3 States to Watch This Year
Thirty states plus the District of Columbia now allow legal use of medical marijuana. In addition, eight of those states, along with D.C., have legalized recreational use of marijuana. It looks like those two numbers are about to grow.
Two states are posed to legalize recreational marijuana in 2018 while another state could soon join the ranks of those allowing legal use of medical marijuana.
Michigan currently allows patients to use medical marijuana, but it may soon approve recreational use of marijuana as well.
The Michigan Board of State Canvassers gave its stamp of approval on April 26, 2018, on an initiative to put recreational marijuana legalization on the ballot later this year. Supporters needed to gather 250,000 signatures; they ended up with over 100,000 more signatures than needed.
States like Michigan are considering allowing recreational marijuana for its higher tax revenue. The proposed ballot measure would legalize possession and sale of up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana for recreational use if passed. All recreational marijuana sales could be taxed at an additional 10% on top of Michigan’s current 6% sales tax. This revenue could be used to fund education, roads, and cities and counties with marijuana-related businesses.
However, that legalization of recreational marijuana is guaranteed to be on the ballot when voting takes place in November. The state legislature may pass a bill to legalize recreational marijuana even sooner because the Republicans currently in control of Michigan’s legislature want to boost their chances of maintaining their majority.
2. New Jersey
It was clear a year ago that New Jersey could be considering legalizing recreational marijuana when a candidate for governor Phil Murphy publicly voiced his support for legalization.
Murphy is now governor of New Jersey, and his party controls the state’s general assembly. Gov. Murphy is promoting a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana in his state. He even included additional taxes from recreational marijuana sales in his proposed budget for New Jersey’s next fiscal year, which begins on July 1. However, the road to recreational use hasn’t been easy.
Some members of the democratic party are opposed to legalization, as well as most Republicans in the state assembly. Public polls have also shown that New Jersey residents have mixed views on allowing legal use of recreational marijuana.
Oklahoma has no laws allowing legal use of marijuana for either medical or recreational purposes. However, it does have a law in place allowing medical use of cannabis extracts that have high levels of cannabidiol (CBD) and low levels of THC (the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana).
This could change on June 26. Oklahomans will vote that day on State Question 788, which proposes legalization of medical marijuana and the establishment of a state system to tax and regulate its use.
Polls taken earlier this year show that the majority of Oklahomans support the proposal in State Question 788. Additionally, a group called Green the Vote is gathering signatures to include State Question 797, which would legalize recreational use of marijuana, on the ballot in November.
Each of these states could add new cannabis investment opportunities to the marijuana industry and provide wonderful opportunities for business development, especially for minority businesses, which have previously been overlooked. In the months to come, those serious about cannabis investing should watch these states closely as they begin entering the market.