Things are moving quickly on the East Coast!
While typically, the West Coast has seen the most action in recent years when it comes to marijuana legalization–but it looks like this year, East Coast states are abuzz with proposed measures that will catch them up with their Western neighbors. More than a half-dozen states are still in the running to legalize medicinal or recreational marijuana through their legislatures in 2022, with much of the activity centered on the East Coast.
There is a lot of money riding on these legalization efforts: depending on whether state legislatures allow medicinal or adult-use marijuana, the new initiatives might create hundreds of millions of dollars in economic potential.
Here’s a rundown of what is ahead for the Eastern States this year.
Medical Marijuana Movements
South Carolina has a good chance of passing a medical marijuana bill. Industry analysts predict that medical marijuana bills in Kansas and North Carolina will pass with medium-to-strong likelihood.
Mississippi lawmakers legalized medical marijuana earlier this year, after the state Supreme Court overturned a voter-approved referendum. The initiative, which will be somewhat limited, could begin by the end of the year.
[RELATED READING: Beard Bros. Pharms Cannabis Laws Road Trip – Part 5: The East Coast]
Recreational Legalization in 2022
On the recreational front, there is a lot of shakeup on the East Coast.
Rhode Island is very likely to pass a recreational marijuana measure.
In Ohio, lawmakers have until late May to decide whether to include a recreational marijuana referendum on the November ballot, which was launched by citizens. Most analysts predict they will not act, which would necessitate an additional 132,877 certified signatures from a citizen group, the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, to get the proposal on the autumn ballot.
Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania are worth keeping an eye on for potential movement toward legalizing recreational marijuana.
Maryland lawmakers referred recreational marijuana to voters through a ballot proposal in November, however voter approval would only be the first step in launching any program. Legislators would then have to iron out things like licensing and taxation.
Experts in the industry are optimistic about recreational marijuana legalization in Delaware… even after the dramatic events in recent months.
The Delaware Drama
A recreational marijuana bill was defeated in the state House of Representatives by only two votes. Because of the bill’s tax implications, passage required a supermajority.
However, activists are still fighting “tooth and nail” to get a bill passed this year–they are not giving up. In the political space, House Democrat Ed Osienski resurrected attempts in Delaware by introducing two distinct bills: one to legalize marijuana possession and the other to create a controlled market.
The first is seen to have a fair chance of passing, and it may come down to whether lawmakers want to legalize marijuana without collecting tax income through a controlled market. Stay tuned.
The fresh wave of legalization measures and efforts up and down the East Coast makes 2022 an extremely promising year for the cannabis industry. Not only that, but this positive momentum means the East Coast is catching up to the West, which promises to have repercussions on other industries as well. For starters, the concentration of population in the northeast could cause a shift in where power companies are located and operating. Keep your eyes peeled as legislation is passed and events unfold in the coming months!
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