State of Cannabis: If I Could Turn Back Time….

Cannabis lawsMore than a year ago we started our series rating all fifty states on cannabis and last week we named Oregon as the top state. During that year, much has happened in the cannabis world, including some changes in various states that would have changed their rankings had they occurred previously. For example, we ranked Arkansas at number 40, which is now way too low for considering it has legalized medical cannabis. The same could be said of North Dakota, which we ranked at 33, but then turned around and surprised many by also voting to legalize medical marijuana.

Needless to say, many of our rankings engendered considerable controversy, particularly with respect to those states that substantially changed course after we had ranked them. So to salve at least some of you who were unhappy with our rankings, I very briefly will analyze the sort of changes we would make were we to start all over today, which we are not going to do, at least for the foreseeable future.

The Worst

41. Montana; 42. Iowa; 43. Virginia; 44. Wyoming; 45. Texas;  46. Kansas;  47. Alabama;  48. Idaho; 49. Oklahoma;  50. South Dakota.

We ranked South Dakota as the worst state for cannabis. Oklahoma and Idaho were also extremely close for this not-so-honorable distinction. These states generally have extremely harsh cannabis laws and no working form of medical marijuana, with many only allowing for High-CBD oil, if anything. Montana voted to reform its medical marijuana laws and that alone means that in any re-do Montana would rank higher for cannabis than the number 41 ranking we gave it.

The Bad

31. South Carolina; 32. Tennessee; 33. North Dakota; 34. Georgia; 35. Louisiana; 36. Mississippi; 37. Nebraska; 38. Missouri; 39. Florida; 40. Arkansas.

Like the bottom-ten, these states generally have harsh criminal penalties for cannabis and poor medical cannabis laws. This group though would look very different if we were to conduct a re-ranking since North Dakota, Florida, and Arkansas all legalized medical marijuana in November and those changes would catapult these states much higher in the rankings.

The Mediocre 

21. New Jersey; 22. Illinois; 23. Minnesota; 24. New York; 25. Wisconsin; 26. Arizona; 27. West Virginia; 28. Indiana; 29. North Carolina; 30. Utah.

These states generally have some good laws, be those fairly tolerant criminal laws or workable medical cannabis programs. Overall, these states did not change much since we ranked them. Interestingly, we probably received more criticism for our Arizona ranking than for any other state, with countless people e-mailing to insist that Arizona would be legalizing soon. Instead, Arizona was the only state that failed to approve a marijuana initiative on its ballot in 2016 and so its ranking would — if anything probably decline a few slots if we were to re-rank.

The Good

11. Maryland; 12. Connecticut; 13. Vermont; 14. Rhode Island; 15. Kentucky; 16.Pennsylvania; 17.Delaware; 18. Michigan; 19. New Hampshire;  20. Ohio.

These states are ahead of the curve with medical marijuana and had reasonable criminal penalties. However, in one of our more controversial rankings, we put Kentucky relatively high in our rankings not so much because of its mediocre medical marijuana program, but because it is a leader in reforming hemp laws.

The Best

1. Oregon; 2. Colorado; 3. Washington; 4. California;  5. Alaska; 6. Massachusetts;  7. Maine; 8. New Mexico; 9. Nevada; 10. Hawaii;

Our top ten featured the eight states that legalized recreational marijuana along with several states that have truly impressive medical marijuana programs. If we had it to do over again, we would rank Nevada right above New Mexico, but when we slotted Nevada in the 9 spot, it had yet to legalize recreational marijuana.

What do you think of our rankings now?

3 responses to “State of Cannabis: If I Could Turn Back Time….”

  1. Good reporting, Oregon is tops, and we had the benefit of Colorado and Washington St, and DC proceeding our efforts to throw off the schakles, and this is a small but important piece, change the use of the name from Marjuana to it’s true scientific name Cannabis. The slang
    term connotes a dark and illegal past, kind of like moon shine does
    today. Oregon is going to, Washington already did, so I expect this to go national when the rest of the country comes on board.

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