When will cannabis be legal nationwide?
The battle to legalize Cannabis nationwide has been on the rise for several years. However, the end to this long struggle is not yet definite. With Biden still indecisive and the Senate yet to pass the Federal legalization bill, chances are it will still take a few years to implement it on a national level.
Till now, cannabis is legally prohibited at the federal level. It results in a direct conflict with the 42 states that have either legalized marijuana or made it available for recreational purposes.
Moreover, the local and state guidelines give access to adults to obtain recreational marijuana. However, without federal support, there is a layer of uncertainty that is bound to cause issues.
What is the current situation on legalizing cannabis?
When will cannabis be legal nationwide? This is the question that majority of the Americans seek an answer to.
It is true that nationwide legal acceptance of Cannabis is yet to occur, but changes are happening all across the country. With numerous states opting for legalizing it, there is rising hope that finally, there will be changes to the federal ban that was imposed years ago.
As per numerous lawmakers in Washington, there is a hint of introducing new legislation, which can reverse the outright federal ban on cannabis.
However, without 60 votes (a supermajority) in the Senate, it will become difficult for the Democrats to push for this life-changing Federal legalization bill 2021. Nevertheless, it is still too early to be able to make any detailed prediction on cannabis’s future in the US.
What is the federal law on cannabis?
Before seeking an answer to when will cannabis be legal nationwide, you must know the actual law.
According to the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, marijuana nationwide is illegal. Moreover, it specifically bans the usage of the plant species Cannabis sativa L. or any product derived from the plant. However, the law was later subject to modification in the 2018’s Agriculture Improvement Act.
This act now allows the plant material with a maximum of 0.3% of THC, a psychoactive component. It removed CBD products and HEMP from the list of controlled substances.
Legalization and decriminalization of cannabis in the different US states
Are you wondering when will cannabis be legal nationwide? Before that, let’s focus on the states that have made marijuana in some form legit. Out of all the 50 states and Washington, DC, only eight still announce marijuana as illegal.
However, there are differences in the legislature in all these 42 states. Here, take a look!
- Medical sales of the flower and the derivative are legal across 35 states and Washington, DC.
- Decriminalization of marijuana is approved in 32 states. However, two states – North Carolina and Nebraska still haven’t passed the legalization status.
- 15 states have legalized the recreational sales of marijuana along with Washington, DC.
- In 7 states, there is the legalization of the medical selling of CBD products.
Is there a difference between decriminalization and the legalization of cannabis?
Yes, there is, in fact, a difference between the legalization and decriminalization of cannabis.
Decriminalization refers to the lack of criminal charges upon violating the stipulated marijuana laws. However, breaking some of the regulations might result in paying fees or any other penalties.
In contrast, the legalization of cannabis means the validation of a law that states the possession, selling, and buying of a specific quantity of marijuana as legal. The laws can have a variety of conditions, such as the minimum age to possess marijuana and the amount that is legal to purchase. However, legalization also indicates that when you follow the rules of the law, you won’t be in any legal jeopardy.
How can the Federal legalization bill help the Cannabis business?
It is without a doubt that the US has the biggest market when it comes to Cannabis. As per BDSA, marijuana sales in the US increased from $12.1 billion in the year 2019 to $17.5 billion in 2020. The legal cannabis sales in the US grew by 46% in the last year, 2020.
Moreover, the legal market for cannabis, is expected to cross $73.6 billion by the year 2027 internationally. The primary reason includes the legalization of the plant to promote the cultivation and usage among the people.
Research and analytic firms are of the opinion that the allowance of recreational usage of cannabis can ultimately drive the sales up. It is because recreational cannabis is much easier to attain when compared to medical ones. This could mean a significant increase in the US cannabis market.
However, the fact that cannabis still falls under the Controlled Substances Act is a huge problem. It means that the distribution and production of cannabis are still illegal at the federal level.
What are the problems due to the Federal ban on Cannabis?
If you are wondering when will cannabis be legal nationwide, first focus on the issues that the federal ban can cause.
Perhaps, the most significant problem that cannabis businesses encounter is the lack of funding sources. The single most reliable and conventional funding source is the bank. However, due to the federal ban, the banks do not pass loans or any monetary relief to the entrepreneurs dealing with cannabis.
The lack of federal approval enhances the regulatory risks and ultimately blocks the investment flow onto the industry. Though private equity and venture capitalists aid, they too are not overly excited. It is why federal legalization can aid businesses in getting the help they need.
Due to the Controlled Substances Act, farmers can only dedicate a certain area of land for the cultivation of cannabis. In order for an industry to survive, supply must be in excess. However, with limitations in land availability, it causes disruption to the supply chain. Federal legalization can aid in the issuance of more land for cannabis growth.
Another issue that is highly prevalent is the wild fluctuation of cannabis prices in different states. For instance, after the legalization of cannabis in some states, the price there has dropped dramatically. The disparity is actually detrimental to the development of the overall US cannabis market. Moreover, the ban on interstates commerce regarding cannabis is also a major issue.
There are numerous issues that can get resolved with the passing of the Federal legalization bill for cannabis. However, till it actually happens, these problems are unlikely to halt.
Previous attempts to repeal the existing federal cannabis laws
There were, in fact, multiple attempts to repeal the current federal legislation on cannabis. However, none of them ever appeared or passed through the Senate. That leads one to wonder when will cannabis be legal nationwide.
- The STATES act
The STATES act grants individual states the authority to decide if they want to opt for the legalization of cannabis. Moreover, the act also ensures that the US operations get the protection of federal bankruptcy. However, the act doesn’t advocate interstate commerce.
- The SAFE banking act
Though the SAFE banking act was approved by the House of Representatives in 2019, it was later blocked. This act offers protection to the banks that help out the cannabis industry.
- The MORE act
The MORE act is by far the boldest attempt to repeal the federal ban. With this act, there would be federal legalization of cannabis. Moreover, interstate commerce will also be permitted as cannabis itself will be removed from The Controlled Substances Act. It would facilitate the sale of cannabis across the country without any issue. However, states will still get the autonomy to decide if they want to grant the permit to cannabis sales.
Opinion of the public on the Federal legalization bill
Since 1969, Gallup has been conducting polls to gather public opinion on the federal legalization of cannabis. In 1969, a mere 12% of Americans were in favor of the notion. However, in their latest polls conducted last year, November 2020, about 68% of Americans voted in favor of the idea.
What is the cannabis legislation one can expect from Congress?
When will cannabis be legal nationwide is the question numerous Americans ask each day, but the answer remains as elusive as ever. As per analysts, Congress is likely to pass a law that is similar to the SACE Act or the Safe and Fair Enforcement Banking Act. It can aid in the decriminalization of cannabis and, in turn, marihuana to some extent.
Moreover, it also helps the cannabis industry by eliminating the present ban that refrains banks from helping out the entrepreneurs. It can ultimately lead to the growth of the cannabis industry on a larger scale. However, the complete decriminalization of cannabis doesn’t seem to be on the horizon right now for the US. As such, the Federal legalization bill 2021 status remains indecisive.
When will cannabis be legal nationwide? Well, the legalization of cannabis at the federal level is not exactly impossible. In fact, the Federal legalization bill is likely to get passed soon. However, it is much more complex than simply passing the bill. There are various other implications that the administration must handle. From strict rules to the enforcement of the regulations to the environmental impact, there are several factors that need serious consideration. With this new mindset, the US, and thereafter the world can enter a new era of radical thoughts and liberal notions.
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