Cannabis Year in Review
From ballot initiatives and new laws to CBD mania
From states legalizing to Wall Street investing, cannabis has been a hot-button issue throughout the year, and the headlines promise to continue in 2020. Here, we’ll discuss the biggest cannabis news from the past year and what to expect in the new decade.
An End to Prohibition
Eighty years ago, cannabis prohibition began with the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. Today, campaigns to end prohibition are enjoying widespread support, with a remarkable 67% of Americans supporting legalization altogether, according to a recent Pew poll. As of November 2019, 32% oppose legalization, way down from 52% in 2010.
These numbers point to the positive reception of cannabis legalization in states such as Colorado, where tax revenue from cannabis sales surpassed $1 billion this year. There is money to be made, and politicians and Wall Street executives alike are definitely noticing. -
In November, the House Judiciary Committee passed the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act of 2019. This bill could end the federal law banning cannabis use, granting states more independence to pass their own cannabis regulations. Before that happens, however, the bill must come before the Senate—something to keep an eye out for in 2020.
Legalization Across the Nation
In 2019, recreational cannabis was legal in 11 states and Washington, D.C, up from 10 in the previous year. June 2019 saw Illinois become the first state to legalize both possession and commercial sale of recreational cannabis through legislative measure rather than through the ballot. Recreational sales in the state will start on January 1, 2020.
Medical marijuana, on the other hand, is now legal in 33 states, and the list is likely to grow: states including New York, New Jersey, and Florida are eyeing legalization in 2020.
CBD Makes Its Mark
2019 has been the year of CBD (cannabidiol). From tea to beer, cookbooks to beauty products, CBD products infiltrated shelves everywhere. As of September, Whole Foods Market carries topical CBD products in 30 states, including in traditionally conservative Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina. Even Dollar General hopped on the bandwagon, announcing their plans to roll out CBD products in about 1,100 of their Tennessee and Kentucky stores.
All of this is thanks to consumer demand, with polls showing more than 14% of Americans, or one in seven, now using CBD-based products. As the trend continues, the U.S. CBD market is expected to be worth over $23.7 billion by 2023.
The Year Ahead
2020 is already looking to be a big year in cannabis-policy reform. With the 2020 presidential candidates talking more and more about decriminalization, be sure to keep an ear out for campaign promises leading to November, and watch the stock market as CBD and THC products continue to boom.