Which States Will Be Next to Legalize Recreational Marijuana?

Which States Will Be Next to Legalize Recreational Marijuana?
Kate McKee Simmons

Which states will be the next to legalize recreational marijuana? Five states have ballot measures that, if passed, would allow the use of recreational pot. Here's a rundown of the latest polling:

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Welcome to Arizona road sign

Arizona: Too close to call
44 percent for, 45 percent against

Arizona State University's Morrison Institute of Public Policy and ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication teamed up with the Arizona Republic to sponsor a poll on Proposition 205 that was published the first week of September. The poll indicated that 50 percent of voters favor Prop 205 and only 39.9 percent oppose it. Ten percent were undecided at the time.

Despite a vocal campaign and a barrage of television ads in opposition to legalization, including some advertisements with Colorado locals (hello, Wellington Webb) speaking against it, that percentage has held true. In another Arizona Republic/Morrison/Cronkite News poll released on October 20, 50 percent of registered voters still favor 205. The opposition has risen slightly, according to the poll, from 39.9 percent to 42 percent. Undecided voters clock in at 8 percent, and there's a margin of error of four percentage points. 

A more recent poll, conducted by Phoenix-based Data Orbital, has the race neck and neck, with 45 percent of voters opposing the bill and 44 percent in support.

This one is too close to call.

"Welcome to California" road sign.EXPAND
"Welcome to California" road sign.

California: Likely
60 percent for, 40 against

A poll conducted in early September by USC Dornsife and the Los Angeles Times showed 58 percent of California voters support Proposition 64 and 34 percent oppose legalization. Other polls conducted since then show similar numbers.

KPIX 5 and Survey USA tackled the issue a few weeks later and found that 52 percent of respondents favored Prop 64, while 41 opposed the measure. But the latest Field/IGS Poll found that 60 percent of state voters are supporting the measure.

While support ranges from 52 to about 63.8 percent in recent polls and opposition ranges from 34 to 40 percent, the likelihood of the measure failing is low.

Welcome to Maine road sign
Welcome to Maine road sign

Maine: Likely
53 percent for, 38 against

The latest poll from the Portland Press Herald, conducted between September 15 and 20, has 53 percent of respondents in favor of Question 1 and 38 percent against it. Maine is unique because favorability for legalization is not strongest just among millennial voters: Every age group, with the exception of 65-plus, favors legalizing a recreational market for marijuana.

One question on the Press Herald poll — regarding how many people have actually tried cannabis — led to an interesting insight: A surprising 60 percent of participants reported having tried marijuana at some point in their lives. This could be an indication of why support is so high in the state.

"Welcome to Massachusetts" road sign.
"Welcome to Massachusetts" road sign.

Massachusetts: Likely 
55 percent for, 40 against

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A September survey conducted by WBUR, a Boston public-radio station, and MassINC Polling Group found that 50 percent of respondents favored legalization and 45 percent opposed it. After that, many speculated that the race would remain too close to call, but a poll that came out last week, conducted by the same groups, found that 55 percent were leaning toward legalization while 40 remained against the measure.

The original five-point gap has grown to a fifteen-point margin, which indicates that the measure will likely pass in November.

Las Vegas welcomes you.
Las Vegas welcomes you.

Nevada: Likely
53 percent for, 39 against

Nevada is ready. It was the first state to put marijuana on its 2016 ballot, and with the longstanding medical cannabis infrastructure already established in the state, legalization seems to be a sure bet.

A poll conducted by KTNV and Rasmussen Reports shows that 53 percent of Nevadans support legalization, compared to just 39 who oppose it. Those numbers are up from a poll conducted in July, which showed 50 percent in favor, 41 against.

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