Demand for legal marijuana is palpable in the U.S. with many cities showing a lot of excitement for pot. In November, we saw Michigan become just the latest state to legalize recreational pot while Missouri and ultra-conservative Utah both legalized marijuana for medical use.
More recently, we saw the doors open for recreational cannabis sales in Massachusetts, a state that legalized pot a couple years ago. With lineups lasting more than two hours long outside one of the two stores that opened on Tuesday, it was clear that consumers had been eagerly awaiting this day – not unlike what we’ve seen in other states over the years. Even the cold fall weather wasn’t enough to deter people from continuing to lineup outside a Cultivate store in Leicester.
In Northampton, where the New England Treatment Access (NETA) also opened for business, even the city’s mayor lined up to make a historic purchase. However, David Narkewicz was simply there to purchase a cannabis-infused chocolate bar as a souvenir rather than for consumption. Nonetheless, it shows just how symbolic a day it was and that many important people see it as a sign of things to come.
The east coast is just starting to get exposed to legal marijuana while many states in the west have already enjoyed booming sales and a lot of tax dollars collected along with it.
Could Legalization Become a Key Issue in the Next Election?
State by state, we continue to see many consumers eager to buy pot through legal means, and that’s only going to make it more and more difficult for the federal government to ignore these trends. While federal laws may be presenting significant obstacles today, the support that marijuana is seeing ensures that it may become a hot topic come election day in 2020.
Canadian Cannabis Market May Have Lost its Advantage
For investors, it’s a sobering reminder that while the Canadian market is legalized today, it’s still relatively small potatoes compared to its much bigger neighbour to the south. Not only is it a fraction of the population, but unlike in the U.S. where states have legalized edibles at the same time as all other recreational pot, Canada has decided to wait off on legalizing that segment of the market until 2019.
This could be a significant misstep and it does a disservice to the industry by essentially limiting its potential growth right off the bat. Edibles are a big part of the industry and there’s been a lot of demand for cannabis-infused gummy bears and other candy.
The problem in Canada is that we won’t know just how big the industry is or how well it is doing since it will ultimately have an asterisk next to its sales, reminding investors and consumers that the results will be without a big part of the market.
By the time we see Canada fully legalize marijuana, including edibles, the U.S. market could be much further ahead as states continue to make progress on legalization. If we’re looking at population size, then California alone has already dwarfed the Canadian market in terms of size.