Federal legalization of marijuana is inching closer to reality, following Rep. Nancy Mace’s introduction of a bill that would decriminalize it and regulate it like alcohol. However, some marijuana operators are still focusing on certain states to help advance reforms.

    “Today, only 3 states lack some form of legal cannabis. My home state of South Carolina permits CBD, Florida allows medical marijuana, California and others have full recreational use, for example,” Mace said in a statement on Nov. 15. “Every state is different. Cannabis reform at the federal level must take all of this into account. And it’s past time federal law codifies this reality.”

    Mace said that the bill supports veterans, law enforcement, farmers, businesses, those with serious illnesses, and it is good for criminal justice reform.

    “The States Reform Act takes special care to keep Americans and their children safe while ending federal interference with state cannabis laws. Washington needs to provide a framework which allows states to make their own decisions on cannabis moving forward. This bill does that.”

    According to polling from Gallup, Pew, and Quinnipiac, nearly 70% of Americans want cannabis fully decriminalized and more than 90% want medical cannabis products available to patients and veterans, according to a statement on her website. Only three states lack some form of legal cannabis: Idaho, Kansas and Nebraska.

    Companies are waiting for recreational sales to start in New York, New Jersey, Virginia, and Connecticut after voters approved measures in those populous states, according to Barron’s, but the big votes on recreational weed will probably be in Florida and Pennsylvania.

    “We’ve been focusing our operations around three primary hubs, in Florida, Pennsylvania, and Arizona,” Kim Rivers, the CEO of the world’s largest licensed marijuana seller, Trulieve Cannabis with 155 retail locations across 11 states, told Barron’s. In Pennsylvania, legalization of adult-use sales has support from the governor and legislators in both parties, she says, while a signature campaign will soon start in Florida to get a recreation-sales proposal on the ballot in the next state election, according to Barron’s.

    The bill would decriminalize the product and pave the way towards interstate and international commerce. Similar to alcohol, individual states would be able to regulate use. Mace’s own state currently only allows the use of CBD, a non-intoxicating cannabis product.

    As GOBankingRates previously reported, legalizing marijuana would reduce the regulatory obligations of marijuana companies while also allowing them to hold bank accounts, take out loans, get tax deductions and even be listed on the stock exchange.