In terms of momentum, the marijuana industry has been practically unstoppable in recent years. Once considered a taboo topic that lawmakers regularly swept under the rug, cannabis has now become a mainstream topic in the United States, as evidenced by the fact that 2 out of 3 Americans support broad-based legalization, according to Gallup.
Cannabis favorability has also been the driving force of legalizations at the state level. In 24 years, we’ve gone from having zero approved medical or recreational weed states to 33 states with medical pot laws on their books. Of these 33 states, 10 allow for adults to consume cannabis, with nine having OK’d the retail sale of pot (sorry, Vermonters).
With pot revenue picking up at the state level, and polling clearly favoring legalization, it looks to be only a matter of time before new states take the plunge from the medical or recreational side of the equation. But, to be clear, recreational sales are expected to bring in the lion’s share of legal marijuana revenue in the United States.
The 11th state to legalize recreational weed will be…
So, which state looks to have an inside track on becoming the 11th to legalize adult-use marijuana? Had you asked a few months ago, it looked to be a neck-and-neck battle between New Jersey and New York. Unfortunately, efforts to legalize marijuana in both states fell apart, and neither looks to be in a position to pass legislation anytime soon. Instead, the Land of Lincolnappears to be in the pole position to become the 11th recreationally legalized state.
As reported by Time and the Chicago Tribune last weekend, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat, announced that he had reached an agreement with key lawmakers in the state’s legislature to legalize recreational marijuana by Jan. 1, 2020. The bill would allow residents of Illinois to possess up to 30 grams of cannabis (a little more than one ounce), with out-of-staters allowed to possess up to 15 grams. Illinois residents would also be allowed to grow up to five plants. And, as with all other legal states, the age limit for purchases would be set at 21 and older.
In addition to simply legalizing adult-use weed, the bill announced by Pritzker would expunge certain cannabis convictions (e.g., misdemeanors and Class 4 felonies), and include a $20 million low-interest loan program. This loan program would aid applicants in opening a licensed cannabis business who have lived in communities with high crime rates, or in communities with a high rate of incarceration or arrest for marijuana offenses…
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