The coming year is shaping up to be a stony one. The recreational use of cannabis is now legal in 18 states. Our nation’s capital is joining the freedom fray, and New York State is now the second-largest state to legalize adult recreational use. An additional 13 states have decriminalized cannabis use, and medical use of the herb is allowed in 37 states.
Sales of legal are forecasted to exceed $30 billion in 2022, and recent polling indicates that 68% of Americans favor full legalization, a number that any discerning politician should notice. We seem to be inching closer to reaching a critical mass to end this critical mess of prohibition once and for all.
Multiple states have enacted new laws or will see actions to expand reforms in the coming year. In California, Governor Gavin Newsome recently signed into law legislation that will give terminally ill patients the option to use cannabis therapeutically in health care facilities, a significant advancement for patients’ rights.
Oregon has done away with fees for medical cannabis cards for veterans and seeks to expand its current cannabis access programs. Home delivery across county and city lines will now be allowed. And starting April 1 THC limits on edibles will raise from, 50 mg to 100 mg, so remember to wait while you titrate.
Oregonians can now have at-home delivery of cannabis products from across county and city lines with officials’ approval.
Arkansas doctors are now allowed to grant medical cannabis recommendations via telehealth services. Out of state patients will gain legal access to the healing herb in Arkansas for 90 days.
Louisiana decriminalized cannabis last summer, and patients will now be allowed to access and possess actual flower, instead of being limited to just vaping from a “metered-dose inhaler,” a big win for the medical cannabis community there.
In Vermont this March, the state will allocate $500,000 of General Fund money to its newly established Cannabis Business Development Fund, which will go to social equity applicants opening licensed cannabis facilities in the form of loans, grants, outreach, and financial assistance.
In Montana, adults 21 and over can now buy up to an ounce of the herb when patronizing any cannabis dispensary. A 20 percent tax on cannabis sales has been added in those counties where citizens voted for cannabis legalization.
And Ohio has seen an explosion in applications for medical cannabis dispensaries, reporting that there are as many as twenty times the applicants as there are available licenses.
These are just some of the new developments that 2022 is bringing in.
After a near century of prohibition that generated innumerable injustices and contributed to America being the largest jailer of citizens per capita, the pendulum is finally swinging the other way. We might still be a ways away from seeing the Presidential Dab Bar in the Oval Office, but this year is shaping up to be an Irie one.
All of these steps forward are a testament to the hard work and sacrifice that thousands of community activists have contributed. But we should not see these advancements as any justification to slow our roll toward full federal legalization. There are still tens of thousands of Americans in jails and prisons, and while some cannabis entrepreneurs are making their life savings from legal pot sales, others are still serving life sentences for the same thing.
Sparky wishes you the best year possible and reminds you to use responsibly, albeit often.
Vivian McPeak is a Seattle based social justice activist, media personality, and writer. Vivian is the president of Seattle Events, a Non-Profit Organization, producer of the Seattle HEMPFEST®, the world’s largest annual cannabis policy reform rally. The recipient of the High Times Magazine 2012 Lester Grinspoon Lifetime Achievement Award and DOPE Magazine 2016 Emery Award for lifetime achievement, and in 2016 he was named one of the “50 Most Influential People” by Seattle Magazine. Vivian has appeared on numerous television and cable news networks, including FOX News, CNN, & NBC. McPeak is the host of Hempresent, a weekly radio podcast on Cannabis Radio with listeners on multiple continents.