During the 2020 Presidential election, Joe Biden was vocal about his support for legalizing cannabis and even went so far as to say that he would "not rule out" legalizing it if elected in 2020. Now that Biden is president, is it likely that we'll see a shift in legalization efforts?
The Supreme Court's most conservative justice, Clarence Thomas, is now questioning the legality of federal bans on marijuana. While some question his authority to make such a statement in light of not being part of the court that will hear arguments about this issue - Thomas has shown himself more likely than anyone else at SCOTUS to side with conservatives and libertarians who want cannabis legalized nationally for recreational purposes.
It's clear that marijuana is becoming more and more accessible in the United States. As of July 1, recreational cannabis was legal in 18 states while medical weed had been legalized to date by 36 different legislatures.
As the legalization of cannabis gains momentum among lawmakers, many advocates are hopeful that federal legislation could legalize it.
The cannabis industry in the US is estimated to be worth $21 billion and as more states take steps towards legalization, this number is only expected to grow. As of now there are two types of cannabis - hemp and marijuana. Hemp can legally be grown outside but not inside while cannabis remains illegal at the federal level. If cannabis were legalized federally , it's likely that hemp would be also.
- cannabis was legalized in 18 states as of July 2019
- cannabis is worth $21 billion and is only expected to grow with federal legalization
- cannabis can't currently be grown inside but if federally legalized, the plant would become eligible for indoor cultivation too
Even with this latest development, Legalization Efforts Look Stalled
The US President and other Republicans have shown reluctance to support the MORE Act, which includes provisions such as a federal tax that would fund social equity programs related to cannabis.
President Joe Biden hasn’t helped move the needle. While he‘s voiced support for medical marijuana rights and decriminalization, he has stopped short of calling for full legalization.
The Gap Between Federal and States Widens
Despite continued federal prohibition, more and more states are thumbing their nose at the feds by approving cannabis programs while looking for ways to add new jobs.
Recreational cannabis laws took effect in New Mexico in July 2021. Similar laws kicked in for Virginia and Connecticut, while South Dakota started permitting medical marijuana the same day.
The Reasons for Federal legalization of cannabis are numerous:
- Federal legalization will save lives by eliminating the need for an illicit trade in cannabis
- Legalizing cannabis is evidence-based, since it has been found to be a useful medical treatment for certain conditions
- Low doses of THC can help reduce daily pains and alleviate symptoms of mental illness, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- Lowering restrictions on cannabis sales will free up law enforcement resources to investigate more serious crimes.
Many advocates are hopeful that federal legislation could legalize cannabis nationwide. Even with this latest development, legalization efforts look stalled as the gap between state and federal laws widens by the day. The news around this issue is constantly evolving. Make sure to watch this space and feel free to check out our online store for a wide variety of high-quality pipes, vape pens, rolling papers, grinders and more!
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