Is Your State Next in Line to Legalize Cannabis in 2021?

After the signature of Gov. Ralph Northam, Virginia will join 15 other states that have legalized cannabis for adult use. However, we have to wait till 2024 for the legalization to take effect.

Several contenders are likely to follow Virginia. Recreational legalization measures are on the table right now in at least 12 state legislatures. We can say that at this time of the year, it is a standard number.

According to Carly Wolf, NORML’s state policies director, the pressure is on. Lawmakers at every level of government need to take action. We can see that the political and public support continues to increase, he said.

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In a recent post, Leafly shared information on which state is most and least likely to legalize cannabis.

New Mexico

There are five adult-use bills in front of New Mexico’s Democrat-controlled House and Senate. They have to choose between those five bills until March 20.

For the new program, they include four initiatives that outline the framework. There is also a bill sponsored by the republicans it aims at the illicit market.

On the legislature’s priority list is finding a way for low-income patients to support medical cannabis. Moreover, to provide state grants for minority communities that have been affected by the prohibition.

Now the question is will New Mexico follow in the footsteps of Nevada and Illinois.

New York

Gov. Andrew Cuomo released a state budget last month. In it, he identified $100 million in expected recreational marijuana tax revenue. Moreover, in 2019, he backed up adult-use legalization.

However, things did not go the way he had planned. The Democrat-controlled Legislature couldn’t see eye-to-eye with him.

Marijuana Taxes

Pete Harckham is a Democrat from Westchester County. He said that marijuana taxes could help us do social good. We learned that by watching neighboring Massachusetts’ success with the plant.

Moreover, to support the minorities that are most affected by prohibition, he expanded a social equity fund. He did this after being scorned by his party. It happened because he was too fixated on raising revenue with marijuana.

If an adult-use proposal gets signed into law, the sales will start from July 1, 2021.

Connecticut

In the Tenth Feb budget request, Democrat Gov. Ned Lamont included adult-use cannabis. He asked that the recreational laws of Connecticut fall in line with the rules of other adult use-states. For instance, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Vermont.

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We should not surrender these opportunities, Lamont said. There is no need to give chances to out-of-state markets and underground markets.

If the legislature does not pass the legalization, advocates will put adult-use legalization on the 2022 ballot. That is the plan.

Bills

According to the leading legalization bill, LCO 3311, individuals can legally possess marijuana. However, they have to be 21 and older to own up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana. Also, in 2022 the retail sales will start.

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Additionally, people would not be able to grow it at home. However, if they get caught, the penalty will not be solid. The bill will help adults convicted of previous low-level marijuana crimes. It will expunge their convictions.

Another bill,  HB 6377 is all about the expungement process. Moreover, it will help the state’s Native American tribes enter and become involved in the industry.

Minnesota

The path to adult-use legalization has been difficult for Minnesota. The Republican-led Senate appears poised to delay any adult-use proposal.

In 2019, forget legal marijuana, the state’s House legislators did not want to move forward with the legalization bill. Compared to that, this year has made a lot of progress.

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According to HF 600, an individual can possess up to 1.5 ounces of flower. Moreover, for low-level offenders, marijuana convictions of the past will get expunged. Also, it the first bill in favor of adult-use that made it out of the committee.

Favor and Opposition

Since 2018, Gov. Tim Walz (D-F-L) has publicly supported adult-use legalization. Moreover, he has also asked lawmakers to end prohibition during a budget address on 26 January.

Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka is a Republican who has opposed the legalization repeatedly. As a statewide initiative, adult-use will eventually make it on the 2022 ballot if needed.

Florida

In this session, it is unlikely that the legislators in Florida will legalize adult-use this session. However, to broaden access to medical marijuana, a number of bills are being prepared.

Alongside the bills came a separate move. It was about putting recreational use before voters as a state constitutional amendment in 2022. In 2016, the use of medical marijuana got approved in the ballot measure.

Furthermore, according to the Make It Legal advocacy group, they need about 200,000 more signatures.

The Republicans

In the state Legislature, for more than two decades, leaders are under the control of Republicans. They have always opposed legalizing recreational use. However, only one Republican state senator is in favor of legalization.

Sen. Jeff Brandes, a lawmaker from central Florida, sponsored a bill to make cannabis legal for people over 21.

Maryland

The legalization bill of cannabis in Maryland has a zero chance this session. However, the bill HB32 is important. It talks about issues like social equity and racial injustice.

It often takes years for the bills to gain majority support in state legislatures. In the long-game process, HB32 plays an essential part.

Del. Jazz Lewis, D-Prince George’s are in favor of the bill. They said that this year is about equity, now is the time to pass this ball. With HB32, tax and regulated cannabis will be legal for adults 21 and older.

Conclusion

Several states including, Hawaii and Pennsylvania are waiting to legalize cannabis for adult use. The cannabis Industry is spreading very rapidly. Moreover, by 2025 the annual market values will reach $30 billion.

We can say that technology has a big hand in shaping this industry. It is time that these states gear up and access the full benefits of this industry. Now, all we have to do is wait for 2021 and see what happens.

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