Friday, August 12, 2022

The Driving Force Behind Lawmakers’ Push For Legal Marijuana In 17 States

Now that marijuana has been made fully legal in states like California, it seems that lawmakers all over the nation are pushing for legal marijuana in their neck of the woods.

It has been an uphill battle in Rhode Island over the past few years to get the state legislature out of their heads enough to go all the way with respect to legal marijuana. However, that attitude seems to be changing, at least to some degree, especially ever since voters in Maine and Massachusetts took leadership on the issue and passed recreational marijuana last fall. What was once a guaranteed dead issue in Rhode Island committee is now something that has a fighting chance at seeing the light of day.

But the momentum does not stop in Rhode Island. There are currently 17 states pushing legal marijuana in a manner that would tear down decades of prohibition and allow the herb to be treated like alcohol. This jumping on the bandwagon, of sorts, can be largely attributed to what was once referred to as “The Great Colorado Marijuana Experiment,” which has certainly proven to be a viable part of Rocky Mountain commerce since it was launched in 2014.

Some of the latest accounting statistics show that Colorado generated an impressive $200 million in tax revenue last year from the sale of legal marijuana. In Washington, another “experiment,” state officials saw somewhere $256 million in pot taxes flow into the old piggy bank in 2016.

It is for this reason that many state lawmakers are now leaning toward the concept of full legalization as a solution to economic downtrodden. In Maryland, state delegate Mary Washington recently submitted a proposal to tax and regulate marijuana in a manner similar to booze, which she predicts would pour $165 million per year into state coffers.

Still, there has not been a single state to ever legalize marijuana by way of legislative forces. It remains to be seen which state will be the first in the nation to bring pot prohibition to a screeching halt by pushing one of the many cannabis bills that typically bombard the halls of Capitol buildings all over American during this time of political grind.

Nevertheless, there is no question that the majority of the population wants legal weed.

A couple of national polls published last year show public support for a nationwide policy that would treat marijuana like alcohol and tobacco is now in upwards of 60 percent. Even some of the local polls to come out of states pushing for this reform show similar results. In Rhode Island, for example, nearly 60 percent of the population supports the legalization of recreational marijuana, according to the latest from Public Policy Polling.

Overall, it seems that lawmakers are starting to fall into place with respect to legalization. Rhode Island Representative Scott Slater, a lawmakers who is leading the effort to legalize marijuana, told the Los Angeles Times that it has been a “slow trickle,” but lawmakers, who once opposed legalization, are now defecting to the side of common sense.


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