Tag: Virginia

Minnesota, Connecticut, Delaware, and Rhode Island Could All Legalize Cannabis This Year

This year has already been a historic one for the cannabis community with New York, Virginia, and New Mexico passing bills to end prohibition. A decade ago, there were no states that had legalized and now over 40% of our nation lives in a state that has voted to end prohibition. From an industry standpoint, New York is a huge get as the state will become one of the biggest markets in the world and its status as a financial and media hub should help create the momentum to pass the SAFE Banking Act to finally allow regulated cannabis businesses to access normal financial services. The criminal justice and social equity reforms passed in the Empire State should also resonate and help convince states to legalize right, even those that were earlier pioneers. Culturally, Virginia being the first state in the former Confederacy to sweep Reefer Madness prohibition into the dustbin of history is a landmark development that will bring more key support. New Mexico’s biggest impact outside of its border could be its influence on Texas as voters, legislators, and policymakers will start to notice that they are missing out on jobs and revenue for no reason as residents of the Lonestar State take advantage of legal stores in the Land of Enchantment.

More history could still be made as Minnesota, Connecticut, Delaware, and Rhode Island still have the potential to join the growing number of states that have legalized more freedom, jobs, and revenue, as Marijuana Moment reported:

From Delaware to Minnesota, lawmakers are still working to end prohibition by the year’s end. While there’s no guarantee that they’ll be successful, there’s growing momentum for legalization with top lawmakers and governors on board, and each state that enacts the policy change adds pressure on those around them to follow suit.

If two more states get legal marijuana bills signed this session, 2021 would set a record for the highest number of new legalization laws enacted in a single year. And if just one more state were to adopt legalization this session, 2021 would tie 2016 and 2020 as a year with the most number of states to legalize cannabis—quite remarkable given that no states are putting the issue directly to voters on the ballot this year.

Marijuana Moment provides a great breakdown of where the bills currently stand in these states. In addition to these four northern states, it should be noted that Louisiana could be the next southern state to join Virginia. A legalization bill was introduced last week and 2/3 of voters now support ending prohibition. The work of moving state by state is a ton of work, forged by advocates over years, if not decades, but it’s necessary to end harmful arrests and convictions while creating much needed jobs and revenue. Sooner, rather than later, this gains at the state level will create a tipping point to where Congress and the White House will no longer be able to deny the will of the voters and we can finally cure Uncle Sam’s Reefer Madness once and for all.

Cannabis Legalization Rises in the South in Virginia! Louisiana Next?

Yesterday, the Virginia Legislature took a huge sledgehammer to the federal war on cannabis by passing legalization and setting its official implementation date as July 1st. The former capital of the Confederacy officially became the 17th state to sweep prohibition into the dustbin of history, with more than 40% of our nation now living in legalized states.

Virginia and Oregon will share legalization anniversary days, with Old Dominion joining the Beaver State just six years after Measure 91 kicked into effect. The Virginia Mercury reported on the details of the law, which allows those of age to legally possess up to an ounce of cannabis:

Adults caught with more than an ounce but less than a pound will face a $25 fine. And adults caught with more than a pound can be charged with a felony punishable by between one and 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

And while sales of the drug are illegal, the legislation permits gifting up to an ounce of the drug to any adult. (The provision explicitly prohibits transactions that have become common in Washington, D.C., where companies sell legal products at high prices that are delivered with what is described as a free gift of marijuana.)

People under the age of 21 caught with the drug face a $25 fine, but would also be required to enter a substance abuse treatment and education program.

Virginia moving forward should help advocates’ political lobbying in other southern states like Louisiana, where a recent poll showed overwhelming and growing support for ending prohibition, as WFAB reported:

A recent poll showed 67% of Louisiana voters are in favor of legalizing cannabis. That’s up from the 54% who favored it last year, which leaves lawmakers to face what they say is obvious.

“I think there’s a sense of inevitability of it too, that people figure this is coming and it’s probably better earlier than later if it’s coming,” said Louisiana Rep. Tanner Magee (R).

And it’s not just one party that’s leaning towards legalization. The poll done by JMC Enterprises showed that the majority of both Democrats and Republicans are in favor of giving legalization the green light. Right now in Louisiana, it’s legal to be prescribed cannabis but only in a concentrated form. Magee said his bill would expand those laws.

Cannabis legalization has passed step by step, state by state very similarly to the medical cannabis movement, with mostly initiative states moving first before states where advocates don’t have the luxury of taking the issue directly to the voters. Most southern states don’t allow the initiative process, so broad bipartisan support is necessary to force the hand of elected officials. Legislators and their constituents seeing that the sky doesn’t fall in Virginia, thousands of new jobs being created and millions of dollars in additional revenue generated, will only speed up the passage legalization laws throughout southern states. Each state then adds more federal representatives that are on the right side of history. Thank you, Virginia, this win will go down as one of the most important victories in our fight for freedom and equality.