2018 was a big year for advocates for medical and recreational cannabis use throughout the United States. Seven states joined the growing number of US states to loosen restrictions on cannabis in the US, making legal cannabis use for medical and recreational purposes more far-reaching than ever before!
Meanwhile, polls have shown the public option on marijuana has been changing rapidly. It’s amazing to think that only 2 decades ago weed was still considered by many to be a dangerous gateway drug, inevitably leading to heavier drug use. Today, a majority of Americans are in support of legalizing cannabis in some form.
States to fully or partially legalize cannabis in 2018
Vermont: On January 4th, 2018 Vermont passed house bill 511, an amended version of a 2017 bill. Though it’s still not legal to sell weed in Vermont, the bill allows for the legal personal possession and use of up to one ounce of marijuana and individuals are allowed to grow and cultivate up to two plants.
Michigan: On November 6th, 2018 Michigan voters voted in support of Proposition 1, legalizing marijuana for recreational use throughout the state. This makes Michigan the first state in the Midwest to fully legalize cannabis.
Oklahoma:On June 26th, 2018 Oklahoma joined the growing number of states to legalize marijuana for medical use. Medical patients in Oklahoma can now enjoy the many benefits of medical cannabis provided they qualify for a license.
Utah: Two separate laws regarding medical marijuana were passed in Utah in 2018. First, house bill 195 which legalized the "right to try" and grow medical marijuana plants for terminally ill patients. Followed by house bill 3001 on December 3rd which amended the Utah Medical Cannabis Act which passed through Proposition 2 and was signed into action immediately.
Missouri: Missouri legalized medical marijuana on November 6th. A 4% tax will be placed on all sales and will proceed with health care funds for veterans. Marijuana has been decriminalized in Missouri since 2014.
Indiana: While most cannabis products are still illegal in Indiana, the state did make a little bit of headway in 2018 by legalizing the use and sale of Cannabidiol (CBD) oil containing less than 0.3% THC for any reason.
Kansas: Like Indiana, Kansas still has strict laws restricting marijuana of any kind. However, Kansas also signed a bill on CBD in 2018. The bill exempts CBD oil from the definition of marijuana. However, since any amount of THC is still illegal, it’s too early to say what CBD oil’s future in the Kansas market will hold.
What’s on the horizon for 2019?
As the subject of cannabis becomes more widely accepted, we have high hopes for 2019 to be an even bigger year for cannabis reform! Let’s take a look at some of the states most likely to enact pro-cannabis laws in the coming year.
Connecticut: The newly elected governor of Connecticut, Ned Lamont (D), has been a big supporter of legalizing cannabis. On the campaign trail, he promised voters that the issue of legalizing weed will be a top priority in 2019.
New Mexico: Newly elected democratic governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has been a big advocate for recreational marijuana legalization, stating that the act could bring hundreds of millions of dollars to New Mexico’s economy.
Illinois: Recently elected governor J.B. Pritzker (D) ran on a platform centered around marijuana reform. He even went so far as to hold a press conference outside a cannabis dispensary. Shortly after elections, he stated that he plans to pursue legalization “nearly right away”.
Minnesota: The new governor of Minnesota, Tim Walz (D), pledged on the campaign trail to “replace the current failed policy with one that creates tax revenue, grows jobs, builds opportunities for Minnesotans, protects Minnesota kids, and trusts adults to make personal decisions based on their personal freedoms.” Needless to say, the road ahead looks promising!
New Hampshire: New Hampshire’s future is less certain than some of the states mentioned above, with Republican governor Chris Sununu vowing he will veto any new legalization measures (despite the fact that he decriminalized marijuana in 2017). However, Democrats seized control of the house and senate over the midterm elections, and they believe they have enough support to override a veto if necessary.
Rhode Island: Governor Gina Raimondo has been opposed to legalization in the past, but as more of the surrounding states pass legalization measures her rhetoric has been shifting. “I'm not sure at this point it is practical to say we’re not going to legalize and regulate,” she stated recently when asked about her current feelings on the subject.
New York:Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) of New York has spoken out against marijuana in the past, referring to it as a “gateway drug”. However, his stance has seemed to flip flop more recently, going so far as to create a task force with the sole purpose of drafting legal cannabis legislation to appear on the 2019 ballot.
New Jersey: Governor Phil Murphy (D) campaigned on a platform supporting marijuana legalization before being elected in 2017.
The Future Looks Brighter Than Ever for Cannabis
These last few years have been a roller coaster with proponents both for and against legalization of cannabis making their voices heard.
Luckily for us, the people have spoken and more states are taking heed, following suit of forward-thinking jurisdictions such as California, Washington and Colorado and taking steps to enact their own decriminalization or legalization legislature.
With more states on the docket set to vote on or pass legalization, the future of cannabis as a legitimate recreational or medicinal substance is brighter than ever before.
We look forward to keeping you informed of the ever-changing landscape of cannabis regulations and legislation and hope to bring good news about your state in the near future.
In the meantime, you can do your part by writing in or calling on your local and state representatives to do the right thing and make cannabis accessible and legal where you live.
Looking for a place or event to enjoy your herb? Then check out this guide.
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