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Federal Decriminalization

Federal Decriminalization

At the federal level, cannabis continues to be prohibited across the board, resulting in a legally dubious gray market operating in the 42 states with loosened marijuana laws. In contrast, about a third of all adults in the US have access to recreational marijuana, thanks to a patchwork of state and local regulations that have legalized or decriminalized the substance to some degree. 

Although full-scale, nationwide legalization is likely a ways off, some Washington lawmakers have signaled that they'll soon introduce legislation to start reversing the federal ban on marijuana. The question is, what kinds of changes to cannabis law might happen in the near future?

Without a supermajority of 60 votes in the Senate, Democratic leaders will most likely have to court Republican lawmakers in order to pass any substantial legislation. (That is, of course, unless Democrats get rid of the legislatively obstructive filibuster, thus opening the Senate to a simple majority rule, as we'll explain.)

It's still a bit too soon to really be able to predict the future of cannabis in the US, but here's a look at the current landscape as well as a snapshot of what could be in store down the road. 

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