Report: Legal Pot In 18 States By 2020

Thomas Nelson | HigherPerspective

A new report set to be released next month by ArcView Market Research predicts that by 2020, 18 states will have legalized marijuana. Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska already have.

The report was sponsored by marijuana-industry groups that have a pro-legalization tone. From Time:

The map has a lot of overlap with the places where the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), the group that helped launch legal weed in Colorado, already has workers on the ground in preparation for legalization votes over the next two years. Yet MPP is a bit more cautious in its outlook: the group believes 12 states could join Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska in allowing recreational pot by 2017. Unlike ArcView (whose executive director sits on MPP’s board), they’re not banking on legalization taking root in Montana, New Jersey or Connecticut over the next few years, according to spokesperson Morgan Fox. He says they’re concentrating current efforts in Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada. They see Texas — yes, Texas —as an outside possibility.

The report claims that 2014 will likely be seen as the tipping point year for legalization, when legalization on a national level became commonly assumed by the general public and elected officials. Gallup released a poll showing a slim majority of Americans, 51%, supporting legalization.

But there are deep pockets in the fight against legalization. Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson shelled out $5.5 million to defeat medical marijuana in Florida’s 2014 midterm election. It failed by 2%.

Additionally, advocates of legalization have lost large funders like Peter Lewis, who passed away in 2013. He alone has spent $40 million on the effort to legalize the harmless plant since 1980. The Marijuana Policy Project’s Mason Tvert says that while money is obviously important for their cause, “there’s no one individual who is going to be responsible for passing these measures.”

Other factors into the way the map seen above plays out is federal intervention. If the federal government leaves states that have legalized alone, we’re going to be much more likely to see more states move on it. Tvert figures there’s the possibility of an ‘unexpected event’ that will either thwart or boost the cause.

“A big part of this is really optics,” he says.

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