Two of the biggest states in the South are going to expand their existing cannabis laws, and many other states are filing new marijuana legislation as we move further into 2019.
Yesterday a Texas state Senator, Royce West, filled a bill which would significantly expand the state’s existing cannabis program.
Texas legalized medical cannabis, but a limitation allows patients to get only low-THC cannabis. This law was introduced in 2015 and if Senator Royce’s bill passes it would significantly expand the rights of medical patients.
Florida is also on the cusp of legalizing recreational marijuana as the Democratic leadership in the state is bound to propose major marijuana legislation this year.
Governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, has also committed to expanding the medical patients’ rights, as currently patients in Florida are not allowed to smoke medical marijuana.
Other states are pushing for legalization
Florida and Texas are not the only two states working on improving the current situation of the cannabis industry in the US.
Other states are also working hard on making their markets an inviting and well-regulated places for when federal legalization comes.
Hawaii is one of the states with a legalized medical marijuana program which is run by the state. Now, the legislators in the state House and Senate are working on improving that program and introducing new ones.
In the next following days, the state legislature will be introducing bills to expand the current medical marijuana system and even decriminalize recreational marijuana.
Of the 11 cannabis-related bills in the House, only two have been formally introduced so far. A variety of those bills will also be lining up the state’s position on hemp now that the federal government legalized it via the Farm Bill.
“Look at the trend on the mainland,” said cannabis activist Andrea Tischler. “Eight states have legalized it already. It’s high time the state Legislature did, too.”
The Minnesota legislature is another body pushing for legalization this year. A bill was introduced yesterday by Representative Dehn which would effectively legalize adult use of cannabis in Minnesota.
According to the bill, Minnesota might soon legalize cannabis and cannabis-infused product consumption, for all individuals over 21 years of age.
The legalization race
The federal government seems to be well on its way to passing legislation which would allow for states to handle marijuana businesses without having the federal government interfere.
This right was given to the states several years ago, as Deputy AG Cole sent out a memo to the governors of all states that legalized medical or recreational marijuana.
Today, that’s more than two-thirds of all 50 states. The STATES bill currently in Congress will double down on that right and introduce a legal precedent according to which the states will be completely safe from federal interference.
That being said, it is very, very unlikely that the federal government will actually legalize recreational cannabis, simply because not every state is up for it.
By introducing the STATES act, the federal government is giving a free hand to any state looking for legalization. It also doesn’t force legalization onto states that don’t want it by passing that same act.
If the STATES act is passed, states that want to legalize will do so, and states which don’t want to legalize will just pass up on the opportunity – but the opportunity will always be there.
That only leaves the question of when will complete legalization happen, and by complete I mean in all 50 states and territories. Will the federal government legalize cannabis first, or will each of the 50 states do it on their own before the feds can catch up?