The marijuana industry in America has had a new lease of life in recent years. This is largely due to the rapid increase in the use—both recreational and medicinal in nature—of marijuana among the population. Indeed, the popularity of cannabis and its derivatives is becoming ever more large, and it is this that makes marijuana the most widely trafficked illicit drug in the world!
So, what is the future of American cannabis and marijuana? How will the US marijuana industry evolve over the coming years?
The Legalization of Cannabis
One of the biggest expectations for the future of cannabis is the legalization of cannabis. Thus far, more and more states are jumping on the bandwagon and legalizing marijuna use, be it for recreational or medical purposes. This is also a trend that is being seen around the world, with global demand for quality cannabis products rapidly growing; along with this demand, it can be expected that more and more states will consider legalizing the use of cannabis.
How Global Demand is Fuelling Legalization
“Attitudes are changing rapidly, and this is largely responsible for the legalization of cannabis in recent years (and will continue to have an important role in future years, too). This trend is becoming especially significant in recent times, with society and the scientific communities alike learning more about the medicinal benefits and potential of marijuana supplementation,”says Nathan Jackson,a marijuana blogger at Vela Community. This all means that the previous stigma which surrounded the use and growth of marijuana is being brought down over time, even if the United States government has not yet caught up with this trend and are still classifying marijuana as a controlled substance.
What About in the US?
The opinion surrounding the use of marijuana in the United States is quite evidently a positive one. More and more people are beginning to believe that the legalization of cannabis could offer plenty of benefits; in fact, a survey carried out by Pew Research concluded that as many as 62% of Americans hold the opinion that the legalization of marijuana would be a good thing. Furthermore, it is worth noting how this figure has risen dramatically over the last decades; only 12% of people were for the legalization of marijuana. In addition to this, as recently as 2000, only 31% of people believed that marijuana legalization would be a worthwhile change for the government to implement.
It’s not only personal opinion that has changed in recent years, though. Indeed, the number of people using marijuana for recreational and medicinal purposes has also increased! A recent study carried out by the New York University in 1969 found that nearly 10% of adults aged between 50 and 64 years of age use marijuana, at least on an occasional basis—that’s twice what it was just a decade ago! Additionally, use of marijuana among the 65+ community has also risen dramatically—though only 3% of people in this age bracket use marijuana, this is a seven fold increase on the consumption level just a decade ago.
These statistics clearly show how the use of marijuana in the US has risen in recent years. At present, as of 2018, the marijuana industry was worth a staggering $13.8 billion USD to the USA. And, with the expected revenue of 2030 from the marijuana industry expected to be as much as $17.5 billion USD, it is clear to see just how much of an impact the marijuana industry is expected to have as time goes on—or so says Cowen analyst, Vivien Azer.
How Policy Reforms are Fuelling Change
As with everything in life, some people will follow the rules and others will not. Invariably, though, the demand for cannabis will be limited while its use is still illegal. However, with policy reforms and the rapid legalization of cannabis and marijuana use, more and more people are likely to branch out and try marijuana or its derivatives for the first time.
At present, 33 states have made the decision to legalize the use of cannabis for medicinal or recreational purposes (or both, in some cases). Some of these states are also of the opinion that others will soon start to follow suit; New York, New Jersey, Illinois, and Connecticut have already made these opinions publicly known.
It is also worth noting that 68% of the members of Congress come from these 33 states where marijuana use has been legalized; this shows a great amount of potential for the future of the marijuana industry, especially with Democrats currently being in control of the House. Indeed, bills that have been long awaited could easily be passed automatically with the support of these members alone; reforms have already been made in this regard, and it can be expected that this trend will continue. More and more laws should, as such, be made in coming months and years relating to the use of marijuana.
Is the FDA Softening?
It is widely believed that the FDA may be softening in its approach to marijuana and CBD based products. At present, food products which contain CBD or marijuana are not allowed to be marketed, however the organization is presently “taking new steps to evaluate whether we should pursue such a process.” This statement was made shortly after the creation of the Farm Bill, but does little to fix the still murky legal status of marijuana and CBD products.
Invariably, marijuana is still considered a Schedule I drug and so the amount of leeway that can be given is limited. However, with the rapid growth in the marijuana industry and the new understanding that has been demonstrated regarding the health benefits that marijuana and CBD products can offer, it is likely that the FDA may soften its stance in regards to marijuana use. However, it is unlikely that the Schedule of marijuana itself will be lowered; while Epidiolex qualified as a Schedule V drug, we do not anticipate that marijuana or CBD supplements will be able to join this list in the imminent future.