MARIJUANA POLICY PROJECT/THE
People are changing their minds about marijuana. In less than a generation, public opinion has turned
sharply away from prohibition and penalties in favor of legalization. Canada allowed the sale of weed for
recreational use on Oct. 17, becoming the second country to do so after Uruguay. Voters in 10 U.S. states
and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational pot, permitting about a quarter of Americans to
consume it freely. While marijuana remains illegal on the federal level, President Donald Trump appeared
to get out of the states’ way when he endorsed allowing them to decide how to regulate the drug, against his
attorney general’s policy. A multi-billion-dollar investment boom is underway in North America.
The U.S. legal cannabis industry is gaining economic and political clout. It employs more than 200,000
workers and is on track to generate $11 billion in sales in 2018 While a figure that could reach $75 billion by
2030, by one estimate. It also provides a tax windfall. Colorado collected nearly $250 million in taxes and
fees from the cannabis industry in 2017.
More than 30 states now allow some form of medical or other use. Trump hasn’t issued any formal policy.
Legalization in Canada opened the floodgates for companies to access capital markets through stock
offerings and consumers in some provinces can buy pot online. In Latin America — the long-time origin for
much of the cannabis consumed in the U.S. Furthermore Uruguay was ahead of the curve when it legalized
their strategy in the drug war. Mexico, which like many nations has refrained from pursuing individuals for
pot use in recent years, may move toward a legal market under its leftist president-elect, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
Mayors in the Netherlands, which has tolerated pot smoking in its coffee shops since the 1970s,
Cannabis has been used since ancient times for its fiber in addition to its medicinal and mood-altering
effects. It was effectively outlawed in the U.S. in the 1930s, at about the same time that a 13-year prohibition
on alcohol was overturned through a constitutional amendment. Pot was demonized by the 1936 black-and-
white cult film “Reefer Madness,” a cautionary tale of corrupted teens.
Support for legalization in the U.S. grew after states began permitting medical use of the plant to treat pain
and nausea in patients with AIDS and cancer. California was the first state to allow it in 1996. Even with
wider acceptance in the U.S., about 588,000 people were arrested for marijuana possession in 2016, more
than those arrested for all violent crimes. The continuing clash of federal and state laws has
created uncertainty over what’s legal, and where. Federal authorities in August 2016 denied a petition
to remove marijuana from Schedule 1 classification .He harshest of five government lists that includes
heroin, LSD and Ecstasy. Weed’s presence on Schedule I has kept some U.S. banks, institutional investors
and credit card companies away from the business.