During the November 2017 MJBizCon event in Las Vegas, Marijuana Business Daily’s Chris Walsh delivered an insightful presentation packed full of predictions and trends that he believed looked very promising for both marijuana legalization and medical marijuana expansion during 2018. As we begin the second half of the year, let’s take a look at where some of those trends and predictions stand.
First, you can catch up and get all of the details about Chris’ predictions here. For our mid-year check-in, I asked Ed Keating, Cannabiz Media’s co-founder and chief data officer, to put some context around the predictions heard in November and explain what actually happened during the first half of 2018. Following are insights you don’t want to miss!
New Jersey Legalization
I asked Ed about New Jersey first. During his November 2017 presentation, Chris predicted that New Jersey would be the next state to legalize recreational marijuana. Ed explains, “This hasn’t happened yet. According to the Marijuana Policy Project, despite robust discussions of legalization, taxation, and regulation, there is still stern opposition to legalization in New Jersey. However, at least the sixth dispensary in the state finally came online after years of delay.”
Mid-year Status: Nope, and adult-use marijuana is probably not coming to the Garden State any time soon.
Michigan, Rhode Island, and Vermont Legalization
In November 2017, Chris also predicted that Rhode Island, Vermont, and Michigan could legalize marijuana in 2018. “Vermont legalized possession and home grow in 2018, but progress is slower in Rhode Island and Michigan,” says Ed. “For example, Michigan’s program has been plagued by delays.”
Mid-Year Status: Vermont – yes, Rhode Island and Michigan – no
Obstacles in California, Maine, and Massachusetts
Back in November, Chris predicted there would be big obstacles for rollout of the adult-use cannabis markets in California, Maine, and Massachusetts. With California scheduled to start recreational marijuana in January 2018 (two months after MJBizCon), Chris expected obstacles would make the rollout bumpier than license holders and consumers would like. He also noted that Massachusetts wouldn’t have its full recreational market up and running in 2018 (although some sales might start), and in Maine, the program was already delayed for another year.
“These were very accurate predictions, though California got strong marks for issuing temporary licenses early even though they have not yet issued any permanent licenses,” explains Ed. “Maine’s lame duck governor continues to slow progress while Massachusetts slowly comes up to speed.”
Mid-Year Status: California is moving forward but Maine and Massachusetts are stuck.
New Medical Marijuana Programs in Louisiana, Arkansas, and North Dakota
Chris also made some predictions for states adding new medical marijuana programs, including Louisiana, Arkansas, and North Dakota. Specifically, he saw obstacles for all three states. Despite having implemented medical marijuana programs in 2017, sales weren’t expected to start until 2018 in Louisiana. In Arkansas, program implementation was already six months behind at the time of Chris’ presentation, and in North Dakota, implementation was between six and eight months behind schedule.
“We have seen progress in Louisiana, Arkansas, and North Dakota,” Ed shares, so there has been some momentum since Chris revealed his predictions back in November 2017.
Mid-Year Status: Some progress
Chris and his team believed that investors would start to take the marijuana industry more seriously in 2018, and cross-border deals and international expansion would become commonplace. “These two big predictions were spot on and both have been in the news a lot,” says Ed. “Many companies are now going public in Canada and in the United States. Also, with Canada having marijuana legal at the federal level, companies are now able to export their products globally.
“We’re seeing an influx of talent and money from other industries, like alcohol, enter the space. Chris warned of a lot of money coming into the marijuana ecosystem, and that has certainly been true in 2018. We’re looking forward to Chris’ assessment this November in Las Vegas.”
Mid-Year Status: Yes!
2018 Marijuana License Growth
Want to learn more about marijuana license growth in 2018? Contact Cannabiz Media for a free demo of the Cannabiz Media License Database, an industry-specific CRM containing information on over 30,000 licensed marijuana and hemp operations across 32 states and Canada.
Susan Gunelius, Lead Analyst for Cannabiz Media and author of Marijuana Licensing Reference Guide: 2017 Edition, is also President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company offering, copywriting, content marketing, email marketing, social media marketing, and strategic branding services. She spent the first half of her 25-year career directing marketing programs for AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more as well as small businesses around the world. Susan has written 11 marketing-related books, including the highly popular Content Marketing for Dummies, 30-Minute Social Media Marketing, Kick-ass Copywriting in 10 Easy Steps, The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing, and she is a popular marketing and branding keynote speaker. She is also a Certified Career Coach and Founder and Editor in Chief of Women on Business, an award-winning blog for business women. Susan holds a B.S. in marketing and an M.B.A in management and strategy.