The road to legalizing marijuana has been a long one and, over the years, has seen many twists, turns, detours, and delays. As outdated marijuana policies begin to loosen, more and more states are seemingly becoming more open to the idea of legalizing marijuana (on a medical and/or recreational level). Pioneer states such as Colorado and Oregon have blazed an open trail, and many states are looking to follow in their footsteps.
On the other hand, there are still quite a few states that aren’t jumping on the bandwagon to legalize marijuana. Even though almost 60% of all Americans are in favor of marijuana legalization, there are still those remaining 40% who are not. It seems that these are the people who live in the most conservative states in the nation. So what are the states least likely to legalize marijuana? Take a look below.
The 8 States Least Likely to Legalize Medical Marijuana
Although Oklahoma has made it possible for some seriously ill patients to receive cannabidiol (CBD), they still have some of the strictest marijuana laws in the country. Personal possession of even the smallest amount of cannabis could get you thrown in jail. The second offense? An immediate felony.
Oklahoma is open about its opinions regarding plans to legalize marijuana. Oklahoma actually sued Colorado, claiming that legalization opened the door for a flood of drugs coming across state lines as well as the violation of federal drug laws.
Tennessee will show no southern hospitality to someone caught in the possession of marijuana. Although people with seizures are allowed to use marijuana medicinally, recreational use remains another matter entirely. Get caught with cannabis one or two times, and you’ll face a misdemeanor and maybe a year in jail. Once caught three times, those in possession of marijuana will face felony charges and could look at up to six years in jail. Marijuana arrest rates in Tennessee are some of the highest in the nation with 360 of their 100,000 people arrested for the possession of marijuana each year.
Throughout the state of Utah, the only booze available is low alcohol-content beer…and whiskey and wine are outlawed. It only makes sense that this ultra-conservative state (made up of a 62% Mormon population) doesn’t have any plan to legalize marijuana anytime soon. Although the state does allow limited amounts of CBD for some medical treatment, possessing marijuana illegally could bring a fine of $1,000 and time in jail. Illegally selling cannabis in Utah is considered a felony and could warrant up to ten years in prison.
Getting caught in Idaho with less than 3 ounces could land you a $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail. Get caught with more than 3 ounces, and you’re looking at a felony conviction, a $5,000 fine, and up to five years in prison.
Efforts to allow the most critically ill of patients to use marijuana for medical purposes have been shut down by government officials, and it doesn’t look like these restrictions will lift any time soon. Idaho may indeed become one of the last states to legalize marijuana.
When you consider that over half the counties in Arkansas ban the sale of alcohol, it makes sense that the idea to legalize marijuana hasn’t even made it to the ballot for voters to decide on for themselves. Having four or more ounces on you could cost you $10,000 and up to five years in prison. It’s also an automatic felony. Less than four ounces could still result in $2,500 in fines, a misdemeanor, and jail time.
Not only is Alabama not going to legalize weed any time soon, but they also have the least reported use of cannabis in the United States. Less than 10% of residents 12 and older report using marijuana…which may be because getting caught with even a small amount can cost you up to $6,000. If you get caught again, it’s an automatically felony and up to five years in prison.
In Indiana, a joint will get you up to a year in jail and cost you up to $5,000. Although the majority of Indiana residents support the idea to legalize marijuana (52%), the state still makes people pay for illegal marijuana possession. People who get caught with cannabis for a second time face a felony charge and over two years in jail…for just over an ounce.
As yet another neighbor to Colorado’s lenient laws regarding marijuana, Kansas has some strict policies when it comes to possession. Kansas state officials vetoed a voter-approved decriminalization initiative, claiming it violated state laws regarding marijuana policy. Those who get caught a second time possessing marijuana in Kansas (even amounts as small as one gram) face a felony charge, over three years behind bars, and up to $100,000 in fines.
What States Have Chosen to Legalize Medical Marijuana?
Despite the states that choose not to legalize marijuana, 25 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana in some way, whether for recreational or medicinal use. There are currently four states (as well as the District of Columbia) that have decided to legalize marijuana for recreational use. In Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska, marijuana is completely legal for recreational use.
There are also other states that, although they haven’t chosen to legalize marijuana for recreational use, have made cannabis legal in medicinal forms. There are 25 states (as well as the District of Columbia) that have current medical marijuana laws in place:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- Rhode Island
And who will be the next of the state in line to legalize marijuana? The November 2016 elections are prime time for many hopeful voters to see their states join the others that have chosen to make cannabis legal. California and Arizona are likely candidates with states such as Michigan, Rhode Island, and Connecticut perhaps not far behind.
The decision to legalize marijuana is definitely one that varies state to state, but as marijuana policies become more lenient, it is undoubtedly only a matter of time before you see marijuana legalized in a state near you. What are the current marijuana laws in your state? Do you support marijuana legalization? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below!