Having covered the well-established adult-use cannabis markets throughout the United States, Marijuana Venture dedicates this month to review one region in the country that continues to lag behind the cannabis legalization trend — the South.
While the cannabis industry seems to be growing in the vast majority of U.S. states, draconian cannabis laws still reign in almost every state east of New Mexico and south of Colorado, including Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and South Carolina. The entire region could be aptly described as the “marijuana prohibition belt” if it weren’t for the booming medical markets in Florida and Oklahoma — two states operating on opposite ends of the industry in terms of licensing — and a handful of states with functional medical programs.
Florida remains the most exclusive cannabis industry in the U.S., among states with a functioning medical or adult-use program. The state has only 23 license holders, five of whom are among the largest multi-state operators in the industry. The third most populous state, Florida is now the largest medical market in the country with sales estimated to surpass $1.6 billion this year.
Although the state is considerably smaller in population, Oklahoma’s medical marijuana program is a close second with more than $1.5 billion in sales during the past year. However, Oklahoma is the polar opposite of Florida in terms of licensing, with 11,384 active licenses.
The remaining southern states are, at best, shades of gray with regards to legalization. Any form of cannabis with more than 0.3% THC is illegal in Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee. Alabama, South Carolina and Texas are slightly less restrictive, hosting medical cannabis programs that allow cannabis oils with low amounts of THC.
Arkansas and Louisiana have functional, albeit limited, cannabis programs where patients can access smokable flower. Mississippi residents approved a similar program which should be launching by the end of 2022.
Next month, Marijuana Venture will conclude its regional focus series with a look at the Mid-Atlantic region, including New York’s massive, nascent recreational market launching this year, the recently launched adult-use market in New Jersey and the medical markets in Maryland and Pennsylvania.
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Marijuana Venture is a leading business magazine focused on the legal cannabis industry in North America. Marijuana Venture is published monthly and distributed to subscribers and through bookstores and newsstands in the United States. For more information or to subscribe, visit www.MarijuanaVenture.com or call 425-656-3621.
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