Marijuana legalization is an ongoing issue in the US. Currently, the District of Columbia and 11 states have legalized cannabis. Marijuana is still illegal for recreational use in Minnesota. However, the state’s voters might favor legalization.
Minnesota voters are ready for marijuana legalization
Minnesota hasn’t been able to come up with a legalization decision yet. However, the state decided to learn how the public feels about legalization. The state set up informal polls at the Minnesota State Fair last week. The Senate and the House conducted separate surveys to understand voters’ stance on cannabis legalization.
On September 4, a Marijuana Moment article reported the survey results. The House and Senate wanted to know how many voters supported recreational marijuana legalization in Minnesota for individuals aged 21 and older. The House survey, which included 11,200 participants, showed that 56% of the voters favored legalization. The Senate survey, which included 6,900 participants, showed that 55% of the voters support legalization. Based on the surveys, Minnesota’s voters support the idea of legalization.
Is Minnesota’s legislation ready?
Minnesota’s cannabis laws are pretty straightforward. Previously, I discussed marijuana’s health benefits. Due to the health benefits, many states have legalized medical marijuana. Currently, 33 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana.
Minnesota legalized cannabis in 2014. The state decriminalized marijuana possession to a certain degree. Now, the state is opening up for recreational use as well.
Last week, Governor Tim Walz told Minnesota Public Radio that his departments are ready once marijuana legislation is passed. He said, “My agencies have been tasked to put all of the building blocks in place, from Revenue to the Department of Public Safety to the Department of Health. We will have everything ready to go, and we will be able to implement it in Minnesota the minute the Legislature moves this.”
However, there’s one twist that could challenge the legalization. The state has a Republican-controlled Senate. Republicans don’t always support marijuana legalization. A Harvard study showed that 49% of the Democrats support legalization, while 50% of the Republicans oppose it. The voters and elections will decide who controls the decision, which will determine cannabis’s fate in Minnesota.
What do other states think?
Illinois is set to legalize recreational marijuana. The Illinois legislature voted in favor of passing the bill to legalize cannabis. New Jersey and New York could be the next states to legalize marijuana by 2020. Kentucky might also legalize recreational marijuana. However, the state is facing racial disparity with cannabis ownership. The issue needs to be addressed before Kentucky can work towards legalization. Recently, the Jefferson County Attorney’s Office announced that no one will be prosecuted for possessing one ounce or less of marijuana in Louisville. Officials expect legalization in Kentucky soon.
How’s legalization benefiting states?
Currently, cannabis is legal in California, Colorado, Alaska, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Oregon, Massachusetts, Nevada, Vermont, and Washington. Previously, I discussed how marijuana legalization could bring in more tax revenues and employment growth. I also discussed why President Trump could use marijuana legalization as a key topic in his reelection campaign. We can see the benefits at the state level.
A Forbes article in March discussed how cannabis legalization has brought in more jobs. The cannabis industry contributed to a rise in 300,000 jobs last year. Also, states are cashing in tax revenues as well. The article said that Washington made $319 million, California made $300 million, and Colorado made $266 million in tax revenues from cannabis.
Other states benefited from legalization, which motivated Minnesota to up its game. The state has taken ideas and opinions about what did and didn’t work in the other states.
Will cannabis players benefit from legalization?
After Canada legalized marijuana, Canadian cannabis players grew and expanded their business. Canopy Growth (CGC) (WEED) is one of the largest marijuana companies. Constellation Brands (STZ) is Canopy Growth’s largest shareholder. Constellation Brands even plans to introduce cannabis-infused beverages soon. Canopy Growth also plans to launch new CBD-based products after Canada’s second wave of legalization passes next month. The company’s recent quarter was disappointing. However, Canopy Growth has generated a 94% increase in recreational dried cannabis sales in the first quarter of 2020. International medical cannabis revenues also rose 209% YoY in the first quarter. The stock has gained 17.3% in September.
Tilray (TLRY) is a new entrant in the business. The company reported its second-quarter results in August. Tilray’s revenues rose 371.1% YoY due to the Manitoba Harvest acquisition and growth in international medical markets. The gross margin rose to 27% from 23% sequentially. However, the company reported a net loss of $31.2 million or $0.32 per share in the second quarter. Recently, Tilray acquired 420 Investments—an adult-use cannabis retail operator. With the acquisition, Tilray plans to prepare for Cannabis 2.0 by providing the best quality-tested products. The stock has gained 25% in September.
Aphria (APHA) is also a new entrant in the cannabis market. The company focuses on medical cannabis. Aphria also enjoyed strong revenue growth. The company’s adult-use revenues increased 158% YoY in the recent quarter. So far, the stock has gained 13% in September.
Currently, the Trump administration wants the decision to be at the state level. President Trump reiterated the same. The White House wants more marijuana research before it reaches the federal level.
Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota senator and 2020 presidential candidate, has been quiet about the marijuana issue. However, she has shown support by co-sponsoring legislation to protect state-level legalization. Many other Democratic candidates have stepped up in favor of cannabis legalization. We have discussed Andrew Yang, Beto O’Rourke, Bill de Blasio, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and Bernie Sanders’ views on legalization. More Americans also support legalization. Canada’s next wave of legalization, “Cannabis 2.0,” will hit next month. Cannabis is spreading its roots globally in different countries. To learn more, read Cannabis: While the US Waits, the World Opens Up. Is the US ready to up its game?
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