However, blatant hypocrisy seems to be holding it back
Like a freight train – It’s coming
In America, recreational cannabis is legal in 11 states, in addition to Washington, D.C. and 15 more states have decriminalized it. 62% of Americans are now in favor of legalization and it is now considered ethical investing. Our maple syrup producing neighbours to the north (Hi, Canada!) legalized cannabis back in October 2018 and depending on who you ask, it ranges from being boring, to going quite well. Maybe Canadians are so polite that they’ve simply taken the edge off cannabis? Overall, it seems that the industry in Canada is thriving, even as they work through standard regulatory kinks.
Show me the money
Some estimates predict the worldwide cannabis industry could ring up $200 billion in sales receipts in a decade and America could count for a staggering $100 billion of it. That sounds bonkers, but not when dispensaries like MedMen are making “more in sales per square foot than Apple or Tiffany & Co.” Wow, weed is king compared to computers and diamonds! According to the Arcview’s State of the Legal Cannabis Markets report, Nevada is poised to be number one in the country in per capita cannabis spending, because of – you guessed it – tourism! No wonder people are chomping at the bit to invest in American cannabis – it’s got enormous potential to be very lucrative. Even more conservative estimates about the US cannabis market from Bank of America, place the market sales at approximately $56 billion.
Do as we say, not as we do
The ‘fly in the ointment’ with regards to the American cannabis industry is the government’s hypocritical involvement. The U.S. government maintains a monopoly on growing the flower, while the DEA sits on two dozen growing applications. These applications were submitted after August 12, 2016, when the DEA claimed it was searching for more suppliers for medical research. Yet, curiously, the U.S. government hasn’t touched those applications and instead has chosen to produce the largest cannabis crop in 5 years with its exclusive supplier. Who’s that? The University of Mississippi, no less. This deal dates back to 1968 and carried a 5 year term, but still seems to be grandfathered in, 51 years later.
The U.S. is in the grips of a terrifying opioid epidemic and the medical science community is eager to explore the medicinal benefits of THC and CBD as a possible alternative to addictive opioids for chronic pain, among other issues. Unsealed court documents confirm that the DEA did nothing (and offers no explanation) to prevent the spread of opioids in America. They watched as drug manufacturers sent 5 million opioid pills to Kermit, West Virginia, a town of just 400 people.
Cannabis offers a realistic roadmap forward
Because of the DEA’s aggressive classification as a Schedule I drug, the FDA has been unable to perform research on the plant’s medicinal potential. This unfortunately sets the U.S. behind other developed nations with more robust cannabis research and knowledge, especially crucial as the opioid crisis rages on. But now that the culture has shifted to embrace cannabis, many old perceptions are being challenged. Even the Church of England is investing in the devil’s lettuce! Heck, even an American Grower secured a securities registration by becoming the first cannabis cultivation company to qualify for a Regulation A+ offering.
Companies just about everywhere seem to be betting that cannabis is here to stay. So it’s expected that more exciting investments and partnerships will be coming down the pipeline in 2019 and 2020.