Following victories for marijuana reformers in 2018, many US states and countries are set to legalize cannabis in 2019
In 2018, the cannabis legalisation trend continued with increasing support and legislative progress. As the year went on, even more states in the United States (U.S.), along with other countries ended up changing their marijuana laws to allow for legal medical and recreational cannabis use. Last year, Californians got recreational marijuana legalized as a New Year’s gift. As of 1 January 2018, adults aged over 21 in California became able to possess up to an ounce (28 grams) of cannabis, and grow up to six marijuana plants at home.
On 17 October 2018, Canada became the world’s second nation, after Uruguay, to fully legalize cannabis. One week later, on October 24, U.S. President Donald Trump signed a bill legalising hemp, a non-intoxicating form of cannabis.
Considering the significant developments of 2018, more can only be expected in 2019. The legalisation phase is here, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down.
Here are some predictions for 2019, made by dozens of the most influential scientists, CEOs (Chief Executive Officers), economic analysts, political activists and, of course, people in the cannabis space, that suggest 2019 is the year for an even broader wave of cannabis legalisation.
Majority of US states will legalise cannabis
Increasing global acceptance of cannabis and growing support for legalisation are two factors making governments think about legalisation. Recent surveys from Gallup and the Pew Research Center found that more than 60 percent of Americans support cannabis legalisation.
Here are the US states that may legalise cannabis in 2019:
The prospects for cannabis legalisation in New Mexico got better with the election of Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) as the next governor. According to Grisham, legalisation will add hundreds of millions of dollars to the state’s economy, and she also supported cannabis reform measures as a Congress member. The state’s House speaker commented that if a legalisation bill were introduced, it would probably pass.
The Garden State governor, Philip Dunton Murphy, campaigned on supporting cannabis legalisation. Although lawmakers and the governor argued over tax rates and regulatory structures for marijuana legalisation, progress is already being made toward introducing a bill to Murphy’s desk. Senate and Assembly committees recently approved marijuana legalisation, demonstrating the likelihood of a major law reform in 2019.
The Governor-elect of Illinois supported cannabis legalisation as a centrepiece of his campaign. Immediately after Election Day, he confirmed that he wanted to pursue marijuana legalisation instantly after the new legislature convenes.
Governor Andrew Cuomo released plans to legalise recreational cannabis in New York during his annual budget address on January 15. If all goes according to plan, people in New York may soon be able to use cannabis legally.
Other states potentially ready to legalise cannabis
There are many other states ready for legalisation in 2019. In New Hampshire, for instance, after Democrats took control of chambers of the state legislature in the midterm elections, the House speaker said there was enough support from lawmakers to override an expected Sununu marijuana veto.
Minnesota’s Governor Tim Walz (D) has pledged to replace the current failed cannabis policy with the new one that creates tax revenue, brings more jobs for Minnesotans, protects kids, and allows adults to make personal decisions. In Vermont, advocates believe that the Democratic-led legislature may send a bill to legalise cannabis commerce to the desk of Governor Phil Scott (R) in 2019.
Other states that are most likely to step towards legalisation this year include Connecticut, Rhode Island, Kansas, Pennsylvania, and Texas.
Australia on the uptake
In the wake of Canada’s full cannabis legalisation and an increasing number of US states doing the same, speculation has increased on the chances of Australia to legalise recreational marijuana. New Frontier Data finds that the Australian cannabis market is worth nearly $6.3 billion. There are now over 2000 medical cannabis patients having easier access to prescriptions.
When it comes to recreational use, the Australian Greens, a political party, are proposing a government-regulated system for legalisation that will legalise the drug for adult use and take it out of the hands of criminal organizations. A 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey found that 35 percent of Australians are in favour of legalisation, up from 26 per cent in 2013.
Other countries that could legalize cannabis this year are New Zealand, South Africa, and Italy.
In addition to states’ and countries’ legalisation, expect to see many more legal cannabis products and trades worldwide.
On the heels of last year’s landmark cannabis law reforms, 2019 is looking to be one in which widespread cannabis legalisation and decriminalization is likely to take place. Broader trends in the marijuana industry are pointing toward rapid growth in areas like public health, CBD products including cannabis-infused beverages, vaping products, and sustainable agricultural-technology innovations. These growths are no coincidence. Instead, they are the results of business strategists betting on an even stronger wave of cannabis legalisation in the very near future.