laws but not one person has mentioned criminals don’t obey laws; none of them!
    If some parents wouldn’t live by the old saying “I’d rather them drink in front of me & not behind my back” is just telling your children its ok to drink & these are the same ones who are so scared of kids smoking pot. Double standards are bs; I personally explained why they should wait till 21 to drink or do anything, as the human body doesn’t stop growing till early 20’s & that abuse before that age can be medically damaging in so many ways as well as in the news recently teenage boys raping teenage girls who pass out at parties. Usually do to over use of alcoholic beverages & the new street drug “Molly” or being slipped a “Miky”. Cannabis is not a gateway drug as so many would like to blame it, we are raising a society of people who will not take responseability for their own choices & actions. A lot of people get drunk & want cocaine with the belief it’ll sober me up; no one has ever smoked a joint & thought need some meth so I can clean house!!! There’s only ever been one gateway to abuse of any substance, its called choices & another one peer pressure; but to me that’s not an excuse it was a choice & people should be realize its their choice to use something or not. It’s a parents duty to teach kids simple health & reasoning skills, but as a disabled American who paid taxes my whole working adult life, I should have right to digest whatever I want, all so called street drugs in one form or another where once legal & used for medicine, cure all’s of their time. But now since I’ve followed all the rules, the side effects of the opiate pain pills have caused other issues that require additional medications & those require others. Can’t just stop taking as just missing a dose makes you sick as a dog as grand dad used to say, but doctor switching medication once made me so sick I was bed ridden & then hospitalized for a total of seventeen days. More children take parents & grandparents pills, drink their booze, than smoke cannabis; which the worst side effect is munchies & laughter. But the key factor is by keeping illegal, we keep a black market, just like alcohol prohibition created some of the richest criminals in the world, like the war on drugs has made cartels rich & powerful. Legalization cuts profits for these organizations, our children don’t end up in prison either for months to years for simply possessing small amounts, some being put in isolation for their protection but that causes sever mentality problems for all who experience it for long periods. In that same sense, a person who illegally sales drugs can end up in prison for life; but a person who sexually abuses a child gets less prison time if any depending on state, I ask you which harms our children worse; smoking cannabis, then being ran through prison system & losing any chance of becoming a productive member of our society, or being raped as a child? Or worse being sent to prison for 5yrs on a conspiracy charge & then raped by a child rapist doing less time for a more horrific crime? Legalization is best option, regulations & taxes just like alcoholic beverages; add course in schools (not dare program) but truth & parents educate your kids. As a tax paying American I should have right to use cannabis if I choose & not be forced to use narcotics that are slowly killing me; shouldn’t have to fear losing kids, freedom or anything, as well as not fear dying or my children or grandkids die from stealing a pill from me or getting deadly ill because someone has stolen medication as cannabis does not affect or have side effects on the human body/mind like synthetic drugs do. No one has mentioned that big pharm has & continues to make a synthetic version because it works & before 1937 was prescribed by doctors to treat 100+ things, was so cheap to make oil they prescribed too. But ending alcohol prohibition caused fed agencies to start losing funding & they needed a new demon so they created it & filled prison system that sex offenders get out & reoffend long before someone with a drug conviction. I could go on for hours more, but long story short. Quit blaming others for your choices, quit taking rights from people with new laws that criminals won’t follow anyway, put the right people in prison & keep them there. Give me & my doctor the right to determine my medical treatment, as well as medication I take. If god had not intended man to use it wouldn’t be on this planet & our ancestors wouldn’t have used it for the last 12,000 years, nor would our prison system be bursting at seams. Grow up!!!!!

  13. Over the last year, I have been working on a new documentary called “Weed.” The title “Weed” may sound cavalier, but the content is not.

    I traveled around the world to interview medical leaders, experts, growers and patients. I spoke candidly to them, asking tough questions. What I found was stunning.

    Long before I began this project, I had steadily reviewed the scientific literature on medical marijuana from the United States and thought it was fairly unimpressive. Reading these papers five years ago, it was hard to make a case for medicinal marijuana. I even wrote about this in a TIME magazine article, back in 2009, titled “Why I would Vote No on Pot.”

    Well, I am here to apologize.

    I apologize because I didn’t look hard enough, until now. I didn’t look far enough. I didn’t review papers from smaller labs in other countries doing some remarkable research, and I was too dismissive of the loud chorus of legitimate patients whose symptoms improved on cannabis.

    Instead, I lumped them with the high-visibility malingerers, just looking to get high. I mistakenly believed the Drug Enforcement Agency listed marijuana as a schedule 1 substance because of sound scientific proof. Surely, they must have quality reasoning as to why marijuana is in the category of the most dangerous drugs that have “no accepted medicinal use and a high potential for abuse.”
    Dr. Sanjay Gupta is a neurosurgeon and CNN\’s chief medical correspondent.
    Dr. Sanjay Gupta is a neurosurgeon and CNN’s chief medical correspondent.

    They didn’t have the science to support that claim, and I now know that when it comes to marijuana neither of those things are true. It doesn’t have a high potential for abuse, and there are very legitimate medical applications. In fact, sometimes marijuana is the only thing that works. Take the case of Charlotte Figi, who I met in Colorado. She started having seizures soon after birth. By age 3, she was having 300 a week, despite being on seven different medications. Medical marijuana has calmed her brain, limiting her seizures to 2 or 3 per month.

    I have seen more patients like Charlotte first hand, spent time with them and come to the realization that it is irresponsible not to provide the best care we can as a medical community, care that could involve marijuana.

    We have been terribly and systematically misled for nearly 70 years in the United States, and I apologize for my own role in that.
    Medical facts of Marijuana
    WEED: A Dr. Sanjay Gupta Special

    I hope this article and upcoming documentary will help set the record straight.

    On August 14, 1970, the Assistant Secretary of Health, Dr. Roger O. Egeberg wrote a letter recommending the plant, marijuana, be classified as a schedule 1 substance, and it has remained that way for nearly 45 years. My research started with a careful reading of that decades old letter. What I found was unsettling. Egeberg had carefully chosen his words:

    “Since there is still a considerable void in our knowledge of the plant and effects of the active drug contained in it, our recommendation is that marijuana be retained within schedule 1 at least until the completion of certain studies now underway to resolve the issue.”

    Not because of sound science, but because of its absence, marijuana was classified as a schedule 1 substance. Again, the year was 1970. Egeberg mentions studies that are underway, but many were never completed. As my investigation continued, however, I realized Egeberg did in fact have important research already available to him, some of it from more than 25 years earlier.

    High risk of abuse

    In 1944, New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia commissioned research to be performed by the New York Academy of Science. Among their conclusions: they found marijuana did not lead to significant addiction in the medical sense of the word. They also did not find any evidence marijuana led to morphine, heroin or cocaine addiction.

    We now know that while estimates vary, marijuana leads to dependence in around 9 to 10% of its adult users. By comparison, cocaine, a schedule 2 substance “with less abuse potential than schedule 1 drugs” hooks 20% of those who use it. Around 25% of heroin users become addicted.

    The worst is tobacco, where the number is closer to 30% of smokers, many of whom go on to die because of their addiction.

    There is clear evidence that in some people marijuana use can lead to withdrawal symptoms, including insomnia, anxiety and nausea. Even considering this, it is hard to make a case that it has a high potential for abuse. The physical symptoms of marijuana addiction are nothing like those of the other drugs I’ve mentioned. I have seen the withdrawal from alcohol, and it can be life threatening.

    I do want to mention a concern that I think about as a father. Young, developing brains are likely more susceptible to harm from marijuana than adult brains. Some recent studies suggest that regular use in teenage years leads to a permanent decrease in IQ. Other research hints at a possible heightened risk of developing psychosis.

    Much in the same way I wouldn’t let my own children drink alcohol, I wouldn’t permit marijuana until they are adults. If they are adamant about trying marijuana, I will urge them to wait until they’re in their mid-20s when their brains are fully developed.

    Medical benefit

    While investigating, I realized something else quite important. Medical marijuana is not new, and the medical community has been writing about it for a long time. There were in fact hundreds of journal articles, mostly documenting the benefits. Most of those papers, however, were written between the years 1840 and 1930. The papers described the use of medical marijuana to treat “neuralgia, convulsive disorders, emaciation,” among other things.

    A search through the U.S. National Library of Medicine this past year pulled up nearly 20,000 more recent papers. But the majority were research into the harm of marijuana, such as “Bad trip due to anticholinergic effect of cannabis,” or “Cannabis induced pancreatitits” and “Marijuana use and risk of lung cancer.”

    In my quick running of the numbers, I calculated about 6% of the current U.S. marijuana studies investigate the benefits of medical marijuana. The rest are designed to investigate harm. That imbalance paints a highly distorted picture.

    The challenges of marijuana research

    To do studies on marijuana in the United States today, you need two important things.

    First of all, you need marijuana. And marijuana is illegal. You see the problem. Scientists can get research marijuana from a special farm in Mississippi, which is astonishingly located in the middle of the Ole Miss campus, but it is challenging. When I visited this year, there was no marijuana being grown.

    The second thing you need is approval, and the scientists I interviewed kept reminding me how tedious that can be. While a cancer study may first be evaluated by the National Cancer Institute, or a pain study may go through the National Institute for Neurological Disorders, there is one more approval required for marijuana: NIDA, the National Institute on Drug Abuse. It is an organization that has a core mission of studying drug abuse, as opposed to benefit.

    Stuck in the middle are the legitimate patients who depend on marijuana as a medicine, oftentimes as their only good option.

    Keep in mind that up until 1943, marijuana was part of the United States drug pharmacopeia. One of the conditions for which it was prescribed was neuropathic pain. It is a miserable pain that’s tough to treat. My own patients have described it as “lancinating, burning and a barrage of pins and needles.” While marijuana has long been documented to be effective for this awful pain, the most common medications prescribed today come from the poppy plant, including morphine, oxycodone and dilaudid.

    Here is the problem. Most of these medications don’t work very well for this kind of pain, and tolerance is a real problem.

    Most frightening to me is that someone dies in the United States every 19 minutes from a prescription drug overdose, mostly accidental. Every 19 minutes. It is a horrifying statistic. As much as I searched, I could not find a documented case of death from marijuana overdose.

    It is perhaps no surprise then that 76% of physicians recently surveyed said they would approve the use of marijuana to help ease a woman’s pain from breast cancer.

    When marijuana became a schedule 1 substance, there was a request to fill a “void in our knowledge.” In the United States, that has been challenging because of the infrastructure surrounding the study of an illegal substance, with a drug abuse organization at the heart of the approval process. And yet, despite the hurdles, we have made considerable progress that continues today.

    Looking forward, I am especially intrigued by studies like those in Spain and Israel looking at the anti-cancer effects of marijuana and its components. I’m intrigued by the neuro-protective study by Lev Meschoulam in Israel, and research in Israel and the United States on whether the drug might help alleviate symptoms of PTSD. I promise to do my part to help, genuinely and honestly, fill the remaining void in our knowledge.

    Citizens in 20 states and the District of Columbia have now voted to approve marijuana for medical applications, and more states will be making that choice soon. As for Dr. Roger Egeberg, who wrote that letter in 1970, he passed away 16 years ago.

    I wonder what he would think if he were alive today.

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