2018 will no doubt be an interesting year in cannabis reform.
To date there are 29 medical cannabis states in the U.S., and 8 adult-use states. Washington D.C. has legalized both medical and adult-use cannabis.
While 2016 was a historic year in cannabis reform, 2017 did not see any states legalize cannabis for adult-use, however a pro-legalization candidate was elected Governor of New Jersey.
Incoming New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy stated in his victory speech that he wants to see his state legalize cannabis for adult-use within 100 days of him taking office.
With 2017 behind us, the focus now shifts towards 2018.
How many states will legalize cannabis for medical or adult-use in 2018?
Will Michigan legalize cannabis in 2018?
Michigan is home to some of the hardest working cannabis activists in the country, if not the planet. Their resiliency and determination are very inspiring.
Activists in Michigan had gathered a significant amount of signatures in 2016 to try to put adult-use legalization on the ballot, but the effort was derailed by monkey wrenches being thrown at them at every turn by the state of Michigan.
Fortunately, they are back for 2018, having already submitted 360,000 signatures. 70% of signatures need to be valid in order for the initiative to make the ballot.
The initiative, if passed, would do the following for people 21 years old and older:
- Legalize the possession of up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis outside of the home (15 grams of which can be concentrated forms of cannabis)
- Legalize the possession of up to 10 ounces of cannabis within a home (plus whatever was grown from legal plants in the home)
- Legalize the cultivation of up to 12 plants per residence
Michigan is likely to end up being the only state voting on full legalization in 2018, although more states are certainly welcomed.
To learn more about the initiative in Michigan, check out the Regulate Michigan website.
Will New Approach Missouri legalize cannabis in the Show-Me State in 2018?
Missouri activists, led by New Approach Missouri, came very, very close to getting a medical cannabis initiative on the ballot in 2016. Unfortunately, the effort fell short by 23 signatures.
Learning from the shortcomings of the 2016 effort, activists are back with a 2018 initiative that is well on its way to making the ballot.
The initiative has national backing, is well funded, and Missouri activists are extremely talented and work very hard.
The Green Flower team is confident that the initiative will not only make the ballot but also achieve victory on Election Day 2018.
New Approach Missouri's initiative would:
- Create a comprehensive medical cannabis program
- Legalize the possession of cannabis by registered patients
- Legalize home cultivation of medical cannabis
- Provide safe access points for patients to purchase medical cannabis
- Create a regulated cannabis industry in Missouri
To learn more about the initiative in Missouri, led by New Approach Missouri, check out their campaign website.
Will Utah improve its current medical cannabis program in 2018?
Utah's legislature passed a CBD-specific bill in 2014, which legalized the possession of low THC, high CBD cannabis oil.
The legislation was very limited, and only protects a small portion of patients in certain situations.
The bill did not legalize a regulated system in which Utah patients could cultivate, produce, sell, or purchase CBD oil.
A strong effort is underway in Utah to fix the program and put a comprehensive medical cannabis initiative on the 2018 ballot.
The effort is being led by Utah Patients Coalition, which has started gathering signatures. Their initiative would:
- Dramatically expand Utah's current medical cannabis program
- Allow patients to designate a caregiver to help the patient obtain their medication
- Permit cardholders to purchase two ounces of cannabis or 10 grams of cannabidiol (CBD) or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) from a licensed dispensary during any 14-day period
- Create a regulated cannabis industry in Utah
Utah patients deserve a comprehensive medical cannabis program, one that helps as many patients as possible.
Oklahoma will vote on medical cannabis in 2018
Oklahoma had a medical cannabis initiative that almost made the 2016 ballot, and for a brief time advocates had thought that it had done so.
Instead of 2016, a judge placed the initiative on the 2018 ballot. It was a temporary blow for patients and patient advocates in Oklahoma.
But fortunately 2018 is approaching quickly and the Green Flower team is very much rooting for a victory there. The initiative would:
- Create a regulated cannabis industry in Oklahoma
- Create safe access points for patients to purchase medicine
- Eliminate qualifying conditions, and instead leave the decision to approve a patient to qualified physicians
For more information about the initiative, visit Oklahomans for Cannabis' website.
Cannabis history could be made in 2018
So far no state has legalized cannabis via legislative action. All of the states (and Washington D.C.) that have approved adult-use cannabis legalization have done so via a citizen initiative process.
That could change in 2018. As previously stated, New Jersey's incoming Governor has a goal of legalizing cannabis via legislative action early in 2018.
Another state that appears to have a great chance of legalizing via legislative action is Vermont, which passed a legalization bill in 2017, but the bill was vetoed by Vermont's Governor.
Vermont's Governor stated recently that he is 'comfortable' with legalizing cannabis in 2018. Only time will tell.
In addition to the previously mentioned states, South Dakota activists have turned in signatures hoping to get medical cannabis legalization on the ballot.
It is unclear if they have gathered the necessary amount of valid signatures to do so at this time.
If you live in a state that has an effort underway, contact the campaigns and ask how you can get involved.
If you live in a state that doesn't have an initiative but hasn't legalized yet, contact your legislators and urge them to introduce a legalization bill.
For those that are fortunate enough to live in a state that has already legalized, you can still do your part by donating to efforts in other states, and encourage your members of Congress to legalize!
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