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By Ryan Elmore

At this point, states legalizing medical and recreational cannabis usage isn’t exactly an uncommon thing to see in the headlines, but the most recent one has made quite a splash. With Michigan officially becoming the latest state to legalize — although sales won’t actually begin for quite some time — virtually everyone in the cannabis industry agrees that this is a massive sign of the times.

For one thing, Michigan is the entry point for legal recreational cannabis into one of the most conservative (and untapped) markets in the country, the Midwest. As a large state with major cities and an even larger population, Michigan’s legalization marks a turning point for cannabis across the country. Even if we don’t count on the huge political influence of Michigan (which will undoubtedly have an impact), there’s no way this doesn’t have a domino effect on much of the rest of the country.

Many other Midwestern states are likely to follow in Michigan’s footsteps, and once that happens then it will only be the South left in the unwinnable fight against legalization. In other words, the new measure passed in Michigan shows just how close we’re getting to full legalization across the country. It’s certainly a matter of “when,” not “if.”

That’s a big part of why Gladbrook Holdings has long held the belief that we should be eventually looking at business on a national scale rather than just within California. Californians have long accepted the cannabis industry and legalization in general, but a political swing state like Michigan welcoming recreational use shows that the vast majority of Americans are also on board.

In our experience, working with investors from outside of California can often involve educating them on the industry. But with legalization set to rapidly spread across the Midwest, it should lead to even politically conservative investors recognizing that the future of cannabis isn’t some “liberal hippie movement.”