The medical marijuana industry holds the potential to disappear as more states continue to legalize recreational marijuana. Currently nine states and Washington, D.C. have legalized recreational marijuana while the medical marijuana industry allows 30 states and D.C. its use. According to cannabis researchers ArcView Market Research in partnership with BDS Analytics, the latest revenue estimates for the United States medical cannabis industry in 2018 is $4.3 billion while adult recreational use is projected to be $6.7 billion. Last year, adult use only gather $2.6 billion and medical use racked in $5.9 billion.
Tom Adams, managing director of industry intelligence at BDS Analytics says much of the decrease in the medical market and surge in recreational use has to do with users gaining wider access to the substance. Plus, with significant tax breaks charged on sales for medical patients, several stores stopped selling medical marijuana, adds Adams.
“The reality is that adult-use in the U.S. is enjoying its ‘honeymoon’ stage,” says de Carcer. “Over time, many of the same variables driving global growth of medical, which include rising quality standards, growth of CBD and increased research on efficacy, will likely create a resurgence in medical growth alongside a stabilizing adult-use market.”
Although many don’t believe in this ‘honeymoon’ stage. Adding to the places that are legalizing recreational marijuana is Canada, who will become the first G-7 Country to allow citizens to consume it. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is working on this fulfillment since his campaign promise, as well as the culmination of the cultural normalization of cannabis, which is ongoing since medical marijuana was approved in 2002. As the trend of marijuana continues, it is almost certain to begin seeing this amongst several others across the globe.
Forbes mentioned looking at the U.S. law, the Controlled Substances Act designates cannabis as a Schedule I drug, meaning that it has “high abuse potential, no medical use, and severe safety concerns.” The opinions towards the drug being a Schedule I drug limits the ability of doctors, researchers and drug companies to explore the possible benefits of the wide array of psychoactive chemicals in the plant and then optimize them for specific patient benefits and outcomes, according to Forbes.
However, in the social view of cannabis, the drug went from inherently dangerous to a medicine that is possibly safe for recreational consumption. The legalization of medical marijuana and cannabis-derived drugs shows a change in thinking for the states that have chosen to allow its consumption.
Germany too, legalized medical marijuana in 2017 and allows patients with a prescription to use pot. The German demand is actually so high that the government is working to increase Canadian imports, in order to keep the costs low for its patients. Australia was a step ahead and legalized medical marijuana in 2016, though the process to get your hands-on marijuana is more of a challenge. Italy legalized it in 2013, but they too have had a hard time keeping up with demand.
In total, 39 countries allow medical marijuana or cannabis-derived drugs, without including the United States. In the U.S., marijuana is illegal at the federal level, but 31 states approved medical use while 15 states allows cannabis-derived oils.
Although the United States currently lists marijuana as a Schedule I drug, a powerful U.S. House panel that oversees federal drug enforcement efforts approved a bill on Thursday to require the Department of Justice and Attorney General Jeff Sessions to begin issuing more licenses to grow marijuana for research, according to Forbes.
Prior to the vote, a dispute emerged regarding a provision of the legislation that prevents individuals with a “conviction for a felony or drug-related misdemeanor”from any affiliated cannabis research operation.
A letter sent to the committee’s leaders on Wednesday by the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Watch, #cut50, the Drug Policy Alliance and other groups read: “There is no legitimate health or public safety justification for the inclusion of this language and we urge you to strike this unnecessary, punitive ban on individuals with previous drug law violations.” The letter continues saying, “To help lower recidivism rates and improve public safety, we should be making it easier for people with records to obtain jobs, not more difficult.”
Those in favor of legalizing it, worked profusely all week to build support to amend the bill accordingly. However, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, refused to participate with a compromise that would have stripped the restrictions on people with drug misdemeanors while maintaining the ban on those with felony convictions, Capitol Hill staffers and advocates said.
At the debate before the vote took place, Goodlatte argued that it is “wholly appropriate that we set a firm standard for those who are supposed to be growing and manufacturing research-grade marijuana.”
Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) offered an amendment to discard the words “drug-related misdemeanor” from the provision in question, but ultimately removed the proposal instead of forcing a vote after Goodlatte made a commitment to work to revise the restrictions prior to the bill traveling to the House floor.
The overall bill was then approved by a voice vote. “While there are many varying opinions on the issue of marijuana, one thing we all can agree on is that we need qualified researchers to study the science to determine if there are any potential medicinal benefits to chemicals derived from cannabis,” Goodlatte said in a statement.
Matt Gaetz wrote on Twitter saying, “What a shame if disagreement on such a small thing kept us from making University/Hospital/Hospice/VA/MedSchool #MedicalMarijuana research collaboration legal with the vibrant, innovative commercial cannabis industry.”
Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV), who is not a member of the panel,also praised its passage in a tweet writing, “Today the Judiciary Committee passed the Medical Cannabis Research Act. This bipartisan bill I’ve cosponsored is a small step in removing barriers to federal research, including at our VA facilities. There’s more work to do, but this is a commonsense bill that should become law.”
“While this vote marks a step forward, it must also be acknowledged that despite existing barriers to research, ample studies already exist to contradict cannabis’ federal, schedule I status as a substance without medical utility, lacking acceptable safety, and possessing a high potential of abuse,” NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said in a press release. “More clinical research is welcome, but unfortunately science has never driven marijuana policy. If it did, the United States would already have a very different policy in place.”