Buckle up cannabis enthusiasts – this year is going to be a big one for both the medical and recreational communities. Several states will begin implementing new programs in cannabis policy and Canada is set to fully legalize in July 2017. And, of course, with greater legalization means larger datasets for health and economic analyses and further research on the impact of legalized cannabis use on society.
Let’s take a look at some of the changes expected in 2018 and what that might mean for health, policy, and maybe even your community:
Sweeping Changes across the US
While California has already implemented medical cannabis programs, next year they will open their current programs to include recreational cannabis. As California’s medical cannabis sales are already equal to that of Colorado, Washington, and Oregon, analysts predict that its recreational cannabis sales will increase up to 24.5 billion by 2021 – a huge amount of state revenue that will hopefully be reinvested to boost the economy.
But the west coast will not be the only one to enjoy this extra cash flow – east coast states Massachusetts and Maine will also be opening up their programs to include recreational use. And several other states will be filing for legalization of recreational use in 2018 as well, according to the Cannabis Business Alliance.
How will these changes at the state level interact with federal prohibition? It’s no secret that US Attorney General Jeff Sessions is not a fan of legalization. So with spreading legalization, will we see a greater backlash? Or, it the nation-wide effort far too ahead to be stopped at this point? I guess we will have to wait and see how this unfolds.