There is a lot of great news regarding marijuana in the United States, as well as in several other nations around the world. The legalization of medical cannabis in Oklahoma brings the number of states where weed is legal into the thirties. A Gallup Poll at the end of 2017 showed that 64% of Americans were in favor of full federal legalization for medicinal marijuana – including a majority of Republicans for the first time ever.
Weed is set to be fully legalized in Canada shortly, although our northern neighbor has delayed the process to ensure things run more smoothly. And over in the United Kingdom, the Home Office recently announced plans to legalize the herb as a medicine, although full details are not yet forthcoming. Marijuana is already legal as medicine in Germany, and yearly weed sales could reach $1.6 billion there by 2022. Back in the U.S., the retail market could hit $75 billion by 2030, and $24.5 billion per annum by 2021.
However, in the United States at least, there is still a HUGE roadblock to full legalization; namely the fact that the federal government has shown no inclination to reclassify marijuana. It remains as a Schedule I controlled substance, a status it inexplicably shares with deadly drugs such as heroin. As long as there is a Republican administration, and as long as the Senate and Congress remain red, it appears that there is little hope of change. So what does the future hold for cannabis?
Full Legalization for Medicinal Marijuana in the U.S.?
President Trump recently suggested that he would ‘probably’ support a measure to legalize marijuana, but given his propensity for changing his mind, we wouldn’t expect any meaningful reform to take place at the Congressional level for a few years at least. However, this is something that is likely only a matter of time before it happens.
In June 2018, the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act was introduced by a pair of Democratic senators, Elizabeth Warren and Cory Gardner. Crucially, it was supported by a companion bill introduced by a pair of Republican members of the House of Representatives, David Joyce and Earl Blumenauer.
The goal of the bipartisan bill is to prevent prosecution for cannabis-related ‘crimes,’ as long as the individual or corporation in question is in accordance with established state laws. In other words, the federal government will no longer be able to prosecute you for using weed in a state where it has been legalized. At the time of writing, the bill has been sponsored by 12 Governors, 30 House members, and 11 Senators.
Alas, the herb will still remain as a Schedule I drug, but the bill – which is likely to pass into law – represents a huge step forward. The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 has also legalized hemp, which is another major hurdle that has been navigated. Throughout history, it has been normal for ‘baby steps’ to be taken before the outcome is achieved, no matter the legislative goal.
In the United States, only a handful of places have completely outlawed marijuana, as most jurisdictions allow CBD oil with minimal THC at the very least. In fact, weed is only 100% outlawed in Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota (although a few states have strict CBD laws), and possession is a misdemeanor in all four states. These states comprise just 3% of the nation’s population!
At some point, so many states will legalize weed for medicinal use that it has to be legalized. As you know, money talks in politics, and in September 2018, Constellation Brands Inc., one of the world’s largest alcohol companies, bought a nearly 40% share in Canopy Growth, one of the world’s biggest weed companies.
Once other major corporations follow suit and become involved in the marijuana market, you can expect Capitol Hill to be flooded with lobbyists. Suddenly, all of those politicians who were against weed will offer their support. We believe that full medicinal marijuana legalization in the United States is inevitable, although it could take 10-15 years.
Weed in the USA: No Longer a Novelty Market
At present, you can consume weed via traditional methods such as smoking and vaping, and it is also easy to find edibles. In the future, marijuana drinks and sleep aids will come to the fore, and indeed, companies like Canopy Growth have already intimated that it is working towards weed beverages.
As a result, the massive investment by Constellation Brands (owner of the Corona beer label), is not a surprise – nor is the proposed investment by Molson Coors and Lagunitas Brewing Company. Canopy is also working on a sleep aid which could threaten Ambien’s market position as the main OTC sleep medication.
It is also inevitable that cannabis will be seen primarily as a commodity, rather than a recreational product. Mass production will lead to a significant price decrease, and major brands will face stiff competition from one another.
As marijuana is still a fledgling market, there is incredible potential – a fact seen by numerous tech companies who have entirely new ground to cover. In early 2018, nine cannabis companies united to create a short movie which outlined their collective vision for the future of marijuana. We can expect new and improved methods of consuming cannabis, along with cool gadgets that we gaze into while extremely stoned!
The Future of Cannabis in the USA:
A Quick Overview
To sum up, we have compiled a list of things that we believe will happen within the next 10-15 years:
- Marijuana will be removed as a Schedule I drug.
- Marijuana will become fully legalized for medicinal purposes across the United States.
- This will increase research into weed, further outlining its medical benefits. As a result, fewer people will use opioids, and thousands of lives will be saved annually.
- You will be able to consume cannabis in ways you never imagined possible. In select states, there will be marijuana drinks available as easily as alcohol.
- Smoking weed will be seen as ‘outdated,’ with vaporizers the primary method of consumption, although one of the newer methods could take over.
- Retail outlets such as Wal-Mart will sell pre-packaged marijuana, especially low-THC edibles.
- Tax and banking laws will finally be changed so suppliers no longer have to jump through loopholes to find financial backing.