Politics and weed are inseparable. Keeping up with politics helps medical marijuana businesses stay in compliance and reveals potential expansion opportunities.
The History of Weed in the U.S.
Before the 1900s, marijuana was sold in pharmacies, and regulation was up to the states. The federal government stepped in with laws such as the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act and the 1970 Controlled Substances Act, leading to decades of political railing against marijuana and stiff criminal penalties.
Weed has made a comeback since then at the state level. Medicinal marijuana is now legal in 37 states and Washington, D.C., and 18 states and D.C. allow recreational use.
The political landscape surrounding marijuana is still a tumultuous one, with battles occurring at state and federal levels.
The arguments against legalizing marijuana haven’t changed much, with politics and fear ruling the day.
Rather than following science and the majority’s will, some politicians continue to appeal only to the wishes of those they think will help them get reelected.
For example, even though 83% of Wisconsin voters backed medical marijuana and 59% backed recreational, measures supporting both failed in 2021. The Senate Majority Leader said there was no actual science supporting medical marijuana.
Some federal government agencies still focus solely on harm and don’t mention the benefits of marijuana. The CDC lists five facts about marijuana prominently on its website. The first mentions the number of users, and the other four cite multiple studies showing harm.
It is no surprise that this fear trickles down to the public and some state politicians.
Several factors act in favor of medical marijuana businesses.
Advancements in Research
The FDA has approved one CBD drug to treat certain types of seizures and three others that use synthetic THC to treat patients. The FDA has also acknowledged that interest in medicinal marijuana is increasing.
Evolving Consumer Sentiment
Up to 91% of Americans want to legalize weed, with 60% approving of medical and personal use and 31% backing medical use only. Weed sales reached $25 billion in 2021 and are expected to keep rising.
Recent Bills That Affect Medical Marijuana Businesses
There is significant movement on marijuana legislation at the state level, with several states moving to reform their laws.
The biggest impact on medical marijuana businesses could happen at the federal level. The House has passed several bills that could help your company, but there is pushback in the Senate.
The SAFE Banking Act would make it easier for marijuana companies to get financing from traditional lenders. Other bills would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level or remove its designation as a Schedule I drug.
Some of the Senate holdouts are Democrats who usually support marijuana reform but think the bills don’t go far enough. They want to include additional provisions such as expunging cannabis-related criminal records.
What’s Next in Weed Politics?
Marijuana legalization has broad support from the public but remains mired in politics at both the state and federal levels. The number of Republicans supporting legalization has risen, but there are Democrats who want more than moderates in both parties are willing to give.
Weed organizations and businesses like yours that support reform must continue to educate lawmakers about the benefits of cannabis and lobby on behalf of sensible laws. Visit Bespoke Financial to keep up with weed politics and other weed news that affects your marijuana business.