Friday, September 25, 2020

Federal Marijuana – Guessing the Last State to Legalize

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So let me just start off by saying that this is all pure speculation (obviously) around federal marijuana. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t have some fun trying. When we say federal marijuana, we’re talking about the last state to join the federation of other states. Not to be confused with federal legalization, which is far more likely to happen than us seeing one last state not recreationally legalizing. Let’s ignore the chances of that for the moment and analyze the trends.

Political Alignment

One of the easiest trends to analyze is whether the state votes blue or red. Over the last four presidential elections there are:

  • 16 that the Democrats won every presidential election
  • 22 that the Republicans won every presidential election

This leaves 12 states somewhere in the middle.

  • 7 that the Democrats won 3 out of 4 presidential elections
  • 2 that the Republicans won 3 out of 4 presidential elections
  • 3 that have voted Democrat and Republican 50/50

Of the 16 blue states, 7 have legalized recreational cannabis, or almost 44%. These states are Washington, Oregon, California, Illinois, Vermont, Massachusetts and Maine [1].

Of the 22 red states, just 1 has legalized recreational cannabis. Alaska is currently the only “red” state to have legalized recreational cannabis, making up less than 5% of the group.

The other two states with legal recreational cannabis are Colorado and Nevada, who have voted democrat 3 out of the last 4 elections.

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It’s hard to argue that the above trend between legalization and political preferences doesn’t exist. But what about Alaska? Alaska is one of only two states not directly connected to mainland United States. Another factor could be that it is landlocked on one side by Canada, the second country in the world to fully legalize recreational cannabis. Uruguay was the first, and Luxembourg will become the third.

Going forward we’re assuming that any state that has voted Democrat at least twice out of the last 4 presidential elections will not be the last state to legalize.

This leaves 23 states left.

federal marijuana

Disclaimer: We cannot guarantee the accuracy of this article at the time of reading. We take no responsibility for any inaccurate information.

Medical Marijuana

We believe that another reasonable assumption to make is that medical marijuana is a likely middle step before recreational marijuana. Most of the first states to legalize medical marijuana were also the first to legalize recreational marijuana. California was first to medically legalize in 1996, and was fifth to recreationally legalize in 2016. Oregon, Alaska and Washington all medically legalized in 1998, and were all in the first 5 states to recreationally legalize.

This assumption rules out another 9 states, as Arizona, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Utah and West Virginia all have legalized medical marijuana.

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This leaves 14 states left.

federal marijuana

Decriminalized Marijuana

Another huge step toward legalizing recreational weed is to decriminalize it in the first place. Of those 14 states, Nebraska, North Carolina & Mississippi have decriminalized cannabis use.

We’re now down to 11 states in the running to be last to join the federal marijuana movement.

federal cannabis

Liberal Cities for federal marijuana

Our next assumption is that liberal cities in otherwise conservative states will likely want to jump on board. This reason is a bit of a stretch, but larger cities in general are where the big changes happen.

For this reason, we’ve decided to eliminate Texas. If you’re not from America, you’d probably think of Texas as that stereotypical hunting, shooting and oil obsessed state. If you do think that you would be right. The larger cities in Texas however in general lean more toward the liberal side than conservative. Austin, the capital of Texas has been described as “a blueberry in the tomato soup of Texas”. You’d be forgiven if you’ve never heard that saying before, as that sounds like a terrible combination. El Paso, Dallas, San Antonio and Houston are also quite liberal cities. Five of the six largest cities in Texas primarily voted Democrat at the 2016 elections, with only Fort Worth voting Republican [2].

We’re also striking out Georgia for the same reason, as Atlanta the state capital and largest city is considered quite progressive. It’s home to the countries busiest airport, and even has its own Real Housewives series. In the 2016 elections, the 6 largest cities in Georgia all primarily voted Democrat [3].

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This leaves 9 states; South Dakota, Kentucky, Kansas, Tennessee, Alabama, Wyoming, Idaho, Indiana & South Carolina.

federal marijuana

Related:
The Marijuana Laws Of Mississippi

Consistent Republican States

Of the 9 remaining states, we’ve looked at the last time the state primarily voted Democrat. The results are as follows:

  • Alabama – 1976
  • Idaho – 1964
  • Indiana – 2008
  • Kansas – 1964
  • Kentucky – 1996
  • South Dakota – 1964
  • South Carolina – 1976
  • Tennessee – 1996
  • Wyoming – 1964

Because of this we’re going to eliminate Indiana. We’re also eliminating Kentucky and Tennessee. They haven’t voted Democrat in 23 years, however this is still shorter than the rest of the group who haven’t voted Democrat in at least 43 years. Of course voting Democrat doesn’t necessarily mean the state is for or against legal marijuana, however the trends do suggest this. We’re also running out of ideas to eliminate states, so goodbye Kentucky and Tennessee.

usa weed

Federal Marijuana – Our guess

With only 6 states left we think we’ve narrowed it down enough to have a guess. It’s a toss up between Wyoming and Alabama for us. Both states are very conservative when it comes to almost all of their policies. Although Wyoming is considered the most conservative US state [4], we think that the fact it borders Colorado might give it a slight edge over Alabama. Only time will tell however to see which state will be the last to join the movement of federal marijuana. Or maybe not, given legalization at a federal level is more probable.

alabama cannabis legalization

References:
[1] – https://www.businessinsider.com.au/legal-marijuana-states-2018-1?r=US&IR=T
[2] – https://www.texastribune.org/2016/11/11/analysis-blue-dots-texas-red-political-sea/
[3] – https://www.nytimes.com/elections/2016/results/georgia
[4] – http://worldpopulationreview.com/states/most-conservative-states/

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