Market Overview

The Future Of Marijuana Policy: Northwest

The Future Of Marijuana Policy: Northwest

States from the Northwest have been leading the charge regarding marijuana legalization for years, and they are just getting started. Washington voted to legalize recreational marijuana in 2012, and its neighbors don't seem to be far behind.

See also: The Future Of Marijuana Policy - Southwest

Check out the slideshow for a list of states in the Northwest with either pending legislation or 2014 ballot initiative hopefuls.

**This is part one of a five-part series that covers every region of the United States. Check back soon to see the pending legislation/ballot initiatives in the Southwest**

  • Alaska (Recreational)


    Alaska is the most-likely state to be following in Colorado and Washington’s footsteps.

    The ‘Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Alaska’ has submitted more than 45,000 signatures to Alaska’s Division of Elections, far surpassing the minimum signature requirement (30,000).

    Poll numbers show 55 percent in favor of the initiative, similar to the figures in Colorado and Washington before the 2012 election.

    420 Investor Alan Brochstein sees Alaska as a potential “slam dunk” for the cannabis market, as adding a third state with recreational marijuana would expand the industry.

    Though Alaska is a small state in term of population, the new market could provide for big-time growth in the cannabis space.

  • Oregon (Recreational)


    Oregon is a very interesting case. The state has two major proposed ballot initiatives, as well as a bill in the Oregon state senate that would legalize marijuana for recreational use.

    The first initiative, the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act, would create a commission to license the cannabis cultivation, oversee processing, to set the price and to purchase the entire crop. That same commission would then resell the cannabis at cost to pharmacies and dispensaries.

    This proposal, which is a reworked version of a failed 2012 ballot, would fully legalize the recreational use of marijuana, but prohibits the regulation of hemp.

    The competing initiative is New Approach Oregon, which has big-time backing from the deep-pocketed Drug Policy Alliance, and from the late Peter Lewis (former chairman of Progressive). Their platform calls for the creation of a marijuana market that is regulated by the state’s liquor control commission, while also legalizing the possession and cultivation of plants.

    If both measures pass, the initiative with the higher plurality will go into law. The Oregon state legislature is also currently deliberating over SB 1556, which would legalize marijuana for recreational use. Though there was speculation that this bill would be referred to the voters, that rumor has been derailed, and it will stay in the hands of legislators.


  • Wyoming (Medical)

    Wyoming is in untested waters. Activists are attempting to kill two birds with one stone, by proposing a marijuana ballot initiative that will go from having no state provisions regarding Marijuana to fully legalizing it for recreational and medicinal use.

    The Wyoming chapter of NORML submitted a 13-page initiative proposal in January, and it is projected to be on the 2016 ballot.


  • Montana (Recreational)

    The Montana Marijuana Legalization Amendment failed to meet minimum signature requirements in 2012, and a spokesperson for the Marijuana Policy Project said that “the timing [isn’t] right” for 2014.

    Supporters for the Amendment have already announced that they plan to put the measure on the ballot in 2016.


  • California (Recreational)

    Even though four separate petitions have been filed with California election officials, there are not any initiatives that are projected to make it on the ballot. Similarly to Arizona, look for legalization initiatives in 2016.


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