Here's how legal weed will play out in America 

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The big news here is that the tide has turned for marijuana acceptance in this country. And it’s quite likely national marijuana laws will be reformed sometime this year. Note I did not say weed would be fully legalized, I said "laws will be reformed," an important distinction, but still huge as I’ll explain.

Consider where things stand. Already this year New Mexico, New Jersey, New York and Virginia have legalized weed, which if you add them to the existing legal states, means some 43% of the U.S. population now lives in states where recreational marijuana is legal, as noted by Vox in a recent story headlined "Marijuana legalization has won." On tap this year are possibly Connecticut, Delaware, Minnesota and Rhode Island, while others like Wisconsin and Maryland are considering it as well. The record years for states legalizing weed were 2016 and last year at four. It’s conceivable that could be doubled this year.

In 2000, only one-third of Americans were in favor of legalization and as recently as a decade ago not a single state allowed for recreational marijuana use. Now two-thirds of Americans support legalization, according to Gallup, an all-time high and 18 states are fully legalized, with weed-friendly bills even passing in red states. My fave ballot factoid: “In the 2020 election, the legalization initiative in swing state Arizona got nearly 300,000 more votes than either Joe Biden or Donald Trump.”

Mexico is set to legalize recreational marijuana this year, which is already driving down prices and unsettling growers for the cartels. That would leave the U.S. flanked to the north and south by two of the three only legal weed countries on the planet. (The third being Uruguay.)

All this gives proof yet again to that old business maxim, change happens slowly at first and then all of a sudden. Weed’s now inexorable acceptance reminds me of what happened with same-sex marriage during the previous decade. Beginning around 2010, primarily blue states made same-sex marriage legal. Then came a flood of states a few years later, and finally, Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court decision in 2015, made same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states.

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  Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 11:45:05 PM

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