March 2018: The Marijuana Landscape in the U.S

Here’s the latest scoop on the growing patchwork of marijuana laws across the U.S. While we’ve come a long way with the legalization of the plant, the federal government remains potentially poised to apply laws that seem to be out-of-step with the majority of Americans who believe in the legalization of pot.

The biggest change, in addition to the latest polls showing that pot has widespread popularity with the public, is that the legalization of marijuana is now a bipartisan issue.

This article will give you the latest political landscape for marijuana legalization as we near the end of the first quarter, 2018.

Current States Where Pot is Legal

Governing lays out the latest map of pot laws around the U.S. The facts include:

  • Thirty states plus the District of Columbia have laws legalizing pot in some way.
  • Eight states plus the District of Columbia have the most liberal laws around marijuana for recreational use.
  • In January, the sales of recreational pot just began in California.
  • Marijuana is expected to go on sale in Massachusetts in July.
  • While Maine citizens voted to legalize pot in 2016, the state legislative body is actively blocking enacting the law.
  • The majority of states not allow medicinal marijuana use.

Newsweek has been following state laws that are coming into the pipeline this year. They suggest that 12 states will vote to legalize some form of marijuana use this year.

But in the thick of the growing push to legalize, the federal government, led by anti-pot zealot Attorney General Jeff Sessions, is making noises about enforcement of the federal laws that still list cannabis as a dangerous drug similar to heroin. Sessions recently discarded an Obama-era rule that directed the feds to honor state’s rights when enforcing federal laws.

Interestingly, the Republican administration’s biggest donor, the Koch brothers, sharply rebuked the current federal administration’s efforts to ignore states rights. Their statement read, in part:

“That Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a Republican appointee in a Republican administration, is undoing a Democratic appointee’s work from a Democratic administration is irrelevant. Republicans and Democrats alike have
criticized the decision, and for good reason: It does little to improve
the lives of people in our communities.”

This is a particularly interesting development; when you consider the Koch brothers regularly donate $400 million – even during the midterm elections. The statement also suggested that federal sentencing guidelines on pot laws are archaic and have ripped apart families. A bipartisan group of Congresspeople sent Sessions a similar note voicing their displeasure.

How this will affect the federal crackdown on pot remains to be seen, but these are startling events that will definitely have an impact.

Legal Pot in 2018 – What to Look For

Rolling Stone predicts that we will see legal marijuana lounges this year. Cannabis social spaces are expected to take off. These bar-like settings will allow safe spaces for customers to relax into their pot consumption.

In the meantime, Canadians continue to lead us by acknowledging the medical benefits of marijuana while making it legal to use for all citizens. The corresponding boost in revenue in the marketplace has been phenomenal for everyone involved in their growing industry.