The U.S. Is Going Through Some Major Changes
It seems like you can’t go a day without hearing or reading about the legalization of marijuana. Whether it’s medicinal or recreational, everyone has an opinion on it.
Rightfully so. The marijuana business is booming in the U.S., and it’s projected to hit $75 billion in the coming years — in the U.S. alone. It’s estimated that around 85% of Americans support legalizing medical marijuana.
The most common use for medical marijuana in the U.S. is pain management. Patients have said that it’s been effective for chronic pain, especially for people who are older and are dealing with ailments like back pain, arthritis, and other nerve-related pain.
Marijuana has also been shown to alleviate the symptoms of serious medical conditions including, cancer, AIDS, and glaucoma. Using marijuana has also been a better alternative to synthetic painkillers, which have been shown to be extremely addictive, resulting in a drug epidemic for the U.S.
On a state level, more than half of the U.S. has legalized medical marijuana. That being said, marijuana is still illegal under federal law, even in the states that have legalized it.
I live and work in Baltimore, Maryland, and it seems like medical marijuana dispensaries have been popping up all over the city and in the surrounding areas. I recently went on a road trip to Wisconsin, and I realized Maryland wasn’t the only state that has had multiple dispensaries pop up. I even saw a dispensary located at an old strip mall where other popular retail stores once resided.
It wasn't a coincidence or a "fad" that I was witnessing more of these dispensaries. All of these dispensaries are popping up because there's a shift happening.
It isn't just happening in the state I'm living in but across the entire country. It's disrupting other industries that have been around for decades. But more importantly, it's changing the way people live.
U.S. Lawmakers Aim to Legalize and Reform Pot
Eleven states have legalized adult recreational use, and more and more Americans are speaking out in support of legalization. That's brought even more attention to lawmakers to start reforming current laws and creating new ones.
At the end of June, Illinois became the 11th state to legalize the sale and recreational adult use of marijuana. Illinois’ new law is the first of its kind that was passed by the state legislature and signed by a governor.
Illinois is the second-most populous state (12 million residents) that will allow recreational cannabis. The state has a lot to take into consideration before launching sales on January 1, 2020. A new system for taxing and testing marijuana will need to be established before that January 1 date.
Mason Tvert, who assisted Colorado in becoming the first-in-the-nation cannabis system in 2014, had this to say:
This is a major milestone for the movement to end marijuana prohibition in the United States. It is the clearest sign yet that lawmakers are catching up with the people on this issue. A strong and steadily growing majority of Americans support legalization, and observers have wondered when it would start translating into major victories in state legislatures. Illinois just answered that question.
This shift is continuing, and more and more lawmakers are realizing legalization of marijuana is an important topic that needs to be addressed immediately.
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That’s exactly what happened last Wednesday. People are calling it “historic.” There was a hearing with members of Congress advocating for loosening federal laws and the consideration of legalized marijuana. Rep. Karen Bass, D-California, said:
There is a growing consensus in this country that current marijuana laws are not appropriate and we must consider reform. Today’s hearing is a first step in that process.
In that hearing, the STATES Act was discussed, which is one of the most popular cannabis bills. This bill would amend the Controlled Substances Act and exempt state-approved marijuana activity from federal enforcement, since marijuana is illegal on a federal level.
This act would be one of the first and biggest steps toward legalization and ending federal marijuana criminalization. We can expect this to be a bumpy ride to legalization and maybe even long and drawn out because there is a lot to consider when lawmakers are assessing the future of marijuana in our society.
Obviously, considering the politics at play, there will be some people who don’t agree because of their own personal agenda, but for most the legalization of marijuana is inevitable — especially when you have the majority of the country in favor of the drug.
While there is still a lot to figure out with legalization of marijuana and what happens when it is legalized, that doesn’t mean there aren’t investing opportunities out there that are completely legal — opportunities you could benefit from starting right now.
Until next time,
Editorial Director, Park Avenue Digest
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