We’re a mere month into the new year and already, the monumental shifts that are expected to shake the cannabis industry are coming into view. From the Midwest to the East Coast, state governments are taking a hard look at the rules on their books regarding cannabis. As a result, elected officials are realizing that popular opinion has indeed shifted and it only takes one visit to a cannabis trade show like CWCBExpo to reveal the new norm.
A January 2020 piece from online news source Vox predicts some of the major changes that could come over the next 11 months. With 11 U.S. states having already approved recreational cannabis and nearly 20 more waiting in the wings to do the same, it’s time to take stock of the situation across America. Moreover, these cannabis-friendly policies will be backed by 66 percent of Americans who support legalization.
The South: According to St. Louis Public Radio, an NPR affiliate, medical marijuana will most likely be available in Missouri in spring 2020 while recreational consumption isn’t on the radar. “There is currently little momentum in the Missouri Legislature to expand legalization further, but voters could submit another ballot initiative specifically for recreational marijuana,” the article states. In Virginia, Forbes magazine reports that Gov. Ralph Northam is championing decriminalization and favors cleansing the criminal records for those who’ve been sentenced on cannabis-related offenses.
The Northeast: In New York, legalization was the hot topic in 2019 but the effort came up short due to disagreements over tax revenue. We expect 2020 to be the year lawmakers get the job done and since New York City hosts our flagship cannabis convention later this year, we look forward to returning. According to The Hill, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said a new state office would be created to manage the legal adult-use cannabis consumption market. Similar to Virginia, the plan for New York states it will “correct past harms to individuals and communities that have disproportionately been impacted by prohibition.” In nearby New Jersey, voters will decide on recreational marijuana via a ballot question during the 2020 election. As in other states, the wheels of progress will turn slowly if OK’d because “legislation to regulate the drug” will need to be passed.
The Midwest: The writing is on the wall in Idaho, as a recent Inlander.com article points out. Oregon, Nevada, Wyoming and Canada are all overseeing cannabis, CBD or medical-friendly programs. Although legislators in 2013 signed a state senate resolution that denounced efforts in surrounding states, Idaho residents “now spend money out of state in order to get it.” With scientific and medical research showing demonstrable net benefits of cannabis, “marijuana is making its way into the Gem State regardless. And now everybody knows it.” In South Dakota, NORML reported in early January 2020 that a question pertaining to adult recreational use and retail sales will be on the 2020 ballot. Putting the issue to voters is an approach also being employed in New Jersey.
The West Coast: Speaking of ballot initiatives, the Phoenix New Times reports that 150,000 signatures of support have been gathered in Arizona. While this should come as encouraging news, the article also points out that special interest and policy-specific groups in the state are trying to stall the effort. What’s more, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey does not favor decriminalization and helped lead anti-cannabis efforts in 2016. Although California approved recreational use that very same year, it’s clear that not all neighboring states are also on board.
About the CWCBExpo
The CWCBExpo cannabis event is a business-to-business trade show for the legalized cannabis industry. It is held three times per year in the largest business, financial and media markets: New York, Los Angeles, and Boston. It is the leading forum for dispensary owners, growers, suppliers, investors, medical professionals, government regulators, legal counsel, and entrepreneurs looking to achieve business success and identify new areas of growth in this dynamic and fast-growing industry.Go back