Legalization Efforts Sprout Up Across the Country

By Shawn Dwyer 09/24/14

The Marijuana Policy Project will push for legal weed in Arizona, Massachusetts, and California during the 2016 election.

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Following the successful push to legalize recreational marijuana in Colorado and Washington, the Marijuana Policy Project, a non-profit advocacy group working to reform marijuana laws across the country, is preparing for round two in their legalization efforts.

The MPP has officially announced committees that will push for full-on legalization in Arizona, Massachusetts, and Nevada. The group will also file paperwork on Wednesday with California's Secretary of State, Debra Bowen, in order to form a committee in the Golden State as well.

In 2012, legalization advocates scored two major victories when Colorado and Washington became the first states to allow for the legal use of recreational pot. With the MPP playing a vital role in both states, they're now looking to expand their efforts elsewhere.

“A diverse coalition of activists, organizations, businesses and community leaders will be joining together in coming months to draft the most effective and viable proposal possible,” said Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. “Public opinion has been evolving nationwide when it comes to marijuana policy, and Californians have always been ahead of the curve.”

California remains the biggest prize on the list. At the most populated state in the U.S., a victory in the Golden State in 2016 will no doubt be huge and could cause a domino effect across the rest of the country. The first state to legalize medical marijuana, California did make an attempt at full legalization in 2010 with Proposition 19, but the proposal failed at the ballot box by a narrow margin. This time, however, California seems poised to legalize pot with 55% of California voters being in favor of it.

Meanwhile, both Oregon and Alaska will go to the polls this November to vote on full legalization. Both states show a tight race so far, with 49% of Alaskans favoring legalization, while 51% of Oregon votes appearing to be in favor.

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Shawn Dwyer is a writer, editor and content producer living in Los Angeles. You can find him on Linkedin.