DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: While Washington and Colorado work out how to regulate marijuana sales, at least 11 other states are considering legalizing it for recreational use, according to an analysis from Thomson Reuters’ WestlawNext.
Using marijuana for medicinal purposes is already legal in nearly half the country — 24 states and the District of Columbia — the analysis shows. Another 16 states have proposed legislation allowing it. Just 10 states have no proposals whatsoever to legalize pot for either use, and Idaho has passed a law making clear its opposition to legalization.
So far this year, marijuana has been mentioned in 1,730 pieces of legislation — a significant increase over the past four years relative to other drugs — according to WestlawNext. By comparison, cocaine got 723 mentions this year, peyote got 168 and hemp only got 117. (That’s all as of Sept. 22, 2013, and includes introduced, substituted and adopted versions of the same bill.)
(Source: WestlawNext. Data as of Sept. 22, 2013; counts include introduced, substituted and adopted versions of the same bill.)
Here are a handful of other interesting facts about marijuana proposals across the country, courtesy of WestlawNext:
- New Mexico, Rhode Island and West Virginia have commissioned studies to investigate the impact of legalizing pot.
- The proposals all suggest a cutoff age of 21.
- Most proposals give regulatory authority to the state’s revenue, tax or liquor control agencies.
- Just two states, Maine and Massachusetts, propose creating new regulatory bodies
- Pot taxes range from 15 percent in New Hampshire to 25 percent in Nevada. (A Maine proposal would tax it at $50 per ounce.)
Here’s a map of proposals by state. Green states have enacted or proposed legislation allowing medicinal use; states with pot plants on them have enacted or proposed legislation allowing recreational use.
For the curious, the 24 states that allow marijuana for medicinal use are: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia and Washington. Washington, D.C., has legalized medicinal marijuana, too.