Where Does the US Stand on Legalised Cannabis?
Many states have already legalised cannabis. It seems that the majority of people across the US support the idea of legalising it everywhere. Despite the medical evidence of the benefits of cannabis use, lawmakers are reluctant.
Federally, cannabis is still illegal but it is legal in nearly 20 states, including Washington, DC. Recreational cannabis has been legal in Colorado since 2012, and several states followed soon after.
Over half of the drug busts that happen, more than half of those are for cannabis. Most of those were for simple possession. Most of these are for small amounts.
Close to 40 states have legalised medical marijuana with nearly 20 legalising recreational cannabis. The House has voted to decriminalise marijuana but it’s still unclear if the senators will allow it to pass.
Nearly half of American adults admit to having tried marijuana, despite it still being a Schedule 1 substance. Well over half of adults believe cannabis should be made legal.
Regardless of the federal law, many states have approved marijuana for recreational purposes and medicinal use. The recreational cannabis industry alone generated $15 billion in 2021 and is expected to surpass $25 billion by 2025.
Each state that has legalised cannabis has its own set of rules for how it is grown, dispensed, and used. Dispensaries, where cannabis is sold, are regulated by the local government.
Getting a licence to sell cannabis from a dispensary can be difficult and expensive. Even once you have it, many of the regulations change quite rapidly, which requires you to follow suit.
You will almost certainly be given a thorough background check that is extended to all the employees, owners, and even investors. You will likely need investors, as available financing is very limited.
It can be difficult to get a bank onboard with a cannabis business. Money made from marijuana sales could result in prosecution under money laundering statutes, unlicensed money transmitter statutes, or the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA).
Despite all of the risks, banks and investors are getting involved. It has become a big business and proving to be very profitable for the companies, growers, legislators, and everyone down the line
Benefits of Legalising Cannabis
It is becoming apparent that there can be several benefits to legalising cannabis. As more states legalise cannabis, they are discovering many advantages, the main one being economic.
In Nevada alone, within the first five days of legalisation, $2.2 million was spent by customers. In 2021 states with legalised marijuana laws raked in nearly 4 billion in revenue.
This is a real boon for states that struggle financially as this means tremendous financial benefits for shop owners, growers, inventors, and indeed, governments. This also means more jobs.
Jobs are created right from the retail store to researchers. As cannabis is used for medical practices as well as recreational, this creates jobs in all sectors. Medical cannabis is used for many different ailments where traditional medications are failing.
Besides economic growth, regulating legal cannabis in each state takes it out of the dealer’s hands. This can be a volatile world so letting the government control it cuts back the cartel's input.
States can also take control of the potency of cannabis and this keeps consumers safe. Many dispensaries sell their products in child-proof packaging with warning labels on them.
It also will drastically cut back on the people arrested, in court, and incarcerated for possession charges or intent to sell. This can free up courtrooms and prisons for crimes that are much worse.
The Future of Cannabis
With cannabis becoming legal in more states all the time, it seems like it will only be a matter of time before it is also decriminalised at the federal level. Plus, the sale of byproducts derived from cannabis continues to rise nation-wide.
It’s very often a hot topic when it comes to election issues, on all levels. States that have legalised cannabis see a decrease in crime, in alcohol-related problems, and less gang activity.
Cannabis at a recreational level is safer than tobacco and alcohol. Taxes collected from the proceeds of cannabis dispensaries go to much-needed community programs, like education and housing.
Job creation is also a big factor that proves the benefits of legalisation. In Colorado, within about two years of legalisation, there were nearly 20,000 full-time jobs added.
The sting and stigma of pot from a few years back have dramatically changed and continue to do so. Scientists believe legalisation could make it easier for them to develop cannabis-based medical treatments.
Many states have already decriminalised cannabis and there are only a few standouts who have not allowed even medical cannabis to be used. But, an overwhelming majority of American adults think it should be legal and they vote.