The year 2018 was yet another huge one in the world of cannabis law reform; in some ways it was the biggest year ever in terms of setting the stage for possible success on a federal level. But seeing as many of our readers lead busy lives, this seems like a good time to recap some of the biggest stories the year had to offer.
Adult Use Legalization in Canada
On October 17th, cannabis use, possession and growing became legal for all adults in Canada. This was the end of a long process that began with Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Party running for and winning power in the Canadian Government in 2015. A year of waiting was followed by committees and reports, and the legalization bill finally made its way through the Canadian Legislature earlier this year.
Adult Use Retail Sales Began in California
In terms of states, there will be no bigger market for cannabis in the United States than California. Earlier this year, recreational retail sales began in the Golden State. At times hampered by supply problems and worries about excessive taxation, the recreational sales market in CA has grown steadily and will continue to do so as millions of consumers shift from the illegal market to the legal one.
The Dual Sessions Departures
In terms of potential federal marijuana law reform in the U.S., no story was bigger than exit of two men named Sessions (no relation). Pete Sessions, Republican Chairman of the House Rules Committee and chief roadblock in the way of anything resembling cannabis law reform making it to the floor of the House for a vote, was ousted from his Congressional seat.
If that news wasn’t great enough, Attorney General Jeff “Good People Don’t Smoke Marijuana” Sessions resigned from his post the very next day at the request of President Trump.
Adult Use Legalization in Michigan
On November 6th voters in Michigan made their state the first one in the Midwest to legalize cannabis for adult use. While some jurisdictions in the state are already moving to ban adult use sales, a “gifting” economy has sprung up around adult possession, helped in part by the legalization law’s rather impressive 2.5 ounce limit.
Federal Hemp Legalization
The removal of hemp from the Controlled Substances List will allow states to explore hemp cultivation on their own terms, without having to worry about federal prohibition. This will unleash an industry that has been building and growing in the U.S., especially over the last few years, as dozens of states have set up pilot programs to grow and research industrial hemp.
Of course there were many other big stories in the cannabis community in 2018, stories we covered in print here at The Marijuana Times and on our video show Cannabis News.
Here’s to an even bigger year of coverage in 2019!