2018 was an outstanding year for the cannabis industry. Several states went legal, product innovation was booming, and the cannabis movement continued to spread across the globe. In case you’ve missed out, here’s a cannabis industry news recap for 2018:

Cannabis Industry News in the U.S. – Which States Went Legal?

The cannabis movement in the U.S. continues to gain momentum. Here’s what happened in 2018 with various states:

  • Michigan became the tenth state to legalize cannabis in November, making it the first state in the midwest to implement legalization
  • In January, Vermont became the first U.S. state to legalize marijuana through the use of legislature rather than through ballot initiatives
  • Utah voted to legalize medical marijuana in November
  • Missouri residents voted during the mid-terms to pass Amendment 2, which would legalize medical marijuana and at the same time provide taxation guidelines

A total of ten states plus Washington, D.C. have fully legalized marijuana for recreational use for adults. Today, 33 states total have legalized medical marijuana in some form — that’s over 65% of the country! Check out this handy map to see the legal status of cannabis in all 50 states.

Cannabis Industry News around the World

This is probably one of the biggest cannabis industry news items of the year. Our neighbors up north took a collective leap as the entire nation of Canada legalized recreational cannabis in October. While investors have long considered Canada to be a leafy buy, we expect the market there to boom as the Canadian cannabis market kicks into full swing in 2019.

South Korea
South Korea became the first East Asian country to legalize medical marijuana in November. This is another major breakthrough for the industry, as it will likely create a ripple effect in the region, opening up even more of the world to medical cannabis.

The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CMNI)
The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CMNI), situated in the region of Micronesia, is well on its way towards legal cannabis. Last September, Gov. Ralph Torres signed the Sensible Cannabis Act of 2018. Among other items, it will allow for possession and transport of specific amounts and forms of marijuana for persons older than 21 years. It will also allow residents to grow a certain number of plants at home.

Similarly, Guam’s governor passed a law in October allowing qualified medical patients to grow their own medical marijuana at home, until the territory’s medical cannabis program is finalized. Guam residents voted to approve medical cannabis back in 2014, but the program has yet to be implemented. In the meantime, the new law will provide avenues for patients to get their much-needed medicinal relief.

Mexico is also making known its aspirations to legalize marijuana. Legislation has recently been introduced which would allow companies to grow and sell cannabis for medical, recreational, and commercial purposes. Individuals would also be able to grow up to 20 plants for personal use, and public use would be allowed in tobacco-free zones. The legislation is quite comprehensive and very, very promising.

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2018 Cannabis Product Trends

Full-Spectrum Cannabis Cartridges

Cannabis industry news for 2018 also involved several new product trends. One trend that gained ground in 2018 was a focus on full-spectrum cannabis cartridge extracts. Older methods of distilling cannabis into vapable oils typically remove the terpenes, cannabinoids and other beneficial properties of the plant. These are then added later, often leading to a somewhat artificial taste and experience overall.

Newer methods are now preserving the natural terpenes intact, providing a less “sterile” feeling high, and one that is closer to the taste and high felt when smoking cannabis flower.

Some of our California favorites in this category include Jetty, Leef, and OutCo products. Flavor profiles are tremendous!

Cannabis Packaging Law Changes

Several states and counties, including our hometown San Diego, updated their cannabis packaging laws to make them safer and easier to understand for consumers. While a lot of products and some brands were irretrievably lost during the shuffle, we at 4Blooms celebrate this as a victory in the battle towards fully legitimizing cannabis and removing the stigmas associated with its use.

Consistent, reliable packaging and testing brings cannabis closer to your ordinary, everyday products — just the way it should be. Though each region may be different, new packaging requirements typically include clearer dosage requirements, making the products less appealing to children, and indicating THC and CBD percentages. All positive changes.

Cannabis-Infused Drinks

We also saw an influx of creativity and scientific research as more brands began introducing cannabis infused action. We saw “Hifi Hops”, a cannabis-infused (THC) beer project spearheaded by Lagunitas brewing company.

Along similar lines, Rebel Coast introduced its THC-infused Sauvignon Blanc “weed wine”. While these are both non-alcoholic (laws currently don’t allow the mixing of THC and alcohol in beverages), they are still awesome products and worth a try.

Not to be left out, of course we saw major, billion-dollar brands like Pepsi and Coca-Cola thinking about making their ins with CBD-infused beverages.

Aim Higher in 2019: Work with Cannabis Marketing Professionals

2018 was definitely a fun and exciting year, but we can do even better! Let’s go big and go all-out in 2019. 4Blooms.Guru is in full support of the growing cannabis movement, and we love seeing cannabis businesses succeed in reaching their goals and bringing their positive mission statements out into the world.

Are you ready to take the next step? Contact us today for full strategic guidance for your cannabis business. When you succeed, the entire industry moves forward, and we’re here to help make that happen.