As the marijuana revolution pushes full speed ahead, it is only a matter of time before the United States follow in the footsteps of Canada and legalize pot at the national level.
Marijuana legalization will continue to occur at the state level. As individual states see the amount of tax revenue weed brings to state where it is legalized, more and more states will want to join the legalization party. It will be just a matter of time when marijuana will be legal in all states and keeping it illegal at the federal level will not make much sense.
Below are 3 states that according to Motley Fool is most like to legalize marijuana in 2019.
Of the 40 states that haven’t legalized recreational weed, the Garden State looks to be the likeliest to do so — and rather quickly, might I add.
On Nov. 26, two panels in the state Legislature voted in favor of three new marijuana bills, one of which would legalize recreational marijuana. According to that bill, which could soon find its way to Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy’s desk, recreational pot would become legal for adults age 21 and over, with a maximum of 1 ounce allowed to be purchased.
The only perceived holdup at the moment is what consumers should pay in taxes. The current proposal calls for a tax rate of 14%, which would be substantially lower than in California and Washington, which have combined tax rates for pot of 37% and 30%, respectively, not counting local tax rates. However, Murphy has called for a tax rate of 25%, which would match Nevada and give New Jersey a better opportunity to close a budget gap being widened by the state’s pension program.
This is another state with a really good shot at legalizing marijuana within the next year.
In June, Howard Zucker, commissioner of New York State’s Department of Health, announced that the benefits of recreational marijuana outweigh the risks, based on his department’s findings. New York is one of two dozen states that don’t have the initiative and referendum process, meaning any legalization of recreational weed would have to occur at the legislative level.
Then, this past week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, called on the state Legislature to draft a bill to legalize recreational weed in 2019. Although Cuomo hasn’t always supported legalization, the lure of taxable revenue is often too great for states to ignore. With Democrats taking back the state’s Senate in November, a path has been cleared for legalization. As a reminder, Republicans have historically had a more-negative view of cannabis than Democrats have.
Though it’s more of a long shot than, say, New Jersey or New York, Illinois could be the third state to legalize recreational weed within the next year.
Recently, the Democratic mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, proposed legalizing recreational marijuana. While most folks would like to believe that public support for weed has pushed Emanuel to call for change, it’s really Chicago’s need to address more than $27 billion in unfunded liabilities for the city’s public employee pensions that’s driving this possible policy change. Taxing recreational weed and funneling the collected revenue to the city’s pension fund could help close some of that gap. According to USA Today, Chicago needs an additional $276 million in 2020 to pay for police and fire pension contributions, and $310 million by 2022 to cover the municipal and laborers fund.
Curaleaf would also be thrilled to see Illinois legalize. Shortly after the company went public via a reverse takeover (by buying a publicly traded company), Curaleaf’s executive chairman Boris Jordan suggested that Illinois was a focus that’s high on its list. Mind you, Curaleaf currently has 34 opened dispensaries, but is looking to more than double that to 69 by the end of 2020. It certainly has more than enough capital to do so.