More than 40 U.S. states could allow some form of legal marijuana by the end of 2020, including deep red Mississippi and South Dakota — and they’re doing it with the help of some conservatives.
State lawmakers are teeing up their bills as legislative sessions kick off around the country, and advocates pushing ballot measures are racing to collect and certify signatures to meet deadlines for getting their questions to voters.
Should they succeed, every state could have marijuana laws on the books that deviate from federal law, but people could still be prosecuted if they drive across state lines with their weed, because the total federal ban on marijuana isn’t expected to budge any time soon. The changes could usher in even more confusion for law enforcement and escalate the pressure on Congress to act. Federal bills are crawling through Congress, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell firmly against legalization.
But at the least, hopes will be high that federal hurdles to researching the effects of pot and restrictions on banking in the cannabis sector will ease.