U.S.: 4 States Most Likely To Legalize Recreational Marijuana Next

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Legalized recreational marijuana has been a big news headline ever since the Election Day, when the number of states with legal pot going from 4 to 8. Several other states are getting closer to seeing legal recreational pot legalized, with some being closer than others.

In Arizona, Proposition 205 was defeated by a margin of just 2 percent. Cannabis advocacy groups encouraged by the close defeat will focus their attention on remaining hesitant voters. They expect to see legal recreational weed passed very soon. California just passed Prop 64, but similar measures in 2010, 2012, and 2014 were defeated. Oregon voted “No” on legal cannabis in 2012, then “Yes” in 2014.

Recreational marijuana becomes officially legal in Massachusetts on December 15, 2016, allowing adults to possess as much cannabis as they can grow. Otherwise, individuals can have up to 1 ounce, including 5 grams of concentrate. Neighboring states Rhode Island and Vermont are likely to follow suit, since citizens of those states could easily cross the border to take advantage of legal pot in Massachusetts. Both states are interested in the tax revenue the legal cannabis industry generates.

Hawaii has one of the oldest medical marijuana industries in the U.S., dating back to 2000. Polls show Hawaiians strongly support taxing and regulating marijuana, and with a Democratic majority in the state legislature, that seems likely to happen soon there.

Two other states are looking to decriminalize marijuana in 2017. State officials in Texas are considering reducing possession to a civil infraction with a $250 fine and no criminal record. State lawmakers in Tennessee are planning to decriminalize marijuana possession, something that's already occurred in the city of Memphis.

Green Rush Daily reports the marijuana industry is taking in over $6 billion now, and it could easily grow to $50 billion by 2026, making it one quarter the size of the alcohol industry.