The legalization movement is continuously gaining momentum throughout the United States and globally.
Here is an overview of what is happening in cannabis legalization across the U.S. this year.
Momentum Growing in Cannabis
Nearly half of the U.S. population lives in states where cannabis has been legalized or will be in 2022, according to a 2021 Legislative Report by NORML, and expectations are that the rest of the population will soon live in a legal state as well. Delaware and Oklahoma will soon join the list of states including New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and New Mexico that have recently legalized cannabis, and momentum is also building in Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. Mississippi and Wyoming are moving to legalize cannabis use for medical purposes, while a handful of states including Arkansas and Florida have ballot initiatives in the coming year to expand on existing adult-use laws. At this point, there are only two states, Idaho and Nebraska, where there remains no legal access to cannabis, and Nebraska is moving to legislate its medicinal use.
A Soaring Market
Trends suggest that the legal cannabis market will continue to grow into the new year, with some predictions claiming it will have doubled from $30 billion in potential legal sales in 2022 to $60 Billion in 2026. Regardless of the regulatory differences in states like California and Colorado, evidence suggests there is no slowing down the growing market and investment interest, pandemic or not.
Slow Progress in Congress, but Progress Nonetheless
The Safe Banking Act, although failing to pass the Senate, would be milestone legislation if it passed next time around and would be an important step in the effort to legalize cannabis at the federal level. It would end the punitive tax code imposed on cannabis businesses, giving the industry safer and easier access to the banking system. Senators like Democrat and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Republican Congresswoman Nancy Mace are currently pushing to pass several bills that would effectively end the federal criminalization of cannabis.