Yesterday, millions of Americans went to the polls to cast their vote in the 2014 midterm election. Republicans were looking to make some big gains in the Senate, Democrats were trying to stave off losses and the cannabis industry had four bills on the ballot for cannabis reform.
Florida, Oregon, Alaska and Washington D.C. all had cannabis reform bills on the ballot and most of them did well. Let’s take a look at who passed, who failed and see what this means for the cannabis industry and investors.
The medical marijuana initiative, Amendment 2, in Florida has failed to garner the 60 percent required to pass a constitutional amendment. Even though it got 58 percent of the vote, 58 percent just wasn’t good enough. Although this means that the cannabis industry will not be setting up shop in Florida for at least the next two years, it is not all bad news out of Florida.
Had Amendment 2 been a ballot initiative, it would have passed. Not to mention the fact that medical marijuana got more of the vote than either Gubernatorial candidate; Rick Scott won with only 48 percent of the vote. We may have not won in Florida, but there is clearly a desire for a marijuana mandate in in the state.
Initiative 71 has crushed the opposition in D.C. by commanding 64 percent of the vote and has become the third U.S. territory to legalize recreational marijuana. With little regulation built into the bill that has just been passed, many are wondering how D.C. will proceed. Will they set up a market styled after Colorado or will they try to keep the cannabis industry out and leave it as is? Only time will tell, but for right now let us just enjoy the fact that our nation’s capital has finally gone green.
Oregon is once again proving the old adage, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again.” Initiative 91 dominated the polls and cruised to victory with a comfortable 54 percent of the vote. This is exciting news because, with Washington next door to Oregon, this is the first time that there will be two states with recreational marijuana bordering each other. With Oregon entering the recreational cannabis market, supply-strapped Washington stands to see a price drop, and expect to see new rules for interstate cannabis commerce.
You could say that Alaska is about to get a lot more “chill” as Ballot Measure 2 in Alaska has confidently been passed with 54 percent of the vote. Polls leading up to the race were all over the place and made the race difficult to determine. Since marijuana was already de facto legal, there were concerns people just wouldn’t show up to vote for marijuana, but all those concerns were put to rest. With few expecting this victory, there are even fewer who know how Alaska’s cannabis market will look, but at least that news anchor didn’t quit her job for nothing.
This was huge night for the cannabis industry. Although Florida’s defeat was a disappointment, we still have three new marijuana markets opening up. If you are an investor, you now have three new choices on where to invest. The time is now to start getting in on the ground floor of these three burgeoning markets.
Congratulations to all the people who worked tirelessly to make this electoral victory possible. With a big victory in 2014, the stage is set for the 2016 race where California will be hitting the ballot and quite possibly Florida too. The cannabis industry just got a little stronger, a little faster, and as time goes that trend will continue.