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The year ahead could bring a whole new meaning to “Garden State.”
That’s because the next state to legalize recreational marijuana could be New Jersey.
Not long ago, that would have been unthinkable.
Gov. Chris Christie has been a staunch opponent of legal pot for the last seven years. Pot wasn’t going to pass with Christie in the governor’s mansion — no way, no how.
But last week’s election changed all that.
The Polls Don’t Lie — People Want Weed
Democrat Phil Murphy will be sworn in as New Jersey’s governor in January, bringing with him an overwhelmingly pro-pot stance.
Murphy believes that marijuana should be legal for adults 21 years old or older. He’s promised to sign a legalization bill into law within the first 100 days of his term.
That means by April, recreational pot could be legal in New Jersey.
At the end of the day, what we’re really seeing from Murphy here is a play for tax revenue. A recent study showed that legal recreational marijuana could generate $300 million a year for the state’s coffers.
More importantly, New Jersey could be the prototype for other neighboring states mulling over the possibility of legalizing weed.
If states like New York and Pennsylvania see piles of money rolling in without measurable negative side effects, it’ll only be a matter of time before they follow suit.
But New Jersey wasn’t the only place that saw pot victories at the polls recently
Canada also took another major step closer to full legalization.
Another Leap Forward Towards Full Legalization
Last Monday, Canada’s House of Commons passed Bill C-45 by a vote of 200-82.
The bill would legalize marijuana for recreational purposes, keeping Canada on track for the federal government’s plan to legalize cannabis use by next summer. Now the bill moves to the Senate.
At present, only medical uses of marijuana are legal in Canada. But the key is that cannabis is legal at a federal level as a substance — something that’s not the case here in the U.S.
In the U.S., weed maintains a Schedule I drug status, meaning there’s “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.”
In other words, the feds in the U.S. still classify marijuana as worse than crack cocaine, meth and PCP.
If that weren’t stupid enough, that federal drug classification has a major negative impact on American businesses trying to compete in the pot markets.
That key difference in legal status gives Canada a major edge.
But still there’s a lot of low-hanging fruit in the legal pot arena right now in both the U.S. and Canada.
With new states coming online with legal weed in the months ahead and a major longer-term uptrend in pot stock prices, you have a very exciting situation shaping up for 2018.