Despite sharp political, ideological, and community differences between the democrats and the republicans, one concern seemed to bring them together: Cannabis. It was however not a surprise that reforms on cannabis in such a hyper-partisanship era, could unify voters from either sides.
What You Need to Know
Cannabis has been on the limelight for some time now, with various states voting for its legalization for recreation, therapy, or medicinal use. Cannabidiol (CBD) is the second most active ingredient of cannabis derived directly from the hemp plant. Despite being a component of marijuana, CBD does not cause the “high” effect that unprocessed marijuana with THC normally has—the World Health Organization confirmed that CBD does not exhibit any impact on humans’ independence or show any effects relating to its abuse (addiction). CBD is legal in most parts of North America even though the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is yet to approve it.
Like hemp, marijuana is also a cannabis Sativa species but with high Tetrahydro Cannabis (THC) and moderate amounts of CBD, depending on the strain. Marijuana has been stigmatized and outlawed for decades and the American government has been on constant crackdowns on its use—this is partly due to the amount of THC in it. For instance, the hemp plant has less than 0.3% THC while marijuana contains over 0.3% THC. — THC is the psychoactive ingredient with the “high” effect.
The Path to Freedom
The MORE Act
Harris and Rep. Jerry Nadler co-sponsored the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, seeking to remove cannabis from the controlled substances act. The Act would remove criminal penalties under federal law and accelerate expunctions. A 5% tax would then be imposed on cannabis products, and no federal public would be denied benefits based on their marijuana use. The voting on the bill was postponed, but it is expected to take place in 2021.
Legalization of CBD
A lot of members from the CBD and marijuana product Industries and consumers were vouching for policy changes. They hoped that the changes would liberalize the sale and distribution of products containing CBD and legalize medical and recreational cannabis across the United States. With the legalization of CBD, now different CBD products are readily available in various places across different American states. Some of these products include CBD lattes, CBD facials and CBD lotions.
Significant Support for Cannabis from Democrats and Republicans
In a Gallup poll conducted in 2019, the results established that over 76 percent of Democratic voters hoped that cannabis would be legalized. The same sentiments were held by 68 percent of independent voters and 51 percent of Republican voters. During his campaign, the Democrat candidate and the now U.S. President-elect Joe Biden expressed significant commitment to the decriminalization of cannabis. Successful implementation of this reform will create flexibility in cannabis-related business reforms.
States Activities in Legalizing and Decriminalizing Cannabis
Recently, different states have joined the bandwagon of states that support the legalization of cannabis, indicating that more reforms are underway. Leaders have realized the value of CBD, especially during the COVID 19 pandemic. Legalization of cannabis has been a trending topic recently since marijuana sales across states have significantly risen during the pandemic. The prospects for the growth of cannabis and the business it generates are on the rise, and over two-thirds of Americans are pushing for its legalization.
ArcView Market Research/BDSA predicted a $15.8 billion growth in total cannabis sales in the United States, up from $12.1 billion in the previous year. Recently, Illinois received recognition for their record-breaking marijuana sales that hit $67 million in September.
The states below are on the path to decriminalizing and legalizing Cannabidiol for medicinal and recreational use based on some set rules and regulations.
Arizona has supported the legalization of CBD through the passing of Prop. 207 that allows cannabis to be used for recreational use. If fully effected, Arizona will join hands with California State that holds immense support for medical and recreational cannabis. In 2010, Arizona passed the ballot measure Proposition 203, referred to as the Arizona Medical Marijuana Initiative. It allowed individuals with medical conditions to possess some amounts of marijuana for medical use. During the 2020 election, the state voted for the Marijuana Legalization Initiative, referred to as proposition 207, to legalize recreational users of cannabis and possession.
The state of Mississippi presented two options, which were Initiative 65 and Alternative Initiative 65A. They were both designed to legalize marijuana differently. They voted for the Medical Marijuana Initiative to allow patients with debilitating health conditions to use cannabis for medicinal purposes. Initiative 65 outlined the rules and regulations of legalizing cannabis, whereas initiative 65A granted the state legislature the role of determining the details. From a recent poll, the passing of the two initiatives seems more likely.
Montana presented two dueling initiatives, Constitutional Initiative 118 and Initiative 190, which sought to make cannabis legal in their state and also make amendments to the age limit allowed to use cannabis. Initiative 190 is expected to legalize cannabis for recreational use, whereas the Constitutional Initiative 118 would allow recreational cannabis to be used by adults 21 years and older. The history of past laws on the same subject in Montana and past polls suggests that Montana is flexible and more open to pro-legalization measures. The prospects for the passage of the two initiatives remain high.
In New Jersey, recreational cannabis has remained illegal for years. However, Governor Jon Corzine legalized medical cannabis in 2010 with the passing of the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act (CAMMA). Compared to other states, the medical use of cannabis in New Jersey has remained strict. In the 2020 Question 1, which seeks to make recreational cannabis legal in New Jersey, voters were asked to decide whether to make amendments in the state constitution allowing the use of recreational cannabis for adults 21 years and older. The Question further asked whether to allow for its cultivation and retail sales.
Among the amendments across different states, Oregon has stood out in its cannabis reforms. The state approved measure 109 to establish a legal regime that would allow psilocybin for therapeutic services. It stands out as the first state in America to make a psychedelic plant legal. The state further approved measure 110 to decriminalize non-commercial possession of all controlled substances.
In South Dakota, Measure 26 was passed for medical cannabis. The possession and consumption of cannabis has been illegal in the state for a long time. Previous attempts to legalize cannabis failed, and the law that seemed booming left significant confusion on the legality of Cannabidiol. Constitutional Amendment A, on South Dakota Ballot, sought to legalize cannabis for recreational use. It required the state legislature to institute laws and regulations on the use of cannabis and hemp sales. Measure 26 will allow the use of cannabis for medical help to patients with qualifying conditions.
Why Are Reforms On Cannabis Necessary?
The change in CBD laws is necessitated by different factors, including impacts on the economy. In New Jersey, CBD’s legalization is projected to generate up to $ 400 million in sales during the first year and $950 million by 2024. The figures are expected to translate to $63 million in annual state tax revenue with an added $19 million in the local taxes as projected by the Marijuana Business Daily. The move lights some hope in pandemic-stricken states where the business has been negatively affected, affecting its income. Passing the measures across the mentioned states legalizes medicinal marijuana in 38 American states.
Hope in The New Leadership
President Donald Trump and the new President-Elect Joe Biden have had interesting views about cannabis throughout their leadership period. Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris support adult-use marijuana decriminalization, legalization of medical cannabis by the federal states, as well as reasonable rescheduling which empowers states to set their laws obliterating prior cannabis convictions but not federal legalizations.
Joe Biden promised to invest in further research of CBD before making the legalization steps. As a residence of a state where cannabis is legalized, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-CA, Joe Biden’s running mate, supports the eventual federal legalization of cannabis. The two are expected to spearhead the campaign in fulfilling their promised reforms in governance.
Some of the Expected Democratic Party Reforms Involving CBD
- Decriminalization of Cannabis
- Banking Reforms to accommodate cannabis industry members
- Eliminating cannabis from Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act
- Allowing access to Cannabis for Veterans
More reforms are expected to be introduced by the Biden administration on the legalization of cannabis either for recreation or medical purposes. Some states are yet to join the rest in legalizing cannabis, but changes are expected. The freedom to purchase and use cannabis in different states will pressure the neighboring states to follow suit.
Contact us if you have additional questions about the legality of CBD and our products.