The past year has been a big one for the legal marijuana industry and the cannabis curious interested in purchasing marijuana-related products. Cannabis stories continued to be a hot topic in politics, of course, but also has made its way into culinary circles and even impacted fashion.
With both medical and recreational marijuana legal now in more states, the political clashes are expected to continue. But with marijuana become a bigger and bigger industry, consumers can expect to find even more choices when looking for cannabis products.
Here’s a look at some of the biggest cannabis stories from 2018.
East Coast Marijuana
Legal adult-use marijuana sales reached the east coast as Massachusetts began sales in November. A local mayor became the first person ever to buy a legal cannabis product in the state – a chocolate bar. No, he didn’t eat it. He plans to preserve it for its historical value.
Maine – where voters approved recreational marijuana all the way back in 2016 – may finally get its legal adult-use sales up and running in 2019. Meanwhile, recreational sales in California – also approved by voters in 2016 – started in January 2018 and are expected to generate about $471 million in state taxes. That amount has increased each quarter, a trend expected to continue in 2019.
Canada became only the second country in the world – behind Uruguay – to legalize both recreational and medical marijuana across the entire nation. Starting in October, Canadians can buy legal marijuana from dispensaries. No edibles, yet, but they are expected to become available sometime in 2019.
Voters approved legalizing recreational marijuana in Michigan, the first state in the Midwest to do so. Voters in Utah and Missouri also approved legal sales of medical marijuana. The votes have some wondering when the effort to make marijuana legal nationwide will get serious.
A lot of jobs have emerged in cannabis, but one of the most interesting is cannabis sommelier. Much like a wine expert, they work to pair cannabis with the best food and spirits. It’s an emerging job in Canada and in states where adult-use marijuana is legal.
One of the most interesting cannabis stories about emerging trends in marijuana has been the use of CBD in treats for pets. The health benefits of CBD, which can include dealing with chronic pain or anxiety, are now being used to help pets with the same issues. It’s a trend that is only expected to grow as companies such as Vet CBD become more popular.
Another popular trend was marijuana-infused dishes making their way onto restaurant menus. Although one restaurant in Maine got in trouble for feeding marijuana to lobsters before boiling them.
Bye, Jeff Sessions
Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions was a staunch marijuana opponent who kicked off 2018 by repealing important federal protections for the cannabis industry. But by the end of 2018, he had left his office because of friction with President Donald Trump.
In all, it was a big year for marijuana advocates. With polls showing most Americans favoring legalization and states such as New York and New Jersey possibly legalizing adult-use sales in the near future, the future continues to look bright.