Will We See a Record Number of States Legalize Marijuana in 2021? One Expert Thinks So

Locke Lord LLP

It is hard to underestimate the impact that the coronavirus and its related fallout—economic and otherwise—will have on the cannabis industry. Some of that impact will be decidedly negative. For instance, as we wrote about recently, cash is harder to come by for cannabis companies right now. But there could also be positives, as some in the industry, including Kris Krane, have suggested that legalizing cannabis could help the United States recover from the current recession. A recent CNN article adds a layer of analysis on top of that regarding recent social unrest and how that could spur a wave of legalization in 2021.

In the wake of growing unrest over racial injustice, several states have taken steps that may give legalization proponents reason to be optimistic. For example, Georgia lawmakers included decriminalizing marijuana in a recent police reform bill. In New Jersey, a decriminalization bill passed the state Assembly by a 63-10 vote. Taking everything into account, Karen O’Keefe, the director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, believes we will see a record number of states legalize marijuana next year. “I expect a record number of states to legalize marijuana in 2021, in part due to the financial pressures, along with the racial injustice imperative to reduce unnecessary police-civilian interactions,” said O’Keefe.

Like O’Keefe, we are cautiously optimistic that the next year and a half could be huge for marijuana legalization. We have our eyes on New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Arizona, New Mexico, Mississippi, and South Dakota for potential legalization of recreational or medical marijuana. Please check our blog for continued updates on the cannabis industry, including developments on legalization efforts.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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