Snowball effect of pot legalization. Which state is next?

In November 2012, both Colorado and Washington made monumental strides in social acceptance of recreational marijuana use and passed initiatives legalizing the practice. However, despite these new laws, authorities in both states remained wary of taking action because of fear of federal preemption. (Marijuana use under federal law is still illegal.)

However, it appears authorities in these states can now breathe a sigh of relief. Attorney General Eric Holder officially gave the approval for these states to proceed with establishing protocols surrounding the taxing and regulation of recreational marijuana usage within their borders.

The recent pronouncement on the federal level is certainly a win for pot advocates in these states, but it also opens the doors for other states in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana use.

So which ones are the most likely to follow suit? Experts have provided a list of the potentials:

Alaska

Although medical pot use has already been legalized in the state, a proposal to legalize recreational pot was certified in June 2013 and is predicted to retain the requisite signatures by the December 2013 deadline in order to appear on the ballot for a vote in 2014.

Arizona

In 2010, medical marijuana use was voted in via ballot. Along with Alaska, advocates are in the works of gathering signatures to include it in the 2014 ballot as well.

California

Although the initiative failed in 2010, advocates expect legal recreational pot use to be included on the 2014 ballot and pass this time around. Medical pot use is also presently legal in the state.

Nevada

The state of Nevada has had a harder time getting voter approval. However, experts estimate that legal recreational pot use will eventually be included in a ballot-but not until 2016.

Oregon

After inadequate coordination to get recreational pot use on the ballot last year, marijuana enthusiasts are confident it will be on the 2014 ballot and pass.

Maine

A recent failure to get a House vote on legalizing recreational pot use would likely put the issue on the ballot in 2016. However, Marijuana Policy Project advocates are prioritizing Maine as a top priority for pot legalization in the upcoming 2014 election.

Massachusetts

No official campaign or collection of signatures has been instituted for recreational pot legalization on the 2014 ballot. However, similar to Nevada, pot advocates say that it's highly likely Massachusetts will be among the upcoming states to pass a measure in 2016.

Montana

Experts predict that legal recreational marijuana use will likely be on the 2014 ballot after failing to pass in 2012. Pot for medical use, however, was passed in 2004.

Rhode Island

Along with Massachusetts, there is presently no serious campaign in the works to include recreational pot use on the ballot in Rhode Island for 2014. However, the state legislature considered a bill last year and it will likely be in the forefront in the next session.

Vermont

Presently, there are no efforts to include recreational pot use on the upcoming 2014 ballot. But, it's probable the issue will eventually pass. Voters are likely to reelect Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin who remains a strong advocate for legal marijuana use.

Time will tell

It remains to be seen just what states will actually pass the issue in the upcoming election-likely more than one may expect. The country is seemingly taking a turn regarding views toward marijuana usage. According to recent polls, approximately 50 percent of voters in all of these states believe pot should be legalized for recreational use.