At least 12 U.S. states will go ahead with marijuana legalization. Vermont is expected to be the “first domino” to fall.
California, with its almost 40 million population, dominated headlines for 2017 when it readied to see marijuana legalization materialize on the first day of 2018. However, the sparsely-populated state of Vermont in New England is expected to be the “first domino” to fall as the legalization trend continues.
“Vermont is positioned to be the first domino of several that could fall in 2018,”
Marijuana Policy Project legislative analyst Matt Simon told Newsweek in an interview published on Tuesday.
“I think it always affects legislators’ thinking to see that somebody else has already done this. Getting a legislature to go first has been quite a challenge.”
When approved, Vermont would likely legalize the possession of 1 ounce of marijuana and the cultivation of two mature marijuana plants for adults 21 and older. Exceeding those legalized limits would land the violator a fine or a prison sentence of fewer than three years.
According to Newsweek, a minimum of at least 12 U.S. states are expected to consider marijuana legalization in 2018.
— MPP Marijuana Policy (@MarijuanaPolicy) December 29, 2017
House vote on legalization bill expected soon! Please call or email your representatives and urge them to vote YES on this reasonable compromise. https://t.co/OEZlmI2lBp
— Regulate Vermont! (@RegulateVermont) January 2, 2018
Similarly, Erik Altiera, executive director for the non-profit National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, told Newsweek:
“With over 60 percent of Americans now supporting the full legalization of marijuana for adults, the momentum behind marijuana law reform will not only continue but increase as we head into 2018.”
The Republican Governor Phil Scott vetoed the Democrat-controlled Legislature approval of recreational cannabis in May 2017. However, Scott was ordered to launch a bipartisan commission to study consequences on public health if marijuana is fully legalized.
Changes Already Happening
Changes are already happening in Michigan, New Jersey, Delaware, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Ohio, Oklahoma, Kentucky, South Dakota, Utah, Missouri.
In Michigan, about 252,000 valid signatures were collected to bring a wider consensus for a vote in the northeastern state. In Ohio, a campaign to collect signatures is expected to start this month.
In the US, seven states – Washington, Nevada, Alaska, Oregon, Colorado, Maine – and the District of Columbia have laws legalizing recreational marijuana in addition to its medical use, with California, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada being the recent joiners.