Three cheers for another (not so) small step for cannabis legislation and one giant leap for progressive US healthcare.
Without a doubt, Election Day 2016 was a transformational moment not only in American politics but also for the cannabis movement. Indeed, the people have spoken, and cannabis continues to gain acceptance and availability throughout the country.
This is not only great news for those states voting in favor of legalization, but for all who continue to wait for the Federal Government to reschedule or deschedule this ancient, medicinal plant. State by state, the entire country is being redefined. Surely, the Federal Government can’t be far behind.
As of now, 28 states plus the District of Columbia have some form of legalized cannabis use, demonstrating that most Americans recognize and favor the value of this medicinal plant. Regardless of where you live, this legislative success story means that cannabis continues to gain acceptance and become legally available throughout the country.
Here’s how it played out.
Medical Cannabis Gains Ground
Four states – Florida, Arkansas, Montana and North Dakota – gave the thumbs up to moving some form of medical cannabis legislation forward. This means more than half the US states (28 in total) plus DC now allow some type of access to medical marijuana. Keep in mind that as with all medical use legislation, every state has different specifics about qualifying medical conditions, grow and dispensary licensing, and retail availability.
Florida – This is exciting because two years ago, Florida narrowly missed achieving the 60% vote needed. In this past election, the cannabis referendum cleared the hurdle with a whopping 70% vote. Because the Sunshine State has such a large older population, which often requires health services, this win carries significance to the legislative movement.
North Dakota – An amendment was approved to allow medical use for certain health conditions and for patients to grow a small number of plants when they live more than 40 miles from a dispensary.
Arkansas – Interesting contrast here because although Donald Trump garnered 61 percent of the vote, Arkansas approved medical marijuana and became the first state in the Deep South to do so. A red state passing progressive legislation hopefully sends a signal to the feds.
Montana – The new law reverses an earlier ruling by the Montana Supreme Court that had limited providers to only three patients each and now adds PTSD to the list of qualifying health conditions.
Adult Use Cannabis Expands
Before November 8th, four states had approved adult use marijuana – Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington State, and the District of Columbia. That number increased to seven with the addition of California, Nevada, Massachusetts, and Maine. Arizona is the only state where adult use did not pass, so it remains a medical use only state.
California – Building on its existing medical use law, this is a huge win for cannabis advocates everywhere simply because of the state’s market size. Coupled with Washington and Oregon, the entire West Coast now has adult use laws in place. Many feel this will also influence cannabis progress in South American and Mexico. Additionally, it may put more pressure on the US government to make a sweeping federal change. Stay tuned!
New England Region – Though small in size, Maine’s progressive approach may trickle down and influence the rest of New England. Both Maine and Massachusetts took a step forward by expanding adult use to their existing medical programs. Is this the start of an East Coast movement?
Nevada – Already offering medical marijuana, this can only be a boon to Nevada’s already robust tourism business. This translates to more tax dollars and employment opportunities – positive moves for any state.
Here’s what it means to you
Simply put, these changes mean increased freedoms and increased choices. If ever there was an exciting time for personal and professional growth in the holistic cannabis industry, it’s now.
Learn more at the Holistic Cannabis Academy and discover what the future may hold for you.