Last week’s presidential support of states’ rights to regulate cannabis was a welcome development for many in the legalized marijuana space. It shouldn’t have necessarily come as a surprise, though—after all, on the campaign trail, then-candidate Trump often espoused his view that the issue should be “up to the states.”
And it seems that many in Washington are beginning to come around to the President’s thinking on the matter, second-guessing long-held beliefs that have influenced federal policy for decades. In just the past week, two of the nation’s foremost media drivers of political thought/coverage have run articles that categorize the march toward legalization as having a cadence unmatched by any in history.
Evolution on the marijuana issue is proceeding at warp speed in political terms. [Former House Speaker John] Boehner is just the latest in a string of noteworthy newcomers to the legalization movement that has been barreling through state houses for the past decade. Just in the past several weeks, Mitch McConnell fast-tracked a Senate bill to legalize low-THC hemp. Chuck Schumer announced that he would introduce a bill to deschedule marijuana entirely … The Food and Drug Administration opened a comment period on the scheduling of marijuana ahead of a special session of the World Health Organization convened to re-evaluate marijuana laws, and both chambers of Congress passed “right to try” bills that might have accidentally legalized medical marijuana for terminally ill patients. Taken together they suggest that nearly 50 years of federal marijuana prohibition is about to disappear…
The Atlantic argues that full-scale legalization is a foregone conclusion, and while that rings, perhaps, of blind optimism, there is ample reason to believe that such an outcome is no longer as far-fetched as it was as recently as 10 years ago:
The marijuana wars are entering a new phase. The first phase, over whether or not to legalize the recreational use of cannabis, is over. The partisans of legalization have won the battle for public opinion. Soon, marijuana legalization will be entrenched in federal law. At this point, to fight against legalization is to fight against the inevitable. The only question now is what form America’s legal marijuana markets will take.
That such dialogue is occurring on the national stage speaks to the fact that the industry is finally at a place that it has, for so long, struggled to reach, and although there’s distance yet to cover, its outlook has never been more optimistic.