Montana, New Jersey, Arizona, and South Dakota are the newest in the list of states where recreational cannabis is legal now. The other states include Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington. States with the legal status of medical cannabis need a 420 card to earn the right to access cannabis. Well, the same is not true for recreational cannabis. It’s worth noting that with this new decision, we have 33.8% of the US population that lives in states where cannabis is legal now.
In addition to that, states like New Jersey and deep red South Dakota always had a stern eye towards cannabis. Yet, they eventually legalized the herb. This means that in spite of the party differences and political ideologies, Americans largely support cannabis legalization. The move can bring some financial surplus for these states in this harsh economic burnout provided they carve the tax policies carefully.
The amount of financial boost that each state receives from cannabis sales depends on the tax policies and licensing measures. There are high chances that the jurisdictions will impose excise tax and sales tax. But if the tax is too high, people will slip into the black market. According to the senior policy analyst of the Tax Foundation, if the states impose a tax based on the price of cannabis products instead of their weight, it will lead to fiscal instability. So, a better idea is to formulate taxes based on product weight. It will lead to more stability and prevent the fluctuations that may arise from any change in prices. Well, let’s see how each state plans to go ahead with the move.
Arizona, New Jersey, and Montana already had medical marijuana programs in place. South Dakota will have the measures in place from 2021. The State Department of Health will enact the regulations till October 21, 2021, and probably issue patient recommendations by November 18. In any case, having a medical marijuana card comes with various advantages. That’s because cardholders are given preference in terms of their health. So, they don’t have to pay as much tax as recreational users do. Plus, medical marijuana dispensaries source their products from certified growers. So, the quality is top-notch and you’ll be able to manage your health effectively. Now, getting back to the new legalization drive, let’s see how each state plans to go ahead with the move.
As we just discussed, medical marijuana is already legal in New Jersey. The main challenge was to legalize recreational cannabis. The state adopted an innovative measure in the form of Public Question No.1: “Do you approve amending the Constitution to legalize a controlled form of marijuana called cannabis?”. This will amend the constitution to legalize cannabis for recreational and personal use. Recreational cannabis will be subject to a sales tax of 6.625% and the local counties will have the freedom to add more charges. So, the final price will be based on the combination of the two. People who suffer from medical ailments can still apply for a cannabis card.
South Dakota has a long history of stringent cannabis laws. So, the ballot move to legalize came as a pleasant surprise. There were two measures on the ballot, the first one being Measure 21 which would furnish a medical marijuana program and allow people to register for it with qualifying medical conditions and obtain a cannabis card. On the other hand, Amendment A aims to legalize cannabis for adults and legislate hemp laws. Typically, South Dakota would have followed a multiple-step process but the ballot move allowed them to skip the steps and avoid all the hassle.
Amendment A would impose a 15% excise tax on cannabis and allow users to own up to 1 ounce of the herb. People who live in areas where there is no licensed store can grow up to three cannabis plants and keep no more than six plants at home. Plus, the revenue generated from the excise tax will go to the state’s public schools and general funds.
Voters in Arizona approved Proposition 207 that will allow them to access, consume, and transfer up to 1 ounce of cannabis and furnish a system to regulate the sale and distribution of cannabis. Plus, this will impose a 16% tax on the retail price of the herb along with a 5.6% sales tax. So, you’ll have to shell out a total of 21.5% on taxes to access recreational marijuana in the state. Things were not the same in 2016 because the proposition failed and did not gain a majority vote. With this proposition into effect, you can cultivate up to six plants at home. Cannabis cards can still be obtained for medical purposes. Experts project that it will generate about $166 million in revenue. This, in turn, will contribute to the funds of the municipal police, fire departments, sheriff, and community college districts.
Montana had everything in place to get the ballot approved but the pandemic played spoilsport. With strict quarantine rules and stay at home orders, it was impossible to get the signatures. There were two initiatives in place, the first one being Initiative 190 which would allow users to purchase and possess recreational cannabis. Plus, there would be a 20% tax on the price of cannabis. Last but not least, it would also allow people serving sentences for marijuana-related acts to apply for resentencing and get some relief. You can apply for a cannabis card in this state as well.
On the other hand, Initiative 118 would amend the state’s constitution to establish 21 as the legal age to possess, purchase, and consume cannabis. Eventually, when the public restrictions were eventually lifted in late April, the state relaunched the campaign to get 76,400 signatures. Finally, the ballot was approved leading to the legalization of recreational cannabis. When the measures will come into effect, users would be able to possess up to 1 ounce of cannabis and cultivate up to 4 cannabis plants at their homes.
With this fresh list of new states within the bracket of legal cannabis, the future of cannabis definitely seems bright. There are enough studies to support the medicinal capacity of cannabis. Well, with this current condition of the pandemic, there is a visible change in the way you can use cannabis. Doctors are advising against using smoking and vaping because it directly affects the lungs. COVID-19 is a pulmonary disease and has a harsh impact on the respiratory system. So, it’s a good idea to explore non-smokable forms of cannabis. Other than that, if you think you are facing some health issue, it’s better to contact a certified cannabis doctor who can guide you towards good health.