Legal cannabis has been one of the fastest growing markets throughout the past several years, with many states seeing massive increases in tax revenue and the beneficial growth-properties within their respective locations. As many as 12 states are poised to put legal cannabis on the ballot through 2018, with more to come. As states battle legislation from those such as Attorney General Jeff Sessions, it seems as though the fight is underway for legal marijuana.
Erik Altieri, the executive director for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws stated recently that, “With over 60 percent of Americans now supporting the full legalization of marijuana for adults, the momentum behind marijuana law reform will not only continue but increase as we head into 2018.”
Vermont is one of the newest states to legalize cannabis in a landmark move made early in 2018. The state is waiting on its first Legislature and governor to approve recreational weed, but it is clear that the majority of the population would like to see it legalized in the near future. The Deomocrat-controlled government in the state approved the use of recreational marijuana back in May, but with a veto from someone high up in the government, the bill is still waiting to be passed. The veto comes from a statement asking a bipartisan commission to study public health issues surrounding the new marijuana laws that would go into place, so that the state can better understand how to control the new laws. The state would also like to see research done into how making recreational marijuana legal will affect existing substance abuse issues such as the opioid crisis that is going nationwide recently. Republican Governor Phil Scott of the state recently stated that
A number of states have already legalized it surrounding us. Whether we like it or not, it’s here and it’s being utilized, so we have to take steps to promote the general public.” This type of mindset is the one that is helping marijuana reform to be passed throughout the state, so research into the market will likely help the public to get what they want.
If the state is able to enact the new law on July first, it will allow citizens to possess as much as one ounce of cannabis and be able to cultivate as many as two mature marijuana plants. Of course, these laws only apply to those who are 21 and older. The punishment for those caught exceeding these limits would be fewer than three years of jail time but most likely just a fine. “Vermont is positioned to be the first domino of several that could fall in 2018,” Marijuana Policy Project legislative analyst Matt Simon told Newsweek. “I think it always affects legislators’ thinking to see that somebody else has already done this. Getting a legislature to go first has been quite a challenge.”
The marijuana industry has been made very difficult over the past year or so with many new states wanting to legalize pot, but having to fight the national government. With those in power like Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the fight is still very much underway to try and combat these unfair federal laws. Throughout the coming year, it will be extremely interesting to see which states are able to pass marijuana laws and which ones would like to put it on the ballot in the coming year. Regardless, it is still very clear that the market on marijuana is booming and continuing to grow at unprecedented rates. Only time will tell how well these new states can adapt to the growing market on cannabis.