When it comes to big news in the marijuana industry, none was bigger than the vote in California to legalize adult recreational pot use. Adding about 25 million new potential customers is a huge deal.
Voters in Massachusetts, Maine, and Nevada also voted to legalize recreational use of marijuana and four more states — Florida, Arkansas, North Dakota, and Montana — legalized medicinal marijuana or easier access to medicinal marijuana. Some 20% of all Americans now live in states where recreational use is legal and 60% live in states where medicinal marijuana is legal.
The second-most important story for the industry is the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States and his nomination of Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions to be the next Attorney General of the United States. Trump himself has said little about marijuana but is widely believed to be personally agnostic on the issue. Sessions, however, has been clear in his opposition to legalizing pot in any form. Our own take on this is that Trump will allow Sessions to do as he chooses unless the Attorney General’s actions become an embarrassment to Trump personally.
Marijuana Business Daily has put these two stories at the top of its list of the 10 most notable developments in the marijuana industry in 2016. The website also lists eight more big stories from last year.
The Global Experiment of Marijuana Legalization
In 2016, more countries legalized the use of marijuana for medicinal or recreational purposes.
Marijuana, or cannabis, is “the most widely cultivated, produced, trafficked and consumed drug worldwide,” according to the World Drug Report, but its legality has long been a topic of debate worldwide.
In the US, Maine recently confirmed legalized recreational marijuana use, joining seven other states and the District of Columbia. Medical marijuana is now legal in more than half of US states.
This mirrors a global trend. This year, Canadian officials said they aim to introduce legislation in 2017 to legalize and regulate marijuana. Uruguay is the only other country to legalize cannabis. Ireland, Australia, Jamaica and Germany approved measures for its medicinal use this year. Australia granted permission for businesses to apply for licenses to manufacture or cultivate marijuana products for medicinal purposes and to conduct related research. Decisions are still pending in South Africa.
Read more at CNN.