Is it possible that in just two years most people in the United States will live where adult-use marijuana is legal? That’s the opinion of a marijuana industry political fundraiser, even if the U.S. Congress does not decide to make marijuana legal nationwide.
Graham Boyd, who runs the cannabis-focused New Approach PAC, thinks state lawmakers will play as big a role in legalization as voter referendums.
“Within the next two years, a majority of the United States will have adult-use legal cannabis,” Boyd told Rolling Stone. “And some of that, roughly half of that, could happen through state legislatures.”
Adult-Use Marijuana Acceptance
If lawmakers do pass legalization bills in 2019, they will finally catch up with the voter sentiment that has prevailed in much of the country the past few years. Some have hoped this could lead to making marijuana legal nationwide, but it still may happen in a state-by-state fashion.
Adult-use marijuana voter referendums passed in California, Massachusetts, Nevada and Maine in 2016. In 2018, Michigan voters approved adult-use sales. More than 30 states also now have approved medical marijuana sales.
Additionally, a Gallup Poll in the fall of 2018 found 66% of adults in the United States support making marijuana legal, the highest number ever. And the U.S. Congress passed a Farm Bill that makes hemp products legal, which could lead to a boom in CBD products.
The fact that Canada also made medical and recreational marijuana legal nationwide in October 2018 has led to more acceptance.
Marijuana going mainstream has been the theme in the last couple of years. Now, the focus is shifting on just how big the legal marijuana industry can become and how this translates into more products and services for consumers.
The Year of Weed
All these factors coming together led Rolling Stone to predict that 2019 will be the “Year of Weed.”
The magazine names New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Illinois as states that could potentially legalize marijuana.
There’s still a long way to go for marijuana in the U.S., however. Federal law still lists cannabis – or, more specifically, cannabis products with THC – as a Schedule I illegal drug, despite it being legal in so many states.
And cannabis businesses still cannot get banking services or tax deductions.
Still, for cannabis consumers, the choices are rapidly growing in states where cannabis is legal. Everything from artisan cannabis cigars to specialty restaurant dishes are hitting the market. And the industry continues to create thousands of new jobs both in the U.S. and Canada.
Still, as one expert told Rolling Stone: “Prohibition is a tangled web that took years to build, and it’s going to take years to unwind.”