As the annual April cannabis holiday—known simply as 4/20—approaches, let us take stock of the state of the cannabis industry over the last year.
Optimists will point to the successful ballot initiatives in Maryland and Missouri, legalizing recreational marijuana for adults. Plus, medical markets in states across the U.S. have grown. While not insignificant, any momentum seems to be stymied by political dysfunction in Washington, a rejection of recreational measures by voters in Arkansas, North Dakota and South Dakota, and investor malaise that seems particularly targeted at cannabis stocks.
The lack of action at the federal level has opened the window for individual states to take the lead on better cannabis policy. This past summer, Minnesota passed a hemp law allowing low potency food and beverage products that contain up to 5MG of hemp-derived THC to be sold in traditional retailers, like liquor and convenience stores. This makes sense—the safest, lowest dosed products, which provide consumers with an alternative to alcohol, should be allowed to be sold outside of dispensaries. While, the high potency, high THC products should be sold in dispensaries. Other states are following Minnesota’s lead and considering sensible limits on low THC products. Ultimately, this will be very