The push to legalize marijuana is in full force and a look at just how swiftly attitudes are changing nationwide is nearly enough to make anyone start buying pot penny stocks left and right. Though there has been both disappointing and encouraging signs from the federal government in regard to eventual reclassification or legalization of cannabis, were still seeing a state-by-state domino effect take place. This year, several states will have prohibition-ending initiatives on the ballot.
What started in Washington and Colorado has spread to Oregon and Alaska. When this years election season unfolds, its likely that many other states – including the populous and influential California – will have legal pot laws on the books. The money and economic benefits are simply too hard to ignore.
Legalize marijuana? Not everyones on board
Even with resounding successes in Colorado, Washington, and Oregon, many people still arent convinced that ending cannabis prohibition is a good idea. There are still concerns, to be sure, and we still dont have a full grasp on what the endgame will look like for many years. But even so, many states and groups are steadfastly against the notion of legalization, and its unclear as to what, if anything, will change their minds.
For that reason, there are some states that may never see legalization, unless it comes from a change at the federal level. As for which states specifically, we looked at statewide polls and research into the harshness of penalties related to marijuana to compile a short list. Here are six states that may never legalize marijuana on their own.
Though Hotlanta is home to many rappers and liberal-minded folks who would likely fall squarely into the support legalization camp, Georgia is still a pretty conservative place. With that comes some strong resistance to cannabis legalization. A 2015 poll shows that less than half of the states residents support ending prohibition (though that may have changed), and punishments for possession are still among the worst in the country.
Nebraska finds its way onto the list due to the fact that it is another state with serious consequences for cannabis use and possession. Nebraskas a rural state, and its residents still have very conservative views when it comes to drug use – as seen by its rather harsh treatment of offenders. It was also one of the states that sued Colorado for its legalization law, citing increased law enforcement costs and drug trafficking. Needless to say, Nebraskans are still coming around to the idea of legal pot.
Oklahoma was another state (along with Nebraska) to sue Colorado in federal court, in an effort to undermine its neighbors legalization law. Oklahoma is also a largely rural, conservative state where many people are still not comfortable with the idea of ending cannabis prohibition. Oklahoma has been named the worst state for getting caught with pot by some sources, largely due to its incredibly harsh punishments for cultivation and possession. You could be sent to prison for life, in some circumstances.
Though its bordered by two states with legal pot in Oregon and Washington, Idaho is still firmly against legalization, by and large. Conservative culture and values play a large part in that, and a 2015 poll proves it. Only 31% of Idaho voters said that they would support legalization last year. The Marijuana Policy Project says there is little hope for change in the near future, as well.
Arkansas residents arent friendly toward the concept of legal marijuana, and theyve proven it at the ballot box. Over the past several years, voters in Arkansas have voted down initiatives to allow medical marijuana in the state, and punishments for possession and cultivation are fairly severe. Given that many of the states counties ban the sale of alcohol, it shouldnt be all that surprising.
A Vanderbilt University poll from a couple of years ago shows that only one-third of Tennessee residents are open to the idea of legalizing pot. Thats among the lowest in the nation, and though its unclear how much those numbers have changed over the past two years, support is likely still quite low. For that reason, legalization seems like a pipe dream – at least at this point.