Everyone who follows current legislation knows that marijuana is good for the economy. We also know that, medically, it has been proven to be an effective form of treatment from cancer to PTSD. Financially, legal cannabis sales earned $15 billion dollars in 2021 and is projected to surpass an estimated $25 billion in 2022.
Now let us break down the overall availability across the United States and outer provinces. Currently, we have 37 states that have authorized marijuana for medicinal purposes and 18 states that legally allow recreational use. While there is great support and advocacy for its legalization, there is still one major problem – Cannabis (Marijuana) is still listed as an illegal controlled substance under federal law.
Under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, the Drug Enforcement Agency still classifies cannabis as a Schedule I drug, “with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” Growing, possessing or distributing marijuana is a violation of federal drug laws. (Other Schedule I drugs include heroin and LSD, while cocaine is listed as a Schedule II drug.)
The Double-Edged Sword
While many of these states have been issued businesses licenses to operate and collect tax on all sales, just as any business would do, this is still considered an illegal operation under federal law. This means that at any time, a federal officer can walk in and arrest the owners and customers of a cannabis business even though the state allows it. This is a cause of both confusion and frustration for everyone.
Until both state and government are on the same page, there will always be doubt as to whether it is safe to buy, sell or use state legalized marijuana in any form as long as these states remain in an illegal federal government.