We asked, you answered: How many states have legalized marijuana for recreational use?
While it wasn’t on the ballot during the most recent election cycle, we used our November poll to ask readers, “how many states have legalized marijuana for recreational use?”
Only 21 percent of respondents knew the right answer: as of November 2017, eight states have legalized the recreational use of marijuana. These states are Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington (as well as our nation’s capital – Washington D.C.).
It is important to note that the legalization of marijuana for recreational use does not mean that selling marijuana is legal in each of these states. Just last month, Maine’s governor, Paul LePage, vetoed a bill that would allow recreational marijuana to be sold in his state. And, despite what states may do or say, cannabis use remains illegal at the federal level.
Still, it is likely that the number of states legalizing marijuana for recreational use will only grow in the coming years. A petition has just been submitted in Michigan to give its citizens the opportunity to vote on this topic and New Jersey leadership appears to be considering legalization, as well.
As laws continue to change across the country, it is important to consider how best to regulate recreational marijuana use to minimize its impact on adolescents and those susceptible to addiction. Despite what some may say, marijuana does pose significant health risks to children, teens, and adults, and we must take thoughtful, evidence-based steps to minimize these harmful consequences, before laws are changed.
Hannah Freedman is a communications and digital associate at Center on Addiction