As of January 1st, Illinois – the sixth most populous state in the nation – became the 11th state to legalize the use of recreational marijuana. The event also marks the second time that weed legalization was passed by the Legislature rather than at the ballot box. The new law in Illinois will allow people with licenses to grow and sell cannabis, and people that are over the age of 21 to possess and consume it. Residents can purchase up to one ounce of weed while non-residents can purchase up to 15 grams.
Legalizing marijuana allows the state to tax it, resulting in an estimated $500 million a year in revenue. The current governor of Illinois plans to take 25% of the revenue and put it toward violence prevention, health services, and other programs expected to improve grantee communities. This is part of the Recover, Reinvest, Renew (R3) program that aims to invest in communities held victim by the decades-long war on drugs.
Legalization Potential in 2020
According to Forbes, 2020 could be a banner year for cannabis on the ballot. While it’s important to note that marijuana remains illegal on the federal level, there are at least 16 states that could see marijuana measures going before voters in 2020, some considering recreational marijuana while others are focusing on medicinal usage. While not every initiated effort will prove to be successful, here are the states that may see marijuana on the ballot in 2020: Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Nebraska, and South Dakota.
Current Ballots and Beyond
Activists in a handful of states are looking to bring broader drug policy reform to the table in 2020 and beyond. A group called Decriminalize California is preparing to collect signatures to legalize psilocybin mushrooms. Organizers in Oregon are looking to qualify initiatives that legalize psychedelic fungus for therapeutic use and to decriminalize all drugs while expanding funds for substance misuse treatment programs.
While no one can predict the outcomes of further initiatives, 2020 is poised to be the biggest year for marijuana yet with presidential candidates increasingly embracing its legalization. NORML Political Director Justin Strekal commented on the upcoming elections by stating, “As we have seen in previous elections, marijuana initiatives increase voter turnout in nearly every demographic. With public support growing by the day, 2020 will be the biggest year yet for expanding the freedoms and liberties of cannabis consumers.”
Something else that can expand this year is your business, especially if you’re in the cannabis industry. Learn more about how.