Legalization Momentum Falls Short in Critical States
May 23rd, 2019
Cannabis legalization received widespread support during the last election cycle, but in many states, efforts have been delayed or canceled for this legislative session.
States like New York, New Jersey, and Illinois have Democratic legislatures and widespread public support for legalization, but the proposals encountered a lot of pushback and time is running out to pass new legislation is this session. Many of the concerns stem from issues like racial justice, home cultivation, and what to do with tax revenue.
New York’s legalization initiative stalled during the budget process in March, although some Democrats are trying to restart the process to pass a bill that would legalize recreational use. Latino and African American lawmakers withheld support because criminal justice reform and minority participation clauses didn’t go far enough to redress historical inequality.
In neighboring New Jersey, lawmakers have all but abandoned efforts to pass laws this year and instead plan on supporting a 2020 ballot referendum. The biggest issue with the state’s three-bill package was a provision that would expunge third-degree distribution convictions covering up to five pounds of marijuana.
Illinois has the best chance of passing cannabis legislation, but with just two weeks left, it’s not a certainty. While the financially-troubled state is eager to receive tax revenue, protesters at the state capitol have been demanding that tax revenue go toward violence reduction and programs that boost communities affected by drug laws.
There have been some surprising wins for the industry — such as Alabama’s passage of medical marijuana legislation and a Texas bill that would reduce penalties for possession — but many cannabis advocates believe that the year fell short of their expectations.
In the end, passing cannabis laws through the legislative process has always been challenging and most bills pass through referendum as a result. The 2020 election could bring a greater number of referendums that end up going into law.
This article was published by CFN Enterprises Inc. (OTCQB: CNFN), owner and operator of CFN Media, the industry’s leading agency and digital financial media network dedicated to the burgeoning CBD and legal cannabis industries. Call +1 (833) 420-CNFN for more information.
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