Special Report

The Next 14 States to Legalize Marijuana

San Diego, California, Waves
Source: Thinkstock

2. California
> Possession decriminalized: Yes
> Amount decriminalized: 28.5 g or less
> Max. fine for 28.5 g or less: $100
> Pct. adults using in past year: 14.4%

California voters have said no to legalizing recreational marijuana use multiple times. First in 1972, and again, by a much slimmer margin, in 2010. This year may be different, however. California is one of five ballot initiative states where voters will be given the opportunity to overturn marijuana prohibition. Proposition 64, commonly referred to as the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, would legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana. Proponents say the proposition will save state and local governments tens of millions of dollars in enforcement of marijuana laws and potentially bring in more than a billion dollars in additional tax revenue annually. One recent poll suggests Proposition 64 will easily pass.

Despite some early defeats for marijuana reform groups, the state has historically had a relatively progressive attitude towards pot. State residents voted to legalize medical marijuana in 1996, and in October 2010, then Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger decriminalized possession of less than an ounce of marijuana.

New Haven houses, Connecticut
Source: Thinkstock

3. Connecticut
> Possession decriminalized: Yes
> Amount decriminalized: Less than 1/2 oz
> Max. fine for less than 1/2 oz: $150
> Pct. adults using in past year: 13.8%

A group of Connecticut state representatives introduced in February 2016 House Bill 5236. If passed, the bill would legalize, regulate, and tax retail marijuana sales. While the bill is not expected to pass this year, Connecticut could potentially be the first non-ballot initiative state in the country to legalize recreational marijuana use.

Connecticut’s existing marijuana laws are among the most progressive in the country. Since 2011, individuals caught with less than half an ounce of pot, including repeat offenders, have not faced criminal charges or jail time. Like close to half of all states, Connecticut allows medical marijuana use for patients with certain conditions.

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