Marijuana On The Docket In States During 2020 Election

The subject has been gaining traction for years: To legalize recreational marijuana or not to legalize recreational marijuana? A number of states are poised to once again ask their residents for a decision. Others will ask whether or not the drug should be used for medicinal purposes. The federal government shows no signs of legalizing pot anytime soon — but even the United States Food and Drug Administration has used cannabis-derived compounds as the foundation for a new drug.

What states will likely legalize marijuana next?

Illinois will legalize recreational marijuana by January 1, 2020 after the state legislature voted in favor of H.B. 1438. The bill limits the amount of the drug that can be possessed by nonresidents. Higher doses of THC will be slammed with a bigger tax according to the bill.

Similar legislation has been proposed in New York and New Jersey. Residents may vote on the matter in the 2020 election. That means marijuana may be legalized in either state in 2021 at the earliest.

Ohio might find marijuana legalized by public initiative, which typically enjoys greater support than from lawmakers. There’s a good chance a recreational marijuana will be on the 2019 ballot. That means marijuana may be legalized in Ohio in 2020 at the earliest.

Arizona previously voted against legalization in 2016, but a measure will likely be on the docket in 2020. California previously voted against legalization by a wide margin only to vote in favor a few years later. It’s not a stretch to say Arizona might do the same. If it passes, weed might be legalized in Arizona in 2021 at the earliest.

Florida is more of an unlikely candidate. That said, many people see Florida as a logical choice for legalization because of its success with medical marijuana. Many advocacy groups are turning toward Florida, because if it can happen there — it can happen anywhere.

Thankfully many drug-related convictions will likely be overturned should more states begin to legalize marijuana for recreational use. This would save taxpayers billions of dollars. It would also reduce the stress on an already overburdened criminal justice system. Our prisons are filled to the brim. It might be time to begin the process of emptying them.

Two-thirds of Americans support legalizing recreational marijuana. That our politicians elected to represent our wishes still have no desire to do this says a lot about the state of our political process. It’s broken and we know it. 

If you’re fighting a drug-related charge, it’s time to hire a specialized attorney.

Is a marijuana drug offense crime as serious?

Over the past two decades, marijuana has progressively gained legality. In 29 states, marijuana has been legalized for medical purposes. In 9 states, legislation has been passed to legalize marijuana for recreational use as well. Other states have decriminalized the substance, leading to less severe criminal penalties for marijuana related charges. These social and legal changes have led many to believe the charges for marijuana possession have decreased similarly throughout the United States. However, there are still many states in which marijuana remains completely illegal. Since the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies it as a Schedule I drug, the penalties in these states can be very severe.

In the state of Arizona, there are four laws that govern the possession and use of marijuana (A.R.S. 13-3405). These prohibit the use, possession, production, and transportation of the drug within the state–all charges resulting in a felony. If you are found to be in possession of under two pounds of marijuana, charges can range from a Class 3 felony to a Class 6 felony, depending on its source and intent of possession. Two to four pounds range from a Class 2 felony to a Class 5 felony, and four or more pounds range from a Class 2 to Class 4 felony. However, Arizona Proposition 200 prohibits first and second-time nonviolent offenders from going to jail for marijuana possession.

What to do if charged with w marijuana drug offense crime?

If you’re caught with marijuana and faced with charges as outlined above, there are a variety of outcomes for your case. Your charges can range from a misdemeanor to a Class 2 felony. However, that is not to say that a misdemeanor is without consequences. In some cases, charges can be reduced to a misdemeanor, or potentially dismissed entirely.

Contact an Experienced Drug Offense Defense Attorney

Thus, it is important to work with a drug offense defense attorney. An attorney experienced in such cases will help you explore the best course of action. Together, you can develop a strategy to portray your case in the best light. If the charges aren’t too serious, a good lawyer may be able to get them completely dismissed.