Illinois: Democratic Governor JB Pritzker granted more than 11,000 pardons for low-level marijuana convictions on Tuesday, ahead of the state’s official legalization — which the Legislature passed in June — effective on Wednesday.
Illinois is now the second state in the Midwest, following Michigan in 2018, to legalize recreational marijuana sales and use.
Florida: Make It Legal Florida, a political committee, is behind a proposal to legalize recreational marijuana in the state. According to polling, over 65 percent of Florida voters “want to have expanded access to cannabis for 21 and over.”
As of Tuesday, the state had verified 219,290 signed petitions from Make It Legal — just 28% of the total signatures needed by the February 1 deadline.
Minnesota: Democrats in the state are preparing marijuana legislation, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. House Majority leader Ryan Winkler (D) has been touring the state on the issue in an effort to ready a bill for the state’s session in February.
The Republican-controlled Senate, however, poses steep odds, as key conservative leaders remain opposed to legalization.
New York: Last year ‘s efforts to legalize cannabis failed. But Governor Cuomo is continuing on a pro-legalization path in 2020.
New Jersey: The state will vote on legalization of recreational marijuana in November, 2020. If the measure passes, New Jersey residents 21 and older will be allowed to use pot recreationally. All sales of cannabis products would be subject to a 6.625% sales tax.
Virginia: Attorney General Mark Herring has called for the “immediate decriminalization” of possession of small amounts of marijuana, and hosted a Cannabis Summit in December to educate state leaders on what steps need to be taken to accomplish that goal.
One piece of marijuana legislation that has been filed for the state’s 2020 session, SB 2, would decriminalize marijuana possession, and would raise the amount needed to be charged with distribution to one ounce versus half-an-ounce. The bill would also allow people to petition to expunge their convictions.
What about federalization?
It all comes down to the proposed banking bill. Lawmakers introduced the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, which would protect banks who partner with cannabis businesses. Once this business hurdle is jumped then the idea is that federal legalization is not far behind. But the Senate still has not, as of this writing, put the vote on the bill on their calendar.