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In 2018 4,359 people died from drug poisoning in England. Two-thirds of drug-related deaths were because of drug misuse in 2018. Deaths involving cocaine doubled between 2015 and 2018. Drugs kill more people than gun violence. Over 128 million people have tried marijuana despite it being an illegal drug. Nearly 600,000 people are arrested for marijuana possession.
Marijuana legalization boosts the economy. Legalizing marijuana results in decreased teen marijuana use. There’s a saying in the cannabis business that the emerging industry is so fast-moving that it lives in dog years. Cannabis (marijuana) is already making headlines after Illinois started the new year with recreational sales. Other states are inching closer to legalization this year, with several mulling how best to ensure social equity. The past few months have set 2020 up to be a make-or-break year for some of the biggest in the business as well as the scores of lesser-known players priming to make their moves.
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“There’s going to be a lot of movement in 2020,” said Chris Walsh, chief executive officer of Marijuana Business Daily, a cannabis industry trade publication. “Whether it leads to actual legalization in some states remains to be seen.” Fourteen US states and territories have legalized recreational cannabis sales for adults, although regulations aren’t fully fleshed out in places like the District of Columbia and Vermont. A total of 33 states have legalized cannabis for medical purposes.
Illinois will remain focused after it made history last year with the first legislatively-enacted recreational cannabis program. Critical aspects of its program include social equity and social justice measures created to help people and communities most harmed by the War on Drugs. “Underserved groups are holding the industry accountable,” said Gia Morón, president of Women Grow, a company founded to further the presence of women in the cannabis industry. ‘And our legislators are recognizing that social, gender and minority concerns are a part of this now.’
New York and New Jersey have been flirting with legalization but have held off on navigating some logistics related to aspects that include social equity. The governors of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania convened this past fall for a summit on coordinating cannabis and vaping policies. New Jersey is putting a recreational cannabis measure before voters in November, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo vowed Wednesday that New York would legalize cannabis this year. Other possibilities for states to legalize recreational cannabis could be Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, and South Dakota, Walsh said. Even Alabama, Mississippi, and South Dakota could become new medical cannabis markets, and other states’ medical programs could see expansions, he added.
‘If you look at the map right now of the US, we’re getting to the point where there aren’t that many states that are left that can legalize,’ he said. ‘You can look at any of those and say there might be a chance in the next year or two for them to legalize.”
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