2021 has just rolled in, and we are starting the year off fresh. Goodbye, 2020! There are many states that may legalize cannabis in 2021!
Even though last year was not the best, the legalization of cannabis sure did look good on the ballots. This election year, five US states legalized cannabis. Four legalized it recreationally: South Dakota, New Jersey, Montana, and Arizona. And one state, Mississippi, passed medical marijuana.
And it does not stop there, not by far! In 2021, we suspect that more states will look optimistic upon cannabis and legalize it in the 2022 ballots. In this list, check out five more states that may legalize cannabis in 2021 all have high possibilities of pushing for legalization.
First up we have Arkansas. Covid-19 had put a lot of business and legislation on halt in 2020, including some of those in the cannabis industry. Getting cannabis legalization on the ballot in Arkansas was one of them. Though activists pursued strong, they were ultimately unable to gather enough petitions to qualify for the ballot.
However, by 2022, Covid-19 should (hopefully) not be an issue anymore. Also, Arkansas has another thing going for it: one of its neighboring states, Mississippi, just legalized medical marijuana in 2020. Mississippi, like Arkansas, is traditionally conservative, and this could motivate Arkansas to finally push for cannabis legalization. Medical marijuana in Arkansas was already legalized in 2016, now activists hope that the time has come for recreational adult-use to be legalized.
Along with some other US states, Idaho is one of those that has long had a negative view on cannabis, and has yet to legalize it medically or recreationally. However, support for legalization is beginning to rise in the state, and many advocates are speaking about it.
A bill to legalize cannabis may have made the ballot in 2020, had it not been for Covid-19. Signature gathering became almost impossible with social distancing restrictions, and the state provided no accommodations.
This has not stopped advocates, however, who already have their eyes on the 2022 ballot. This time, Covid-19 should be gone and enough signatures can be collected. Even though the signatures were not collected, many residents of Idaho have decided that they are ready for cannabis legalization.
In 2020, New Mexico’s Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham showed her support for recreational cannabis legalization by adding it to the state’s legislative agenda. She stated that cannabis legalization could provide well-needed revenue for the state, especially due to losses during the coronavirus pandemic. She believes that this industry could generate around $100 million annually for the state.
Lawmakers introduced a bill for it, then the Senate Public Affairs Committee approved it. However,the Senate Judiciary Committee ultimately sided against the bill, ending hopes for legalization in 2020.
Even so, many of the bill’s supporters believe they will come back strong with a better bill in 2021. Also, many of the state’s politicians who were against the bill were voted out during this election year, which could prove to increase legalization chances in 2021. In addition, as with Arkansas and Mississippi, New Mexico’s neighbor, Arizona, may support legalization in the state. The governor is still optimistic about a bill for recreational cannabis passing in 2021.
Another governor to push for cannabis legalization, New York’s Andrew Cuomo has shown his support in 2020. Shortly before Covid-19 hit, Cuomo announced a plan to visit and observe other states that have already legalized cannabis, to see which states had the best systems for it.
However, once Covid-19 hit the US, Cuomo had no time or resources to continue his push for legalization, and ultimately had to end hopes of meeting the deadline in April 2020. Instead he had a pandemic to focus on, as New York was one of the states hit hardest by the coronavirus during the first wave.
In October 2020, it was revealed that Cuomo is already renewing his cannabis legalization plans for 2021. Another sign of hope is New Jersey, who neighbors New York and also passed cannabis legalization in 2020. Many of New York’s own residents have also shown their support for adult-use legalization.
In Spring 2020, Virginia’s Governor Ralph Northam signed a bill into law that decriminalized cannabis possession. Having one ounce or less now in this state can only get you a fine of up to $25. In addition, police in Virginia can no longer search or seize property based only on the smell of cannabis. Legalization should surely be up next.
And it seems so, as Northam has announced a plan to push for legalization in 2021. In December 2020, he proposed a budget plan for cannabis, and also a plan to expunge many cannabis convictions in the state.
Some of Virginia’s work groups and commissions have begun looking into how cannabis legalization will affect the state’s economy. One commission found that cannabis could generate around $300 million annually and create over 11,000 jobs in the state after five years of legalization.
Of course, many other states that may legalize cannabis in 2021 that could have made this list and may even legalize it before some of these states! And not only in the United States, but other countries around the world are showing their support for cannabis use. Here’s to a bright and successful future for the cannabis industry around the world! Thanks for reading!