More than 60% of the U.S. population now lives in states that have legalized some form of marijuana use and sales, illustrating both the rising acceptance of cannabis nationwide and the industry’s immense potential for future growth.
Several medical marijuana and recreational programs have yet to get off the ground, however.
Here’s an update on the potential size of these new markets and when sales are expected to begin:
Arkansas (medical marijuana)
An Arkansas judge in March found that the state’s process for scoring cultivation-license applications was unconstitutional, preventing the state from awarding grow licenses.
Sales were originally expected to begin in the second half of 2018, but that appears unlikely given the ongoing legal challenges.
With no restrictions on the forms of MMJ patients can use and a qualifying MMJ conditions list that includes chronic pain, Arkansas’ MMJ market is expected to be robust once it gets off the ground.
Officials in Louisiana suggest the state’s MMJ program is on track to launch in the third quarter of 2018, though some industry experts believe that timeline is ambitious.
While delays in the program’s rollout could prove troublesome, many are worried that the restrictive list of qualifying MMJ conditions, a ban on smokable flower and limited interest on behalf of physicians to recommend MMJ threaten the financial viability of Louisiana’s entire program.
The implementation of Maine’s adult-use industry has been delayed several times, but legislators in May overrode Gov. Paul Lepage’s veto of a bill to establish a regulatory framework for the state’s recreational cannabis market.
It will take lawmakers several months to hash out the details of the bill, with industry insiders