Cannabis reform protesters gather outside the White House in Washington, D.C., to call on President Joe Biden to take action on a cannabis amnesty ahead of the general election in November, October. 24, 2022.
Wayne McNamee | Getty Images
Marijuana is a multi-billion dollar industry, and across the US, legal markets are emerging like weeds as more states seek the tax revenue and jobs that the cash crop brings.
Medical and recreational marijuana sales are expected to reach $33.6 billion by the end of the year, a trend largely driven by opening up new markets for adult use, according to MJBiz Factbook analysis.
In Michigan alone, medical and recreational sales together brought in about $325 million in tax revenue last year, according to the state’s cannabis regulatory agency.
In Delaware, legal cannabis became a reality last month, when the state passed dual bills aimed at allowing possession by adults 21 and older, and creating a regulatory framework for the adult use market to take shape in the coming months. It became the 22nd state to legalize recreational marijuana, trailing Missouri and Maryland, which did so earlier this year.
said Olivia Naugle, senior policy analyst at Marijuana Policy Project.
“From organizing lobby days, rallies, and town halls, testifying at key committees, conducting media outreach, voter guides, and so much more, years of effective advocacy and teamwork helped us get to this moment,” Nogli said.
Similar legalization efforts are underway and driving momentum in a handful of other states as the marijuana industry grows. Some states are even moving forward with proposals or ballot measures to legalize weed, putting it within easy reach of having recreational markets.
These are the states that stand a chance of legalizing adult use of marijuana in the coming years.
Leif Hammer of Minneapolis attends a rally at the Capitol in St. Paul, Minnesota, convened by members of the Minnesota Normal, to advocate for the legalization of cannabis, April 23, 2014.
Jerry Holt | Star Tribune | Getty Images
For the first time in a decade, Minnesota Democrats control both houses of the state legislature and the governor’s office, a trifecta that the state is about to legalize marijuana.
The final bill aims to Ending weed bans and creating a regulated market will reach the government office. Tim Walz will be signed into law in the coming weeks. The Minnesota House and Senate have passed separate versions of the legislation, and lawmakers from both parties are now working to iron out key parts of a final bill, including tax rates and deletion. Previous criminal charges or convictions related to marijuana.
“Legalization will also create hundreds, if not thousands, of new jobs, eliminate the illegal market, and allow law enforcement to focus on more serious crimes,” Tarasek said.
Medical marijuana is already legal in Minnesota, and the majority of the state’s population supports its recreational use.
Walz has expressed support for the bill, and Taracek expects to sign it into law before the current legislative session adjourns on May 22.
Jared Sadler harvests marijuana plants at Cresco Labs’ growing facility in Indiantown, Florida.
John McCall | Getty Images
Florida is about 50,000 signatures away from putting a proposed constitutional amendment on the 2024 ballot That would allow the recreational use of marijuana.
Advocates for the Florida legislation have collected 841,130 valid signatures statewide out of the 891,589 required for the amendment, according to the Florida Department of Elections website. The state updates the petition count at the end of each month.
Once the measure, which is narrowly focused on allowing recreational use in the state, is on the ballot, it has a good chance of success. A poll conducted by the University of North Florida’s Public Opinion Research Laboratory found that 70% of respondents “strongly” or “somewhat” support the amendment.
This procedure does not establish a framework for what a legal market will look like.
Florida legalized the sale of medical marijuana in 2016 and it has become a multi-billion dollar business. Legal sales were $1.04 billion from January 2022 through July 2022, according to data from research firm Hedset.
“Florida currently has one of the strongest medical cannabis programs in America, and if this market is expanded to allow adult use for personal consumption, we believe the market will be even stronger,” said Lauren Niehaus, executive director of government relations for Trulieve.
The company, which operates more than 180 medical dispensaries in the state, has donated $30 million to Smart & Safe Florida, the committee sponsoring the amendment.
“Trulieve predicts that, at maturity, Florida could become a $6 billion cannabis market,” Niehaus said.
Ohio may vote on legalizing recreational marijuana in November.
The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol has a proposal that seeks to create a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol. After the state legislature elected not to accept the proposal, the group had until July 5 to secure 124,000 signatures from registered voters to get the proposal on the ballot.
“We are confident that the state of Ohio will legalize marijuana for all adults in 2023,” said Thomas Haren, a spokesman for the group. “This is an issue that transcends political boundaries. It is popular with Democrats, Independents, and Republicans.”
About half of Ohio voters support legalizing adult use, according to an Emerson College poll. The poll found that voters who favor legalization are Democrats with 66.2%, followed by independents with 50% and Republicans with 36.3%.
Haren said the proposal also plans to build on Ohio’s medical marijuana program and issue additional adult-use licenses to new companies.
It is estimated that under the proposed framework, Ohio would generate $350 million to $400 million in new form tax revenue. Researchers from Ohio State University estimate that tax revenue will range from $276 million to $374 million in the fifth year from an operational adult-use marijuana market.
Brad Horrigan | Tribune News Service | Getty Images
Pennsylvania is increasingly surrounded by states with well-established recreational markets, including New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware.
If the country, the nation’s fifth most populous, legalizes weed, profits can stay within its borders.
There are three separate proposals from lawmakers who hope to regulate marijuana, but also benefit from it. The Democratic-controlled state House of Representatives announced proposals in January and February, while the Republican-held Senate announced proposals in December. Each seeks, to varying degrees, to tax the crop for the welfare of the communities and includes initiatives aimed at achieving social justice.
However, marijuana attorney Brian Vicente said Pennsylvania is far behind the pack in trying to legalize marijuana.
“Pennsylvania is just a more difficult hill to climb,” said Vicente, who had been watching what was happening in the Commonwealth. “We haven’t had the same momentum in the legislature there, but the governor is supporting it, so it’s likely to continue this year.”
Only 1 in 4 Pennsylvania adults oppose legalization, with 56% supporting changing the existing law, according to a Muhlenberg College poll. The state has had medical marijuana since 2018.