Regional Update: Texas, Alabama & Florida

CannaBlog by Cory Parnell, COO of Bridge West CPAs & Advisors to the Cannabis Industry

With federal cannabis descheduling still many steps from approval—even with the vote back in Congress (another bill is currently in the House)—marijuana legalization is very much a regional story. The Southeastern states of Texas, Alabama, and Florida are poised for big developments in terms of cannabis business opportunities. Here are the latest developments.

Is Marijuana Legal in Alabama? Big Changes in the Heart of Dixie

While Alabama is known for generally conservative politics, that’s not to suggest it is dead set against marijuana. In May of 2021, Republican Governor Kay Ivey signed a medical marijuana bill into law, permitting the use of the plant to treat a relatively limited list of six medical conditions.

Since then, however, a State Senate committee approved a broader decriminalization and expungement bill. While a similar effort stalled in the full chamber back in 2021, it’s a signal that Alabama—recognizing the larger regional trend towards gradual legalization—is taking steps to meet the moment.

Is Marijuana Legal in Florida?

If Florida is known as a destination for a graying population, that hardly disqualifies it as a focal point for cannabis legal reform. In fact, recent data indicates that a majority of current cannabis users began after the age of 60, a sharp rebuke to those who believe its use is confined only to the young.

That helps explain why medical cannabis—legal in Florida since 2016—is so popular there, with only California boasting a higher number of registered cannabis patients.

That said, adult-use cannabis has a tougher road to hoe in the Sunshine State. Though lawmakers have attempted to introduce full marijuana legalization bills for several years running, observers give them little chance of passing in the foreseeable future.

Is Marijuana Legal in Texas? A Significant Holdout Against MMJ

If the Lone Star State has long held out against marijuana in general, there are signs its attitude may be shifting, if slowly. Back in 2015, the state allowed the use of low-THC marijuana products for epilepsy, and since expanded to include other symptoms and conditions. Austin police elected to stop arresting or citing people for minor possession, but larger statewide efforts have thus far fallen flat.

Could this be changing? A recent straw poll by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram found that most of the major gubernatorial candidates supported partial or full legalization. While some cited social and public health concerns, others pointed to the potential windfall for state coffers. According to some estimates, a legal marijuana market in Texas could generate $1.1 billion in tax dollars per biennium.

Bridge West CPAs: Providing Expert Guidance and Forecasting in the Cannabis Sector

Cannabis is nothing if not a fast-moving and highly changeable industry. That’s one reason Bridge West CPAs keep a close eye on cannabis news and trends, including forecasting where and when the next wave of cannabis legalization will create exciting new business opportunities.

If you’re seeking this kind of skillful and clear-eyed guidance, we invite you to call on us. Now into our second decade of helping entrepreneurs navigate cannabis regulations, conduct business valuations, and comply with state and IRS audits, Bridge West CPAs stand ready to help get you on the road to success.

Do you have further questions about trends in cannabis legalization, or about the states where marijuana is legal? Don’t hesitate to reach out; we’re here to help.