2014 Marijuana Legalization: The Beginning of America’s “Green” Rush?

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With Colorado’s recreational marijuana legalization up and running flawlessly, harvesting nearly $5 million in pot sales during the first week, others states seeking to reduce overhead, while increasing revenue, are now queuing up to legalize pot like Colorado and Washington state. And barring any federal intervention, America could soon find itself neck deep in a marijuana mutiny of the best sort. LEGALIZATION!

From the west coast of California, to Alaska, Vermont, Oregon, Florida, and even the sweltering hot state of Arizona – all are likely to see legislation to legalize recreational or medicinal marijuana during the 2014 calendar year.

1. California overwhelmingly support marijuana legalization for the first time, according to the Public Polling Institute of California’s findings, a  majority of Californians support the idea of marijuana legalization, a Field Poll released late last year reported. The survey confirms the  September poll found an even greater percentage voicing support for new legislation. Voters may get the chance to put their opinion on the ballot soon. California Cannabis Hemp Initiative 2014 is now gathering the 500,000 needed signatures to qualify a statewide legalization initiative for next year’s election.

2. Alaska is Pumped, proud, and ready to smoke: a group of marijuana legalization activists hoping to get their pro-pot initiative on the August ballot in Alaska, handed over to the state’s election office more than 46,000 signatures yesterday – almost 16,000 more than the required  30,000 needed to push forward the initiative.

3. The Green Mountain state has already gotten pretty green this past year by both decriminalizing marijuana possession and opening its first dispensaries. But Vermont too has seen what, in only a week, legalization has done for the state of Colorado. And like New York, they want to act–boldly. So, Vermont Senator David Zuckerman quickly introduced a bill that would tax and regulate marijuana like Colorado.

4.  November 2013, Oregon’s Senate Judiciary Chairman Floyd Prozanski presented legislation that would have asked voters if they wanted to legalize marijuana for adults 21 and over. There was already an initiative filed with the elections division that would skip the step of having to gain signatures to qualify the issue for a voting ballot. If the state were to go the legislative route, it would cover rules and regulations, like oversight and taxation. No matter how you slice it, it looks like Oregon’s marijuana legalization supporters are moving ahead.

5. Tired of feeling abused  by a runaway legal system and the ridiculous laws that drive it, Florida’s voters have just voiced their opinion in a new poll…and the results were not unanticipated. The chronic new poll clearly indicates more than 82% of Florida’s residents want medical marijuana legalized for the state’s sick and suffering.

6. In Arizona, Safer Arizona is sponsoring an initiative to amend the state constitution to allow for legal, taxed, and regulated marijuana use and commerce. The group filed the measure last week with the secretary of state. It now must gather 259,213 valid voter signatures by July 3, 2014 to qualify for the November 2014 ballot. Organizers there said it would be a grassroots campaign relying on volunteers. The conventional wisdom for initiatives in high signature-count states is that they require paid signature-gathering efforts to succeed at a rough cost of a dollar or more per signature obtained.

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