After winning a big at the polls, the industry will benefit in several ways. First, it will have more customers. Second, it will be able to spend its profits in lobbying efforts. The alcohol industry has been successful at fighting various taxes and regulations. Although the marijuana industry will face a bigger challenge than prohibition, lobbying is a proven model. Third, the industry will have more access to money.
68 percent of Americans favor marijuana legalization
According to a recent survey, 68 percent of Americans favor legalization of recreational marijuana. This number includes independents, Democrats and even some Republicans. Several states have already legalized marijuana for adults. The largest number of legalization supporters is Florida, which legalized adult-use marijuana in 2011. Meanwhile, South Dakota and New Hampshire legalized medical marijuana. In addition to these, there are also 36 states with laws permitting access to medical marijuana.
The support for legalization of marijuana remains high among Democrats with a liberal political bent. But the number varies based on age, gender and household income. Legalization is more popular among younger adults, men and people with a household income of more than $100,000. It also remains popular with most middle-leaning Americans. But a significant minority of conservatives are opposed to marijuana legalization.
In the same survey, the Center for Drug Policy found that nearly six-in-ten Americans support legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational purposes. However, only eight percent of Americans are against legalizing marijuana for recreational use. Moreover, two-thirds of Democrats support legalization, while four-fifths of Republicans support it. The poll results are significant for those who support marijuana legalization.
Despite this support, legislators have been reluctant to pass laws legalizing marijuana. Only 13 of the 18 states where marijuana use is legal were passed through ballot initiatives. And despite the opposition, it is still popular among Americans – even among those who support Republican candidates. In addition to the state-level, recent polls found that support for legalization is 68 percent among Americans, while opposition is just two percent.
Several states vote to legalize weed
Several states have passed initiatives to legalize marijuana. In the midterm elections, these measures were on the ballot in New Jersey, Montana, South Dakota, and Mississippi. The first two states approved marijuana legalization through legislative action, but in the following election, four more states will decide on the issue. Marijuana advocates are fired up about the prospects for legalization in the coming months.
In Colorado, the medical marijuana initiative won 58 percent of the vote, but it fell short of the 60 percent threshold needed to pass. Opponents attributed this defeat to multimillion dollar donations from Sheldon Adelson, a conservative Republican donor and Las Vegas casino magnate. Adelson spent $5.5 million to fight the 2014 medical marijuana measure. The casino magnate has also donated millions to other states to fight recreational marijuana measures.
In South Dakota, voters approved Constitutional Amendment A on Election Day 2020. The law will allow adult residents aged 21 and older to possess up to three ounces of cannabis for recreational use. It will also establish two regulatory agencies for the sale and distribution of marijuana and allow marijuana-related arrest records to be expunged. In the next few years, the state will implement the new law. Meanwhile, Illinois legislators are considering new laws, including marijuana tours and the criminalization of underage users.
Colorado has the largest medical marijuana program in the country and is currently considering lifting its cap on the number of medical marijuana dispensaries. The state recently decriminalized weed up to 100 grams. It still has a felony-level penalty for possession of four ounces, and the penalties for possession exceed $100. In addition, recreational marijuana delivery is only legal in Aurora. Denver is also set to vote later this year.
Despite the recent electoral victory of marijuana legalization, the federal government has not yet enacted any laws to regulate the new industry. While the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act is an important step, it does not contain a clear regulatory framework. The Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act, sponsored by the Democratic-led group, and the States Reform Act, sponsored by the Republican-led group, do not include any regulatory frameworks. While this may be an ideal solution, it would also be difficult to accomplish given the Supreme Court precedents on commercial free speech.
Congressional leaders are soliciting input from stakeholders in the cannabis industry and criminal justice reform groups. However, the Senate has not yet taken any action on any of these measures. Whether or not they are considered controversial will likely depend on the level of support they receive from lawmakers. Schumer’s office did not respond to Newsweek’s request for an update. Despite the difficulties in passing these bills, some advocates are still hopeful.
The future of the marijuana industry is in doubt in some states because the legalization bill did not include provisions for people with prior marijuana convictions. The 2014 legalization bill did not include any provision for expungement, which is a crucial part of cannabis decriminalization. The legalization bill must also include provisions for people impacted by marijuana enforcement. The state must ensure that people with marijuana convictions have a place in the legal marijuana industry. Otherwise, this measure could exclude people who have been directly impacted by the criminalization of marijuana.
The federal government has an opportunity to address these issues by establishing a comprehensive regulatory framework. A regulated marijuana program could direct resources toward job creation and workforce development. If the government is serious about legalization, it should ensure that it has a clear policy framework for the new industry. The regulated marijuana industry must also be coordinated with the state’s medical marijuana program. If the federal government does not do this, it may risk compromising public health by arresting marijuana users.
Proponents of marijuana legalization are touting increased revenue and job growth as compelling reasons to pass this legislation. This idea is not only appealing to voters, but is expected to boost the state’s economy after winning a big election. The American Civil Liberties Union, for one, estimates that the federal government is spending a combined $3.6 billion a year to combat marijuana. This increase in tax revenue is expected to help states deal with the economic fallout that the recent economic crisis is causing.
The revenue generated by states that have passed legislation to legalize marijuana is expected to increase by more than $5 billion per year by 2025. That figure does not include the revenues distributed to smaller jurisdictions. As of 2019, states that have passed legislation to legalize marijuana are expected to generate $3.7 billion in tax revenue from sales of recreational marijuana. This figure does not include tax revenue generated by other sources, such as cigarette taxes. In California, the state’s marijuana legalization efforts will add up to 81,000 new jobs and an increase in total labor income of at least $3 billion per year.
The economic impact of cannabis legalization is estimated to be $19 billion by 2020. It was $12.1 billion last year and $10.8 billion in 2018, but most of that money is still illegal. This means that legal cannabis operators stand to make substantial profits. Additionally, a survey of Colorado local government officials found a substantial opportunity for local tax revenue. Moreover, local legalization of marijuana has also led to a significant improvement in the local economy.
Opposition to federal legislation
While it remains unlikely that Congress will pass any meaningful changes in marijuana policy this year, the majority of Americans support some form of legalization. The House, for instance, passed legislation last year that allows banks to do business with legitimate marijuana businesses. A smaller group of lawmakers is pushing for a broader bill. Both sides have a case to make. While Republicans say marijuana legalization will reduce crime, Democrats say it will free up police and law enforcement to focus on more serious crimes.
The House passed the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act in April. This bill aims to fix the wrongs of the War on Drugs. It would create a federal cannabis justice office and a cannabis opportunity trust fund. The fund would provide funding to law enforcement departments to fight illegal cannabis cultivation and provide resources for drug treatment. The bill also makes it possible for people with marijuana-related convictions to apply for dispensary licenses. The money would also fund legal marijuana education programs, job training, and reentry services for people who have a criminal record.
In the United States, there are eighteen states that have legalized cannabis and several others that have legalized it for medical purposes. But even though these states are not enacting federal marijuana legislation, a majority of voters support the initiative. This could lead to legalization in all 50 states. It would also make it easier for marijuana businesses to access the banking system, which would make it easier for them to grow and sell marijuana.