After one of the most outrageous election cycles in American history, the geography of American marijuana laws quietly changed. 3 states joined Washington, Washington D.C., Alaska, Oregon, and Colorado with successful ballot measures legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. Florida also joins the ranks of states where psychoactive variations of THC can be used for medical purposes.
The above map shows the updated status of marijuana legality across the nation reflecting to successful ballot iniatives of the 2016 election cycle.
The geography is interesting to consider. The west coast is the geographic bastion of legal recreational marijuana use. This isn’t hard to believe considering the historically liberal attitudes these states have held when legislating the plant. In the mid 1990s the effort to legalize medical marijuana originated in California and spread in a similar fashion.
Massachusetts, nestled in the similarly minded New England region of the northeast united states, becomes the first east coast state to legalize marijuana recreationally. Considering the trend of medical marijuana in the region, it is likely to become similar to the west coast, with legality slowly permeating through the ballots of all the northeastern states.
The southeast, more conservative with this type of legislature, allows nonpsychoactive treatment of a limited number of medical conditions. This includes THC in droper or pill form but not in its plant form. Florida marks the first step in introducing legislation to the region in the form of psychoactive medical treatment. This is the plant form of marijuana that contains THC that many people may be familiar with.
Washinton D.C.’s previous decision to legalize recreational use is interesting considering it’s geography. It’s nestled at the crossroads of the southeast and New England, two regions which have different legislative opinions regarding the plant. D.C. is unique in that recreational use is legal but you can’t legally buy it anywhere in the district. Marijuana dispensaries are not allowed to operate within its borders.
In the middle of the country in the breadbasket of the Great Plains, marijuana remains illegal in all forms, medical or recreationally. As of today, 7 states remain where marijuana is completely illegal. If marijuana continues to be a state’s decision, these states will likely be the last to legalize medically and recreationally, if they ever decide to