What is going on with the legal cannabis industry in the USA in 2020?
The cannabis industry is quickly growing and it is just set to even get bigger this year. 2019 has been quite a year for this business as more states have finally legalized its use, both medical and recreational. Currently, there are already 33 states that allow its medical use and 11 of these states also allow recreational use.
This year started with Illinois becoming the 11th state to legalize its recreational use. It was on New Year’s Day when Illinois first started selling this for recreational purposes and on the next day, Toi Hutchinson, the Illinois governor’s senior advisor for cannabis control announced on a press conference that a total of 77,000 transactions were made on that first day. 77,000 sales accounted for nearly 3.2 million US dollars.
This is pretty similar to how the first day of sales that other states that have legalized its recreational use went. Oregon also made around 3.2 million US dollars on its first day of sales in 2015. Colorado made around 1 million US dollars.
Colorado is now one of the top-selling cannabis states and this year, it is expected that Colorado would earn up to 1.7 billion US dollars for its sales. This means an 11 percent increase from what the state has made last year. This is likely to happen as products become more available to the people.
People of Colorado can get supplies from 360 dispensaries and can browse products from weed seed. It’s possible that more dispensaries would open up in the state as it’s a place that people outside the state would visit just for this.
Other top-selling states may also be opening more dispensaries locally. States like California, Michigan, Washington, and Nevada are expected to still be on the top ten list of states where the legal use of medical and recreational cannabis is legal. Meanwhile, the states of Florida and Arizona are also expected to make over a hundred million dollars this year just by medical sales.
Even if how the first day of recreational sales in Illinois can already translate to the success of this industry on the state, Hutchinson shared that the 37 dispensaries that Illinois already has are just really the beginning. The state is still looking to distribute 75 more dispensary licenses on May 1 of this year.
Aside from Illinois, other states that have already legalized the recreational use of cannabis are Alaska, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia.
Illinois basically spearheaded recreation legislation of cannabis this year, but more states are expected to follow in the next month. The state of New York, for example, is expected to do the same thing this year. New York governor Andrew Cuomo himself swore that this should be the year to legalize recreational sales in the state.
The legislators in New York already downgraded possession of this substance from a misdemeanor to a fine, but people with more than two ounces of this drug on them can still be arrested. Due to the challenges that the state is facing towards its legalization, Cuomo already hired Norman Birenbaum to lead the state’s cannabis program.
Despite the success of many states in regulating the sales of this natural product, this is still considered a federally illegal substance. Because this is the case, most banks are prohibited from doing business with cannabis manufacturers and companies.
Now, even if its federal legislation is still unlikely, what lawmakers did is to introduce the Secure and Fair Enforcement or SAFE Banking Act. This would be able to protect banks that partner up with businesses in the industry.
This SAFE Banking Act already passed the Democratic-led House. However, many are expecting that it won’t go pass the Senate. Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo, after all, did express his strong opposition to this matter in December of last year.
Crapo said in a press release that concerns this issue is, “Significant concerns remain that the SAFE Banking Act does not address the high-level potency of marijuana, marketing tactics to children, lack of research on marijuana’s effects, and the need to prevent bad actors and cartels from using the banks to disguise ill-gotten cash to launder money into the financial system.”
While it’s still unlikely that the US will federally legalize the use of this substance, the House of Judiciary Committee still approved a bill that will decriminalize the use of this substance at the federal level. This is called the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2019.