It was another big week in the world of cannabis, with a number of local, state, federal, and international stories breaking.

Every week that passes seems to see significant things happen in the cannabis community and industry, and this week was no exception.

Below are some of the week's biggest stories along and why they matter.

Good news first:

Legalization takes effect in Michigan

What happened: The cannabis legalization initiative that was approved by Michigan voters last month went into effect on December 6th. Michigan became the 10th state to legalize cannabis for adult use. Washington D.C. has also legalized cannabis for adult use.

Why it matters: Michigan may not have been the first state in the nation to legalize cannabis for adult use, however, it is the first state in the Midwest to have done so. Legalization in Michigan has already had a butterfly effect on surrounding states, several of which have picked up talks about following in Michigan's footsteps.

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Hemp legalization appears to make the cut in the upcoming federal farm bill

What happened: After a lot of negotiations and political wrangling a federal farm bill appears to have been agreed upon in principle by members of Congress. Hemp legalization is being reported as having made the final cut.

Why it mattersThis has the potential to be the biggest news of the year if it becomes reality in 2018. Hemp has been prohibited at the federal level since 1937 with limited exceptions. An end to federal hemp prohibition would no doubt be a huge win for farmers, consumers, and the environment.

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Missouri's medical cannabis law takes effect

What happened: Missouri's new medical cannabis law took effect this week. It will be several months before the patient registry opens and even longer for dispensaries to open, but the new law is still a really big deal for patients and activists in Missouri.

Why it matters: Missouri has long been one of the most conservative states in the nation. The successful initiative that passed in Missouri was very comprehensive, making Missouri one of the best states in the country for medical cannabis policy. Missouri is now a medical cannabis ambassador to the region. Hopefully more states follow their lead.

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Legal medical cannabis sales begin in Iowa

What happened: Iowa's medical cannabis law is extremely limited. Iowa is one of many states that have passed limited, CBD-specific medical cannabis measures. Legal medical cannabis product sales began in Iowa this week, albeit only to a limited number of eligible patients.

Why it matters: Legal medical cannabis product sales beginning in Iowa, even in a very limited fashion, is a big deal. Much like Missouri, Iowa has historically been a very conservative state. The Green Flower team hopes that this week's successful launch will boost the chances for a more comprehensive law to be passed in Iowa.

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Luxembourg likely to legalize cannabis

What happened: The European nation of Luxembourg is reported to be moving towards legalizing cannabis for adult use. If the effort by the incoming ruling party is successful, Luxembourg would join Uruguay and Canada in legalizing cannabis for adult use at the federal level.

Why it matters: Luxembourg may not be the largest nation on the planet, but if it became the third nation to legalize cannabis it would be huge for building momentum for global reform. It would also be a welcomed change for consumers in Luxembourg.

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UK issues the first prescription for medical cannabis

What happened: Starting November 1st doctors in the UK have been able to prescribe cannabis for medical use. This week the first prescription was approved by a UK doctor.

Why it matters: This is hopefully the first step in the UK towards a more progressive cannabis policy, and not seen as a 'permanent fix.' A lot of other patients are suffering in the UK and they need relief too, which will not happen via the current medical cannabis policy. This week's historic first is definitely a great step in the right direction though.

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Denver moves to vacate low-level cannabis convictions

What happened: The City of Denver is moving to vacate as many as 10,000 low-level cannabis convictions. The effort is part of an effort to address the disproportionate impact of cannabis prohibition on certain racial and low-income communities.

Why it mattersColorado was the first state to legalize cannabis for adult use. However, that's not to say that efforts to improve cannabis laws ended after the successful legalization vote. This week's news highlights the need for activists everywhere to remain vigilant and to keep fighting for reform.

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And now the not-so-positive highlights:

Utah lawmakers trample the will of voters

What happened: Utah lawmakers passed a 'compromise' medical cannabis bill this week. Utah voters had approved a medical cannabis legalization initiative last month, however, that initiative is now going to be replaced by a watered-down law that is not what a majority of Utah voters wanted.

Why it matters: This week's move by Utah lawmakers essentially made the vote on Election Day more of a survey than an initiative. That's completely unacceptable and is resulting in a legal challenge by medical cannabis advocates. Green Flower will continue to monitor the situation.

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Marlboro maker invests $1.8 billion in cannabis company

What happened: Altria Group Inc., the maker of Marlboro cigarettes, has secured a 45% ownership stake in Canadian cannabis producer Cronos Group. The move prompted tobacco giant Philip Morris to clarify that it is not currently exploring a similar move.

Why it matters: Cannabis community members have long feared a takeover of the cannabis industry by Big Tobacco. This week's news could be the beginning of that nightmare happening, but hopefully as time goes by it proves to be a positive rather than negative for the industry.

What's your opinion of this breaking story? Let us know in the comments below.

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