Obvious, Emerging, Surprising: Three States Expanding Cannabis

May 29, 2019

Obvious: Arizona

Regulations

The push for recreational legalization was revived in the 2016 elections with Prop205, which was defeated by a narrow margin. It is likely that another recreational legalization measure will appear on the 2020 ballot.

Recent News 

The case of State of Arizona v. Rodney Christopher Jones was resolved on May 28, 2019 where defendant Jones won his appeal to consume hashish. The state Supreme Court released this ruling: “Taken together, 'all parts' refers to all constituent elements of the marijuana plant, and the fact the resin must first be extracted from the plant reflects that it is part of the plant."

Emerging: Michigan
 

Regulations

In November 2018, voters passed a second Proposal 1 - the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act - relating to cannabis for adult use. Though the law officially went into effect in December 2018, decriminalizing recreational marijuana possession and use throughout the state, lawmakers have until the end of 2019 to finalize rules and regulations for the operation of a formal program, and adult-use sales are not projected to begin until 2020.

Recent News

The recently renamed Marijuana Regulatory Agency has appointed Andrew Brisbo as its executive director. Governor Gretchen Whitmer praised Brisbo saying, “Andrew will be critical in determining and achieving solutions as we develop new marijuana regulations in Michigan. He brings a wealth of expert knowledge on this subject, which will be essential through this implementation process while protecting Michigan residents.” Since 2016, Brisbo has met with thousands of stakeholders and experts on how to best oversee the burgeoning market.

Surprising: North Dakota

Regulations

The 2016 elections brought Measure 5 to North Dakota voters which would allow the sale of medical cannabis to patients. Though it won by a large margin, voters were quickly disappointed when both houses state legislatures passed changes to the measure. During the 2018 midterms, voters rejected Measure 3 which would have legalized recreational cannabis. Cannabis supporters are attempting to make another run during the 2020 elections.
 

Recent News 

Governor Doug Burgum has recently signed a bill that would decriminalize cannabis possession of up to half an ounce.Though this is still punishable with a fine up to $1,000, part of the HB 1050 bill also asks the state’s Legislative Assembly to “consider studying the implications of the potential adoption of an initiated measure allowing the use of recreational marijuana.” It is becoming increasingly more challenging for the conservative state legislatures to ignore the growing calls for legalization.  

While there are similarities between these three states in terms of regulatory status, there are stark differences in annual spend per patient. In established medical markets, growth unsurprisingly tapers off over time and opens the door for recreational use. The table below indicates the annual spend for medical patients in each of the three states with predictions for 2020.