The path to legal recreational and medical marijuana, as the Trends Research Institute forecast last year, continues to build momentum despite a newly anointed attorney general who erroneously thinks pot is almost as deadly as heroin. If he could, he’d enforce federal laws to criminalize it.
Speaking to law enforcement officers in March, Jeff Sessions said:
“I reject the idea that America will be a better place if marijuana is sold in every corner store. And I am astonished to hear people suggest that we can solve our heroin crisis by legalizing marijuana — so people can trade one life-wrecking dependency for another that’s only slightly less awful… Our nation needs to say clearly once again that using drugs will destroy your life.”
Pro-cannabis industry analysts feared the Trump Administration, with Sessions as the top legal authority, would move to enforce federal anti-marijuana laws. There’s been increasingly high anxiety over Sessions’ “I’m not a fan of expanded marijuana use” stance.
But, as we forecast in the Winter 2017 Trends Journal, in a report about one of our Top Trends for 2017, Reefer Money Madness: “…Trump will not squander resources waging a Marijuana War. And, while Trump has stated that legal recreational use was “bad,” and he felt “strongly about it,” he also said: “In terms of marijuana and legalization, I think that should be a state issue, state by state.”
Following legal marijuana’s winning performance at the ballot box last November in the US, voters — and polls — are making it increasingly clear that they favor legalization, especially for medical uses.
CLUELESS, POINTLESS ATTORNEY GENERAL
And while Sessions and other anti-pot political talking heads may jolt legal marijuana’s forward momentum, the facts and popular sentiment ultimately will rule.
Sessions’ rhetoric, for example, is no match for facts. Alcohol abuse kills about 90,000 Americans each year. How many cannabis-use deaths are there? None.
Dare we bring up opioids?
The point is this: Sessions is just flat-out wrong. And the legal-marijuana momentum rising across the country, and in many parts of the world, is mounting proof that cannabis is becoming more and more accepted for recreational use, and particularly for medical needs.
Moreover, the compromise budget bill Congress just approved to fund the government through September includes a standing provision that prevents the Department of Justice from pursing marijuana growers and sellers in states where pot is legal.
Following those November referendum victories for cannabis advocates, recreational or medical marijuana use is legal in 28 states. That’s more than half the country. And several other states, including Texas and Rhode Island, are considering legal-marijuana laws.
Canada, too, is moving toward recreational marijuana being legal. The country’s ruling Liberal Party crafted a bill in the Canadian Parliament making pot legal for that use.
POT’S STIGMA HAS EVAPORATED
Back in the USA, Sessions says he’s “surprised” most Americans don’t support his anti-pot position.
But we were not surprised.
The reason was not only the rising number of Americans who support legal pot, as has been steadily reflected in poll after poll, or the expanding global research and development into medical uses for cannabis that are yielding encouraging results. Today, medical or recreational cannabis use is part of millions of Americans’ daily lives.
Moreover, the Trends Research Institute also has noted that the entrepreneurial spirit in pot-business states like Colorado is laying the foundation for a booming industry across numerous other states.
As we reported in the Winter Trends Journal:
“This momentum has investors encouraged over marijuana’s growing acceptance in healing and recreational circles. They see a booming industry, with enormous potential, just beginning to take off. And it’s not only investors; increasingly, state governments are warming up to the idea of legalized pot. They see a substantial economic boon reminiscent of the early days of casino-gaming legalization across the country.”
Indeed. Market segments for the proliferation of recreational-use marijuana are quickly taking shape. And researchers, politicians, activists, Ontrendpreneurs® and investors are looking to cash in.
While legalization on medical and recreational fronts will hit political, legal and procedural bumps in the road to becoming law and being implemented, the track is clear: The cannabis industry is in the infant stages of what will evolve into an industry rivaling alcohol’s market share.
This trend, we predict, will follow a path similar to the legalization of alcohol in 1933. When Prohibition ended, implementing legal-alcohol laws across states was wrought with false starts and politically driven delays. But the curves in the road eventually straightened out; alcohol today is a $400 billion industry, generating $90 billion in wages.
Legal marijuana is following the same trajectory; its growth will be explosive and sustained and that will drive prices down as well.
Eat it, drink it, rub it on, wear a patch and vape it. All these markets are strong because they appeal to a wide variety of preferences and lifestyles. TJ