States Update

Map of US with cannabis leaf
Approximately 15 states have established a path to legalizing marijuana. Some are further along than others. 2016 will be the next big year for recreational ballot measures. Meanwhile, the following obtains:

There is a general election vote in August 2014 that will likely approve a regulatory scheme similar to that of Colorado, plus a $50 per-ounce tax.

There are over 200 unregulated dispensaries in Oregon, and a need for regulation. A poll last year showed support for legalization at 57%. The legalization measure should appear on a November 2014 state ballot.

New Hampshire
In January 2014 New Hampshire’s House of Representatives voted to legalize marijuana in some capacity. The move awaits committee votes and the governor’s signature. Rhode

Rhode Island
The country’s smallest state may legalize marijuana this summer. Rhode Island has already passed medical marijuana and limited decriminalization laws.

55% of Californians support legalizing marijuana, but the defeat of Proposition 9 in 2012 has many proponents wishing to wait until 2016 for an expensive media push. However, the Control, Regulate and Tax Marijuana Act, as well as two legalization initiatives, have been submitted and California could move forward as early as late 2014.

In December 2012 the first state-licensed dispensaries began to open after years of legal challenges. The success of the medical marijuana programs augurs well for 2016—not before; this is a conservative state.

Maine residents are overwhelmingly in favor of legalization: 60% to 40%. Maine came close to legalizing marijuana in 2012 but industry insiders, fearing competition and taxes, undermined the efforts. Look for legalization in 2015.

Massachusetts is still rolling out a medical marijuana program that was legalized in 2012. The state will be ready for legalization in 2 to 3 years.

The state may be the first to recognize out-of-state cards for customers at its medical marijuana dispensaries, as implemented in 2013. The hope is for full legalization in 2015.

Although medical marijuana legislation was enacted in early 2014, so far only five dispensaries have opened. Strong market potential with tourists across New England.

New York
Full legalization is several years away although there is ample support for both recreational and medicinal marijuana.

Legalizing medical marijuana in late 2014 is possible. Aging population and tourism would lead to a healthy recreational market.

Hawaii legalized medical marijuana in 2000. It has yet to legalize dispensaries.

Medical marijuana legalization passed in 2011. The first dispensary could open in late 2014.

About Douglas Slain

Doug received a JD from Stanford Law School, a MA from the University of Chicago, and a BA from DePauw University (Phi Beta Kappa). After practicing real estate and finance law at then Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro, he founded four national monthly law reporting titles now owned by Thomson-Reuters. He served two consecutive terms as chairman of the American Bar Association’s General Practice section’s Professional Responsibility Committee. Slain was an ABA-appointed rule of law consultant to the Ministry of Economy for the Republic of Latvia as its secured transactions adviser. He taught briefly at Stanford Law School as an adjunct clinical law professor. Slain has been the managing partner of Private Placement Advisors since August 2009. In January 2013 he founded Outliers Network.

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