The legal cannabis (marijuana) industry is booming. According to Forbes.com, it was worth an estimated $7.2 billion in 2016. With double digit annual growth, adult recreational sales alone are expected to jump from $2.6 billion in 2016 to $11.2 billion by 2020.
In addition to recreational sale, medical marijuana sales are expected to more than double to $13.3 billion by 2020. That’s a combined annual market of over $24 billion, anticipated in just the next 3 years.
Does AG Sessions worry you?
Jobs, state’s rights, and taxes. That’s right. Jobs, state’s rights and tax revenue are the cannabis industry’s secret weapons against marijuana detractors in the Trump administration and elsewhere.
According to a survey conducted by Marijuana Business Daily, the marijuana industry already employs over 100,000 peoplein the U.S. alone.
Along with billions in sales, comes millions in tax revenue.Motley Fool estimated that in 2016, Colorado’s marijuana tax haul likely exceeded $200 million. That’s a lot of green. And it’s only going to continue to grow each year.
Breaking News: Multiple Marijuana Legislative Bills could Signal Shift IN GOP
At least two bills have been introduced by Republican lawmakers in the past 6 weeks, that would end federal marijuana prohibition.
I’m Just a Bill – H.R. 715
On January 27th, 2017 – House Republican Rep. Griffith Morgan from Virginia introduced H.R. 715 to the 115th Congress. Legislation that would reschedule marijuana from a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance, AND exclude cannabidiol (CBD) from the definition of marijuana.
Read more by clicking the image below.
I’m Just a Second Marijuana Bill!
On February 27th, 2017 – House Republican Rep. Thomas Garrett of Virginia introduced legislation entitled, Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017.
Rep. Garrett’s legislation, if it becomes law, would end federal prohibition by removing marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act. This would in effect, leave marijuana legality/policy up to the states.
Rep. Garrett has been a vocal Trump Supporter and the timing of his bill is worth noting. AG Sessions himself suggested during his confirmation hearings – that if congress didn’t like his approach to marijuana law enforcement, they should change the laws accordingly.
Perhaps the Republicans are attempting to do just that?! First with a stick, then with a carrot?
Garrett’s office released a press release to coincide with the legislation’s introduction:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today 5th District Congressman Tom Garrett introduced legislation aimed at federally decriminalizing marijuana.
The short title for this legislation is cited as the “Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017.” If passed, this bill would take marijuana off the federal controlled substances list – joining other industries such as alcohol and tobacco.
Garrett went on to say,
“this step allows states to determine appropriate medicinal use and allows for industrial hemp growth, something that will provide a major economic boost to agricultural development in Southside Virginia. In the coming weeks, I anticipate introducing legislation aimed at growing the hemp industry in Virginia, something that is long overdue.”
Senators on Marijuana in 2017
Take a listen to Senator Schatz as he blastsAG Sessions on the Senate floor, February 8th, 2017 – over his comments disparaging marijuana.
According to the Associated Press (article), Senators from eight states with legal recreational marijuana (Washington, Colorado, Nevada, California, Oregon, Massachusetts, Maine, Alaska), sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions on March 2nd, 2017 – asking him to uphold the Department of Justice’s existing enforcement policy toward marijuana.
Among those who signed this letter where Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey.
Related: Election 2016 – Marijuana Legalization Spreads Across the U.S.
Trump on Marijuana
Republican Presidential Candidate Donald speaks in front of a crowd in Reno, Nevada on October 29th, 2015.
Listen to Trump’s answer, when asked how he would approach medical and recreational marijuana.
House Republican Rep. Griffith Morgan from Virginia, has introduced a billto the 115th Congress that would reschedulemarijuana from a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance, AND exclude cannabidiol (CBD) from the definitionof marijuana.
Part I – The Big News | Reschedule Marijuana!
Introduced in the House of Representatives on January 27, 2017, H.R. 715 would reschedule marijuana under section 202 of the Controlled Substance Act (21 U.S.C. 812) to a schedule under section 202 other than the dreaded schedule I.
Schedule I is reserved for substances that have a high potential for abuse, have no currently accepted medical use, and demonstrate a lack of acceptable safety when used under medical supervision.
No accepted medical use?
Not so fast! Clearly, marijuana does not belong under Schedule I. Marijuana has demonstrated health benefits.CBD oil, from marijuana and hemp, is used by many people to treat joint inflammation and the pain and stiffness associated with arthritis. And CBD is not psychoactive, meaning it won’t get you high.
Science is just now beginning to explore the potential health benefits of cannabis. Recent clinical research suggests applications in the treatment of anxiety and schizophrenia, and even cancer. The THCV and terpenes in marijuana and hemp may even help you maintain healthy blood sugar levels and possibly even help you avoid serious health problems such as diabetes.
This bill, if passed, would be truly historic. It would completely alter the landscape for the cannabis industry nationally and perhaps even globally. Although rescheduling alone would likely not immediately end Federal prohibition, it would drive a huge crack in the wall of ignorance surrounding medical and recreational marijuana.
Part II – Equally Great News | CBD Excluded from CSA!
H.R. 715 would also remove cannabidiol (CBD), famous for its efficacy in treating intractable childhood epilepsy (e.g. Dravet Syndrome, Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome), from governance under the Controlled Substance Act!
H.R. 715, by itself, would not prevent the FDA from restricting and regulating marijuana, but it would remove the DEA from the conversation.
Passage would also likely permit banks and other financial bodies to engage with state-compliant marijuana companies. This would bring much needed capital and financial security to an industry producing billions of dollars outside of mainstream financial institutions and poised to be crowned the #1 most valuable legal cash crop in the U.S.
Update: House Republicans have introduced a second marijuana Bill that would end Federal prohibition– Click for info
Jim O’Neill Could Bring Disruption and Marijuana to the FDA
According to Bloomberg News and TheHill, President Donald Trump is strongly considering Jim O’Neill, an outspoken marijuana supporter and libertarian, to be the next head of the FDA. Jim O’Neill has been a staunch critic of the FDA for years and if appointed to lead the agency, he is likely to usher in dramatic changes that could shake the agency to its core. And maybe, just maybe, that’s not such a bad thing.
Jim O’Neill is reportedly a close business associate of key Trump transition team member Peter Thiel – a tech financier worth more than $2 Billion. Theil was named #246 on the Forbes400 List of Richest People in America in 2016. Theil spokesman Jeremiah Hall was quoted recently in an email reported by Bloomberg Politics, “Jim O’Neill has extensive experience in government and in Silicon Valley. He is a strong candidate for any of several key positions.”
Mr. O’Neill is currently the Managing Director of Mithril Capital Management LLC,
a global investment firm cofounded by Peter Thiel. Previous to Mithril Capital, Mr. O’Neill spent just under six years working in various roles for the Department of Health and Human Services during the George W. Bush Administration, from 2002 – 2008. O’Neill first served as the Director of the Speech and Editorial Division, then as Associate Deputy Secretary and ultimately as the Principal Associate Deputy Secretary contributing to policy and regulatory matters affecting the FDA.
In addition to working for the Dept. of HHS, O’Neill also served on the Board of Directors (and was a founding member) for the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform. CCPR is a nonpartisan organization which opposes prohibition and supports reasonable marijuana regulation. O’Neill is likely to bring big changes to the FDA, easing research and perhaps access to cannabis based pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals.
President-elect Donald Trump’s hard-right pick of Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions for U.S. Attorney General has marijuana advocates across the nation sounding the alarm – and for good reason.
Just two weeks ago today, Americans in four states (California, Nevada, Maine, Massachusetts) joined Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska by passing ground-breaking legislation to end marijuana prohibition and instead put in place a regulatory system to provide recreational access to marijuana for adults over the age of 21. There are now a total of eight states in the U.S. with legal recreational marijuana.
Video: CBS News reports on the Trump pick for Attorney General
All this progress could be undone by one man – Senator Jeff Sessions, should he become the next Attorney General of the United States. As Attorney General, Mr. Sessions could rescind two key Justice Department directives. These directives, known as the Cole and Ogden memos, told federal investigators to lay off medical marijuana (learn more at Simple Justice – A Criminal Defense Blog) and step back from prosecutions.
According to the New York Times and John Hudak of the Brookings Institution:
The only person that could stop a newly appointed Attorney General Jeff Sessions – from dismantling medical and recreational marijuana laws across this country – is, well, President-elect Trump.
Throughout Mr. Sessions’ 19 years in the Senate, he has been a rabid opponent of any legislation that smacks of drug reform. Senator Sessions is an outspoken opponent of medical marijuana, denying cannabis possesses any medical value – despite the voluminous evidence to the contrary. Learn more about the War on Drugs with this interesting and fact filled infographic and dig into the details on Vox.com.
Senator Sessions was even described as a militant prohibitionist by NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri in his recent blog post about the Sessions pick.
April 5th, 2016 – Senate Hearing with Jeff Sessions discussing his views on Marijuana.
Let’s take a listen to our possible future Attorney General.
U.S. Senate Hearing – April 5th, 2016 | Senator Jeff Sessions
Skip forward to 8min 45 sec into the video (8:45) and hear the now famous line from Senator Sessions: “good people don’t smoke marijuana.”
The nation’s leading organization advocating an end to the war on drugs, the Drug Policy Alliance (drugpolicy.org), believes marijuana prohibition inflicts far more harm than good on a society and strongly resists a return to the Reagan-era drug policies.
The DPA has even started a “Stop the Jeff Sessions Nomination” petition, as they fear Sessions will not only go after the legal recreational marijuana in Alaska, California, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Massachusetts, Maine and D.C., but also look to squash medical marijuana now available in half the states in the U.S.