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Cali-Greenhouse Blog

Why more states could legalize cannabis in 2021

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Alicia Wallace, CNN Business

Updated 7:22 PM ET, Thu June 25, 2020

California's cannabis industry: It's complicated

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cannabis industry: It’s complicate 05:18.

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San Francisco (CNN Business)Amid recession 

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and social unrest, the cannabis industry sees its

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moment.Actionsby states to reduce criminal

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penalties for marijuana use and possession are

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fueling momentum for the broader movement

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to legalize cannabis and have it serve as an

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 economic engine for cash-strapped coffers,

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industry members and policy experts say.

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Nevada pardoned more than 15,500 people who

were convict of carrying less than an ounce of

cannabis. Georgia lawmakers added decriminalization 

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to a police reform bill that faces a challenging

path to approval, considering that state’s

Republican-controlled General Assembly and that

We read all day so you don’t have to.Get our

the legislative session ends on June 30,

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 the Savannah Morning News reports.

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Decriminalization legislationalso is advancing

 in New Jersey. In Colorado, a bill aim at

diversifying the state’s legal cannabis industry

was amend with a provision

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 that would allow Democratic Governor Jared Polis 

to expunge residents’ low-level cannabis

convictions.close dialog

CNN Business Nightcap

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privacy policy.Virginia’s new decriminalization law 

also includes provisions to create a work group to

evaluate the potential impact of cannabis

legalization.In recent years,

the calls have grown for firmer policies addressing

social justice and social equity concerns by reducing

the number of people imprisoned for non-violent

cannabis offenses, directing tax revenue to

communities harmed by Drug War policies, and

increasing the number of minority business

owners and employees.

Legalization on the ballot

At the start of 2020, the US cannabis industry had

an estimate 243,700 full-time employees, 

according to cannabis information site Leafly.

More than half of US states have medical cannabis

laws in place, with 11 of those allowing for adult

recreational. Those numbers — and the overall size

of the industry — were expected to grow in 2020;

however, efforts such as those in New York have

been waylay because of the coronavirus pandemic.

And whileNew York legalization efforts are

temporarily shelve, New Jersey and South

Dakota residents are expect to vote on recreational

cannabis legalization in November. Mississippi

is schedule to vote on medical marijuana, and

legalization campaigns are gathering and

submitting signatures for medical measures

 in Montana and Nebraska and for a recreational

measures in Arizona.

A recession boon?

Cannabis businesses were deemed essential in

most states where the drug is legal. Facing

economic turmoil, municipalities and states

are trying to get creative with revenue

generation, imposing taxes on activities such

as sports betting and products like vaping

devices, said Ulrik Boesen, a senior policy

analyst for the Tax Foundation. And while

cannabis regulation could pull in new revenue

— estimates put the illicit market at $60 billion —

the benefit to states won’t come immediately,

say Boesen, who authored a recently publish 

white paper on recreational cannabis excise taxes

Taxes have to be high enough to ensure proper

regulatory guardrails and enforcement, but not

too high to keep consumers in the illicit market,

says Salmeron Barnes, managing director of MPG

Consulting, which works with states and cities to

develop cannabis regulatory regimes.Earlier this

year, Barnes floated the idea of

 creating cannabis municipal bonds to help cities

generate additional revenue.

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