Three Signs Federal Legalization Is Close Enough To Touch
Like signs of the apocalypse, these are the clues that federal legalization is at hand. The end is nigh!
Cannabis history is an immensely fascinating subject. Societies have harvested and consumed, destroyed and demonized, and eventually legalized the plant. Canada and Uruguay have both enacted federal legalization. Mexico is just around the corner. Now people are starting to wonder when the United States will follow suit.
Here are a few signs that federal legalization is closer than we think.
Social-use Cannabis Establishments Gaining Popularity
Although a few countries have made cannabis recreationally available, there are a few that are leading the charge in the realm of social consumption. Take for example the cities of Amsterdam and Barcelona.
In the former, ‘coffee shops’ allow social consumption. In the latter, ‘social clubs’ are private establishments where you can purchase and consume of cannabis.
Perhaps those two models have influenced the recent push for establishments in the United States that allow for social consumption. Of course, the accepted social consumption of cannabis would likely influence how quickly federal legalization occurs. It would make the government look ridiculous to have states and municipalities openly violating federal law without repercussion.
Let’s look at a few places where they are trying to do just that.
Alaska became the first state to officially legalize on-site consumption, however, no establishments have yet been permitted to allow it. The state is currently seeking input from the public regarding tweaks to the rule.
Likewise, the city of Las Vegas recently voted to create new business licenses that would allow for on-site consumption of cannabis. Along with an annual $5,000 fee, businesses that allow social consumption of cannabis will also be prohibited from selling it. However, they will be able to sell paraphernalia like vaporizers and rolling papers.
In Colorado, House Bill 1230 was recently sent to the desk of Governor Jared Polis that would allow dispensaries, restaurants, hotels, and other businesses to apply for a license for social cannabis consumption areas.
Canopy Growth Formed an Agreement with Acreage Holdings
When one major company agrees to buy another contingent upon the actions of a government, it’s a signal to the government that big business supports certain political actions. Canopy Growth is one business who has signalled their approval with the Acreage Holdings purchase in April. The deal, as broadcasted, is pending federal legalization of cannabis.
You likely won’t be surprised to hear that the former Speaker of the House, John Boehner, is on the board for Acreage Holdings. With such an influential figure on the team who can speak directly with those on Capitol Hill, there is a good chance that opinions will continue to evolve. As they do, we may inch closer to federal legalization.
While it’s no surprise that cannabis businesses are pushing for cannabis legalization, there are other big brand companies that are doing the same thing. Such companies include:
- Altria Group Inc. (owners of Marlboro and Phillip Morris)
- Novartis (a major pharmaceutical company)
- Constellation Brands (makers of Corona beers, Svedka vodka)
Even Coca-cola has been rumored to be looking for an entrance into the market.
And as big businesses start to eye federal legalization, opinions are shifting in Washington D.C.
The Attorney General’s Statements on Federal Legalization
Attorney General William Barr is no fan of legalized cannabis. At a recent Senate appropriations hearing, he said, “I would still favor one uniform federal rule against marijuana.” However, that doesn’t mean he isn’t clever enough to recognize the political imprudence of its opposition. He added that he was even more displeased with the current system by saying, “I think the way to go is to permit a more federal approach so states can make their own decisions within the framework of the federal law and so we’re not just ignoring the enforcement of federal law.”
Ideally, in Barr’s mind, Congress will deal with the issue. Legalization would likely pass the House, but the Senate, even with a handful of Republican sponsors, is having difficulty pushing legalization forward.
How far away do you think federal legalization is? Considering the rising popularity of social-use establishments, major companies joining forces across borders, and people in the government signaling their possible support for cannabis legalization, it might come sooner than you think.
Let us know what we missed and when you think federal legalization for cannabis will occur in the United States!