USA 2020 legalization: 4 US states in the starting blocks
Residents of 4 US states, Arizona, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota, will vote on legalizing cannabis in November. Specifically for the regulation of a legal market for adults, including trade, possession and use. Surveys conducted about a year ago found that 67% of Americans support legalization and 91% agree that cannabis should be legal at least for medical purposes. The issue of legalization is not even only on the Democratic side anymore, most Republicans also believe cannabis should be legal.
4 US states could join as early as next week 11 other US states who have already approved the legalization of cannabis. According to the polls, there is an overwhelming majority in favor of voting in the various referendums that will be held in parallel with the presidential election. Another state, Mississippi, will also put to the vote, by referendum, the bill approving the creation of a medical cannabis industry. In New York State, Governor Andrew Cuomo is promoting legalization as part of a regular legislative process to help rehabilitate the economy following the crisis linked to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Of course, changing cannabis laws at the federal level in the United States is not yet on the table. On the other hand, the number of states that have already approved laws for legalization, decriminalization and medical cannabis already stands at 33 out of 50 states. Of these, 11 states and the capital - Washington DC have approved legalization. complete.
Medicinal cannabis is legal in Arizona since 2011 but its recreational use is still considered a criminal offense. As part of the new " proposition 207“, The sale and possession of cannabis for adult use (21 years and over) will be approved. So Arizona will go from total illegality to complete legalization with no model of decriminalization in the middle. Residents will be allowed to own up to 28 grams of cannabis, five grams of THC extract, and grow a maximum of 6 plants at home. The law will allow a criminal record cancellation request to be made for cannabis-related offenses similar to the proceedings in Israel. Although in 2016 Arizona residents voted 51% against and 48% against legalization, a survey published in July 2020 revealed that 62% of residents support legalization, compared to 32% against it.
Medical cannabis has been legal in the state of Montana since 2004. A bill " Montana I-190 Which will be the subject of a referendum next week will allow the sale and possession of cannabis for adult use. If approved, residents will be allowed to keep up to 4 mature cannabis plants and up to 4 small plants. Project “I-190” will also allow an annulment procedure for anyone serving a prison sentence for cannabis-related offenses. Another bill will be put forward: “CI-118”, which will determine if “I-190” will also apply to adults over 18 or only from 21 years.
New Jersey approved medical cannabis in 2010. If the referendum bill titled " PUBLIC QUESTION 1Is approved, a full legalization that includes the sale and possession of cannabis from the age of 21 will be put in place. The products will be taxed at a very low rate, amounting to just 6,625%, although local authorities may add up to an additional 2%. This figure is significantly lower than a tax of up to 30% and more on the legal cannabis market in other countries. The goal: to keep prices low in order to be competitive on the black market. The law is expected to significantly bolster the state's economy given its proximity to New York and Pennsylvania, which have yet to approve legalization laws.
Two bills will be passed in the state of South Dakota. The " proposition 26 Will allow doctors to prescribe medical cannabis for the treatment of various diseases. While a second proposal, “Constitutional Amendment A”, would be eligible for full legalization. South Dakota currently has one of the strictest cannabis laws in the United States and the state even has an "internal possession" law, which means if a person is positive on a saliva test for example, even if the use was made in a state where cannabis is legal, the law still considers it a criminal offense. In the event that the “Constitutional Amendment A” proposal is not approved but “Proposal 26” does, only the creation of a medical cannabis industry will be approved.
Mississippi will increase a bill for medical cannabis only. According to the proposal, called “Initiative 65,” cannabis issuance will be possible to treat a variety of conditions, from cancer to Crohn's disease. The same vote will also include "Initiative 65A”, An alternative bill that restricts the use of medical cannabis only to terminally ill patients. Mississippi is one of the most conservative states in America, and lawmakers are apparently trying to prevent the "permissive" bill through Initiative 65A. Recent polls show that 81% of residents support medical cannabis licensing.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently said that legalizing cannabis could be a major way to help the state recover from the economic crisis. At a virtual event last week he was asked when New York would approve the legalization of cannabis. He replied "Soon, because now we need the money". “I've tried doing it for the last few years, there are a lot of reasons to do it, but one of the benefits is that it generates significant income. We will be looking for income right now and I think that will make cannabis legal. "
For federal legalization
The United States House of Representatives intended to pass an amendment to cannabis laws at the federal level as well as as part of the bill. MORE last September. Unfortunately the vote was delayed until after the elections. Although the bill would likely not have passed by the Republican-controlled Senate. Since the draft has been resubmitted by the Democratic side, it is probably only a matter of time before MORE legislation or similar legislation takes a stand.