Marijuana is currently legal in 22 states across the US. If this describes your jurisdiction, you're in luck. The cannabis industry is growing into a behemoth in many places, and weed has tons of health benefits including anxiety prevention and chronic pain relief.
Users and distributors alike often wonder whether the US will federally legalize cannabis soon. Read on to get comprehensive answers to all your questions about state and federal laws.
Do Americans Want to Legalize Cannabis?
Americans overwhelmingly support the movement to legalize cannabis.
According to the Pew Research Center's 2022 research, 88-89% of US adults believe that marijuana should be legal in some form. 59% say that it should be legal for both medical and recreational use. The remaining 30% support it for medical use only.
Plus, most Americans who believe that cannabis should not be legalized are 75+ years old. Support for legal marijuana is clearly something that will continue to grow in the future.
The Current State of Federal Cannabis Laws
Currently, the federal government leaves the decision to legalize its use to individual state governments. States can:
- Fully legalize it for recreational and medical use
- Legalize cannabis for medical use only
- Decriminalize cannabis without legalizing it
- Criminalize cannabis use
People must abide by the state laws in their jurisdiction.
Note that cannabis is illegal on the federal level. It is classified as a high-abuse potential drug alongside heroin and cocaine. There are no national protections in place for users, but state legalization means that people can use it within legal jurisdictions.
What Bills Are Currently Being Introduced?
There are no current bills intended to legalize marijuana on a federal level. However, the US Senate did take a step in the right direction in November 2022.
They did this by passing a bill that will expand research about medical marijuana. They passed it unanimously, which bodes well for the future of cannabis legalization.
The bill's text makes cannabis more accessible for researchers looking to study the impacts of medical marijuana. It also puts protections in place for doctors who want to discuss using weed with patients.
In addition to this, there are also current congressional measures to develop federal regulations for cannabis sales. It would create a transparent process to help guide lawmakers through the act of ending the 85-year federal anti-cannabis laws.
To be clear, this would not federally legalize marijuana. However, it's a huge step in the right direction since it would outline restrictions and terms for legal cannabis in the future.
The Presidential Election and Federal Laws
Of course, the legalization of marijuana will heavily depend on which presidential candidate is elected in the 2024 election. It's important to note that cannabis has some bipartisan support in the House and the Senate. It also has people on both sides standing against the issue.
Support to legalize cannabis is heavily individual. This means that whether measures toward legalization continue will hinge on the specific candidate's personal policy views.
Where Does Each Candidate Stand on Legal Cannabis?
Leading presidential candidates stand in various places when it comes to cannabis.
Joe Biden, our current Democratic president, is pro-cannabis. He plans to run for reelection, which bodes well for those who enjoy the herb.
During his term, he has already helped to free those in jail for use and position. He also urges states to legalize marijuana and is interested in doing so on a federal level.
Gavin Newson is another Democrat who wholeheartedly supports marijuana legislation. He was the face of these pushes in California in the past, promoting bills that would repair drug war damage that impacted mainly minorities.
Donald Trump, a leading Republican candidate, also supports the legalization of cannabis. He said in 2018 that he "really" supports marijuana legislation that would protect those in states where it is already legal. He supports amending the federal Controlled Substances Act to exempt marijuana activities from its provisions if they're state-legal.
Republican Ron Desantis, on the other hand, does not support marijuana legislation. He does not plan to agree to legislation that would legalize marijuana.
Nikki Haley, another leading Republican presidential contender, doesn't talk much about cannabis at all. She seems to support state-based decisions and actions. However, her views on federal legalization aren't clear.
Why Aren't Politicians Getting Behind The Cannabis Movement?
Most Americans want to legalize cannabis. This is true both for recreational cannabis and medical cannabis. Additionally, legalization would have other benefits including:
- Regulating the drug safely
- End expensive and usually racist enforcement of weed-related laws
- Boost the economy with more tax revenue
- Create jobs in the cannabis industry
- Generate more economic activity in the US
So why haven't we federally legalized marijuana yet?
Many politicians have outdated and poorly-informed views of cannabis. They think of it as a dangerous substance like meth or heroin. Even though this isn't true, misinformation sets courts and individuals back on passing legislation.
Additionally, while marijuana has bipartisan support, it is still a divisive issue. Democrats are generally more likely to support legal cannabis. Republicans are less likely to do so in most cases.
So, two-party politics and the system of checks and balances prevent a lot of action.
In the end, federal legalization is possible. Growing support makes it a likely possibility in the coming years. However, there are no current measures to strengthen the cannabis industry legally.
Learn More About Buying Legal Cannabis
While the US may not federally legalize cannabis for a while, those in states with legal weed can already start buying and selling it. Now that you know the future of the cannabis industry in 2023 and beyond, it's time to get started.
Green Blazer is committed to providing marijuana enthusiasts with high-quality pre-rolled RAW cones. We sell in small quantities as well as in bulk to consumers, cultivators, and dispensaries. Contact us with any questions about how our cones can save time, money, and stress.