Proponents of cannabis legalization have had success in the past by portraying it with Republicans as a state rights issue, but some Republicans who favor decriminalization are likely to be unhappy with the removal of cannabis-related criminal convictions and equity grant provisions. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer`s Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act would decriminalize weed at the federal level and allow states to set their own marijuana laws without fear of sanctions from Washington. President Joe Biden recently issued an executive order pardoning more than 6,000 people charged with possession of marijuana by the federal government. The president also asked the Department of Health and Human Services and Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate the classification of marijuana under federal law. It is currently classified as a Schedule 1 drug. SV: I don`t see the momentum we`ve seen toward federal legalization diminish in this scenario. Our readers should remember that an overwhelming majority of Mississippi`s Republican House and Senate passed the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act in January. As more red states legalize cannabis in one form or another, I predict that Republican members of Congress will continue to warm up to legal cannabis. Slates Veazey (SV): I`m going to look at this glass half full. Just last week, Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) unveiled their major Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA). Like the bill that passed the House of Representatives earlier this year (the MORE Act), these senators` bills would decriminalize cannabis at the federal level. And, as we`ve written many times, other federal laws (I`ll look at the SAFE Banking Act) have been gaining momentum for some time. This dam will inevitably break at some point.
We have also seen recent positive activity regarding cannabis research legislation. Add to that some rumors I`ve heard here at Magnolia State about actual meetings that have recently taken place between politicians and cannabis industry experts to define and eventually draft a set of regulations that the federal government would ultimately use as the basis for a federal cannabis regulatory program. So, yes, I`m going to say that we could see cannabis legally nationwide by 2024 or 2025. “Anyone caught here with a usable amount of marijuana will be charged accordingly,” El Paso Police Sgt. Enrique Carrillo told Nexstar partner KTSM. Aside from full legalization, which may not have enough support to overcome Senate filibuster, there has been bipartisan support from this Congress for a bill that would grant federal protection to banks working with marijuana companies in states that have taken steps to legalize the drug. “Gallup polls show that half of Republican voters now support legal marijuana. Support among young Republicans is particularly high, says Morgan Fox, policy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML): “It`s hard to find a problem right now that has as much public support as ending cannabis prohibition. It seems increasingly likely that bipartisan efforts will be made to legalize cannabis at the federal level in the coming years. HR: I think the dam will break slowly.
“SAFE Plus” (i.e., SAFE`s banking provisions combined with elements of social justice at the first stage, such as the withdrawal of marijuana-related convictions at the federal level) would come first. This would likely accelerate the growth of the state-legal cannabis industry, and once more people see that the sky isn`t falling as the industry grows, it will expand the coalition that supports broader cannabis reform. I think the broader reform would start with a change that would essentially leave states to regulate the production and sale of cannabis within their borders. This is essentially the status quo, but it would have a huge impact on cannabis operators` tax liability, as 280e would no longer prevent them from deducting certain business expenses. And the ability to transport cannabis in interstate commerce could lead to a fundamental shift in cannabis cultivation, with downstream effects on the market structure of the cannabis industry. Currently, 37 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana and 19 states have legalized marijuana for adults. Five states will vote on legalizing recreational cannabis in the 2022 midterm elections: Missouri, Arkansas, North and South Dakota, and Maryland. Cannabis is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States; Sales of adult and medical products reached $25 billion in 2021 and could reach $100 billion by 2030, according to Wall Street estimates.
Eighteen states have legalized cannabis for adults, and 19 others currently have at least one comprehensive medical marijuana program. In 2020, one in three Americans lived in a state with access to legal marijuana, according to Politico, and that number is growing rapidly as the East Coast catches up with the West — last year, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Virginia all passed adult cannabis laws, joining Maine. Massachusetts and Vermont. Rhode Island lawmakers are expected to approve a legalization bill this month. “This legalization will help right the wrongs of the war on drugs and, you know, help affected communities,” Kris Furnish, president of Maryland Marijuana Justice, told WOBC. “It was an attack on black and brown people from day one and it`s still true today.” Voting measures in Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, North Dakota and South Dakota gave voters the opportunity to legalize marijuana in the 2022 election. The Associated Press said Maryland voters approved legalization Tuesday night. However, legal cannabis also presents a huge financial opportunity, and despite the federal government`s inaction, the industry is growing rapidly. A report from cannabis website Leafly shows that there are more than 428,000 full-time jobs in the cannabis industry, with a 33% increase in jobs in the last year alone. Yet the consequences of the lack of federal legalization are being felt in many areas of society: medical research has stalled, prisoners are languishing in prisons, small businesses are going bankrupt, without access to federal banks, and large cannabis companies are facing major challenges in raising money to stay afloat as long as marijuana is illegal under federal law. The bill has been a long time coming — Schumer, with Sens.
Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) proposed a discussion bill more than a year ago — and his chances of passing it in the Senate are slim.