President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris’s election has got many people thinking – will the new administration impact the marijuana debate? It’s hard to know for sure, but many analysts believe that while the two support marijuana decriminalization, it’s probably a long road ahead in terms of federal legalization. What do you need to know about possible changes in marijuana laws at the national level? What about changes to state laws? How may these changes affect Ohioans? Let’s dive into these issues so you’ll be well prepared.
Where does the marijuana debate stand now? What’s possible in the next four years?
Today, marijuana is a Schedule I drug at the federal level within the Controlled Substances Act. This legal standing means it is deemed to have no medical value and has a high potential for abuse. While President Biden and the executive branch can reschedule cannabis – or legalize it – most experts believe it’s not likely. Why? They feel this move would have a limited effect because, practically, dispensaries would gain some tax advantages. However, recreational use would remain illegal. Full federal legalization would take congressional action.
Decriminalization and the MORE ACT – a potential significant legislative step
According to the Last Prisoner Project, 15.7 million people were arrested for marijuana offenses in the last ten years! The new administration is looking to change that. While legalization won’t happen quickly, President Biden and VP Harris have pledged to decriminalize marijuana. They’ve stated they want to expunge all marijuana-use convictions and end incarceration for drug use alone.
Part of the legalization path is playing out with the MORE Act’s passing in December 2020 – the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE). The House of Representatives took the first step in passing this legislation and voting to remove cannabis from the U.S. Controlled Substances Act.
What would MORE mean?
What would the MORE Act mean if passed in the Senate? It essentially means that the federal government could no longer prosecute individuals at the national level for marijuana offenses. Cannabis would not be entirely legal, however. The act would remove the federal government from the equation altogether, though. States would answer the cannabis legality question and make rules for prosecution regarding marijuana. While the bill’s approval in the House shows a relaxing attitude towards cannabis, many feel the MORE Act will not pass in the Senate.
A growing focus on state decriminalization
Regardless of what happens federally, most believe cannibals legalization will continue to expand at the state level. In fact, in the last election, voters in New Jersey, Montana, South Dakota, and Arizona approved adult-use recreational marijuana.
That brings the total to 15 states and Washington, D.C., that have approved recreational use of cannabis and 35 states that have now approved it for medical use.
The legal cannabis industry is growing exponentially. According to the research firm BDS Analytics’ legal cannabis sales in the United States are projected to top $30 billion before the next presidential election in 2024. Most recreational program legislation creates rules for who is allowed to grow marijuana, how much citizens are allowed to possess, and who can sell it. In Ohio last year, the issue of the adult-use of marijuana fell short of getting on the November ballot. While many believe this was due to COVID-19, it’s hard to say if and when recreational cannabis will be legal in our state.
Your Medical Marijuan Options
Luckily those in Ohio have options when it comes to using medical marijuana. Our state’s Medical Marijuana Control Program has more than 160,000 plus registered MM patients. These individuals depend on certified cannabis to live a healthier and more pain-free life. Do you have thoughts about legislative action and marijuana? Want to learn more about MM in Ohio? Comment here! Or schedule a telemedicine appointment now. It’s the safest, quickest, and most convenient way to qualify for a medical marijuana card in Ohio. Schedule today!