A Big Election Day for Marijuana

by DJ Rippert

Rolling stoned gathers no moss. Marijuana reform has been gaining momentum in the U.S. since California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996. Today 36 states have either enacted medical marijuana access laws or are in the process of implementing such laws. In 2012 Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize the recreational use of marijuana by adults. Today, 15 states have enacted recreational use laws or are in the process of doing so.

The big winner in the 2020 election — marijuana. On Nov 4 marijuana legalization, in some shape or form, was on the ballot in Arizona, Montana, Mississippi, New Jersey and South Dakota. Every measure passed. Yes, even in Mississippi.

Arizona, Montana and New Jersey legalized recreational use. Mississippi legalized medical use. South Dakota broke new ground by legalizing both the medical and recreational use of cannabis in a single vote.

Don’t bogart that vote. Marijuana reform is sometimes accomplished through ballot initiatives and sometimes through a vote of the state legislature. In other words, there will be continuing marijuana reform between the elections just held and the next elections in 2022. The number of states considering recreational use legalization in 2021 is likely to be higher than first thought due to the fiscal impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. Legalized marijuana means more money for state and local government and many state and local governments are in serious need of more money right now. New York, Connecticut and New Mexico look likely to legislate for recreational adult marijuana use in 2021. Less likely but still possible states for recreational legalization include Pennsylvania and Maryland.

Domino effect. One reason that recreational use legalization will gain steam is the “domino effect” of nearby states legalizing marijuana. New Jersey’s legalization puts a legally purchased stash just across the border from a lot of Pennsylvanians. If Maryland were to legalize millions of Virginians would be a short drive from Maryland’s dispensaries. Possession of a small amount of marijuana in Virginia is punishable by a $25 fine. Legalization in Maryland would effectively legalize pot in places like Northern Virginia. Even the slow moving politicians in The Old Dominion are taking notice of the legalization wave sweeping down the Northeast of the United States toward them.

This column was first posted on Medium.Com.

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9 responses to “A Big Election Day for Marijuana

  1. For those who are interested … Medium.Com is a generalized “blog of blogs”. You can view anonymously, sign up or become a member. The membership option I selected costs $5/month and can be canceled at the end of any month. You can also ask that your stories be metered. In that case, the amount of time paying members spend reading your stories is monetized and transferred into your account. You can also elect to publish un-monetized stories (viewable by all for free).

    I wanted to write this article for BaconsRebellion and decided to make it my inaugural entry on Medium. I have no expectations of getting paid for this – I just wanted to see how the process works.

    Generally, on this blog, we have bemoaned the death of local journalism. I have repeatedly said that I thought a Virginia-centric blog with free and paid-for material might bring back local journalism if the cost to read any article was low. Medium is a slightly new slant on that idea. You don’t pay by the article but you do pay a relatively low price to access all the articles. I could imagine the Medium business model with sub-blogs (like Medium has) for different counties, towns, cities and regions in Virginia. The money from the subscriptions would be paid to the writers which could lead to an incentive for local reporting. I will write more on this in the future.

    • Sounds like the Spotify of journalism… Artists and journalists/writers need to be paid for their work – absolutely agree and hope it gains some traction!!

  2. Marijuana can never be truly and completely legalized until federal laws are addressed one way or another (via legislation or the courts). Everything might work great at the state level once a state legalizes it, but as long as it is illegal under federal law there will always be a risk involved and interstate transport will still be a problem. Also, I assume it is impossible to get any kind of loan through the Small Business Administration for a marijuana-related enterprise with federal laws as they are now.

    My nomination for “Song of the Day”: https://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=tightropetb&p=peter+tosh+legalize+it&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuYmFjb25zcmViZWxsaW9uLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAKomTk6aBzEX3Kq-hYbjMtTywOyMQxeGNcxKuLcanrgGQN_CBBGdcmSZJ8gQCSHfWr_Ci2nWUwmD9CR3TXDFxzKtgSQQJKJdi6ui1DCYsfKRpkEWPmW8umaS4LkH6uuUx-xtDXl4ImAKacQF7T5KctMKAn200kxKRXriFYbImePc&_guc_consent_skip=1605298680#id=1&vid=140295f75426db0c36ba79285e4ddda0&action=view

    • I agree … which makes Virginia’s recalcitrance all the more frustrating. Right now, you grow the weed in the state where you sell it because it’s illegal to transport across state lines. Once the Feds legalize it (which could easily be true under Biden) the reefer can be trucked in from elsewhere. Given that legalization is inevitable, the stooges in Richmond are killing off the marijuana industry in Virginia before it is even born. By the time our clown show legalizes it will probably be legal at the federal level and trucking in the weed from New Jersey will be easier than building an in-state grow operation.

      As for SBA loans … I don’t think so … even businesses working “indirectly” with the marijuana industry are stymied.


  3. James Wyatt Whitehead V

    I think Maryland and Virginia could work out a good reciprocal agreement. We can go to the Old Line State for dope and they can come to the Old Dominion for guns.

  4. Smoking dope …. only thing dumber is legalizing it…
    Bad for lungs, bad for people working around and with someone who is high,,, not a good thing to do while driving,,,, and of course when you develop some illness due to smoking it., lung cancer maybe,,, who has to pay for the health care,,,
    Sure as hell don’t want them on my job site…
    Bad part is there is no easy way to detect users as opposed to drinkers…
    PS,,, BTW for you face mask lovers who are so concerned about just one extra person dying from the Chinese flu,,, why aren’t you concerned about the extra deaths smoking pot will cause???

    • So I’ll chalk you up for outlawing tobacco and alcohol. Any other government intervention into our personal life choices you want to advocate today…??

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