In the recent elections, five states passed legal marijuana measures. This could signal widespread growth of both the medical and recreational cannabis markets.
This election season, voters in Arizona, Montana and New Jersey approved recreational use. South Dakota became the first state to make both medical and recreational use legal at the same time. In Mississippi, voters made medical use legal, choosing the more comprehensive of two legalization options on the ballot.
We could see more legalization measures on ballots in the future as the market for cannabis continues to grow. The passage of these ballot measures raises the number of states that have legalized recreational use to 15. As of this posting, the number of states that have legalized medical use totals 35.
Federal hurdles and legal landmines remain for the cannabis industry. But the adoption of cannabis measures in some states presents opportunities for market participants and entrants. This could lead federal policymakers who may have shied away from changing policy to revisit their support for measures in line with market trends. Thus, the changes made on a state level could set the stage for congressionally-driven change in federal policy.
During this time of rapid growth, market participants should consult counsel to stay ahead of state and federal legislative and regulatory trends, to spot opportunities, and to keep compliance. Legal counsel will be key to strategy development in this evolving industry.
Phelps is committed to keeping you up to date on legal and political trends in the cannabis industry. Please contact Beau Haynes, Isabel Bonilla-Mathé or any other member of Phelps’ Health Care team if you have questions or need compliance advice and guidance.