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The U.S. Can’t Afford to Be Left Behind

Written by Monica Savaglia
Posted September 17, 2019

I used to think I'd never see the day when the United States would legalize marijuana fully on both state and federal levels. But things are changing drastically for marijuana.

To be perfectly honest, growing up and learning about the consequences of drugs in middle and high school, I would have never thought marijuana would have become legalized in the slightest. After all, I was taught that marijuana was a gateway drug — that it would lead you down the path of other more harmful and addictive drugs. 

Eventually I realized it wasn’t as harmful as it was made out to be, and I realized more people I encountered of all age groups had admitted to using it once or twice, or even on a regular basis. And then I looked at those people — they weren’t addicts. They had their lives together. They had families and jobs and didn’t have other drug problems.

Some older adults told me marijuana helped them sleep or relax. I couldn’t argue with that, especially since I have my own issues with sleeping uninterrupted throughout the night. 

As I started to discover the real truth about marijuana and not the “truth” I was taught as a child and young adult, I started to change my viewpoint on marijuana. It wasn’t that bad. It had its benefits for people, and it didn’t mess up a person’s life, unless they were selling it the drug or were caught with the drug on them and were arrested. In those cases their life would have been altered because it’s an illegal substance and punishable by law because, under federal law, marijuana is a Schedule I drug alongside drugs like heroin, methamphetamine, and LSD. 

I wasn’t the only one who started to change the way they perceived marijuana. Over the last decade, over 30 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws that legalize marijuana in some form. The District of Columbia, Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington have imposed laws that have legalized marijuana for recreational use. 

It started to catch on like wildfire. The public and medical field were discovering that marijuana could benefit lives rather than destroy them. And now lawmakers are fighting for legalization and making it a priority in political agendas.

Florida Representative Charlie Crist is optimistic about the legalization of marijuana and believes it is a priority for House leadership. During a briefing on Capitol Hill with cannabis advocates on September 10, Crist said legalization was “well on its way down the field.” Lawmakers are already discussing legalization and how to get it there.

Chris explained further by saying:

It’s a bipartisan issue because it affects so many people and it doesn’t discriminate based on party... Matt Gaetz from my state is a pretty conservative guy, but he’s with us on this issue… I’m quite optimistic that we’ll be able to get these pieces of legislation to move down the field faster than you might have been able to do so just a few years ago.

Reclassifying Cannabis

Last week, another bill was filed in Congress that would reschedule marijuana. Representative Greg Steube, a Republican from Florida, introduced the bill, which is called the “Marijuana 1-to-3 Act.”

This bill aims to open the door for more research on the drug. It will require the attorney general to move marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule III under the Controlled Substances Act.

In a press release, Steube said:

As marijuana is legalized for medical and recreational use across the United States, it is important that we study the effects of the substance and the potential impacts it can have on various populations. By rescheduling marijuana from a Schedule I controlled substance to a Schedule III controlled substance, the opportunities for research and study are drastically expanded. With this rescheduling, researchers can now access federal funds to research this substance and determine its medical value.

There’s a lot that needs to be researched about the drug to fully put in place other laws that coincide and ensure public safety.

An act like this one could also have benefits for marijuana businesses, since at this time they don’t qualify for federal tax deductions under an Internal Revenue Code section that applies to anyone “trafficking in controlled substances” in Schedule I or II. 

The U.S. Can’t Afford to Be Left Behind

It’s important to encourage legislation like the ones being presented. The U.S.’s neighbors in the north and the south are moving forward with marijuana legalization to prepare for cannabis as a globally traded commodity.

Right now in Canada, marijuana is legal for both medicinal and recreational uses. In Mexico, marijuana is legal for medicinal uses, and that could shift further since the country’s new president’s party, which controls most of the national legislature, sent a proposal last year to legalize recreational use. 

Here in the U.S., the 2020 presidential election has begun, and many of the 2020 Democratic contenders are in favor of marijuana legalization — even President Trump has said he will be willing to sign a bill that would give states the power to decide on making cannabis legal.

The momentum to legalize and decriminalize the drug has been increasing, and it’s a concern for most of the presidential candidates who are running for office. However, that type of legislation probably won’t pass in 2020, but in the next few years, we could very well start to see those changes happening. 

The U.S. can’t afford to be left behind in this booming industry. The U.S. market for cannabis was $10.4 billion last year and is projected to rise. The total global market potential for marijuana is $344 billion, according to Giadha Aguirre de Carcer, CEO of New Frontier Data, an analytics firm that focuses on the cannabis industry.

This year and the next few years are going to be really important when it comes to cannabis, which is why you need to start considering your options today. Familiarize yourself with the industry and learn how to prosper before and after full legalization happens.

Until next time,

Monica Savaglia Signature Park Avenue Digest

Monica Savaglia

Monica Savaglia is Wealth Daily’s IPO specialist. With passion and knowledge, she wants to open up the world of IPOs and their long-term potential to everyday investors. She does this through her newsletter IPO Authority, a one-stop resource for everything IPO. She also contributes regularly to the Wealth Daily e-letter. To learn more about Monica, click here.

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