The Road to Legalizing Marijuana
Marijuana is getting a lot of attention, and for obvious reasons.
It’s a growing market that our country just started slowly dipping its toes in.
A legal cannabis market would open up many doors for our country — specifically allowing the U.S. to expand its economy.
One really important benefit it would bring to our economy is new businesses — and new businesses mean new (and more) jobs.
Of course, that’s just one example of what we could expect from the legalization of marijuana.
Marijuana will be legal throughout our entire country one day — there's no denying that. Whether it be medicinal, recreational, or both, it’s happening, and it’s time to accept it.
Marijuana sales came in at $7 billion in the last year. As of the 2016 election, Washington, D.C., and 28 states have legalized cannabis for medical use.
Cannabis investment and research firm ArcView Research reported that the market will hit $10.8 billion in legal sales by 2019. Just a few years after that, in 2021, it's expected to reach $20.2 billion in legal sales.
The Marijuana Justice Act
On August 1, a bill was proposed called the Marijuana Justice Act of 2017.
It includes things like giving former felons the opportunity to have their marijuana-related crimes expunged from their records.
It also proposes removing cannabis from the Drug Enforcement Agency’s scheduling system.
High Times CEO Adam Levin said:
This new bill is the first of what I imagine will be many proposed legislations to help curb the unjust war on drugs, and the resulting disproportionate arrest rates for people of color.
Our country needs to focus on funding programs like job training, health education, youth opportunities, and reentry services instead of spending money to keep people in jail for marijuana-related crimes.
Senator Cory Booker had this to say about the topic:
Descheduling marijuana and applying that change retroactively to people currently serving time for marijuana offenses is a necessary step in correcting this unjust system...
States have so far led the way in reforming our criminal justice system and it’s about time the federal government catches up and begins to assert leadership.
The bill aims to end federal prohibition of cannabis and examines how prohibition could affect both government and individuals if it continues.
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The Public Wants Legalization
A recent Harvard-Harris Poll survey, conducted between July 19 and 24 and involving 2,051 registered voters, found that around 57% of the voters believed making marijuana legal across all 50 states would make society better, and 69% of the people said they wouldn’t be bothered by pot being legal in their state.
And 86% agreed the plant should be legalized in some capacity.
In an announcement on Facebook Live about the bill, Senator Booker said:
You see what’s happening around this country right now. Eight states and the District of Columbia have moved to legalize marijuana. And these states are seeing decreases in violent crime in their states…
They’re seeing increases in revenue to their states. They’re seeing their police forces being able to focus on serious crime. They’re seeing positive things coming out of that experience.
Medical marijuana is legal in a little more than half of the U.S., and adults aged 21 and up can legally use marijuana in eight states.
The bill would change the way the federal government treats cannabis, and it’s obvious that a lot of people believe this change would be a step in the right direction.
Marijuana has been stigmatized for decades because that was the only way for the government to control the substance.
We shouldn't be fighting against the drug, especially when it can improve the way of life for so many Americans. Medical use has been proven to help patients improve their well being who otherwise would have had to endure unnecessary pain and side effects from illnesses.
John Malanca, the co-founder of United Patients Group, said:
We work with thousands of patients across the country who use medical cannabis to address serious conditions and alleviate needless suffering. Even though a grassroots movement has led to medical access in 29 states, federal recognition is key, and Senator Booker’s legislation is long overdue.
At this moment, the likelihood of the Marijuana Justice Act passing is very slim, and that’s okay. Senator Booker is doing something equally beneficial in bringing attention to the bill.
He’s making public a solution that he believes will mend the rift between state and federal stances on marijuana.
As a country, we shouldn’t be asking ourselves, “Should we legalize marijuana?”
We’re obviously past that question when at least half of the country has already decided to legalize the drug for medical use.
The real question should be: “How do we legalize marijuana?”
The Benefits of Legalizing Marijuana
Legalizing marijuana will allow for even more medical research to discover new treatments and better understand how to use the drug to improve the health and well being of users.
In order to do this medical research, companies and institutions need support from the federal government.
Jeffrey Zucker, president of Green Lion Partners, a business strategy firm for early-stage cannabis companies, and board member of the Marijuana Policy Project, said:
While the adult use of cannabis is emerging as a bi-partisan issue, nearly everyone is coming around and understands the medicinal qualities and effects...
There are plenty of Republicans who have seen what it is doing for many states... They will have to consider it more since some of their deficits are so large.
People are coming around and discrediting the stigma behind marijuana.
A Quinnipiac University poll that was conducted in April reported that 94% of Americans support allowing the use of medical marijuana, and 60% favor full marijuana legalization.
Americans want legalization because the potential is huge for this industry. Entrepreneurs want a piece of the untouched opportunities that lie ahead — opportunities that will improve both our economy and the cannabis market.
Learn about some marijuana stocks out on the market today and the kind of growth we could see from the legalization of the drug.
Until next time,
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