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It’s 4/20 and the Color of the Day is Green

What does legalization of marijuana across the nation mean for Black people?

Heres the latest on the nation’s marijuana legalization efforts.

It’s no secret that criminalization of marijuana has had a major effect on the Black community–and the effect hasn’t been a good one. In fact, according to one report, Black people are arrested for violating marijuana possession laws at nearly four times the rates of whites, yet both ethnicities consume marijuana at roughly the same rates.

This is despite the fact that several people smoke marijuana not only for recreation, but for medical purposes as well. Marijuana has proven to have many medicinal benefits, and it seems like many states are beginning to see the light.

Legislative changes made in states across the nation indicate a change in the majority of Americans’ views as it pertains to marijuana usage–at least that’s what recent polls suggest.

Back in 2021, voters in the states of New Jersey, Arizona, South Dakota, Mississippi, and Montana have all chosen to make some significant changes to their states’ policies on marijuana usage.

Voters in New Jersey and Arizona voted yes to make recreational marijuana legal. Mississippi voters approved a new initiative for a medical marijuana program for residents with debilitating medical conditions. Similarly, voters in South Dakota approved marijuana for medical use for an array of medical conditions and votes are still being counted for a second initiative to legalize recreational use of marijuana for adults.

Additionally, voters in Montana approved initiatives to legalize, regulate, and tax recreational marijuana for adults 21 and over according to a report in the Great Falls Tribune.

Presently, there are 18 states and the District of Columbia that allow recreational use of marijuana, and many states have experienced substantial economic boosts after legalizing marijuana. For example, according to a report by Investopedia, sales of marijuana in Colorado and Washington over the past several years have resulted in buoyant tax revenues. In 2019, Colorado collected more than $302 million in taxes and fees on medical and recreational marijuana. Sales in the state totaled over $1.7 billion.

As we continue onward into a very uncertain pandemic, more states will likely begin to review their own policies on marijuana, as they work to determine ways to recover and stimulate their own economies that has weakened as a result of Covid-19.

Currently, marijuana is still illegal in the United States on a federal level. However, here is a breakdown of where marijuana is legal on a state level.

The following states have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes: Alaska, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.

In addition, the District of Columbia and the territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the US Virgin Islands have all legalized medical marijuana.

18 states have legalized the adult use of marijuana for recreational purposes (and medical uses, as well): Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia and Washington. 

In addition, recreational cannabis is legal in Washington, DC, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.

At this point, the federal government just need to sign off on it federally.

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