Marijuana advocates have been relentlessly campaigning for marijuana to be legalized either for medical use, recreational use, or both, in many states in the U.S.
Those campaigns are bearing fruit and may eventually prove even more successful as additional states ponder changing the legal status for marijuana. The drug is currently legal for recreational use in four states, and it has been approved for only medical use in 21 other states, the District of Columbia and Guam (a U.S. territory). Analysts believe that the states were cannabis is still illegal may jump on the marijuana support bandwagon. The federal government has, however, not been so compelled by the thought of legalizing marijuana.
U.S. President Barack Obama stated that legalizing the drug in the individual states is the best way to convince Congress to change its position. Such a strategy should eventually compel the federal government to reposition marijuana outside the schedule 1 category, which currently has it in the same class as drugs like heroin and cocaine. Three states – Maine, Florida and Nevada – have already managed to secure marijuana ballots to be held in November. Eight other states are still gathering signatures to bring a vote to the public this fall.
The states still gathering signatures are Arizona, Missouri, Michigan, Montana, Massachusetts, Arkansas, Oklahoma and North Dakota. California has already collected more than the minimum number of votes expected, although it is yet to be guaranteed a ballot in November. California will most likely be taking some factors into consideration, such as the fact that the state could potentially be the largest marijuana market in the nation.
The road so far has not been easy for the marijuana advocates who have constantly been facing challenges, especially probes about the negative impact of marijuana and the cry that it is a “gateway” to harder drugs. In California, for example, authorities are skeptical about legalizing the drug due to matters such as addiction and potential negative impact on user health. Nevertheless, advocates are not shy about waving research on the drug that suggests otherwise.
Overall, there is a positive outlook on marijuana in most states and investors are gearing up to reap the benefits of the transition. The federal government, on the other hand, does not seem to be in a hurry to change its stance on the drug any time soon…but the day will likely come.
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