POLITICS
08/12/2013 05:50 pm ET Updated Aug 13, 2013

Alaska, Rhode Island Will Legalize Marijuana Next, Federal Pot Law Will Change In 2019: MPP's Rob Kampia

As support for marijuana legalization continues to grow, Rob Kampia, the executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project, believes that momentum will drive two more states to follow Colorado and Washington in legalizing recreational weed in 2014.

In a recent interview with Reason, Kampia made several legal pot predictions.

"I think the next state to legalize will be Alaska, through a ballot initiative that we're running in August of 2014," Kampia said to Reason. "Through state legislatures, I think the first state is going to be Rhode Island."

Kampia went on to predict that many other states will also be voting on marijuana legalization on the same day in 2016, including: California, Nevada, Arizona, Maine and possibly Massachusetts.

Alaska and Rhode Island both appear to be poised for legalization. In Alaska, Public Policy Polling recently surveyed voters and found that 54 percent are currently in favor of legal weed.

Rhode Island decriminalized less than an ounce of marijuana back in April and a separate bill rolled out this year would legalize marijuana for recreational use. A survey last year conducted for the Marijuana Policy Project by Public Policy Polling found that 52 percent of Rhode Islanders would support treating weed no differently than alcohol.

Kampia's final, and perhaps boldest, prediction was that federal marijuana law would finally change before the end of the decade. "My prediction, changing federal law will be 2019," Kampia said. "But we're going to have to deal with a lot of difficult states after 2019, like Mississippi and Alabama."

Support for marijuana legalization reached a high point in 2013, when polls showed a majority of Americans were in favor of turning away from federal law, which currently considers the drug a Schedule I controlled substance, alongside heroin, PCP and LSD. Weeks after a Pew Research Center survey found 52 percent of Americans in favor of legalizing marijuana use, a HuffPost/YouGov poll found that 51 percent believed marijuana should be "legalized, taxed, and regulated like alcohol."

Voters in Colorado and Washington voted to legalize limited amounts of marijuana for recreational use last November and earlier this month, Illinois joined 19 other states and Washington, D.C., in legalizing marijuana for medical use.

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