The end of 2020 saw a whirlwind of cannabis legislation passed. With a potential new market emerging in Mexico and more states legally pushing for their own cannabis industry, this could prove to be an interesting year for cannabis businesses. Where do those cannabis bills stand now, and what states are planning their own cannabis bills for 2021?
New Cannabis Market Alerts
Of the four states to pass recreational cannabis use in the general election, only one of them is currently selling cannabis. While New Jersey works to iron out the details of its cannabis bills. South Dakota’s government is fighting to overturn theirs and Montana eliminated the budget to implement a recreational cannabis bill in their state. Meanwhile, Arizona dispensaries have already opened their doors.
New Jersey Recreational Use
Cannabis businesses looking to break into the NJ cannabis market might have to hold off on making too many plans. The bill has been voted on by residents in the 2020 general election (passed) and again in the state senate (passed), but the Governor still needs to make cannabis use illegal for the market to officially begin. The ongoing debate is trying to resolve implementation issues regarding cannabis use by minors and if there should be associated penalties.
Arizona Recreational Use
Arizona, on the other hand, started recreational cannabis sales a few weeks after the bill was officially implemented on January 1, 2021. Through an impressive sequence of negotiating and finalizing rules and regulations in the final weeks of 2020, Arizona’s government was able to launch its new cannabis market in under a month.
New Cannabis Legislation Alerts
How is the beginning of the year shaping up for the remaining states without recreational cannabis use? So far, Virginia and New York are acting.
Virginia Cannabis Bill
Virginia lawmakers (both the Senate and the House) passed their own versions of cannabis use laws in early February. It’s a big step for the state towards legalization, the first one in the South to make a push for it. The two bills differ and will need to be negotiated, but don’t expect to see the outcome launched anytime soon: both bills projected 2024 as a target date.
New York Recreational Cannabis Legislation
Will 2021 be the year that New York finally legalizes recreational use? Maybe. While there’s talk of cannabis reform from the Governor and state legislators, the same situation has come up and stalled the last couple of years for New York. Hopefully, with the passing of NJ’s cannabis law, a pro-cannabis democratic majority in the state and increased budget restraints brought on by the pandemic, there might be enough to push recreational use through in NY this year.