Legalize It! The Future of Cannabis Legalization
Over 30 States now enjoy some form of cannabis legalization, either recreational or medicinal. Despite staunch opposition at the federal level, voters seeking either to legalize an innocuous recreational substance or facilitate ease of access to an effective medicinal aid, have made their voices heard through the legislative process –– though recently even complete federal opposition appears to be dissolving with the recent FDA approval of Epidiolex, a CBD-based drug intended for the treatment of childhood epilepsy.
As dogmatic institutional oppositions and cultural stigmas fade at the state, national, and international level, what inferences can be made as to the future of legalization and the development of the cannabis market in the U.S. and abroad?
Legalization means regulation. All cannabis in the future will be lab tested for potency, pesticides, microbials, and terpenes (a practice that HERB has always upheld, even before California’s recent requirements for lab testing). Both recreational and medicinal users will learn to expect safe cannabis products whose origins are clearly sourced. Dosage guides and limits will become mandatory for cannabis-infused edibles and the novice user will be able to dose their intake responsibly by simply reading the state mandated packaging in which their medicine was delivered. Further, as states begin to provide protections for cannabis possession and consumption, employees across industries will be less anxious about jeopardizing their jobs due to their lawful cannabis use.
As medicinal and recreational users attain greater access and begin to expect greater service and consistency, a new job market will emerge to service those expectations. According to a Leafly estimate, there are currently upwards of 122,000 jobs in the U.S. tied to legal cannabis. As legalization continues to become the new normal and state bureaucracies become more uniform and efficient, that number will rise.
Jobs in the cannabis industry that easily come to mind are the front-end faces of the workforce –– your budtender or cashier (or your favorite HERB delivery driver!). But the surge in the popularity and rapid expansion of different types of cannabis products also produces the demand for skilled, peripheral positions such as graphic design, marketing, lab technicians, researchers, and chemists. Perhaps unexpectedly, the staggered roll out of state-by-state legalization has also created the sector of canna-tourism, like the services provided by the outdoor themed High Five Tours in Portland, Oregon.
At the national level, tax revenues from this increasingly legalized industry are estimated to reach $130 Billion dollars by 2025. Internationally, cannabis will likely attain the status of a global import-export commodity as countries follow the United States’ lead, and some, like Canada –– who will achieve national legalization by the end of Summer 2018 –– lap the U.S. in responsible cannabis policy.
In Latin America, Mexico finds champions in political heavy weights such as former President Vicente Fox and even its Supreme Court. Colombia seeks to become exporter to the world of medical grade cannabis, and tiny Uruguay has enacted nationally legal cannabis since 2013.
After 80 years of prohibition, cannabis legalization at any level is a brave new world, but a forlorn drug war has proven that arrests and incarceration do little to reduce demand for criminalized substances. A nation-wide opioid epidemic has demonstrated the need for better approaches to pain management, and the newfound efficacy of cannabis as a treatment for some neurological disorders all exemplify the necessity of a new policy approach and a new societal perception of cannabis and the average cannabis user.
Many of the ideas in this blog post were inspired by the creators at Kurzgesagt. You can take a look at their video on cannabis legalization below, and if you are a recreational user of 21 years or older, or a medical patient of 18 years or older, you can sign up to become a member and receive your first HERB delivery in the next 15-45 minutes.