2017's Best & Worst Cannabis Moments
As we approach the last month of the year, we’re looking back at the top five cannabis triumphs and losses of 2017. We have a lot to look forward to, some things to be cautious of, and some stories that just simply make us say WTF (remember Vegas’ weed shortage? How about the first reported marijuana death?) Overall, it was a great year for marijuana, but here is our list of the five most memorable cannabis-related successes and shortcomings of 2017:
1. NOVEMBER 2017 ELECTIONS PROVED BIG WIN FOR CANNABIS LEGISLATION
Phil Murphy, cannabis legalization advocate, was nominated as New Jersey’s next governor, putting New Jersey on track to legalize recreational cannabis. Detroit approved a medical marijuana ordinance, which will help make dispensary licensing and development
easier for cannabis industry entrepreneurs. In Colorado, multiple municipalities approved various cannabis tax initiatives. Lastly, Athens, Ohio, voted to de-penalize the fine for marijuana possession.
2. COLORADO SURPASSED MARIJUANA REVENUE MILESTONE
Colorado is widely regarded as the “example” when it comes to cannabis industry operations and procedures. Colorado was the first state to legalize adult-use marijuana, so its market is more mature than other legal states. Since its implementation in 2014,
Colorado has earned $506 million in retail marijuana sales. Colorado is set to surpass $200 million in revenue in 2017 alone.
3. CALIFORNIA’S HAZY MARIJUANA REGULATIONS BEGIN TO CLEAR
California will begin issuing adult-use cannabis licenses on January 1st, but the regulatory environment of its cannabis market is notoriously hazy. To operate in the recreational cannabis sector of California, license applicants must adhere to local government rules and regulations. This is problematic because some smaller cities do not yet embrace the industry, forcing licensees to seek alternative locations to operate. The city in which the license was submitted must be in contact with the state of California to ensure the business is compliant with city laws. Twenty different types of licenses will be available, including cultivation, distribution and manufacturing. In California’s twenty-one years of medical marijuana sales, this is the first semblance of a comprehensive regulatory system for its ever-expanding cannabis market.
4. LAS VEGAS LAUNCHED RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA SALES
In July 2017, Las Vegas officially began selling recreational marijuana in licensed dispensaries. Less than two weeks after adult-use sales launched, Vegas reported a cannabis shortage because businesses simply could not keep up with the demand. And, like the
plight of Colorado’s cannabis consumers, many Vegas tourists are concerned with the fact that they have nowhere to consume.
5. JEFF SESSIONS, LEAVE MARIJUANA ALONE
Throughout the course of 2017, news media has been flooded with story after story of Jeff Sessions bashing cannabis.
Sessions, a long-time legalization opponent, continues to threaten state-wide cannabis legislation through his slanderous claims and desire to crack down on legal marijuana programs. Perhaps one of the nation’s toughest cannabis critics, Sessions shows very little sign of budging on his viewpoint, despite the countless studies that suggest cannabis contains medicinal properties. While it seems that Sessions has not proved to be a definitive threat to the industry, we tread with caution and attentiveness as a federal crackdown is extremely unlikely, yet still possible under our current administration.
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