Cannabusiness: Marijuana becomes a national force
Although not yet ubiquitous, marijuana continues to expand state to state. At this point, four states — Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska — have openly legalized full recreational use, while 23 other states make allowances for medicinal use in some form or another.
Legalization of marijuana to the general public in states such as Washington and Colorado have not sparked the demise of their respective societies, as some would have suggested. In fact, the business experienced an immediate boom, developing into a near billion dollar industry, and generating millions of dollars in tax revenue.
With that kind of money comes national attention and political bargaining power previously unseen in the world of cannabis. Taylor West of the National Cannabis Industry Association — a trade organization representing the marijuana industry — stated, “cannabis is possibly the most regulated at this point…so there’s always going to be a need for political advocacy on behalf of the industry.”
During the last century, political success leaned heavily on advocacy for the “war on drugs;” no longer do we see that as the case. Presidential candidate Rand Paul recently began reaching out to the marijuana industry for support in his campaign. With support for legalization rapidly rising, others will likely follow suit soon.
Much of the increased support for marijuana comes from recent developments regarding our understanding of it. In terms of medicinal applications, scientists have made great strides in the last few years, discovering a number of practical, non-invasive applications of cannabis for a multitude of ailments — both mental and physical. Among these include: various forms of cancer, seizures, and PTSD. Recent studies have also begun to tear down the myth of marijuana as a “gateway drug” to harsher substances.
Marijuana will face some major hurdles before we see its legalization become more widespread. As of now, the federal government still classifies it as a Schedule 1 controlled narcotic, creating a muddled grey area between state and federal law.
Do you think marijuana should be legalized? What are the drawbacks? Comment below and tweet @connerws to tell us what you think!