Gone are the days when predictions on state legislations could be given based on the ruling party. The stereotypical belief of states being red or blue has been tossed out over time, especially in talks regarding cannabis legalization.
Everyone wants a piece of the cake.
There is a long list of states that may be the next to legalize the use, possession, and cultivation of recreational cannabis in the United States of America. While some are going to have to do through the ballot boxes, others may do so through their legislature. The point is these states are after the same thing, which is the establishment of a functioning recreational cannabis industry.
The reluctance of the presidency and the national legislature to decriminalize cannabis has not deterred these states from wanting to join the cannabis organization trend.
Cannabis legalization remains a controversial topic, which is why most politicians are willing to let voters take the lead on the issue, while they follow.
The Wind Of Cannabis Legalization
The United States is at a point where even the masses want cannabis legalized for recreational use. Just this year alone, about four states made marijuana legal. These states include New York, Virginia, Connecticut, New Mexico. This makes the total number of states with recreational laws 19 states.
These states have rules and regulations guiding their recreational industry. There are official bodies established to oversee the industry and carry out licensing operations. It is all very organized. The states who recently approved their recreational bills are still building up their industry and as such operations may not begin till mid/late 2022.
RELATED: States Most Likely To Legalize Cannabis In 2021
Cannabis remains illegal under federal laws, and any resident in states with legal cannabis commits an offense if they sell cannabis illegally. They can only make weed purchases at designated locations, and consumption of the drug can only be done at home or in safe spaces.
These state governments have made over $8 billion in tax revenues since the first state, Colorado, legalized marijuana in 2014.
Some states who are taking steps to full legalization of cannabis have at least decriminalized the possession of little quantities of cannabis. Such decriminalization laws impose little fines or tickets on offenders instead of prosecuting or locking them up. The law enforcers may carry out harsher penalties if an offender is caught with larger amounts of cannabis than is allowed.
RELATED: Republicans From Legal Marijuana States Won’t Vote To Legalize Federally
There are 36 states with legislation for medical cannabis. These states permit the use of marijuana for medical conditions like epilepsy, pain, mental disorders amongst others. The cultivation and sale of medical marijuana are regulated by official bodies that report directly to the state government.
States Expected To Legalize Cannabis
These states have been selected based on talks going round about them considering legislation processes. Their existing laws and official statements issued by politicians in or out of office have also been reviewed to confirm if they should be on the list.
Very little can be done this year by any of these states to approve their recreational bill. 2022 holds a lot of promise for recreational bills. Advocates can push bills to the ballots for the midterm elections, while lawmakers can sponsor their recreational measures during the 2022 legislative sessions to see it is approved.
The decision on recreational cannabis legalization will be put before registered voters during the midterm elections. Adrienne Jones, the State House Speaker, has assured that the measure will be on the 2022 ballot.
Currently, the state has a medical cannabis program that caters to registered patients. The program is headed by the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission.
Cannabis advocates in the state are pushing hard to ensure they get the recreational cannabis initiative on the 2022 ballot. They recently announced that they have completed the final language of the draft and are about to submit the first petition with the state. The progress of this measure depends on if they’re able to gather signatures to push the bill to the ballot.
Patients have had access to an active medical cannabis program since 2011. Early this year, two house representatives filed a bill to legalize the use of pot for recreational purposes. The legislature failed to take up the bill and instead chose to postpone the floor vote to early 2022. The next legislative session is slated for January 2022.
The lawmakers are currently moving to revise the current medical marijuana program. It is also planning to place a referendum for voters to approve adult-use marijuana in the midterm elections next year. The state also has a cannabis decriminalization bill that allows the possession of up to 10 grams of cannabis. Offenders are only issued fines.
An attempt was made in the legislature to pass a recreational bill in 2020, it fell through. Cannabis advocates are just gotten approval from the state to put a referendum before voters for the ballot in 2022. They are yet to gather the required number of signatures.
The state legalized its medical bill in 2016. Right now cannabis advocates are ceaselessly working to include recreation cannabis in the ballots next year, while lawmakers are also trying to pass a bill in the state’s legislature.
The state’s attorney general approved the legislature language in a petition some weeks ago. It’s up to the cannabis activists to secure enough signatures to take the bill to the ballots.
With these two channels, Ohio has more chances of having a rec bill by 2022.
The decision for recreational laws will be made by voters if the cannabis advocates groups, Arkansas True Grass, are successful in collecting the required signatures to get the initiation on the ballot in the upcoming midterm elections.
The above states are making the most efforts to guarantee their recreational cannabis bill is approved next year. There are other states also puffing in efforts behind the scene without attracting the media.
RELATED: Bill To Repeal Marijuana Prohibition Passes Critical House Committee
While all of this is going on, the federal legislature is also working on a final draft for the approval of federal cannabis reform policies.
2022 has a lot in store for the cannabis industry.
This article originally appeared on Cannabis.net and has been reposted with permission.