Report documents considerable state activity on marijuana legalization | Addiction Professional Magazine Skip to content Skip to navigation

Report documents considerable state activity on marijuana legalization

October 8, 2013
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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Adoption of marijuana legalization measures in Colorado and Washington clearly is having spillover effects elsewhere in the country, according to an analysis by an online legal research service.

WestlawNext reported this week that 13 states, including Colorado and Washington, have either proposed or enacted laws allowing for some recreational use of marijuana and regulation of the drug in a fashion similar to alcohol regulation. Only 10 states have not addressed any legislation involving either recreational or medical use of marijuana, according to the analysis.

“The legalization efforts in Colorado and Washington state bring us closer to a tipping point with regard to marijuana prohibition,” Sam Kamin, a professor at the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law, said in a news release. “The groups that have been working for years to legalize marijuana will be taking the issue to more and more states in 2014 and beyond.”

One state where action had been expected to take place quickly but that now likely will not see a legalization proposal in 2014 is California, as explained by a leader of the Drug Policy Alliance at last month’s plenary panel discussion at the National Conference on Addiction Disorders (NCAD).

Other details from the WestlawNext survey include that three states (New Mexico, Rhode Island and West Virginia) have launched studies to assess the potential impact of legalization; two states (Maine and Massachusetts) have suggested establishing a new regulatory authority overseeing marijuana taxation as opposed to using an existing state agency; and proposed taxation rates vary considerably among the states that are considering legalization initiatives.