According to a Gallup poll conducted during the first ten days of October of 2018, two in three Americans are now supporting the legalization of marijuana. This poll finished just a week before Canada became the second country in the world to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Uruguay was the first country in the world to fully legalize marijuana in 2013.
Currently in the United States, marijuana is illegal at the federal level and is considered a Schedule 1 drug, putting it in the same category as cocaine and heroin.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has pledged to crack down on marijuana at the federal level; however, Sessions has done little to carry out his opposition as states continue to legalize it. He was quoted in July 2018 to say that states have the “right to set their own laws”. Additionally, President Donald Trump took an opposing stance to Sessions, indicating that he would likely support a bill to allow states to determine their own marijuana policies.
Medical Marijuana vs. Recreational Pot
On October 17th, 2018, Oklahoma became the thirtieth state to legalize medical marijuana. Currently, recreational marijuana is legal in just nine states. However, after this year’s elections, depending on what voters decide, recreational pot use could be allowed in two more states, in North Dakota and Michigan. Both states border Canada, whose adult residents now have access to legal marijuana nationwide.
Furthermore, New Jersey and New York state lawmakers are moving closer to passing legislation to legalize pot. New York’s legislation is being propelled forward after the state’s health department conducted a study that led to its recommendation that marijuana be legal.
A Look at Marijuana’s Growth
Despite the ongoing federal and states legislative battles, in 2017, legal marijuana sales topped $9.7 billion in North America according to a report fro Arcview Market Research and BDS Analytics. Amazingly, the 2017 sales represent a 33% increase over 2016 numbers. The same report predicts by 2021, as more states legalize its growth, use and sale, the market will reach $24.5 billion.
Medical Reasons to Legalize Marijuana
Countries that have legalized the medical use of cannabis include Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Sri Lanka and as of November 1, 2018, the United Kingdom is expected to join those ranks. Other countries have more restrictive laws that only allow the use of certain cannabinoid drugs.
In the United States, if Congress or the DEA reschedule marijuana to Schedule 2, it would allow cannabis to be prescribed medically in all 50 states. It would also put the Food and Drug Administration firmly in control. The FDA could then control the marketing and packaging of cannabis products. It would also, almost certainly, closely oversee the manufacturing and processing of medical cannabis, and may regulate the industry so that manufacturers would need to run costly and lengthy clinical tests to demonstrate the effectiveness of marijuana in treating certain ailments. This last component is exceptionally costly.
Despite the cost, “there are over a 100 peer-reviewed studies, prominent medical organizations, and major government reports, which all combine to prove that marijuana is safe and effective in treating many serious ailments, including cancer. In fact, they claim, eating raw cannabis can help prevent health issues from arising altogether — without psychoactive effect,” according to TheInvestative.com. More research is needed and needs to be funded to uncover the complete scope of benefits and, of course, reveal any downsides of using cannabis.
As the marijuana market changes with new legislation, it is unclear how marijuana will be regulated, grown, marketed, and dispensed in the future in the United States. It is clear though that with two completely different markets for cannabis, one being recreational and the other medical, challenges exist to educate people on the scientific evidence of medical marijuana. While the purpose for recreational marijuana is to get high, which is considered an overdose response, medical marijuana is different. When used as a medicine, individuals will take just enough marijuana to manage their symptoms and still be able to go about their day. Currently, in the United States, dispensaries, with recommendations from a doctor, are able to assist clients in helping to keep this balance in check.
One last thought on the legalization of marijuana, specifically medical marijuana. Proponents indicate that it could prevent overdoses. Several studies have shown that medical marijuana is one potential way to help fight the opioid epidemic in the United States. These studies indicate that by legalizing medical marijuana dispensaries and treating chronic pain with medical marijuana instead of opioids, lives maybe saved.
Economic Reasons to Legalize Marijuana
Putting aside all medical reasons to legalize marijuana, from a financial standpoint, legalization makes sense. Here’s why:
- Job Creation – Legalizing cannabis would create a lot of jobs. How many jobs? It’s estimated that 1.1 million jobs would be created by this growing industry.
- Increased Revenue – Individual states and the federal government would profit substantially from retail sales taxes, payroll tax deductions and business tax revenue.
- Law Enforcement Savings – Not only would state revenues increase, but expenditures would be slashed in terms of enforcement costs, which are estimated at $3.6 billion a year. Legalizing cannabis dramatically reduces these costs allowing for savings or for the redirection of funds and manpower to more pressing legal issues.
- Investor Benefits – If cannabis were legal, marijuana stocks would be free to list on the U.S. stock exchange. Doing so would improve liquidity and enable investors to take advantage of what is predicted to be double-digit growth rates for many years
- Lower Cannabis Prices – Although lower marijuana prices wouldn’t necessarily be good for marijuana stocks or the federal government who’s collecting revenue on total sale dollars, lower prices would open up access to more affordable products, such as cannabidiol oils and other hemp products.
About Leaf Vertical, Inc.
Leaf Vertical Inc. is an innovative, clinical-stage biopharmaceutical research company, committed to discovering and developing novel therapeutics from its proprietary cannabinoid product platform.
For more information on Leaf Vertical or its Cannabinoid (CBD) clinical trials, use in the treatment of specific types of malignancies related to glioblastoma, myeloma, gastrointestinal, and breast cancer, when administered in conjunction with Standard of Care, please contact Leaf Vertical by phone at 407-776-9217 or visit the company’s headquarters at 805 S. Kirkman Rd, Suite 202, Orlando, Florida 32811.