Cannabis Legalization in 2020?
Since the introduction of cannabis prohibition in the United States, there has never been a better time to reverse policy. Tax revenue, job creation, and 100% Made in America products are just some of the benefits that the cannabis industry already provides. And that’s not even considering that over 2/3’s of the US population already supports legalization.
“We wouldn’t be surprised to see cannabis federally legalized by the end of this year, or sometime next year,” he said, as everyone ate their dinner. “We helped write the new legislation with the Governor to legalize cannabis here in Colorado, and we’re now working at the federal level to make the same positive changes.”
This was back in early 2018, when I hosted a two day cannabis investing trip in Denver, Colorado. In total, we had about 80 guests from around the world who were all interested in investing in the cannabis industry.
The person who said those words, at our first dinner of the trip, is a top lawyer who focuses on the cannabis industry. His firm has been tremendously successful advising certain state governments that have implemented the regulations of recreational cannabis use. Furthermore, he has represented dozens of private and public cannabis companies, as they navigate the complex legal framework in the jurisdictions that they operate in.
Although this lawyer is highly respected, he has been very wrong when it comes to federal legalization of cannabis in the United States. His prediction of the timeframe in which the plant would go legal has long since past. Now, here we are in 2020, and we’re no closer to legalization. In fact, we may be even further off in time, as our nation and entire world is focused on the current pandemic and resulting economic crisis.
However, we now sit in a position where legalization of cannabis on a federal level in the United States makes complete sense. Furthermore, we also have the opportunity to make a global change in the approach to how we regulate drugs.
As was recently highlighted in a report by the Global Commission on Drug Policy, cannabis is far less harmful than the the most damaging substance on earth – alcohol. And this is in consideration of both harm to the consumer and the general public.
The arguments that cannabis is a gateway drug, lacks medicinal qualities, or creates a drag on society just don’t work anymore. Everyday there is new research being published that shows cannabis is an excellent alternative for those seeking relief from stress, anxiety, and pain. Furthermore, we know that there is far less collateral damage to society when compared to alcohol, opioids, and tobacco.
The evidence that cannabis provides more benefits to users and society, than it does harm, is starting to pile up. Now it’s time to act on this information and at the same time unleash an industry that will be extremely beneficial to helping America climb out of this economic crisis.
If we were to put away all of the social and health rationale and only look at this topic from an economic standpoint, the answer is clear. We need to legalize cannabis in the United States.
Economic Stimulator. The cannabis industry has already created billions of dollars in tax revenue for states such as California, Colorado, and Washington, where the plant is legal for recreational consumption. However, there still is an enormous black market that exists throughout the US. Federal legalization of cannabis will not only make the market safer, but it will allow for a balanced industry that can be a legal contributor to the US economy.
Job Creator. There are currently over 240,000 jobs in the US cannabis industry. Federal legalization would open the doors for any citizen in the country to enter into the industry, creating significantly more employment opportunities.
Made in the USA. Cannabis can be grown, harvested, processed, packaged, and sold all within the United States. Currently, that is how the industry operates, with all cannabis consumption in the US being 100% grown domestically. However, it is illegal to cross state lines with the plant, which has prevented any inter-state commerce. Let’s open it up and let our country do business with each other.
The Public Already Supports It. Over two thirds of the US population supports cannabis legalization. Can you think of any other topic that that many US citizens agree on?
Stop Wasting Taxpayer’s Money. In the US, police dedicate $3.6 billion annually enforcing possession laws and make about 820,000 arrests per year. That is not only an insane cost to taxpayers, but it is also an enormous expense for our prison systems, where we have locked up non-violent ‘criminals’ who are serving time for possessing a plant. The US also spends approximately $50 billion per year on the war on drugs. It’s estimated that we’ve spent over a trillion dollars over the past several decades fighting this endless and ineffective war.
Provide a Safe and Regulated Market. Currently the cannabis industry does not have access to federal banking. That means there is no access to traditional financing and, unbelievably, companies cannot legally file for bankruptcy. Most importantly, cannabis dispensaries are supposed to only make transaction with physical cash. This has created an extremely inefficient process and a very dangerous business to be in, as criminals often target dispensaries because of their cash holdings.