by states to reduce criminal penalties for marijuana use and possession are fueling momentum for the broader movement to legalize cannabis and have it serve as an economic engine
for cash-strapped coffers, industry members and policy experts say.
“I expect a record number of states to legalize marijuana in 2021, in part due to the financial pressures, along with the racial injustice imperative to reduce unnecessary police-civilian interactions,” said Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, the lobbying organization behind many state cannabis policies in place today.
In recent weeks, a spate of US states have sought to relax decades-old drug laws that criminalized cannabis use and possession and disproportionately jailed Black people for non-violent offenses.
Nevada pardoned more than 15,500 people
who were convicted of carrying less than an ounce of cannabis. Georgia lawmakers added decriminalization
to a police reform bill that faces a challenging path to approval, considering that state’s Republican-controlled General Assembly and that the legislative session ends on June 30, the Savannah Morning News reports
. [Read more at CNN Business