Colorado and Washington took legalizing marijuana to the next level in 2014 by legalizing recreational marijuana at the state level. Licensed and regulated retail marijuana dispensaries, "budtenders" and grow shops have proliferated, resulting in significant tax revenues to the two states. However, regardless of state actions on their own criminal laws on marijuana, it remains federally illegal.
Other states have been watching the growing pains carefully to see if retail legalizing of marijuana or more lenient attitudes towards medical marijuana would work elsewhere. Here are the 10 states where support is highest for legalizing marijuana:
Amendment 64, which went into effect in 2014, allowed recreational pot grow operations, home marijuana gardens, cannabis clubs and an extensive selection of edibles manufacturing. The state is now defending itself against federal court cases by neighboring states that allege they are paying the price for Colorado's experiment through higher law enforcement costs as cannabis flows across the state's borders.
Initiative 502 passed with a 56 percent yes vote in 2012. The measure allows for retail cannabis shops, but does not allow recreational users to grow marijuana plants privately.
Urgent: Should Marijuana Be Legalized in All States?
The country's northernmost state voted by a 52-48 percent margin in November 2014 to allow recreational use, but most of the details were left to the state legislature, according to an Associated Press news report
The Golden State was the first to legalize medical cannabis back in 1996. However, Proposition 19 failed in 2010 with only a 46 percent yes vote. According to a poll by the Public Policy Institute of California, current support for 2016 recreational legalization is in the mid-50 percent range
According to ballotpedia.com, Measure 91, the Control, Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana and Industrial Hemp Act
, pssed with 56.11 percent 'yea' in November 2014. Most of the law goes into effect July 1, 2015, when Oregon residents will be able to possess up to 8 ounces of marijuana in their home.
Vote Now: How Do You Feel About Marijuana Legalization?
6. Washington, D.C.
Though not a state, the District of Columbia's Initiative 71 passed with 70 percent in favor. Due to Congress's oversight of the district's budget, the federal government was able to block some aspects of the initiative. D.C. residents are able to possess, use and give cannabis as gifts, but there is no legal method of purchasing it.
Ninety percent of Connecticut residents support medical use of marijuana, according to a Quinnipiac University poll
conducted in 2014. A smaller 52 percent majority supports allowing adults to possess recreational cannabis.
Ballot Question 2, which passed with 61 percent of the vote, gave the east coast its first medical marijuana state in 1999. Dueling legislative efforts and citizen initiatives are racing each other through the process to set the agenda for how cannabis would be regulated and how tax revenues would be spent in the state, according to the Bangor Daily News
Voters in the Silver State struck down full legalization efforts in 2002 and 2006, but advocates have been working early to qualify a ballot initiative for the 2016 election.
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Medical marijuana and limited decriminalization measures have passed here both with 63 percent in favor.
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