By Kate A. Miner
I’ve been a resident of Evergreen State for decades, but recently had the pleasure of visiting New England where I grew up and then returning home. Visiting 14 states and stopping at a few cannabis dispensaries along the way, I began to reflect on the state of cannabis and the growth in legal supply and demand across the country.
Currently, 18 states and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis for adult use and 36 states have approved medical marijuana programs. This means that approximately 44% of the American population lives in states where recreational marijuana is legal.
Previously, states like California, Washington, and Oregon were among the top when it comes to growers, but other states have surpassed them with huge indoor production in places like New Brunswick. Mexico, Arizona and Colorado.
States such as Massachusetts and Maine are taking the lead in the East, while other states are poised to prosper as legalization opens the door to opportunities, including Illinois and New Jersey. Kentucky and Tennessee are believed to have the most outdoor-grown marijuana (albeit illegally) and Colorado ranks # 1 in hemp production.
According to recent statistics from Gallup:
• Two percent of Americans consider themselves to be active marijuana users.
• National cannabis sales increased 67% in 2020.
• Support for legal marijuana is at an all-time high of 68%.
• The US cannabis industry is now worth more than $ 61 billion.
In other words, cannabis is growing exponentially, and at this point the issue of national legalization of marijuana is not a question of if, but when.
Take the road
Our first stop on our chilled road trip to the west was Maine, where cannabis has been legal since 2016. Sales are limited to certain counties, recreational and medical sales are separate, and it is legal to grow at home for. personal consumption. Dispensaries are often found in quaint shops resembling apothecaries or historic buildings, and on a small scale. It is also incredibly expensive.
For example, we’ve seen daily specials like “five pre-rolls for $ 5” and “two ounces for $ 420”, and a half-ounce cartridge (typically $ 20- $ 40 in Washington) starts at $ 50. However, we were not disappointed with the quality. We met at the Wellness Connection in Gardiner, at a historic train station next to the Kennebunk River, and received top notch service and exceptional flowers.
Then we went to Massachusetts and found it more difficult. We weren’t near Boston and all we could find were medical stores. It was the same in New York, with even fewer options, then in Pennsylvania where recreation is not legal, but medical care is important. We couldn’t buy without a card, but the options were endless. Billboards dotted the highway. Every town we passed seemed to have a dispensary, and many of them looked like medical professional buildings with names like The Healing Center.
Our next successful shopping experience was in Illinois, where we visited nuEra in Urbana. In 2019, Illinois became the 11th state to legalize recreational cannabis and the first to create a system that allows for sale and taxation through legislation.
As in Pennsylvania, there were many medical dispensaries, and nuEra looked like a medical supply store. The product was featured in cases for viewing only, but the budtenders are pretty much the same cool, knowledgeable people you’ll meet wherever you go, and they took good care of us.
One of my favorite purchases was made here: the Dogwalker pre-rolls.
“Dog Walkers are cannabis pre-rolls inspired by the sheer pleasure of leisurely strolling around with our special puppy, Bailey,” the packaging reads. “We think the best pre-rolls provide some unconditional fun, just like a walk around the block with your loyal four-legged friends.” Five perfect puffs are packaged in an old-fashioned box. Definitely worth a visit!
Other than a few tumbleweeds, Iowa and Nebraska were virtually absent from anything green, then South Dakota where we saw medical signs everywhere, which became legal on July 1 after a vote initiative in November. 2020. Recreational use was approved by voters in the same election, but a judge upheld a constitutional challenge to the initiative; the case is now on appeal to the state Supreme Court.
When we arrived in Wyoming, we decided to get out and enjoy the scenery, and spent some time chatting with locals about their thoughts on the state of legalization. It’s a bit of a betting war these days over which state will be the last to legalize pot, much like the discussions around raising the age of drinking to 21 in the United States. 1980s.
Which state won this bet? You guessed it, Wyoming.
We stayed at one of the oldest hotels in the West – the Occidental Hotel in Buffalo – where pretty much everyone we have discussed weed with has said the same thing: “Here in Wyoming , we believe that what you do is up to you. In other words, no one seemed to care anyway.
Montana, our next stop, looked a lot like doctor-friendly South Dakota, but given its location between Wyoming and Idaho, things might move more slowly here. The list of eligible medical conditions is limited compared to states like Pennsylvania, and purchase limits are yet to be established.
Big Sky did win the majestic beauty award, however, alongside my beloved Washington, of course. After waving to Idaho as we walked through the night, we were back home.
Green on the horizon
The last time I took this trip across the country was in 1990, just two years after Wyoming raised the age of drinking, before CD players were gone and CD players were gone. millennials were born.
And hidden under my groundsheet were perhaps a few carefully rolled cautious joints before I left New England to explore the Great West. A lot has changed since then, entire towns exist where I can remember miles of rolling hills, but it’s still beautiful and full of possibilities.
After a year of doubt and worry, I am convinced that a new era is about to emerge: it is paved in green and smells good.