Green Rush: Newest States to Legalize Cannabis

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States to legalize cannabis

The presidential results may be undecided at this point but, cannabis results are solidified and plenty. It’s been a talking point and a fickle party-pillar for most of the year; but, new states are set to legalize cannabis in 2021. In the end, a total of five states legalized cannabis either medically or recreationally. Even so, two other states have made surprising changes to other drug reform. 

Monumental Cannabis Reform

Starting early in the night, New Jersey was one of the first states to legalize adult use of cannabis. Commonly referred to as recreational cannabis, New Jersey is the first mid-Atlantic state to enact it. Question 1 on the November 3rd ballot passed with 67% approval. The measure will be in effect on January 1st of 2021 with a standard state-tax of 6.625%, the lowest in the country. More details on the measure, as well as purchasing options outside of their current 12 medical shops, are to be decided in the coming months.

Next is South Dakota. They made reform history by legalizing both medical and recreational use on the same ballot. With an approval rate of 69% and 51%, respectively, the reasoning behind the monumental change is said to be their governors refusal to act in the past. Despite push back from a few lawmakers, both initiatives passed. Those over 21 can possess and distribute up to an ounce of cannabis..Additionally, consumers can grow up to 3 plants. Medical patients can possess and purchase up to 3 ounces. By the end of October 2021 more details will be decided.

The most surprising of the night was Mississippi. The Southern state stood against its conservative traditions and joined the states to legalize medical cannabis at 71%. Mississippi has some of the harshest cannabis penalties but passed with 20 qualifying conditions. Despite a fight with the state’s messy past with cannabis, this is the first step in the right direction. Here’s to hoping the rest of the South will follow suit.

Midwest Changes & Psilocybin Therapy

Moving across the map, Montana was one of the next states to legalize. In a surprising vote for another red state, they legalized with 60% in favor. The legal age of consumption is at 21 and allows consumers to possess up to one ounce of flower and eight grams of concentrates. Home growers can have up to eight plants. Meanwhile, retail shops aren’t allowed until 2022. The initiative for possession and consumption will take effect on January 1st of 2021.

In an ‘about time’ decision, Arizona also legalized cannabis for adult-use. At 60% Arizona legalized recreational cannabis through the Smart and Safe Act, joining border states California, Colorado, and Nevada. Regulators have until April 2021 to begin retail sales with most medical shops acquiring the adult-use permits. Tax are set at 21.6% with an experimental program starting late in the summer of 2021. Its other laws will mirror that of neighboring state Nevada but details may change as we head into the new year.

In the most surprising news, two states handled different types of substances. Oregon led the charge legalizing psilocybin for medicinal use. They didn’t stop there, decriminalizing all drugs in small amounts. The measures are the first of their kind in the states; and, considering the more than 50% approval rating, it may become a new trend. Psilocybin will be available to individuals over the age of 21 with consumption supervision by licensed facilitators. The program will require a two-year development period before full implementation, however.

Following a similar path, Washington DC decriminalized psychedelic plants. While the sale of products isn’t allowed, this intuitive lowers their priority with law enforcement. Though a bit odd, only time will tell how the process actually pans out for the state.

Joycelin Arnold

Joycelin Arnold

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