By Tia Moskalenko
Many states have already passed laws and legislation to legally allow the sale and use of marijuana. The question is whether the U.S. will federally legalize the drug.
With a recent poll from November 2020, 68% of American residents support the federal legalization of marijuana. Making marijuana legal across the country is something that many are hoping for, but the legalization does not have the support of politicians. Based on this same poll, less than half of conservatives and Republicans support federally legalizing marijuana.
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The owners and founders of major cannabis brands featured at AskGrowers have weighed in on this important question. The CEO at Fox Hollow Flora says federal laws will come about in 2022, backed up by a statement from Lisa Tollner, co-founder of Sensi Products, who states that Democrats are currently working on new legislation. She is right! Two Democratic senators along with Majority Leader Chuck Schumer have said they will be pushing to pass legislation this year and this would end a lengthy federal prohibition.
Supporters of cannabis reform have stated some strong reasons why legalization should occur. These include:
Medical benefits of cannabisPotential tax revenueRegulation would make cannabis use safer
The Founder of Mindful Earth, KellyBenson, supports legalization but believes if it does happen, it will be for “financial/economic reasons rather than health.” She thinks that the lack of cannabis education and misuse will stall any legalization based on medical benefits. Dee Dee Taylor from 502 Hemp is not convinced any federal marijuana legalization will occur soon; however, she does state, “I do believe more and more states will make it legal though and force congress to take it off the DEA’s absurd schedule I list.”
For marijuana to be removed from this list, there are many steps needed. Lawmakers will have to change finance laws that allow banks to profit from credit cards issued to dispensaries. There will also have to be a single-subject bill that would remove marijuana from the list and allow for medical treatment studies and research to be conducted. If these two things fall into place, it would be possible to revise current criminal codes and move forward with federal legalization of weed, moving marijuana from the Schedule I list to a Schedule III list.
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While many in the cannabis industry are hopeful for changes to current laws, there are many political hurdles in place. The CEO and co-founder of HumboldtApothecary, GillianLevy, believes that there will be no federal legalization of weed in the coming year. She believes “More likely it will be decriminalized, at least in the near future.” The House Democrats show great support for the decriminalization of marijuana and this is also supported by the current President in his Plan for Black America.
RELATED: Somebody Should Let Federal Government Know Americans Want Legal Marijuana
By decriminalizing this drug, there would be an end to interference by the government in terms of cannabis research. It would also make marijuana accessible for medical purposes and would allow veterans to receive medical marijuana prescriptions from the VA for the first time ever. But, when will weed become federally legal? That answer remains unclear. Decriminalization on a federal level would be a huge step in a positive direction, but bipartisan support is required.
Those that strongly believe that the federal government will legalize marijuana will be happy to learn of the latest federal marijuana news. Existing cannabis companies and their founders, including Robert Miller from Purefectionary, AaronPuryear from OakCity Hemp, and Rahul Lavingia from Stoned Genie, all support federal legalization and are hopeful for changes in 2021 or 2022.
RELATED: Marijuana Is Bipartisan, But That Doesn’t Mean Federal Legalization Is A Sure Thing
Chuck Schumer is set to move ahead with changes to federal laws with or without support from President Biden. Schumer supports decimalization federally and plans to introduce legislation soon. When asked about this legislation, he stated he is personally supportive of legalization, and this bill that is being introduced will head that way. This bill would also include provisions to expunge any marijuana convictions from any criminal record.
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Until federal laws change, users and cannabis growers will continue to abide by state laws. With many states already allowing sales and use of medical and recreational marijuana, the industry continues to grow. The CEO of Bonsai Cultivation, Tom Stevenson, thinks weed will be legal federally, but the rollout will be slow. “States have the tax revenue, and they are not going to be quick to give it up.”
Legalizing weed on a federal level would open the doors to many more opportunities for company owners. However, some are not overly convinced that any federal laws will be changed in the coming year.
Zach Romey from Robhots and BrandonDorsky from Fruit Slabs both believe there will be legal weed on a federal level, but it will not happen for a few years. Robert Miller, owner of Purfectionery, provided his answer to the federal legalization, stating that “Yes, and hopefully within the next few years.”
It will be a slow process, but this latest bill to be introduced will provide a great start to paving the road for federally legalized marijuana in the near future.
This article originally appeared on Benzinga and has been reposted with permission.