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Top 5 States Looking to Legalize Cannabis in 2020

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Every year seems to be the ‘it’ year for recreational cannabis. Last year saw the maturation of the Illinois industry that just went into effect January 1, 2020. Despite meeting the astronomical projections. Illinois creatively rand in the new year with their legalization culminating in nearly $11 million dollars in sales their first week. 

Which states will be the next up for this green rush is a guess, but we can make an educated guess. The following states appear the most likely to legalize adult-use. These are states that have been pushing fervently for adult-use but do to time restraints or political infighting could not get the job done. 

Nebraska

Let’s hear it for the cornhuskers! Nebraska is on track to become the 34th state to green light medical cannabis. Currently gathering signatures, the Nebraska Medical Marijuana Initiative would all individuals 18+ to purchase cannabis for medical use. Amazingly, Nebraska had a survey in 2017 that showed a whopping 77% of residents were in favor of physician prescribed cannabis. A strong showing for such a historically conservative state; one that can help propel this industry come November. 

New Jersey

As a resident of the Garden State, I was not too optimistic about New Jersey legalizing cannabis in 2019. If any state is likely to do so this year, it would be New Jersey. After a few failed attempts in 2019, the New Jersey Senate and Assembly voted on December 16 in favor of adding a constitutional amendment on the November ballot that would legalize adult-use cannabis. The measure would allow for people 21+ to buy cannabis products and would give the state and municipalities--if they opt in--the right to impose a tax. The biggest hurdle in the state was from representatives who understandably wanted to see an expungement clause for folks previously convicted of cannabis use or possession. The new measure should be easier to pass with it focused on consumption and not expungement.  

New York

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) brought up cannabis legalization during his 2020 State of the State Address. He spoke of social equity and communal injustices saying, “For decades, communities of color were disproportionately affected by the unequal enforcement of marijuana laws. Lets legalize adult use of marijuana.” Cuomo looks to establish the Office of Cannabis Management and recently recruited a veteran cannabis regulator from Rhode Island, Norman Birenbaum, to oversee the department.

New Mexico

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has championed cannabis legalization ever since taking office in 2019. Cannabis legislation got bogged down in 2019, but Grisham appointed a legalization advisory group to research the market and advise on regulations that will meet a happy medium for New Mexico in 2020. 

Arizona

If you recall, Arizona was the only one of nine states that could not successfully pass a measure in 2016. Prop 205 would have legalized recreational cannabis, but fell short by %2. A second chance seems right around the corner. It would be shocking for cannabis to not be on the ballot this year having come so close before. A poll by OH Predictive Insights on September 2019 found that 50% of residents support pro-cannabis legislation

Contributed by Richard Sanchez

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