States plow forward with pot, with or without Congress; Adam Trenk, RLG Cannabis Dept. director, says it’s money-maker

The biggest stakes are in New Jersey and Arizona, where polling suggests voters will back recreational sales

By Paul Demko, Mona Zhang ann Natalie Fertig | POLITICO

Roughly 1 in 3 Americans could have access to legal recreational marijuana if voters approve state ballot initiatives this November.

While a planned House vote on legalizing weed at the federal level is scheduled for later this month, the real action remains in the states. That’s because even if the House measure passes, there’s zero chance the Republican-controlled Senate will take up the bill, which would eliminate federal criminal penalties and erase some past marijuana convictions.

But with the federal government continuing to take a hands-off approach when it comes to cracking down on state-legal markets, five more states could make it legal to buy weed for medical or recreational purposes. The legalization wave could have been much bigger: Organizers in five states saw their efforts derailed in large part due to the pandemic, with Nebraska’s medical campaign the latest blow after losing a legal challenge on Thursday. The other state measures are already set.

If recreational marijuana initiatives are successful everywhere they have been proposed, then several contiguous states in the Southwest will have an alternatives source of revenues, be able to cut back spending on law enforcement, and Americans in a great many states will new business prospects and greater access to cannabis for medicinal and recreational purposes. In Arizona the Smart and Safe Arizona Act is just such an initiative. ~ Adam Trenk

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