The legislative landscape regarding the legalization of medicinal cannabis has changed quite dramatically over the past five years. Whilst marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), a budgetary amendment entitled the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment (RBA) now poses a legal barrier to the enforcement of the act against users and sellers of medical marijuana within the 30 states that have legalized it. The amendment states that federal budget may not be allocated to prosecute anyone in direct compliance with state cannabis programs, meaning some judges have deemed the FBI has no standing when making arrests in relation to those dealing in cannabis.
Marijuana’s mass market appeal
Public perception towards cannabis has likewise changed, with 64% of Americans supporting the legalization of cannabis as a product anyone over the age of 21 should be able to consume freely. Over 93% of Americans support the use of cannabidiol (CBD) products for medicinal uses. What we are essentially seeing is a migration of an illicit to a legal industry. Potential profits in a legalized industry are eyebrow-raising with the adult-use recreational market expected to be worth near $75 billion.
A problem still exists in terms of mass marketing from a big business perspective because TCH-based cannabis is not currently allowed to cross state lines. And it is only when major changes in banking, tax, and interstate trade policies occur that we will start to see the beginnings of large American cannabis companies being built. For the medicinal market, it is expected that the large incumbent pharmaceutical companies will dominate, though it may take at least five years before a real cannabinoid-based drug will come to market.
Big business beginnings
Some speculate whether it will be the alcohol, tobacco or pharma industry that will enter the cannabis market first. In reality it will be all of them. They have been actively positioning themselves behind the scenes for quite some time now – they are simply lying in wait.
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