At first glance, the federal government’s move last week to warn Arizona about its medical marijuana program seemed particularly worrisome.
The state’s governor – Jan Brewer – could have used the renewed threat as justification to stifle the MMJ industry once again. Brewer, after all, halted the dispensary licensing program last spring after receiving a similar warning. She only grudgingly agreed to resume the program when a judge threw out the state’s lawsuit on the matter.
But, much to the surprise of some medical marijuana advocates, the governor essentially dismissed the latest warning and signaled that the licensing program would continue as planned this time around.
MMJ entrepreneurs, patients and industry vendors can breathe a sigh of relief, as the state’s medical marijuana program is moving full steam ahead. In several months, the first licensed dispensaries could be up and running.
Arizona is an extremely important piece of the national MMJ puzzle, as it has potential to grow into a powerhouse medical cannabis state like California and Colorado. It also could help offset some of the industry’s contraction in other areas of the country.
From a business perspective, the decision to move forward with the dispensary program creates a wealth of opportunities for everyone who wants to get involved in MMJ, including lawyers, accountants, insurance providers, growers and locals looking for a career in the field.
Also last week, medical marijuana made some big gains in Connecticut, with a new poll showing that MMJ has overwhelming support. Additionally, lawmakers passed key legislation that could clear the way for legal dispensaries. Put Connecticut just under New Hampshire on the list of states that are likely to approve MMJ legislation this year. At this point, we wouldn’t be surprised if 20 states have medical cannabis laws on the books by the end of 2012.
Other top stories in MMJ Business Daily last week: