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Federal Cannabis Legalization Talks Seem to be an Endless Cycle

Updated: Jul 10, 2021

According to a recent Gallup poll, Americans are more willing than ever to approve recreational marijuana legalization in the United States.

It is already proposed that cannabis should be legalized in Congress. Meanwhile, recent developments that harm the economy and call attention to social injustices aid cannabis activists in explaining cannabis legalization to a wider audience.

While there are still many roadblocks to overcome, there are four factors pushing lawmakers to take federal legalization seriously:

The Economy

By 2025, total legal cannabis sales in states where it is now legal are expected to reach over $30 billion ($13.1 billion for medicinal cannabis and $16.6 billion for adult-use cannabis). Considering these statistics, it's not surprising that more states are legalizing cannabis, and the federal legalization process is getting closer.

Cannabis legalization at the federal level is heavily influenced by the economy and its impacts, including where and how money is raised and spent. According to New Frontier Data, legal cannabis sales in states where cannabis is now legal for medical or recreational purposes are expected to reach $13.1 billion in medical cannabis states and $16.6 billion in adult-use states by 2025. When you consider the economic situation resulting from COVID-19, the additional revenue that cannabis legalization could bring in is difficult to ignore.

Public Opinion

According to a Pew Research poll conducted in September 2019, 67 % of Americans say cannabis should be legalized. Support for marijuana legalization. According to the Pew Research Center, 78 % of Democrats & Democratic-leaning Independents favour legalization, while 55 % of Republicans & Republican-leaning Independents oppose it.

Similarly, a Gallup poll conducted in October 2019 found that 66 % of Americans support marijuana legalization. In particular, 51 % of Republicans support marijuana legalization, compared to 76 % of Democrats & 68 % of Independents. The truth is that the population isn't getting any younger, & support for cannabis legalization is likely to continue to rise in the future.

Social Equity

As recent racial injustice protests have demonstrated, there is a lack of social equality in the United States. Many states have incorporated social equity programmers into their cannabis business licensing programmers. Others have passed decriminalization laws, pardoned people, and expunged records for minor cannabis convictions — still, much work is to be done to ensure that cannabis is no longer a source of social inequity.

“Decades-old drug laws that criminalized cannabis use and possession disproportionately imprisoning black people for non-violent offenses,” CNN reporter Alicia Wallace explains. In reality, marijuana accounted for 40% of all drug arrests in the United States in 2018.

The case for federal cannabis legalization grows stronger as the cry for social fairness grows across the country.


The SAFE Banking Act, which would provide a safe harbour for banks who provide services to cannabis clients, was first presented in March 2019 and passed the House but died in committee. The SAFE Banking Act of 2021 was reintroduced in March 2021 & promptly passed in the House before being submitted in the Senate on March 23, 2021, where it remains. However, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is not opposed to cannabis legislation. He has expressed qualms about the SAFE Banking Act of 2021 and expressed a desire to submit a new federal legalization bill to the Senate floor to cover a more extensive range of issues.

While it is unclear when federal cannabis legalization will come, it is evident that the federal legislation has a greater appetite for change. This resulting due to increased support from state governments and a strong need for reform from social justice advocacy groups.

Westleaf Staff


1 Cannibis Anchor
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