Brendan M. Lynch
KU News Service

Cannabis country: Researcher forecasts next 5 states likely to OK recreational marijuana

Tue, 03/03/2015

LAWRENCE — With laws going into effect last week that legalized recreational marijuana in both Alaska and Washington, D.C., a researcher into the history of cannabis’ acceptance has predicted the next five U.S. states where voters could be inclined to approve marijuana use for relaxation and enjoyment.

Barney Warf, professor of geography at the University of Kansas, is the author of “High Points: An Historical History of Cannabis,” published in the peer-reviewed journal Geographical Review in September 2014.

Warf said legalization can be “hard to predict,” but he made his forecast of states expected to legalize cannabis based on their current laws and voter leanings.

“All five of these states have legal medical marijuana and tend to be liberal or libertarian in voting patterns,” he said.


  1. California: “Recreational cannabis almost was legalized in the past, and California voters are sure to do so in 2016.”
  2. Nevada: “Nevada shares the libertarian sentiments of Alaska.”
  3. Vermont: “There’s a strong liberal tradition there in Vermont.”
  4. Illinois: “'The Land of Lincoln' is surprisingly progressive on this issue.”
  5. New York: “New York legalized medical marijuana last year.”

To schedule an interview with Warf, contact Brendan M. Lynch, public affairs officer with KU News Service, at 785-864-8855 or

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