The 2020 elections proved that the nation may be as divided as it has ever been politically. However, based on the election results, Americans seem to be trending towards quite a favorable outlook on cannabis legalization. This sentiment has changed over the years, as recreational marijuana was illegal in all 50 states less than just a decade ago. But what are the recent changes and results of the 2020 elections regarding marijuana legislation? And what does this mean for the cannabis industry as a whole?
Marijuana Legalization in the United States Today
In the recent elections, the states of Arizona, Montana, South Dakota, and New Jersey legalized recreational marijuana by way of the voting public. These states must now implement a legal, adult-use market during the start of 2021. There are now 15 states that have legalized recreational marijuana for adults. The states of Mississippi and South Dakota also voted to approve marijuana for medicinal purposes. As of the 2020 elections, medical marijuana is legal and publicly available in 36 states and four territories, including the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The Popularity of Marijuana Legalization
The Pew Research Center reports that around 68% of Americans feel that the use of marijuana should be legal. In 2010, 52% of Americans opposed the legalization of marijuana, and that number has since declined by 20%. Additionally, around 90% of people in the United States are in favor of marijuana legalization for either recreational or medical purposes, or solely for medical use. Currently, however, marijuana remains illegal under federal law.
Next Up for The Cannabis Industry
These election results play a significant role in how Congress will most likely handle cannabis reform over the coming years. With several aspects of the economy suffering from Covid-19-related hindrances, many states and lawmakers are inclined to legalize marijuana for its economic benefits, such as taxable sales and job creation. Texas, for instance, faces several progressive bills. Specifically, Senator Roland Gutierrez has filed Senate Bill 140 in an effort to legalize both medicinal and recreational marijuana. He believes this move could create over $3.2 billion in state revenue and create over 30,000 high-paying jobs.
Several states will likely file for and/or enact similar measures, and marijuana legalization may see substantial development across the United States, especially considering the Biden-Harris victory and the potential policies that spearheaded their election campaign. Once a major advocate of the “war on drugs,” President Biden has significantly softened his stance and is currently even encouraging the decriminalization of marijuana. Vice President Kamala Harris also supports marijuana decriminalization, and together, they feel that cannabis legalization for recreational use should be left up to the individual states. Additionally, after the Georgia run-off elections in which the Democrats gained the majority in Congress, the Biden-Harris administration should manage to turn their shared policies into legislation with relatively minimal pushback.
The cannabis market itself looks promising, as these election outcomes stir up excitement around the marijuana community, including the CBD industry. Some experts project that Arizona could see up to $400 million in medical marijuana sales in 2021, Mississippi could see $265 million, Montana might reach $217 million, New Jersey may see $400 million, and South Dakota could reach $2 million. These numbers also have a major impact on the stock market, as investors will want to seize the opportunity and further diversify their portfolios.
Cannabis lawyer Chelsie Spencer remains active in the marijuana community, providing legal counsel to a range of cannabis businesses. With years of experience in cannabis law, hemp and CBD law, business and corporate law, copyright law, and trademark law, Chelsie offers a unique background of expertise and handles a variety of business needs, especially in the cannabis space. Contact Ritter Spencer or give us a call at 214.295.5070 for more information.