Nine states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational cannabis and 30 states have legalized medical use. Combined they brought in around $9 billion in sales last year and created over 100,000 jobs.
To put it simply, the industry is rocking, the people have spoken and there is no reason left for marijuana to remain illegal at the Federal level.
When Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded the Cole Memo with its protections against Federal prosecution, he was hoping for a maelstrom across the states. There has been some scrambling, but it wasn’t for the riot gear; it was to figure out compliance, production, how to keep the community safe and how best to move forward.
Stepping into that future and leaving reefer madness in the dust, is precisely what the movement is doing. Numbers don’t lie and with stats coming in from BDS Analytics, which tracks the pot industry, it looks like the cannabis dominion already rivals the Pampers’ diaper empire. Plus, with California going fully legal, the marketplace is expected to go from $9 to $11 billion this year and to $21 billion in 2021.
Keith Stroup, who founded the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), had this to say about Sessions and his big talk: “The only thing you could really do to put the genie back in the bottle, is just start arresting everybody. But I can’t see it leading to some massive crackdown. That just seems like political disaster for the administration.”
And indeed it does. It’s not just the US that’s ramping up its weed game. Canada is legalizing the plant nationally by July of this year. According to Forbes, while the US currently has 90 percent of the legal global cannabis market, that share should fall to 57 percent by 2020. This is projected in great part because of Canada’s moves, but also because countries in Europe and Latin America are also liberalizing their laws. In Germany, political parties are discussing recreational legalization as they consider forming a coalition government.
Mariuana’s momentum is spreading like wildfire, not only on our own soil, but to farther reaches of the world. Science and activism, persistence and resilience, love and caring: these have all attributed to the current, flourishing landscape. Here’s to the next five years of growth and, hopefully, to the descheduling of cannabis completely in the US. It only makes sense.