Special Report

The Next 14 States to Legalize Marijuana

Portland Head Light in Maine at Sunrise
Source: Thinkstock

6. Maine
> Possession decriminalized: Yes
> Amount decriminalized: 1.25 oz or less
> Max. fine for 1.25 oz or less: $600
> Pct. adults using in past year: 19.8%

Historically, Maine has been among the states leading the campaign for marijuana reform. Possession of small amounts of pot has been decriminalized in the state since the mid 1970s, and Maine voters legalized the drug’s medicinal use in 1999. In November 2014, Portland became the first city on the East Coast to legalize recreational marijuana use. City voters overwhelmingly passed a law allowing adults 21 and over to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana. Voters statewide will have the opportunity to pass a similar law for the rest of the state in November 2016. Legalization proponents argue that ending prohibition will make communities across the state safer and raise millions of dollars in tax revenue.

As in many other states potentially on the brink of legalizing, marijuana use is relatively common in Maine. Nearly one in five adults in the state have used marijuana in the past year, a larger share than in all but three other states.

Maryland
Source: Thinkstock

7. Maryland
> Possession decriminalized: Yes
> Amount decriminalized: Less than 10 g
> Max. fine for less than 10 g: $100
> Pct. adults using in past year: 13.3%

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley signed in 2014 legislation removing the criminal penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana. Despite Governor Larry Hogan vetoing the bill, Maryland legislature fully decriminalized marijuana possession, including paraphernalia, in February 2016. Currently, the maximum fine for the possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana in the state is $100.

Another bill was introduced in February to the state legislature, but did not pass the Maryland General Assembly. The bill would have made the use, possession, and cultivation of marijuana a constitutional right in Maryland. The most recent poll of state residents shows that 54% of Marylanders support the legalization and regulation of marijuana.