As I write this, the month of May is coming to a close, and the past few weeks alone stand testament to the fact that the marijuana legalization movement is showing no signs of slowing.
In my home state of New Jersey, a new bill to legalize and regulate marijuana was introduced. On the medical front, New Jersey’s Medicinal Marijuana Review Panel recommended expanding the Garden State’s limited medical program to include five new medical conditions.
In Michigan, the Michigan Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (aka Regulate MI) submitted ballot language to the state for a measure to legalize and regulate marijuana, hoping to gather enough signatures to get the initiative on the November 2018 ballot.
Vermont made history as the first state to legislatively pass (without a citizen-driven referendum) a bill to legalize and regulate marijuana. While it was a blow that Vermont Governor Phil Scott vetoed the bill, it was softened when the governor made it clear that he was requesting changes to the bill and is “hoping the Legislature can make the fixes during a veto session in late June,” reported ABC News.
Iowa expanded its medical marijuana program (which included no means for residents to purchase medical marijuana and covered only epileptic seizures); the state will now allow for cannabis cultivation and sale, and has a list of expanded medical conditions that can be treated under the program.
Democratic lawmakers in Connecticut proposed a budget that includes regulating and taxing marijuana in the state, according to the Connecticut Coalition to Regulate Marijuana.
While Georgia’s medical program is still one of the most limited, the state expanded the program to allow residents to possess cannabis oil for six additional medical conditions, as U.S. News and World Report reported.
All of this in just one month. Imagine what the rest of the year will hold.
In the meantime, legislators continue to push for federal legalization as well, with legislative efforts such as the bipartisan-sponsored Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act (H.R. 1227) introduced earlier this year. And of course, we can’t forget about our neighbors up north. Canada has made the tremendous step to implement federal marijuana legalization by July 1, 2018.
All the while, the states that have legalized medical and adult-use programs are ramping up for the rollout.
All of this not only demonstrates continued crumbling of the prohibition wall, but expanding opportunities for cultivators. In collaboration with research firm Brightfield Group, we‘ve taken a look at many of the states coming online and which ones (aside from California, which will obviously be the biggest market of all) present the biggest opportunities. Check out the forecast on page 18.
Here’s to an exciting and successful summer.