The North American legal cannabis market has been growing with sales increasing by 34 percent in 2016, and are expected to grow by an average of 26 percent each year through 2021.
Compared to the Mexico, which legalized medical cannabis in June or the Canadian market that is on the path to legalize social cannabis by July 2018, the U.S. is still facing many restrictions and barriers to social legalization. As social cannabis sales would mean an important growth potential in the legal cannabis industry, five states are currently angling to put social cannabis on the ballot in 2018.
Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Missouri, are Nebraska already have an initiative or amendment in support of social cannabis legalization.
Arizona failed to pass social cannabis legalization by 2 percent in 2016, but there are pro-legalization groups focusing their efforts on the 2018 election that may sway voters. One of the state’s initiatives includes the Arizona Marijuana Legalization Initiative, that would allow for the possession and use of cannabis by adults 21 and over, and the cultivation of up to 48 plants with more than a 0.3 percent THC level. The initiative would also forbid local jurisdictions from passing laws designed to ban the operation of cannabis-related businesses.
In Florida, changes need to be made to the state’s constitution. In order to pass the amendment, a majority vote of 60 percent is required. In 2014, the medical cannabis amendment fell 2 percent short, but it easily passed in 2016 thanks to legalization groups. Some of the measures considered for the 2018 ballot would legalize possession of up to an ounce of cannabis for adults 21 and over and up, and allow residents to grow up to six plants per household.
This year, Michigan seems to be on the right track, considering the state has spent a lot of time and money on the 2018 ballot. In 2016, pro-legalization groups attempted a social cannabis bill, but it fell short of the required signatures needed for it to pass. The Michigan Marijuana Legalization Initiative would allow adults ages 21 and over to possess, use, or transport up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis, or 15 grams of cannabis concentrate and grow up to 12 cannabis plants in their homes for personal use.
Missouri is attempting to legalize social and medical cannabis at the same time. However, half of the state’s initiatives competing for a spot on the ballot relate to social cannabis or industrial hemp. The Missouri Marijuana Legalization aims to reschedule cannabis, currently considered a Schedule I drug, allow sales to medical and social users and release non-violent offenders who have cannabis-related crimes.
Similarly, Nebraska is planning on legalizing medical and social cannabis at the same time. After Nebraska and Oklahoma sued Colorado because of allegations that social cannabis was trafficked into neighboring states, and the Supreme Court denied the suit, there is a lower chance for the Nebraska Right to Cannabis Initiative to enter the 2018 ballot. Some of the measures would allow people 21 and over to consume, manufacture, and distribute cannabis for personal or commercial purposes.