Hey, can you do one of those “looking back at the last year” sorta things? - Luke Enbach, Jr.
Yes, yes I can! It was a wild year for cannabis.
2019 International High: Cannabis legalization goes global! Trinidad and Tobago just announced a plan to decriminalize cannabis, expunge some criminal records and let people out of jail. It’s a Christmas miracle. The Caribbean nation is the latest to join Mexico (legalization should happen any minute now), Thailand (with a brand-new medical cannabis program, complete with “Dr. Ganja” dolls), and a bunch of other countries that have relaxed cannabis prohibitions.
Lows: Weed is still illegal in most parts of the world. In Dubai, you can get four years in prison just for having THC in your bloodstream.
Other 2019 highs: More states are legalizing! Illinois is gonna start selling weed in about a week. Michigan is now a legal cannabis state. And 18 other states will most likely have some form of legalization on the ballot in 2020. Just about every state has some form of a medical cannabis law on the books (except for Idaho and the Dakotas). Unfortunately, progress in New York and New Jersey has ground to a halt. However, in general cannabis legalization is proving unstoppable.
A 2019 low: Hemp farmers keep getting their shipments seized because police apparently can’t tell the difference between hemp (less than .3-percent THC) and cannabis. I’m hoping someone will figure out a way to solve this problem in 2020.
2019 Hella High: California raked in more than $200 million in cannabis taxes in the first half of 2019. Add that to money saved in court and prison costs and weed is already making a profit, although the state seems to think that weed should be even more profitable. Which leads me to:
2019 Hella Low: High taxes are keeping the California cannabis market from being great. Why would the Bureau of Cannabis Control want to raise taxes even more in 2020? Lower taxes and increased access (75 percent of California cities and counties still prohibit cannabusinesses) would create more revenue, and keep the black market in check. Hopefully, the state will figure out that fast nickels are often more profitable than slow dimes.
All in all, 2019 has been a great year for weed, and this decade has seen legalization grow to unprecedented heights. May the next decade be even more successful.