or to vote comment and more!
The vote on the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act took place a day before April 20 — or 4/20 — the unofficial holiday that commemorates all things marijuana.
The cannabis industry is making strides in other ways as well. Since the November elections, several states, most recently New Mexico and Virginia, have taken steps to legalize marijuana sales for adult recreational use. Others, including New York, New Jersey and Arizona, have also gone that route. And more states are expected to follow suit.
Consider where things stand. Already this year New Mexico, New Jersey, New York and Virginia have legalized weed, which if you add them to the existing legal states, means some 43% of the U.S. population now lives in states where recreational marijuana is legal, as noted by Vox in a recent story headlined "Marijuana legalization has won." On tap this year are possibly Connecticut, Delaware, Minnesota and Rhode Island, while others like Wisconsin and Maryland are considering it as well. The record years for states legalizing weed were 2016 and last year at four.
Today, more than two-in-three Americans support marijuana legalization, including 49 percent of respondents who self-identify as “conservative,” according to Gallup’s 2020 polling. Even in a historically conservative state like Texas, nearly two-in-three respondents, 64 percent, supported legalizing and taxing marijuana in the 2021 Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation Poll.
In the span of eight short years, the number of states in the U.S. allowing adult-use marijuana has gone from zero to fifteen. Most of these efforts have happened via state-wide ballot initiatives.
Here’s a summary of five key states to watch:
Voters approved a slew of marijuana legalization initiatives during November’s election—in states around the country and across the political spectrum—but activists aren’t slowing down. They expect that 2021 will see another surge of reform in state legislatures.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced Sunday that he had signed into law a package of criminal justice legislation that includes decriminalization of cannabis possession.
“Every Virginian deserves access to a fair and equitable criminal justice system,” Northam said in a statement on Sunday. “These bills combat mass incarceration, increase support for returning citizens, and ensure that those who have paid their debt to society have a meaningful second chance. I thank the General Assembly for working with us to build a more just and inclusive Commonwealth.”
As New Jersey’s cannabis legalization talks continue behind closed doors — and some speculate they may fall apart — people in the Garden State are still lighting up joints. According to federal government estimates, 22.2 million Americans have used marijuana in the past month. And depending on where you live and buy, the cost can be considerable.
Green Leaf Medical’s CEO Philip Goldberg expects to submit a medical marijuana dispensary application by Aug. 31, the final day for submissions as allowed by the New Jersey Department of Health Division of Medicinal Marijuana’s Request For Applications, announced on July 16.
In its current fundraising efforts to support expansion, the company has raised $6 million toward an $18 million goal.