The Government Might Change its Mind on Marijuana
To say that it was a long time coming is an understatement, as is the fact that it's still anyone's guess what will really happen.
Still, the people who make the decisions are having this conversation.
In a memo released to lawmakers earlier this week, on page 5, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) revealed that it is in the process of determining whether it will reclassify marijuana for the purposes of medical research. It hopes to make a decision in the first half of 2016.
At present, marijuana is a Schedule I drug, which means that it is defined as a drug with “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” It shares this classification with heroin and LSD, among others, and has been criminalized in the United States since the early 1900s.
The Push to Make It Legal
With medical marijuana legal in 23 states, and recreational use legal in four states plus the District of Columbia, it doesn't come as a surprise that the movement to have the drug legalized in some form or another is gaining momentum as time moves forward. Of the current crop of presidential candidates, some only favor legalizing the drug for medical use, but none oppose making it completely illegal.
The majority of Americans are also now in favor of making it legal, either because they see the financial benefits or know how doing so would affect the drug war. And with populism on the rise across the country, this isn't an issue that is going to simply go away any time soon.
But while the voices of people across the country can certainly help give a big push in making marijuana legal, the companies that stand to make a lot of money are the ones that will really give this movement the boost it needs to become a reality.
The Flood Gates of Legal Weed
With marijuana being classified as a schedule 1 drug, many big pharma companies are hesitant to research the drug and its potential for use in a medical setting. A move to a different schedule would likely change that, making those same companies far more comfortable with allowing their researchers to explore new avenues.
This would mean development of new drugs for a variety of ailments that includes chronic pain, epilepsy, and glaucoma, just to name a few. Medical marijuana offerings are available for many of these conditions now, but if you live in one of the 27 states that doesn't have laws regarding it, good luck getting treatment.
If rescheduling the drug were to happen, those companies could, at the very least, greatly expand the size of their markets before they even have to develop any new drugs. This would make the $6.7 billion the legal marijuana industry is projected to bring in this year look like pocket change by comparison. Not to mention the potential taxes that would follow.
Getting ahead of this trend, regardless of how you feel about the drug itself, is an easy way to make sure you put some of that money in your own pocket. As we've talked about in the past few months, there are several ways you can take advantage of this market, which is only going to get bigger.
As I said earlier, it's anyone's guess what the DEA will do when it comes to rescheduling marijuana, but you and I both know the U.S. government has never seen a revenue stream it didn't like.
Keep your eyes open,
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