Today, more Americans than at any point in the last decade support the federal legalization of marijuana. The latest numbers show that well over half of Americans support legalization. The most recent approval number is two percent higher than the last review taken over two years between 2017 and 2019. The support for marijuana legalization has grown exponentially over the previous two decades. It took thirty years to build support for legalization from a fractional 12% to 30%. Now, legalization enjoys more mainstream support than ever, which shows in the statistics. Marijuana support grew by 38% between the years 2000 and 2019.
Public Support Could Mean Changes to Federal Law
As the public grows more supportive of legalization and more states pass medical and full legalization laws, it becomes easier for change to happen at the federal level. The path to state legalization seems to be following the same arch as public support. With 68% of Americans supporting legalization, it’s not surprising that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Cory Booker are joining together to support legislation to bring the issue back to the forefront of the national conversation. Senate leadership reported plans at the beginning of February regarding marijuana’s status under federal law.
The senators released a discussion draft with more details, and according to Senator Cory Booker’s website, they said:
"In the early part of this year, we will release a unified discussion draft on comprehensive reform to ensure restorative justice, protect public health and implement responsible taxes and regulations. Getting input from stakeholder groups will be an important part of developing this critical legislation.”
Schumer plans to take up comprehensive legislation that would end the prohibition of marijuana at the federal level. This is also important to individuals with marijuana-related criminal convictions. This is not Senator Schumer’s first attempt to change federal marijuana laws. He co-sponsored a bill several years ago, and he announced similar plans during the Trump administration in 2018.
What Federal Changes Could Mean for Cannabis Businesses
The illegality of marijuana possession and use under federal law continues to be a hurdle for cannabis business owners. Marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug, so it is defined as a controlled substance without medical benefit. Its classification prevents government research into the drug, and it prevents doctors from prescribing it for medical use. It also presents an odious financial hurdle for business owners because of banking and financing limitations. As long as federal law continues to be out of step with state laws, cannabis business owners will be trapped between two systems of contradictory laws.
Until federal law is changed, entrepreneurs will continue to struggle with confusing regulations and financial risks as they work to tackle the cannabis industry. The regulation can be challenging to navigate without legal help. The cannabis industry is highly regulated, and starting a business and continuing to surmount regulation and hurdles can require legal assistance. An attorney can help you navigate the changing landscape of marijuana regulation.
At Purdy and Bailey, we understand the challenges facing our cannabis business clients. Contact our attorneys If you need to discuss the details of your case with a professional. Call us now at (858) 360-7080 for more information about how we can help.