The wait continues. It’s been nearly three weeks since the first two states in the nation legalized marijuana, and still no response from the federal government.
MMJ businesses in Colorado and Washington are now in a holding pattern, unsure whether to continue focusing on medical cannabis or to start moving toward the recreational market.
The pressure has been growing on Obama to not only detail the government’s stance on legalization, but to also respect the will of voters in Colorado and Washington when it comes to marijuana. Last week, a group of retired and current judges, prosecutors and law enforcement officials joined this growing chorus, urging the feds to take a hands-off approach. At the same time, however, others – including a top United Nations official and foreign leaders – are pressuring the government to challenge the new laws.
On one hand the slow response is understandable: Legalization is a hot-button issue with many potential consequences both positive and negative, and the Obama administration likely wants to put some thought into the issue rather than make a knee-jerk decision. On the other hand, it feels as though the government wasn’t prepared at all for the possibility of legalization. It’s almost as if no one in Washington DC took legalization seriously when it was on the ballot in several states.
With Colorado and Washington gearing up to implement their laws, the government will be forced to respond sooner rather than later. Check out our latest expert column from Morgan Fox of the Marijuana Policy Project to get an idea of how the DOJ might react and what it would mean for MMJ.
Also last week, we reported on the latest patient data in Arizona, which is valuable information for anyone interested in tapping the market. The numbers are encouraging: As of Nov. 7, nearly 34,000 patients have MMJ cards. That’s a solid customer base for dispensaries, edibles companies and related businesses. Now we just have to see how a crucial court case plays out, as it could determine the future of the industry in Arizona.