The cannabis industry has been gaining so much attention around the world and for positive reasons. It has been discovered to have many medicinal benefits and has been confirmed to be effective as a treatment for some illnesses that orthodox drugs haven’t had much success trying to cure. But also beyond the advantages of medicinal cannabis, there has also been a clamor for the legalization of recreational use of cannabis. And one of the biggest markets of cannabis is the U.S. that is responsible for about a third of the market size and sales.
Many states have legalized medical marijuana in the U.S., precisely thirty-three states have a functioning medical marijuana program. And eleven states have legalized both medical and recreational use. However, more and more states are looking to come into the recreational market and we would be highlighting some of these states and how far they have come with the process and how close they are to its legalization. One of the reasons for the growing interest in legalizing recreational marijuana is the fact that the black market is huge and the states would only be shooting themselves in the foot if they don’t weigh the options.
The legalization of recreational marijuana by more states gives them more control over the quality of the product that is consumed by the populace and can put quality control measures in place. Another reason is that whether the government likes to acknowledge it or not the black market is a huge money-spinner, and at one point or the other, you feel the government would fancy their chances of converting some of this cash into taxes. Truth is in comparison to opioid cannabis is by far a healthier and safer option and there is little to no possibility of an epidemic outbreak, worst is a real terrible high. Having cleared that out, let’s proceed and see some of these states.
New Jersey has had a strong and stable medical marijuana program that has recorded remarkable growth in the past few years courtesy the expansion program introduced by Gov. Phil Murphy. The state is now actively pushing to be one of the first states in the east to legalize recreational marijuana. There would be a vote in 2020 by the citizens as the legislators voted in December that the state should put it to the ballot. New Jersey to a huge step towards the legalization of recreational marijuana by decriminalizing the possession of cannabis. New Jersey also made a push for legalization in 2019 but was rebuffed by the lawmakers in the senate for a lack of support. A recent survey showed that currently, about 60% of its adults are in support of the legalization. If the vote is in favor of legalization, there will be a constitutional amendment to that effect.
New York also made attempts to push for the legalization of marijuana last year but the attempt was aborted. The move was thwarted by a disagreement between Gov. Cuomo and the legislators over the allocation of generated resources from marijuana sales. The senators, Liz Krueger and Crystal People-Stokes who pushed for the legalization have stated that they would make a better-proposed bill in 2020 that would make up for the allocation issues and social justice that affected its passage last year. The Governor himself is also making efforts by partnering with Connecticut Governor to draft a joint proposal as touching regional matters.
Florida has one of the most profitable medical marijuana programs in the U.S. and its medical program has put it comfortably in the top 5 highest earners from the cannabis market seriously giving guys who have legalized recreational marijuana like California and Colorado a run for its money. The state currently has two campaigns looking to get the state to a ballot in 2020. Having cleared the first hurdle of pushing for a ballot, the next step is to get about 800,000 signatures in support of the ballot and finally would require a 60% vote in its favor to get a constitutional amendment. With the campaign movement putting so much effort into the entire they were able to raise $8.8 million. However, they couldn’t meet up with the deadline and so they have decided to make the petition in 2022 as the petition is valid for two years.
As one of the states in the West where the cannabis market is really huge in the U.S., Arizona is trying to chase the numbers of its counterparts such as California and Oregon. It made its first attempt in 2016 but it narrowly missed the cut. And if history is anything to go by a second attempt in the cannabis industry at recreational legalization always results in success. The state has prepared a second proposal named Smart and Safe Arizona Act. The aim of the campaign is to get 230,000 signatures before July 2020 in order to qualify for the November 2020 ballot.
Oklahoma recently established its medical marijuana program but is wasting no time in making efforts for the legalization of recreational marijuana and has made a push by making a petition named the State Question 807 on the 27th of December 2019 and the campaigners hope that the campaign can get the much-needed signatures needed to push the petition to ballot. Getting an Oklahoma medical marijuana card requires applying with the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority as all that is needed is a physician’s recommendation as there is no list of qualifying conditions.