Marijuana Venture’s multi-part look at cannabis operations throughout the United States concludes this month with a look at the Mid-Atlantic region, which includes four states with medical marijuana (Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia), three states that have legalized recreational marijuana (New Jersey, New York and Virginia) and Washington, D.C., which has legalized cannabis for medical and recreational use, but remains highly limited in business opportunities due to Congress’ oversight of the nation’s capital.
In the face of ongoing federal prohibition, the recent developments in these highly populous states, particularly the cannabis reform in New Jersey and New York, may be the tipping point that brings national cannabis reform.
New York’s looming launch is undoubtably the biggest transition from a medical market to a recreational one since California made the switch in 2018. The Empire State’s market is also structured to be the most progressive adult-use program in the U.S., with half of all licenses reserved for social equity operators. Plus, consumption is legally allowed wherever vaping and tobacco smoking is permitted.
Recreational cannabis debuted in New Jersey in April, and sales reached $79.7 million by the end of June. The industry in New Jersey is positioned to explode, but remains stifled as only about a third of its municipalities have opted to allow cannabis businesses.
The Mid-Atlantic region is also somewhat unique as both Virginia and Washington, D. C., allow adult-use cannabis possession, consumption and home cultivation, but neither have stores where residents can purchase cannabis products.
Maryland residents voted on legalizing recreational cannabis in November, though results were unavailable at press time. The state already has a robust medical market with more than 160,000 enrolled patients and average sales of about $43 million per month.
Pennsylvania also has a thriving medical cannabis program, with more than 700,000 patients enrolled, more than 5% of the state’s total population.
Medical cannabis sales in West Virginia launched in November 2021, and the program, though small, has seen steady growth with more than 8,000 patients currently enrolled.
Cannabis reform has seemingly stalled in Delaware for the past seven years, but its medical marijuana program remains strong with more than 20,000 enrolled patients and nine dispensaries.
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