Is the South the next cannabis frontier?

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America’s largest cannabis companies are setting up shop in the American south, reports Forbes, with Jushi’s CEO Jim Cacioppo calling it the “biggest frontier in cannabis.”

Jushi sets its sights on the south

Florida-based Jushi has 26 dispensaries in five states: California, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Massachusetts and Virginia. But Cacioppo told Forbes that it’s that last state, Virginia, where he sees the most growth potential. 

“We view Virginia as one of the best licenses in cannabis,” Cacioppo said. “It’s the keystone of Jushi.” The company owns exclusive rights to sell cannabis to the 2.5 million residents in the D.C. suburbs. So far, they’ve opened two stores and are planning another six in the state.

Red state support

Cannabis legalization has traditionally been a Democrat issue, but red southern states are also increasingly showing support for cannabis reform. Arizona, Mississippi, Montana and South Dakota have voted to legalize medical or adult-use cannabis (or both!), showing it’s no longer a partisan issue. Republican Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina also notably introduced legalization legislation this week.

Georgia on our minds

The State of Georgia is a main focus for Florida-based Trulieve, which legalized low-THC medical products in 2015. But it’s been slow-moving — six companies are now licensed, but 15 companies who lost license bids have launched complaints. But CEO Kim Rivers is optimistic that once those hurdles have been overcome, there will be plenty of potential to come.

“We expect it to be a really strong market and we’ve invested in the entire supply chain,” Rivers said. 

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