The Opportunities and Pitfalls for the Legalized Marijuana Industry
At least six states voted to legalize pot in some form.
More than 20% of Americans waking up the morning after Election Day did so in a state that has legalized recreational cannabis.
At least six states voted to legalize marijuana in some form, with California, Massachusetts, and Nevada voting to legalize adult-use, or recreational cannabis, while Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota legalized medical pot. (Maine’s vote on recreational cannabis was still too close to call as of Thursday morning.) Now the US has 29 states with legal medical marijuana, and at least seven states have legal recreational pot markets.
The legal marijuana industry could generate roughly $22 billion in annual sales across the US within four years.
At the same time, there is some cause for concern over what Donald Trump’s surprise victory could mean. Would the president-elect’s administration go against the will of voters in an ever-growing number of states? Trump has previously voiced support for legalized medical marijuana, but Vice President-elect Mike Pence is an opponent of cannabis legalization. So are New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani—both of them close advisors to Trump.
“The prospect of Donald Trump as our next president concerns me deeply,” Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, said in a statement to The Washington Post, citing Pence, Christie and Giuliani. The legalization advocacy group Marijuana Majority quickly launched a post-election petition calling on Trump to end the federal government’s marijuana prohibition and to honor his pledge to respect states’ rights with regard to marijuana laws.