They write….

More legal cannabis

In that spirit, I offer my own predictions for the state of the cannabis community three years hence.

  • For starters, I expect it to be a much, much larger community come 2019. During the next three years, we will probably see the passage of medical marijuana laws in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, Georgia and Kentucky, among others.
  • The year 2016 will likely see ballot initiatives to legalize recreational cannabis in California, Nevada, Arizona, Michigan, Massachusetts and Maine. I believe they will all pass. If they do, more than 25 percent of the U.S. population will live in a state where cannabis is legal for both medical and recreational purposes.
  • We can also expect to see the legislatures of Vermont and Rhode Island act to legalize recreational use of cannabis. These would be the first states to enact legalization through the Legislature, as opposed to a vote of the people. It’s certainly not a stretch to think that other states might follow.

Federal progress

Yes, 25 percent represents a very significant portion of our population. Significant enough, I believe, to trigger some changes in federal law. We may not see the end of federal prohibition by 2019, but I expect we will have made some substantial progress along that road.

At a minimum, I believe the Cannabis Industry will be banking openly and legally, like any other industry in the country. I think we may also see some relief from the punitive taxes that result from Section 280E of the Internal Revenue Code, perhaps in the form of legislation declaring that 280E no longer applies to state legal cannabis firms.

Rescheduling of cannabis, from Schedule 1 to Schedule 2 or 3 seems like a reasonable possibility over the next three years. And while I don’t think descheduling is the most likely outcome by 2019, it certainly remains a very realistic possibility.

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