2018 was a booming year for the cannabis industry worldwide as the scales tipped in favor of the marijuana movement. People spoke, laws changed, and stocks surged. Here are some notable developments from a year that may have been the best yet for marijuana’s public image in the US and abroad:
—1 January: California’s new law legalizing recreational marijuana takes effect; the world’s largest legal marijuana market is thus launched.
—4 January: Attorney General Jeff Sessions cracks down on legalized marijuana, ending an Obama-era policy of lenient enforcement of federal marijuana laws.
—22 January: Vermont becomes the ninth state to legalize marijuana and the first state to do so via lawmakers instead of through a ballot measure brought by voters.
—23 January: New Jersey’s governor signs a bill aimed at loosening the state’s medical marijuana restrictions.
—19 June: New York makes a move towards decriminalization, announcing the end of marijuana arrests for most people. The announcement comes the day after the city’s health department endorsed legalization.
—25 June: The FDA approves the first-ever marijuana-based medication to treat epilepsy in children.
—28 June: Oklahoma becomes the 30th state to legalize medical marijuana.
—19 July: Tilray Inc., a Canadian company, becomes the first marijuana business to complete an initial public offering on a major US stock index
— 15 August: The parent company of Corona beer makes a $4 billion investment in Canopy, a large-scale Canadian pot producer.
—17 October: Canada becomes the second country after Uruguay to legalize marijuana nationwide. Regulations vary by province, but the federal act permits Canadians over 19 to carry up to 30 grams of pot for personal use. The country’s status as a major world economy lends additional credence to the legal weed movement.
—31 October: Mexico’s Supreme court rules that ban on marijuana use is unconstitutional, moving the country in the direction of national legalization.
—1 November: Doctors in the UK are now able to prescribe cannabis for medicinal purposes, following a review that came after the well-publicized cases of two epileptic children.
—7 November: Michigan becomes the 10th state to legalize recreational marijuana, while Missouri and Utah approve medicinal marijuana. North Dakota votes no on all of it.
—20 November: Massachusetts opens commercial pot shops, the first of their kind on the East Coast.
—10 December: New Zealand votes to permit medical marijuana, with plans to vote on recreational use by 2020.
—17 December: New Jersey doubles the number of medical marijuana dispensaries in the state; legislation to legalize recreational cannabis is expected in early 2019.
— 20 December: President Trump signs a bill that removes hemp from the list of federally controlled substances, permitting the crop to be developed for agricultural purposes.
—25 December: Thailand becomes the first country in South East Asia to legalize medical marijuana. Israel, which had previously legalized for medicinal purposes, votes to permit the export of medicinal cannabis.
At this rate, no one can deny that the marijuana movement has come into its own. We can’t wait to see what next year brings!