Marijuana legalization is sweeping across the U.S. and it’s only a matter of time before we have federal legislation. In the absence of federal legalization, many states have already taken the initiative to create state-wide legislation legalizing marijuana. As things stand, a total of 47 states (plus Washington DC) have already legalized marijuana either for recreational or medical use. However, only 15 have legalized cannabis for recreational use.
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Many other states continue to develop legislations to either reform, decriminalize and legalize marijuana. The following provides highlights of the current state of marijuana legalization in the United States. It also provides updates on some legislative bills currently making the rounds in some states.
Update on Federal marijuana legalization in the U.S.
Since the U.S. election results were announced in October, the marijuana industry has been experiencing tremendous growth. This growth was further fueled by the democratic win in the U.S. run-off elections. The run-off election results meant that the Democratic Party would control the U.S. Congress, thereby easing the path to marijuana legalization.
A lot has happened since then. The MORE act was passed by the House of Representatives, although it is yet to make similar progress with Senate. However, the most significant of the federal marijuana legalization updates come from the Senate. Recently, several Senators moved to merge several marijuana bills to bring about the legalization of the industry at the federal level.
Marijuana legalization updates across different states
Here are some updates on different state-wide marijuana legislation currently making the rounds across the country.
Hawaii and the Senate Bill 767
Numerous marijuana legalization proposals are currently pending at both the Hawaii House and Senate. The most significant of these proposals is Senate Bill 767. This bill would essentially allow adults aged 21 and over to purchase or possess up to an ounce of marijuana. Senate Bill 767 will also allow adults to grow up to six (up to three mature) marijuana plants for personal use.
This bill was recently approved by a Senate Committee in Hawaii. Interestingly, the same committee also approved Senate Bill 758 which is aimed at increasing the threshold for marijuana decriminalization. The threshold was reduced from 3 grams to one ounce, punishable by a $130 fine.
New Mexico and House Bills 12 & 17
Similarly, several legislations for adult-use marijuana in New Mexico are also pending. Two of these Bills were heard last weekend – Bills 12 and 17. Bill 12 will allow adults to purchase up to two ounces of marijuana and cultivate up to six marijuana plants for personal use. Bill 12 also promotes automatic expungement for people convicted for cannabis possession of up to two ounces.
House Bill 17 also aims to allow adults to purchase up to two ounces of marijuana. However, the cultivation of up to three plants will be decriminalized and punishable by a $500 fine. This House Bill also proposes a 20% tax for all retail sales of marijuana.
House Bill 12 has been approved by the committee while Bill 17 also received favorable votes.
Minnesota and House File 600 / Senate File 757
Minnesota isn’t left behind in the push for marijuana legalization. House File 600 was sponsored by House Majority Leader Winkler. Alongside Senate File 757, House File 600 will allow adults to purchase and possess up to 10 pounds of marijuana in a private residence and up to 1.5 ounces in public.
Although House File 600 was approved by the House Commerce Finance and Policy Committee, it will need to be approved by a few other committees before it can be granted a floor vote in the House.
Marijuana legislation is coming, most likely sooner than you think. Marijuana legalization bills are springing up in nearly every state where recreational use of marijuana is still illegal. If the majority of these states are able to pass supporting legislation, then it’s only a matter of time before the Federal Government is forced to follow suit.
What can you do to stay informed about marijuana legalization across the United States? Sign up for the Stoners Rotation email list and we’ll keep you updated as many of these bills are passed into law or get squashed.