Today, fewer people around the world buy into the myths about marijuana that were created during the reefer madness era. This is especially true in the United States, as public support for legalization is steadily rising. Thanks to real, legitimate businesses and business people joining the movement, with ancillary businesses right behind, the cannabis industry is losing the back-alley, black market stigma that has been associated for so long. The graph below, courtesy of Gallup, shows the evolution of marijuana legalization support from 1969, when support was only at about 12% through 2013, where support is up to 58%.
In the United States, medical marijuana is legal in twenty-three states, and retail marijuana is legalized for adult use in two states. Even though none of this is legal on the federal level, the movement is gaining support throughout the country and on Capitol Hill. There are, now, more political action groups lobbying and funding politicians in support of marijuana legalization and regulation than there have ever been.
Politicians are realizing the benefit gained from joining the support of this movement, and are earning contributions from political action groups as a result. Hopefully, sooner than later, the banks of the United States will follow, by allowing these legitimate businesses to be able to operate as such, on a banking level. Democratic Congressman, Earl Blumenauer told Vice News:
“My impression is that political contributions are part of a broader pattern of the industry coming into its own—Lobbying, advocacy, and participating in politics. They’re doing what virtually every other interest group has done in the past. It’s the maturing of the industry, the evolution of the industry.”
As in all cases, where there is support, there is also opposition. Today there are many opponents to the legalization of marijuana, but not as many as in years passed. Is this a sign that this movement has sprouted roots strong enough to support major growth? Since big money is being spent on anti-marijuana research, the companies funding such research, who stand to lose revenue as a result, may feel threatened. Similarly, lobbyists, politicians, and other public figures who stand to lose money if marijuana is legalized on a federal level, are also speaking out against the movement.
Only time will tell if this marijuana business is in it’s final strides to becoming the newest industry. The results of the elections in Alaska, Oregon, Florida and Washington D.C. this November will give more insight into the future of cannabis industry development.
photo credit: No.me.rompas.el.coco