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Legalization of Marijuana Could Happen in these 12 States in 2018

Moving the legal needle on marijuana use for both recreational and medicinal use has been an ongoing battle for several states hoping for change. Over the last several years, however, introductions of legalization and decriminalization bills have given some pro-marijuana advocates optimism for the future. These shifts in the legality of marijuana use have taken place for a myriad of reasons, not the least of which is a growing level of support by the average American.

Additionally, studies show that marijuana use is less harmful than other legal substances, namely tobacco and alcohol, and being a marijuana entrepreneur gives some individuals a method to better their financial circumstances. Legalization of marijuana also promises significant increases in tax revenues for cities and states, thanks in part to the guarantees offered by surety bond requirements and licensing regulations for growers and distributors. Given these positive aspects of marijuana legalization, it should not come as a surprise that more states are leaning toward updating laws in the upcoming year. Here are the 12 states that may add marijuana legalization in 2018, in one form or another.

Vermont – in mid-2017, Vermont legislature approved a recreational marijuana bill that would allow adults over the age of 21 to possess and use one ounce of the drug and cultivation of two mature plants. While the legislation was vetoed by the governor, it did prompt the establishment of a commission to study the benefits and drawbacks of legalization in the state. Once the commission concludes its research, it is expected that legalization may be a reality by the end of 2018.

Michigan – currently, Michigan marijuana advocates are actively gathering signatures for a ballot initiative for legalization to be included in the 2018 elections. The new law, if voted yes, would allow recreational users the ability to possess small amounts of the drug, so long as they are over the age of 21.

New Jersey – with its now Democratic legislature in place, New Jersey is expected to sign a marijuana legalization initiative into law by the end of 2018. Many lawmakers cite the racial injustice brought on by the war on drugs, focusing in on marijuana-related crimes, as a catalyst for the legal change this year.

Rhode Island – recreational use of marijuana for adults at least 21 years of age is also a potential for Rhode Island residents in 2018. After forming a legislative commission to review advantages and concerns of legalizing the drug in 2017, many expect the recommendations within the commission’s report to lead the charge for legalization this year.

Delaware – similar to other states, Delaware’s legislative body created a task force for the purpose of evaluating legalized marijuana use recreationally in 2017. The expectation is that, despite a shutdown of the bill last year, recreational use will be given another opportunity to be legalized in 2018.

Connecticut – led by lawmakers in Hartford, the city approved a resolution to legalize recreational use of the drug late last year. In 2018, it is expected that the state will follow suit through a ballot initiative slated for November of 2018.

Oklahoma – lawmakers in Oklahoma are expected to include a ballot initiative for voters that gives them the opportunity to approve or deny the legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes. If the vote goes through in 2018, the state will join the ranks of the other 29 states that have already taken steps to approve medicinal use of the drug for state residents.

Ohio – although a bill to legalize marijuana for recreational use failed in Ohio legislature in 2015, many advocates see 2018 as another opportunity to get a law passed during mid-term elections. The ballot proposal would allow adults over the age of 21 to possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use.

Kentucky – a bill to legalize the medicinal use of marijuana is also on the docket in Kentucky for 2018. The governor has recently shared concerns over drug overdoses in the state, which may stall out progress toward legalization, but the bill is slated to make an appearance late in the year.

Utah – the use of medical marijuana is potentially up for a vote in 2018 for Utah residents. The state has already taken steps to legalize its use on a small scale, but the 2018 initiative would expand on current laws to make the process less daunting for patients.

Missouri – similar to Michigan, lawmakers and advocates in Missouri are in the process of gathering signatures to include a medical marijuana ballot initiative in mid-term elections this year.

South Dakota – legalizing medical marijuana is also a possibility in South Dakota in 2018, as the signatures needed to include a ballot initiative are currently being gathered and reviewed. If approved, South Dakota residents will vote on the new law in November.

Many states are moving forward with the legalization of marijuana, for either recreational or medicinal use, in 2018. While there is no guarantee that all 12 states listed above will follow through with their specific initiatives, it is clear that a shift is taking place toward more accepting laws surrounding marijuana use.



Eric Weisbrot is the Chief Marketing Officer of JW Surety Bonds. With years of experience in the surety industry under several different roles within the company, he is also a contributing author to the surety bond blog.

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Eric Weisbrot is the Chief Marketing Officer of JW Surety Bonds. With years of experience in the surety industry under several different roles within the company, he is also a contributing author to the surety bond blog.