When it comes to cannabis, 2017 was a much better year than anyone was expecting. Back in January, stoners and pot moguls alike were super paranoid about incoming Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his plans to shut down legal weed businesses from coast to coast. After a decade of steady progress on marijuana legalization – with about 90 percent of the country now supporting medical use and eight states having legalized recreational use – was the entire movement going to come crashing down?
A year later, almost no one believes there will be a federal crackdown on the entire cannabis industry. State-legal pot markets seem poised to match or exceed the value of black market pot by 2020. Sessions has admitted that marijuana is not as dangerous as heroin, and his tension with Trump is common knowledge. With the biggest state in the country about to begin recreational sales, and more and more politicians enviously eyeing the tax revenue coming out of places like Colorado and Oregon, legal pot is clearly here to stay. So what kinds of developments can we expect in the weed world for 2018?
The first legal marijuana lounges
Let’s start with some great news: there are totally going to be legal marijuana lounges in the United States before the end of 2018! The biggest question is which city will get one open first: Las Vegas, West Hollywood, Boston or Denver. Considering nothing in Massachusetts is quite final yet, the smart money is on Denver, which actually passed a ballot initiative allowing licensed consumption spaces for marijuana back in 2016 but has had a fair amount of trouble implementing the law. You won’t be allowed to smoke, you have to bring your own cannabis, and you have to sign a document saying you won’t drive yourself home, but there’s a good chance the country’s first legal weed lounge will be in the capital of Colorado. Right now the front-runners for who might open first are a café called The Coffee Joint and a vape bar with an arcade called… wait for it… Vape and Play.
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