It was quite an eventful year for the cannabis industry. New markets came online, federal laws changed, and the industry became more mainstream than ever. Check out our highlights of the year that was 2018.
Canada Legalizes Recreational Cannabis Use
Canada became the second nation in the world to legalize recreational cannabis use and the first G-7 country to do so. Initially, there was a supply crunch but Canada seems poised for big things in the future and investors are now looking to pour serious money into the market.
Election Day provided several big wins for the cannabis industry. Voters in Missouri and Utah green-lighted medicinal programs while Michigan voters turned their state into the 10th—and the first in the Midwest—to legalize recreational use.
CBD and Hemp Legalization
The massive $867 billion dollar farm bill included a provision that legalized the cultivation of industrial hemp. This provided CBD producers with great news as many CBD products are extracted from industrial hemp.
Jeff Sessions Steps Down as U.S. Attorney General
U.S. Attorney Jeff Sessions stepped down from his position at the Justice Department, a move welcomed by most in the cannabis industry. Sessions was known for his fierce opposition to cannabis legalization and many feared he would severely disrupt the industry.
Epidiolex Becomes First FDA Approved Cannabis-based Drug
GW Pharmaceuticals became the first company to receive approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to legally produce a medicine derived from cannabis. Epidiolex is designed to treat seizures associated with Dravet syndrome.
Massachusetts Sales Start
More than two years after Massachusetts’s voters approved of legalizing recreational uses for adults, customers were finally able to purchase cannabis from dispensaries. The rollout was not perfect as customers had to wait on long lines and supplies have been scarce but more shops are expected to come online in 2019.
Dennis Peron Passes Away
The modern cannabis reform movement lost a leader in 2018. Dennis Peron, who fought to get medicinal cannabis use legalized in California in 1996 passed away. Peron was a trendsetter and his work led to California being the first state to legalize any form of cannabis use.
Recruiter: Cannabis Jobs No. 1 in Growth
The cannabis industry continued to grow at an incredible pace. ZipRecruiter.com co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Ian Siegel announced that the industry’s job growth is outpacing all other industries in the United States.
Organa Brands Makes Denver Post’s 2018 Top Workplaces
Cannabis company Organa Brands became the first industry business to be named a 2018 Top Workplace by The Denver Post. This was not a cannabis specific list, showing the industry is becoming more and more mainstream.
Aurora Acquires MedReleaf in Biggest Ever Canadian Cannabis Deal
Canadian cannabis company Aurora Cannabis Inc. acquired cannabis producer Markham-based MedReleaf Corporation in an all-stock deal worth $3.2 billion. This represented the largest ever Canadian cannabis deal.