Marijuana Reform: The Best Is Yet to Come
We’ve already witnessed a big year in 2020 for marijuana legal reform. Voters in five states on November 3 approved ballot initiatives to loosen marijuana laws. But as my favorite crooner, Francis Albert Sinatra, sang: “It’s a real good bet, the best is yet to come.”
This year could be even bigger for the marijuana industry, which is why you should make your moves now to profit from the green rush. Below, I’ll point you in the right direction for cannabis profits.
In Congress, a House-passed bill to legalize pot on the federal level stands an excellent chance of passage this year in the Democratic-controlled Senate. President Biden would likely sign the bill, known as the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act of 2020.
Meanwhile, from New York to New Mexico, state governors have asserted that marijuana legal reform is a top legislative priority for 2021. As of this writing, at least 11 governors have placed marijuana at the top of their legislative agendas and budget plans. And it’s only February.
Here’s a roundup of what governors are doing lately about marijuana policy for the coming year.
In his annual State of the State address in January, Gov. Ned Lamont (D) called for the legalization of cannabis, pointing out that the move is “happening all around us” in adjacent states. “Let’s not surrender these opportunities to out-of-state markets or, even worse, underground markets,” he said.
This month, Lamont followed up his remarks by inserting a legalization proposal in his 2021 budget request. Lamont said his budget plan will entail establishing a “comprehensive framework for the cultivation, manufacture, sale, possession, use, and taxation of cannabis that prioritizes public health, public safety, and social justice.”
Gov. Laura Kelly (D) this month introduced a plan to legalize medical cannabis and use the resulting tax revenue to fund Medicaid expansion.
Kelly said her marijuana plan “establishes the regulatory framework for the cultivation, testing, distribution, prescription and purchase of medical marijuana…The introduction of this bill in itself is a win for Kansans, who will benefit from medical marijuana, something that, once again, our neighbors in Oklahoma and Missouri have already recognized and addressed.”
During his State of the Commonwealth address in January, Gov. Andy Beshear (D) said Kentucky should pursue marijuana legal reform.
“Speaking of laws that unduly restrict us from growth and innovation, it is time to legalize medical marijuana,” the governor said. Legislation to legalize medical cannabis legalization was filed in conjunction with Beshear’s address.
During a briefing on his budget proposal for the 2022-23 biennium, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) said state lawmakers should “take a look at recreational cannabis” to increase tax revenue.
Walz added that legalization would also address “the equity issue and, quite honestly, the racial impact of our cannabis laws.” Earlier this month, Minnesota lawmakers introduced a bill to legalize cannabis in the state.
Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) last month said that his latest budget proposal contains provisions that continue to earmark marijuana tax revenue toward the state’s schools.
Sisolak discussed his fiscal plan during a State of the State address, saying it “ensures marijuana tax dollars will continue to fund education, to ensure districts can meet the needs of students during the pandemic and beyond.”
Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said during his State of the State address last month that “we are on the verge of passing an innovative and groundbreaking set of laws to reform our historically unjust approach to marijuana and cannabis.”
New Jersey voters approved a legalization referendum in November, but disagreements between lawmakers and the governor over certain provisions concerning underaged people have impeded enactment.
The following tweet, posted February 17, conveys the frustration with New Jersey’s inaction:
The New Jersey marijuana law officially went into effect on January 1. Lawmakers are confident that they can iron out rules regarding who could use the drug and who would still face penalties.
During her State of the State speech last month, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) repeated her goal of legalizing marijuana in the state in 2021.
The governor said a “crisis like the one we’ve experienced last year can be viewed as a loss or as an invitation to rethink the status quo, to be ambitious and creative and bold…That kind of thinking includes, of course, recreational cannabis and the tens of thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions in new revenue it will bring to our state.”
Grisham released an agenda for 2021 that includes legalization among a list of legislative priorities. A marijuana legalization bill cleared a House committee this week.
For the third consecutive year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) included marijuana legalization in his budget request.
In his State of the State address in January, Cuomo said New York “will legalize adult-use recreational cannabis, joining 15 other states who’ve already done so…This will raise revenue and will end the over-criminalization of this product that has left so many communities of color over-policed and over-incarcerated.”
Gov. Tom Wolf (D) said earlier this month that marijuana legalization is a top goal as he initiates annual budget negotiations with lawmakers.
In his legislative plan for 2021, Wolf stated that “Pennsylvania has built a successful medical marijuana program through bipartisan work [and now] it’s time to take the next step and legalize recreational marijuana in the commonwealth with an emphasis on helping businesses and restorative justice.”
Gov. Ralph Northam (D) last month said cannabis criminalization is an example of how “our criminal justice system treats different people unfairly,” adding that Black people are more likely to be arrested for marijuana than white people despite comparable rates of usage.
Northam’s State of the Commonwealth speech came on the same day that the governor released a comprehensive legalization bill, which is being sponsored by leaders in both the House and Senate.
“We know that laws to ban marijuana historically were based in discrimination, and criminalization laws have disproportionately harmed minority communities,” Northam said.
Gov. Tony Evers (D) this month introduced a plan to legalize marijuana as part of his budget proposal.
Evers stated: “Legalizing and taxing marijuana in Wisconsin, just like we do already with alcohol, ensures a controlled market and safe product are available for both recreational and medicinal users, and can open the door for countless opportunities for us to reinvest in our communities and create a more equitable state.”
Editor’s Note: Looking for the best way to make money from the mainstreaming of marijuana? A small group of everyday Americans are earning up to $55,362 a year from one company’s unique marijuana profit-sharing “program.” To get in on the action, click here.
John Persinos is the editorial director of Investing Daily. He also writes the twice-weekly e-letter Marijuana Investing Daily. Send your questions or comments to email@example.com. To subscribe to John’s video channel, follow this link.