The United States has seen a massive shift toward cannabis reform in 2021. The Biden administration recently made a slew of moves that will shape the future of the cannabis industry, from pardons for cannabis-related offenses to investments in cannabis research. In addition, state-level cannabis reform has been advancing at a dizzying pace, with Maryland surpassing expectations in setting its own cannabis reform agenda.
The most significant action on cannabis reform this week was President Joe Biden’s announcement of a pardon for those convicted of low-level, non-violent cannabis-related offenses. The order also extended an opportunity for individuals who are currently serving sentences for such offenses to petition the courts for a resentencing. This move serves as a major step toward social equity within the cannabis industry, removing the stigma of criminal convictions and allowing those affected to enter the workforce in the burgeoning cannabis industry.
In addition to the cannabis pardon, the Biden administration also committed $100 million to fund medical and scientific research for the development of cannabis-based therapies. This investment is the first of its kind and is an indication of the potential to develop new treatments from cannabis compounds.
On the state-level, Maryland has emerged as a trailblazer in the cannabis reform movement. The state recently appear to exceed expectations in setting up its own cannabis program. The implementation of the program is expected to create up to 4,700 jobs and generate over $495 million of expected tax revenue in its first five years. This is a perfect example of how a regulated, adult-use cannabis program can become an economic powerhouse in a region.
In conclusion, the United States is continuing to make strides in cannabis reform. The federal and state-level initiatives are not only making a statement in terms of social equity, but also furthering the growth of the industry. As more and more states adopt measures to regulate cannabis, the industry is only expected to continue to benefit.