How epic was 2016 for cannabis? Well, when the number of legal states with marijuana access double in a year, you can consider that a groundbreaking year. Add in another four states with medical marijuana programs, and you start to see a trend that will be tough to reverse — no matter who is the attorney general.
- RELATED STORY: Altered States: 5 Best Places to Visit for Cannabis Lovers
As the nation prepares for a new administration, Canna Law Blog, an influential platform run by a team of 1o cannabis attorneys. posted a ranking of states based on how they treat cannabis and citizens who consume it.
Oregon became a legalized marijuana state in 2014 when voters overwhelmingly supported Measure 91. According to Canna Law Group. it has already surpassed Colorado (No. 2) and Washington (No. 3), the first two states to legalize recreational adult use.
Daniel Shortt, author of the list, explains Oregon’s top ranking:
Determining the top state in this series was not easy. There was significant debate among our cannabis lawyers as to whether California, Colorado, Oregon, or Washington should take top honors. … One of the prime determinants for us was Oregon not having a residency requirement, as we see this as very business friendly and making it much easier for cannabis businesses to secure funding.
Colorado earned its second-place ranking partly based on its influence nationally, according to Shortt:
One could argue that Colorado’s successful legalization has done more for legalization nationwide than that of any other state. One could also make a good argument for Colorado having done more to end the stigma surrounding cannabis than another state.
South Dakota is considered the least cannabis-friendly state. Why? Shortt explains:
Cannabis is totally illegal in South Dakota. It is not available for either recreational or medical use and it has not been decriminalized. And South Dakota has some of the strictest penalties for cannabis possession in the country.
The maximum penalty for selling more than a pound of weed is 25 years in the state penitentiary. Even being caught in possession of a bong or any cannabis paraphernalia can lead to a 30-day stint in prison and a fine of $500.
For a complete list, visit the Canna Law Blog.