The momentum for marijuana legalization is strong, and the proof is in the revenue. In 2018, several states legalized marijuana, including Michigan. Michigan’s move to legalize recreational use opened the midwest to the new legislation.
Meanwhile, in 2018 the marijuana industry brought in $10 billion in revenue. Projections for 2019 are as high as $16 billion in potential revenue. Job creation is at a high in various locales, primarily thanks to the number of jobs created by the marijuana industry.
The industry is still operating with several hurdles in place, the largest being the federal prohibition and the black market that is thriving despite legalization in so many states. Issues related to the federal laws extend to banking concerns, struggle to find physical locations for an operation, and even the inability to deduct business expenses from taxes.
However, states like Pennsylvania and Illinois have opened the conversation about legalizing recreational use, Nebraska has announced its intention to have legislation in place by 2020 and states like New Jersey have legislation finalized that simply requires a vote. Numerous states have governors in office that support the legalization movement.
The projections for 2019 are very favourable that the tide will continue to swing in favour of marijuana legalization — perhaps even to the resolution of the federal-state impasse many marijuana businesses struggle with currently.
Other notable achievements for marijuana in 2018 included FDA approval of a marijuana-based drug that treats epilepsy for children, the country-wide legalization of marijuana in Canada that took effect in October and interest in the industry that comes from investors both big and small.
Regulations for edible manufacturing, packaging, and sales have been put in place in different states. Indications are that marijuana-infused beverages could be a big market for the coming year and the legalization of hemp through the farm bill means good things in terms of forward momentum for the industry.
Long-time supporters of marijuana legislation saw the year as the turning point they have been hoping to experience.
Numerous politicians, including New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Nebraska Senator Adam Morfeld, have expressed an about-face in their perspective on marijuana legalization. Both previously strongly opposed the move and have since thrown their support behind the idea.
For Gov. Cuomo, however, the move is more about practicality, since he feels the legalization of marijuana in Massachusetts and the upcoming vote in New Jersey make it a so-called “false choice” for New York.