Welcome to “Road to Riches: Your Interactive State-by-State Legalization Guide.” When First Stage Investor Senior Managing Editor Vin Narayanan first interviewed the head of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws in the mid-1990s, the idea that any kind of marijuana would be legal in more than 30 states was just a pipe dream. Now, more than 20 years later, recreational marijuana is legal in 11 states and Washington, D.C. And medical marijuana is legal in 33 states.
Despite the progress that has been made in legalizing marijuana, there’s still a long way to go. Marijuana is still illegal at the federal level. And it will stay that way for at least two years – if not longer. And the impact of marijuana’s federal status is enormous.
It starts with banking. Because pot is illegal at the federal level, legal cannabis businesses either can’t access or struggle to access the banking system. As a result, the legal marijuana industry is largely cash only. So that means thieves target marijuana businesses and employees. E-commerce is difficult. So are transportation and logistics. And the industry can’t tap into much of the capital it needs to grow.
Yet, despite all the problems, the marijuana industry was worth about $10 billion in 2018. And according to New Frontier Data, it could grow to $25 billion by 2025.
But the only way the cannabis industry can reach these lofty heights is if we keep pushing the government at all levels – city, state and federal – to make improving the cannabis industry and legalizing marijuana priorities.
And we need to keep pushing. Because even bills that draw bipartisan support, like the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, are unlikely to become law.
● The House of Representatives voted 321 to 103 to pass the SAFE Banking Act.
● The bill would allow banks and credit unions to provide their services to pot businesses that are legal at the state level. The bill shields those banks and credit unions from prosecution. And it directs federal regulators to come up with rules to supervise this type of banking.
● Banks and credit unions support the bill.
● The marijuana industry supports the bill.
● The governors of more than 20 states want it.
● The attorneys general of more than 30 states want it.
And yet, there’s a good chance this bill won’t pass in the Senate. In fact, this bill might not even be discussed in the Senate.
That’s why we put together this guide. As citizens – and investors – we don’t have the luxury of sitting back and letting politicians be politicians. We have to actively convince our elected representatives to keep improving our marijuana laws and make sure this industry truly takes off.
The map above is your gateway not only to understanding where marijuana is legal but also to tracking key court cases, understanding where key politicians in each state stand on marijuana and contacting elected representatives to let them know your thoughts on pot legislation.
Just click on each state to get more details about the status of marijuana legislation and where key politicians stand on legalizing marijuana. You can also write to your representatives at the local, state and federal levels filling in the form below or by filling out the appropriate form for each state.