Currently, marijuana is legal in 10 U.S. States along with Washington D.C., but more could be on the way. We’ve seen the cannabis movement make a lot of progress over the past year, especially as Canada legalized it nationwide earlier this year.
In the U.S., however, it has been a more complicated path where the federal government and individual U.S. States have not been in unison on the issue.
This week, we learned of another State that is looking to legalize marijuana: New York.
Governor Cuomo announced his plans for the upcoming year, which included legalizing marijuana for recreational use in his State. It’s been rumoured that both New York and New Jersey have been looking at potentially legalizing pot, so this shouldn’t come as a big surprise to anyone.
After all, it’s an easy way to add a lot of tax revenue for the State. We’ve already seen a lot of success in States like Colorado, Washington, Oregon and California where marijuana has already been legalized.
And although there hasn’t been as much progression on the East Coast, we did see Michigan recently move to legalize marijuana earlier this year. Massachusetts also opened up shop not long ago as well.
Attitudes on cannabis are changing, and Governor Cuomo admitted that he previously believed that marijuana was a “gateway drug” but has since changed his stance.
Is the U.S. headed for legalization?
There’s been a lot of momentum for cannabis lately, but investors need to remember that what’s legal in individual states has nothing to do with the federal government. Even if all 50 U.S. States were to legalize marijuana tomorrow, that would still have no impact on the ability to move pot across state lines.
That being said, the U.S. recently paving the way for the Farm Bill to become law, which includes moving hemp-derived cannabidiol from a Schedule I classification, could be a sign of things to come.
However, it may not be until we see a Democratic government and one that’s more pot-friendly come into power that some progress might be made at the federal level. While Republican States have shown a willingness to legalize medicinal marijuana, it has been the Blue States that have been the most receptive to the drug and that show the most promise thus far.
States could help push the movement at the federal level
While New York State may be about half the size of California, it’s no less important. And if voters in those States along with nine others are showing how important legalizing marijuana is, then it’ll force prospective candidates for the presidency to potentially use it as a platform when running in 2020.
The more States that legalize pot between now and then will help to magnify the importance of legalization. For a candidate, the number of potential votes at stake could be the difference between winning and losing an election.
And for that reason, I expect that it’ll become a big issue in 2020 and that marijuana will be legalized federally within just a few years.