Ballot initiatives regarding the legalization of adult-use recreational cannabis products are a growing trend across the U.S., as are prospective laws designed to expand the scope of medical marijuana use. Each new state has its own take on rules such as approved distribution methods and cannabis labels.
In the November 2018 elections, many questions of this kind were present in multiple states, and voters largely decided in favor of increasing legalization. If your company operates within this exciting industry, it's time to take a look at the new state of the playing field as you prepare logistical considerations such as marijuana labels.
Time magazine reported on the green wave at the ballot box and described the impact of November's new measures. Michigan voters said yes to recreational cannabis use, marking the first time a Midwestern state has chosen legalization. Furthermore, Missouri and Utah approved medical marijuana. The relative outlier was North Dakota, where a recreational legalization measure came up short. The following are updates on the three states where initiatives passed.
The Associated Press explained Michigan voters chose in favor of legalization by a wide margin. Campaigners who supported the move told the AP the 2018 victory was enabled by the march of legalization across other states. Voters have been encouraged by the progress of recreational cannabis use elsewhere, and have made Michigan the eleventh state to allow recreational sales.
If you're planning to enter the adult-use market in Michigan, there are a few limitations you'll have to work around, according to the AP. For example, the retail licensing process hasn't begun in earnest yet, with medical sellers just opening their doors. These dispensaries may be the first places to sell recreational cannabis, for convenience's sake - they will have product, which is more than other fledgling vendors in Michigan can say.
Missouri voters cast their ballots in favor of a legalized medical marijuana program, according to Forbes contributor Tom Angell. With 66 percent support, the state constitutional amendment allows the creation of a taxed ecosystem of cultivation, testing and sales. The tax revenue from medical marijuana sales will be diverted to veterans' services once it begins rolling in and overcomes the cost of implementing the new system. Physicians will be able to approve patients, who will receive identification cards that give them permission to both grow and purchase cannabis.
Utah's legalization efforts have proven controversial and contentious. According to the AP, recent days have seen lawmakers working on changes to the medical legalization measure, which they first discussed before the election. The changes to the regulations would prevent medical patients from growing their own plants and block the sale of edible products that could conceivably be appealing to kids.
The compromise has received official support from the Mormon church, an influential force in Utah. Advocates for legalization, however, say tinkering with the law after its passage with 53 percent approval means disregarding what the voters want. It remains to be seen what exact form medical marijuana will take in Utah.
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