Cannabis Midterms, Thailand’s Backlash Over Decriminalization, and Maryland’s Rec. Legalization

September 23, 2022 11:00 am ET Estimated Read Time: 3 Minutes
Cannabis Midterms, Thailand’s Backlash Over Decriminalization, and Maryland’s Rec. Legalization

Cannabis stands to impact midterm elections, Thailand’s public health minister is fighting back against anti-cannabis opposition, and a poll shows that Maryland is on the cusp of recreational legalization.

Let’s dive into this week’s cannanews.

Cannabis Looms Large on Midterm Elections

It’s been 10 years since Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize recreational cannabis. Since then, support for cannabis has only grown, with 19 states now allowing recreational use and 20 states allowing medical use. With the 2022 midterm elections just around the corner, cannabis has the opportunity to bring its outsized influence to federal elections for the very first time.

According to a 2021 Gallup poll, an astounding 68% of the public supports federal legalization. Moreover, cannabis is one of the least partisan issues in American politics, with 80% of Democrats and 50% of Republicans favoring its legalization. Even with its overwhelming popularity, however, cannabis has yet to have more than a marginal impact on election results. But why?

As Slate explains it, there are three interconnected reasons:

  1. Anti-cannabis candidates stay silent on their opinions, fearing they may lose votes from cannabis supporters.
  2. Pro-cannabis candidates aren’t comfortable making federal legalization part of their platform, fearing they may alienate voters who are anti-cannabis.  
  3. Since most debates over cannabis legislation are exclusive to state-level initiatives, candidates don’t feel the need to address these issues.

So, what’s different about 2022’s midterm elections? Cannabis legalization is a differentiator in the platforms of candidates across four different Senate and gubernatorial races. The races are for Texas governor, Pennsylvania senator, and Florida’s gubernatorial and Senate seats.

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How do you see these races shaking out? Let us know in the comments!

Thailand Faces Backlash for Cannabis Decriminalization

Thailand’s public health minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, is facing pressure to re-list cannabis as a narcotic. Over 1,363 doctors signed a petition on Change.org asking the Thai government to discard the policy that decriminalized cannabis in the country. The petition alleges that the policy’s lack of proper regulations could lead to cannabis abuse by children and minors.

The health minister responded by dismissing the petition as nothing more than sensationalism. Specifically, Charnvirakul said there is no evidence of improper cannabis use under current regulations as the petition claimed. Charnvirakul then added that the country’s current rules were set up to accommodate medical users above all.

The country recently allowed popular American lifestyle brand Cookies to open the first cannabis shop in the country. The move is part of a larger effort by the Thai government’s foray into “canna-tourism.”

Check-in with Veriheal to stay up to date on Thailand’s growing cannabis market!

Maryland Voters All in On Recreational Legalization, Poll Finds

Maryland may be well on its way to legalizing recreational cannabis this November. According to a recent Goucher College poll, 59% of Maryland voters are planning to vote yes on the upcoming recreational legalization initiative. If the initiative passes, Maryland’s recreational market will open on July 1, 2023.     

The poll surveyed 1,008 Maryland residents in early September. Of those who planned to vote yes on the recreational use initiative, 62% also wanted the state to expunge the records of those charged with cannabis-related crimes.

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