Source: BY Keris Alison Lahiff. The Stree May 26 2014
NEW YORK – The times, they are a-changin’ for marijuana as long-time prohibition laws risk going up in flames. Colorado has lit one up. Washington has its pipe packed with registered stores expected to open later in the year. And in the rest of the country, grassroots activists fight and campaign, while politicians teeter on whether to relax laws.
According to a recent national survey by Pew Research Center, 75% of Americans believe the sale and use of marijuana will eventually be legal nationwide, a majority opinion even among those who oppose its use.
It’s a lucrative move for states to legalize the drug, too. Since Colorado embraced legalization, the state’s coffers have been full. Since the beginning of the year, Colorado has generated nearly $13 million from tax and licensing fees on medical and recreational marijuana, more than half of that directly from the latter.
Even President Obama has weighed in on the debate of whether or not to legalize. In an interview with The New Yorker earlier this year, Obama supported Colorado and Washington’s legalization efforts but stopped short of making any statement on whether it could play out on a federal level.
“It’s important for it to go forward because it’s important for society not to have a situation in which a large portion of people have at one time or another broken the law and only a select few get punished,” he told the publication.The dominoes are stacked but which will be the next to fall? TheStreet investigates the seven states likely to next embrace marijuana law reform…
Cannabis reformers in Alaska have been committed and they’ve been loud, managing to turn a predominantly red state into the next likely region to allow recreational pot use. Alaska’s citizen-run group Campaign to Regulate Marijuana currently has three initiatives which will be voted on in the November general election.
One statewide ballot initiative proposes legalizing possession of limited amounts of marijuana for those 21 years and older, while cultivation and sales will be regulated in a way similar to alcohol.
“The proposed initiative will take marijuana sales out of the underground market and put them in legitimate, taxpaying businesses,” said Tim Hinterberger, one of the campaign’s major activists and sponsors, in a statement. “Replacing marijuana prohibition with a system of taxation and sensible regulation will bolster Alaska’s economy by creating jobs and generating revenue for the state.”
Decriminalization and legalization of medical marijuana was passed in 1998 after a majority 59% of Alaskan voters approved the measures.