Cannabis Legalization: States to Watch in 2020
2019 has been an exciting year for marijuana, with multiple states loosening their restrictions on marijuana through legalization or decriminalization. Louisiana, for instance, went through a very efficient process of making medical marijuana legal and having reasonable access to it in place by June of that year. With the cannabis legalization movement so well underway, its no surprise that we'll be able to deliver some incredible news regarding states seeking legalization in 2020.
Let's start with a couple of guaranteed pieces of good news. Illinois and Hawaii have both signed laws into place looser laws for marijuana officially beginning in January. Illinois legislation will see recreational marijuana legal starting on January 1, 2020, with those over 21 allowed to have as much as 30g in their possession. Hawaii was less ambitious but decriminalized amounts of less than 3g after January 11, 2020. Congratulations to these states on these victories for legalized cannabis!
Arizona has been trying to get marijuana legislation passed since 2016, and recent events suggest that they may very well be able to make a go of it with a second attempt. The current bill would make it possible for anyone 18 or older to purchase and consume marijuana. Taxes from the sales will bolster state programs, including state healthcare and education.
Arkansas is getting serious about legalizing marijuana, as evidenced by the three separate constitutional amendments that have been initiated and reached the signature stage. Two of these initiatives (Arkansas Recreational Marijuana Initiative and Arkansas Marijuana Legalization Initiative) would legalize the purchase and use of marijuana for those over the age of 21.
Just like Arkansas, Florida has multiple initiatives in action that are currently gathering steam, and signatures, towards the legalization of cannabis. The most prominent of these, the Florida Marijuana Legalization Initiative, would allow those over age 21 to have up to an ounce of marijuana. Home growing would also be legalized, up to six per household. This legislation includes the somewhat strange caveat that only three of these plants can be flowering at any time, could not be sold, and be in a locked and enclosed space.
Missouri is approaching marijuana-related legislation with an interesting angle. They're seeking not only to legalize the substance but also expunge all non-violent convictions related to marijuana. As a final stroke, it would also make it illegal to tax marijuana that prescribed as a medication.
New Jersey's 2019 legislation for legalized marijuana fell apart at the finish line, but not because they didn't want to legalize it. They couldn't agree on what rate they would tax it at, though that was taken care of as well. The sticking point? They wanted to add expunging existing convictions to the bill, a position that stalled it thanks to some of the state's lawmakers. All that aside, 2020 is looking up for marijuana in New Jersey.
South Dakota is still on the list, but it has a lot of hurdles to jump on the way to legalization. Recent legislation shows that the state is ambitious and driven to legalize the plant, but it presently doesn't even have legalized medical marijuana. Still, the South Dakota Marijuana and Hemp Initiative is on its way and is showing strong support in the state.
There you have it, six more states that may be jumping on the legalization bandwagon in 2020. We're enthusiastic that these will pass, especially with federal-level legalization gaining traction. Things are looking good for our little green friend in the US!