While a few states have legalized recreational marijuana and another few are well on their way to legalization, there are three states that could be the last to legalize. These three states all have key components in common which inhibit the governments from legalization. Following are the three states along with High Above Seattle’s best-informed guesses for why the states fall into the last-to-legalize category.
High Above Seattle recently investigated why this particular state will likely be one of the last three to legalize. The police system in Idaho seems to believe that Washington and Oregon, the state’s bordering neighbors, made the wrong decision when they legalized marijuana. One individual who works in Idaho’s prison system believes that his state will be the last to legalize because of its conservative stance on many issues, including pot.
There are some who believe that even in the midst of federal legalization, Idaho will pass its own laws which will keep marijuana illegal. Idaho passed a resolution making marijuana reform illegal, which may put the state as the very last in the country to legalize, years after the second-to-last.
Louisiana has some of the country’s harshest marijuana laws. If you possess marijuana on your person and have a previous felony, there is a strong likelihood that you will be sentenced to prison for life. If you are caught with marijuana on your person a couple times in a row, you will likely spend up to 20 years in prison.
However, in hopes that the state will not be the very last to legalize, there is a possibility that marijuana legalization will be put to a statewide vote late next year. This would be a huge step for the state, as this ballot would protect anyone over the age of 21 from criminal charges for possessing or purchasing marijuana. Keep your eyes on Louisiana during the next presidential election as its people vote and the state attempts to relieve itself of its current legalization ranking.
Currently, possessing marijuana in Kansas may result in some hefty fines. Those who are caught with any amount of marijuana on their person may face up to a year in prison and a $1,000 fine. If a person has a second offense for possession, they may be convicted of a felony and face three and half years in prison, as well as a possible $100,000 fine (yes, all of those zeros are correct!).
The majority of Kansas voters believe that medical marijuana should be legal in the state. However, the Kansas legislature disagrees. Two legislature members recently introduced bills that would allow those who are ill access to medical marijuana in Kansas; both bills were shot down during the session. Even with overwhelming support from its citizens, Kansas refuses to budge on its legalization stance.
There is a possibility that marijuana becomes federally legal, in which case numerous states will follow the newly introduced federal regulations. My best guess puts Louisiana third to last, Kansas second, and Idaho last. However, even with valuable education about marijuana and its healing properties, only time will tell how long country-wide legalization will take.
Which states do you feel belong on this list? Let us know which states you would like to see addressed for a future legalization article and we are happy to feature them!