2016 Weed Legislation: Rock the Toke

2016 weed legislation

After Colorado and Washington officially legalized recreational weed in 2012, many citizens celebrated the social progression: “Rocky Mountain High” echoed through the pine trees and Mount Saint Helens turned into “Mount Saint Hell Yeah!” Alaska and Oregon followed suit in 2014 with the District of Columbia passing grass soon after. As of right now, legalization remains with this Fab Five: Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, and DC. But, that’s likely to change and soon.

This November’s ballot appears to be a marquee year for marijuana. The citizens of California, Nevada, Arizona, Maine, and Massachusetts are all scheduled to vote on recreational legalization. Medical marijuana is also up for grabs in Montana, Florida, Missouri, and Arkansas.

With all of this, it’s apparent that change is on the horizon. But one question remains: will voters pass the vote or pass on the bong entirely? Clearly, we can’t know for sure: drugs act as psychedelics, not Psychic Friends Network. Still, certain states seem more likely to vote in the affirmative than others.


California tried to legalize weed back in 2010, a measure defeated by voters. Since then, the legalization movement has gained a ton of steam, perhaps opening the minds of citizens.

The Golden State does have a past pointing towards eventual legalization: they were the very first state to legalize medical marijuana.

They did this in 1996. To put into perspective shutterstock_267953963how long ago that actually was, Independence Day dominated the box office; the Internet sat in its infancy; and Justin Bieber was hardly even a thing.

Of course, its history of medical marijuana could backfire. Because it involved a lack of regulations, the system was never kept in check: people procured medical marijuana cards for seemingly any reason (i.e., being sneezy, sleepy, grumpy (and other conditions not akin to Disney dwarfs)). This caused the use of pot to grow like weeds themselves, something that might deter some voters and attract others.

Ultimately, if California passes recreational legalization, it’ll be a huge victory for the movement: it’s the most populace state in the nation. It’s also viewed, by many, as the gateway to country-wide evolution.


Of all the states voting on weed, Nevada is predicted to be the surest bet. Not only did it gather tens of thousands more signatures than needed to get the measure on the ballot, but it also did it early.shutterstock_305282507

Though they were slow to legalize medical marijuana, the process went smoothly, instilling faith in citizens that a recreational transition will be as easy. When it comes down to the nitty gritty, it seems crazy that marijuana can be illegal in a place like Las Vegas while being perfectly lawful in Colorado Springs.


Arizona’s passion for pot (or, really, lack thereof) tells us that recreational marijuana will be a hard sell: in 2010, medical marijuana passed by only 4,000 votes, less than the size of some high schools. Still, it’s going to be close.shutterstock_141731293

The results of a poll conducted by Arizona State University show that recreational legalization is anyone’s guess:

49 percent of those polled supported it, the other 51 percent were being uptight and petty (and also they didn’t support it).

A poll conducted a few months prior showed support by 53 percent. Thus, it’ll come down to the wire (once again reinforcing why the right to vote should always be exercised).


The final state scheduled to decide on recreational marijuana is one of the oldest: the place where the Pilgrims landed and a member of the Thirteen Colonies. Unfortunately for marijuana proponents, some citizens still harbor Puritan mindsets: in short, they’re against legalization. shutterstock_144084406-1But, in keeping with the trends of this election, the results could go either way.

A poll conducted by Gravis Marketing found that 51 percent of those in Massachusetts are against legalization while 41 percent are for it. The remaining eight percent are undecided, leaving campaigners time to plead their case – let’s Plymouth Rock and roll.


If there was a clinic on medical marijuana, you’d only need to look inside Maine’s clinics to see how it’s done: they have one of the most stable programs in the nation.

Many citizens don’t view medical marijuana as a privilege; rather, they view it as a right of those suffering.

shutterstock_176428214-1That likely tips the scales towards recreational legalization.

In fact, some cities in Maine have already, themselves, tried to legalize. Portland, South Portland, and Lewiston previously tried to legalize both possession and consumption of weed by adults. Portland citizens passed the measure, but local authorities extinguished the flame. Even so, it appears that recreational legalization is likely, but, again, it’ll come down to who truly goes out to rock their vote.

Medical Marijuana

Aside from recreational legalization, medical marijuana is on the docket for Montana, Florida, Missouri and Arkansas. Two years ago, the federal government very quietly ended the provision prohibiting medical marijuana on the national level; this should sway some voters towards passing.

Country-wide, nineteen states fully allow for medical marijuana use while eighteen states either allow some usage or have laws that simply haven’t gone into effect. shutterstock_300884216-2As more states see its medicinal value, it’s probably only a matter of time before it’s fully legal for health reasons everywhere in the union. But it might be a slow grow.

Geography alone suggests that passage in Montana is likely: it’s near Washington and Oregon and many of its citizens tend to have a similar way of thinking.  Florida is well known as a state that attracts the elderly: the Sunshine State could just as easily be called the Cadillac State. Older generations tend to be more closed-minded than their younger counterparts, but they also have more medical issues. The latter might be enough for citizens to see the value in pot for patients.

Missouri and Arkansas

Missouri and Arkansas are less likely to pass. Areas not always conducive to a forward way of thinking, sometimes the backwoods reputation is unfair and sometimes it’s accurate. In fact, Arkansas technically still has a law on the books stating that a man cannot legally beat his wife for more than a month. Because that – that – would be excessive.


2016 Weed Legislation: Rock the Toke was last modified: by
Jenn Keeler
About Jenn Keeler
Jenn Keeler is a freelance writer and illustrator specializing in humorous lifestyle articles. She is one of the few people on earth actually using an English degree. Her heart belongs to the Denver Broncos and her husband. In that order.