Federal Legalization of Marijuana is Coming
Aside from the fact that marijuana is already legal to some degree in 33 states and recreationally legal in 11 states, several recent developments in US politics indicate heavy movement toward full marijuana legalization nationwide. Marijuana is currently classed as a Schedule I drug, meaning it is legally defined as a dangerous substance with no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. It carries with it hefty criminal penalties for its possession, distribution, or sale. Other Schedule I drugs include heroin, cocaine, LSD, and MDMA. Countless studies have already shown many of the therapeutic benefits of marijuana. While more studies are needed to fully understand the drug and its potential health benefits and drawbacks, one thing is clear: marijuana does not deserve the same drug classification as the likes of heroin and cocaine. It should be taxed and regulated like alcohol, and perhaps soon it will be. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why federal marijuana legalization looks imminent.
The Canopy-Acreage Deal
Canopy Growth is the largest cannabis company in the world. They’re from Canada, and they just entered into a multi-billion dollar deal with a notorious American cannabis firm, Acreage Holdings. The deal is contingent upon the US federal government legalizing weed. It states that when the US government legalizes marijuana, Canopy will take over Acreage to become the leading cannabis seller in the US. Why would two large cannabis companies get involved in such a deal if the federal legalization wasn’t coming? They seem to know something the rest of us aren’t yet aware of.
A Historic Marijuana Reform Hearing
In June, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security had a hearing called “Marijuana Laws in America: Racial Justice and the Need for Reform.” To clarify, they were looking for ways to reform federal marijuana laws with that meeting being the initial step in the process. Across bipartisan lines, Congress is realizing that today’s marijuana laws are not right, and reform is needed. They’re still not sure how exactly to go about reforming marijuana laws, but some ideas included allowing states to determine legalization without federal intervention, outright legalizing it federally, and removing marijuana from the list of Schedule I substances. One measure of reform is already in motion, the STATES Act. The STATES Act would change marijuana laws so that the federal government cannot involve themselves in state-approved marijuana activity. Whether or not it is approved remains to be seen.
States that have legalized marijuana have seen a huge increase in their tax revenues. For instance, to date, Colorado has made $1.02 billion between medical and recreational marijuana taxes and fees. That’s just one example. Every state with either medical or full legalization of weed has seen similar revenue.
Tax revenue alone is not the only economic benefit of legal weed. Marijuana legalization generates an abundance of jobs. New Frontier, a cannabis analytics company predicts that legalizing marijuana has the potential to create over a million jobs by 2025, Some of the newly created jobs from the cannabis industry include farming, distributing, processing, and selling products, indirect employment for software developers and construction companies, plus countless investment opportunities. Given the potential for economic benefit the US stands to gain from federal marijuana legalization, it is only a matter of time before they seek to reap those benefits.