NEW YORK: The world of pot legalization has been moving so fast this year it’s hard to keep up. So far in 2014, Maryland, Minnesota, and New York have passed legislation legalizing medical cannabis, with legislation pending in Florida, Ohio, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. A total of 23 states have now legalized the plant for medical use since 1996, and if three of the four ballot measures pending succeed, more than half the States in the Union will have legalized medical marijuana in a country where it is illegal on a federal level.
California was the first state to legalize in 18 years ago, but momentum has picked up significantly since then. Half of the 23 states where it is now legal have passed legislation within the last 4 years alone. Judging by the increased pace of legalization, the tipping point may have already been reached. It is now only a matter of time until all, or at least most states legalize marijuana for medical purposes. Recreational legalization is still in the early stages, with only Colorado and Washington on board.
While this is certainly encouraging for cannabis enthusiasts, as legalization takes hold in each state, there is and will continue to be a mad dash for a limited amount of state licenses, with heavy compliance and security costs all around. In fact, continuing on the media theme, the Chicago Tribune published a piece last week about how cutthroat the medical marijuana competition is in Illinois, precisely because state restrictions are so draconian that it is extremely difficult to get a cannabusiness up and running.
That’s not so good a situation for the average mom and pop medical marijuana entrepreneur, but what it does mean is that those who are able to maneuver their way through the bureaucratic red tape in time to grab up a limited number of licenses will be protected by a ring of steel regulation once they break through.