Increasingly, Red States Embrace Marijuana: The Kiplinger Letter

Ohio becomes the 24th state to legalize marijuana for recreational use via a voter referendum.

Ohio voters passed legislation legalizing marijuana for recreational use, with Florida possibly following. To help you understand further what is going on concerning the legalization of weed, and what we expect to happen in the future, our highly experienced Kiplinger Letter team will keep you abreast of the latest developments and forecasts (Get a free issue of The Kiplinger Letter or subscribe). You'll get all the latest news first by subscribing, but we will publish many (but not all) of the forecasts a few days afterward online. Here’s the latest…

Red states are poised to increasingly embrace weed. Ohio is the latest, becoming the 24th state to legalize marijuana for recreational use via a voter referendum. This follows successful efforts in the past two years in Montana and Missouri. Fourteen states have legalized marijuana for medical use only. 

However, legal marijuana isn't a done deal in Ohio just yet, as state lawmakers can modify or reject the voter-passed statute under state law. 

"This Ohio statute was written by the marijuana industry and should not be treated as a cash grab for their cash crop at the expense of a state trying to emerge from the opioid epidemic," Senate President Matt Huffman said on election night. "The Ohio General Assembly may consider amending the statute to clarify the questionable language regarding limits for THC and tax rates as well as other parts of the statute."

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Next up could be Florida, as the state’s supreme court decides if the language in a proposed voter referendum passes legal muster. Democratic states led the charge to legalize weed, which leaves more opportunities in red states for pot supporters. Two reasons for the quick spread: Tax revenue and public popularity.

This forecast first appeared in The Kiplinger Letter, which has been running since 1923 and is a collection of concise weekly forecasts on business and economic trends, as well as what to expect from Washington, to help you understand what’s coming up to make the most of your investments and your money. Subscribe to The Kiplinger Letter.

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Sean Lengell
Associate Editor, The Kiplinger Letter

Sean Lengell covers Congress and government policy for The Kiplinger Letter. Before joining Kiplinger in January 2017 he served as a congressional reporter for eight years with the Washington Examiner and the Washington Times. He previously covered local news for the Tampa (Fla.) Tribune. A native of northern Illinois who spent much of his youth in St. Petersburg, Fla., he holds a bachelor's degree in English from Marquette University.