Marijuana could be legal across the US before September 2020, according to political experts.
The US will be in a position to begin the process of decriminalising cannabis across all 50 states – 11 have already made marijuana fully legal at state level – as early as Christmas, before putting legislation in place by the end of August 2020.
America goes to the polls next November as a queue of presidential hopefuls line up to topple Donald Trump’s reign in the White House.
A total of 26 candidates have already thrown their hats into the ring with many declaring themselves pro full legalisation of cannabis.
This, according to analysts, could easily push the issue to the top of the political agenda.
“Many of these candidates know the majority of Americans are for the full legalisation of recreational marijuana,” explained academic Narayan Singh.
“Therefore, the notion that they would not capitalise on the opportunity to win a huge chunk of support for their campaign is unimaginable.
“It doesn’t even matter whether they personally believe in full legalisation or not – the fact remains that the political homeland sentiment is that cannabis will be given full legal status at some point, so why not use it to their advantage during the run-up to the US presidential elections?”
The tactic of using the issue for political gain is something that will not be lost on Donald Trump. His 2016 campaign had medical cannabis research woven into it.
This time, though, the landscape has changed dramatically. Four years on, and the acceptance of cannabis and cannabis-derived products by the American public is snowballing.
Trump reiterated recently that he was keen to allow individual states to decide their own laws on marijuana. But with 11 of those states already granting full legalisation, the lack of firm ruling at a federal level is throwing up its own complications.
This, says White House watcher Emily Green, will provide Trump with an opportunity that could be seized upon as the run-up to the 2020 election reaches its peak.
“Several ingredients still need to be added to this dish – such as a whole bunch of reports and poll results that would aid Donald Trump’s decision-making process – but it already tastes like a winning recipe that the president will surely serve up before September 2020,” she said.
“The Oval Office had one report recently which showed more than sixty per cent of the population was fully behind legal weed, and another, more detailed state-by-state report is due to land on his desk next month.
Wipe out prohibition
“Given that it is likely to support the findings of the first rather than contradict, I suspect it will force the president’s hand into pushing through Bills that will charge ahead with wiping out marijuana prohibition on a national scale.
“It looks like it would be a hugely popular move and could guarantee another term.”
Meanwhile, ahead of any official stance from the 73-year-old Republican president, Congress has been making the right noises towards federal marijuana legislation.
Several representatives – including Oregon’s Earl Blumanauer, Ohio’s Steve Stiver and Rodney Davis of Illinois – have already publicly stated they would be keen to move swiftly towards making cannabis legal throughout the US.