It’s hard to make cannabis industry predictions, but some of the largest markets in the world will open for business in 2019. Billion dollar industries are on the horizon in places like New York City and Chicago. And, most importantly, the federal government is poised to enact cannabis reform.
Here are three cannabis industry predictions for 2019:
Cannabis Reform at the Federal Level
The Democratic takeover of the house in November makes cannabis reform at the federal level a real possibility in 2019.
Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) released a memo in October that contained a blueprint for how the 116th Congress could legalize marijuana. Committees that are key to the effort will now be lead by Democrats. Most notably, Pete Sessions (R-TX) is no longer the chair of the House rules committee. Sessions notoriously blocked every piece of cannabis legislation from reaching the house floor during his time as chair. Now that he’s gone, the long overdue debate on cannabis reform can finally begin.
I do not expect legalization at the federal level to happen immediately. Instead, I expect this next Congress to take incremental steps. I think it will address the 280E tax issue, the access to banking issue, and will protect states from federal intervention. However it plays out, reform is coming and it will be exciting to watch. Here are some bills to follow at the federal level in 2019:
Recreational Cannabis in New York
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City mayor Bill De Blasio have both indicated they would like to legalize cannabis for recreational purposes. And it could happen fast. Cuomo would like to somehow get it done in the first 100 days of his next administration.
It is important to note that Gov. Cuomo has the support of the State’s Health Department. The Department studied the issue extensively and concluded that the positive effects of a regulated cannabis market would outweigh the potential negative impacts.
New York City recently released its own report on cannabis legalization. Mayor De Blasio convened a marijuana task force to study the issue and make recommendations on how the industry should be regulated. That report previews what the city expects to see in any state-level legislation to regulate cannabis.
It will be interesting to see how the state and city work together to establish regulations for what could be one of the largest cannabis markets in the world. Keep an eye on the Empire state in 2019.
Recreational Cannabis in Illinois
Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker campaigned on legalizing cannabis and intends to follow through in his first term. He is already in negotiations with legislators who are crafting the bill to regulate the industry.
State Rep. Heather Steans and State Sen. Kelly Cassidy introduced legislation in March to legalize recreational cannabis but that effort failed. They are ready to try again with the Governor’s support. They also have the public’s support.
Nearly 66% of registered voters in Illinois support cannabis legalization, according to a report from the Illinois Economic Policy Institute. The report also predicts that legal cannabis would create 24,000 jobs, generate $500 million in taxes (with a 26.25% state excise tax on retail marijuana and a 6.25% general sales tax), and inject $1 billion into the state economy.
2019: The Year of Cannabis?
2019 could be a huge year for cannabis. Cannabis businesses may finally access banking services, get relief from the 280E tax burden and the threat of federal intervention might go up in smoke. Further, billion-dollar markets will open in the nation’s biggest cities. Bold prediction: 2019 will go down in history as the Year of Cannabis. The analysts at Simplifya will be tracking every development!