Currently, the therapeutic use of medical marijuana is legal in 33 states and DC, and California and Canada recently made cannabis available for purchase to anyone 21 and older.
While many consider these developments a step in the right direction, the prohibition on pot persists. In fact, half a million Americans are arrested every year on possession charges.
Nevertheless, experts believe that cannabis will experience remarkable strides in the coming years and predict that 2019 will be huge for medical marijuana. Here are some of the changes that we can anticipate.
Will Medical Marijuana Become Fully Legal?
A number of experts believe that in the next 2 tyears, medical marijuana will be legal for adult-use nearly nationwide. This is because state legislators are beginning to hear and understand that it’s an important issue to their constituents.
Additionally, the STATES Act, which is co-sponsored by senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) hopes to provide protection from federal prosecution to citizens that are following the state’s marijuana laws.
As a result, those in the weed business would no longer have to worry about criminal liability and could get bank accounts and receive tax deductions, which could be a significant benefit to both dispensaries and medical marijuana users.
However, there are those that question the likelihood of President Trump supporting the issue in the immediate future, especially since it is championed by Elizabeth Warren.
Boom in Research and Funding
Advancement of research is another reason that 2019 will be huge for medical marijuana, as scientists study the merits of using CBD and cannabis as safer alternatives for pain management.
This has been made possible, in part, by the 2018 Farm Bill that legalized CBD and its compounds, allowing researchers to more readily evaluate dosing and indications for use.
Additionally, in 2018, the National Institutes of Health launched its HEAL Initiative and doubled funding to accelerate scientific solutions to the opioid epidemic. These efforts will focus on determining the role of cannabis as an effective non-opioid therapy for pain and encourage consideration of medical marijuana as a first-line analgesic.
Increased Diversity in Dispensary Ownership
The issue of money and diversity in medical marijuana companies will also be in the spotlight in 2019.
Many local and state governments are motivated to legalize medical marijuana for the potential tax benefits. However, high tax rates could become problematic and discourage certain growers and dispensaries from going legal.
What’s more, some insiders claim the marijuana industry is currently dominated by wealthy, white applicants that are more likely to obtain licenses for legal dispensaries, compared to applicants with fewer financial resources. Accordingly, equity programs have been put in place in an effort to increase diversity in the industry.
We can also expect to see more US-based medical marijuana companies receiving money from Canadian investors to keep up with growing costs. In fact, a number of business owners have been able to raise capital by becoming publicly-traded in Canada.
A number of experts are extremely excited by the possibility of increased innovation in cannabis products. They expect that 2019 will see an influx of specialists from other industries, such as food, beverage, tobacco, cosmetics, and creative individuals translating their expertise and skills to the medical marijuana industry.
This will mean increased money and product offerings, and the evolution of the cannabis industry.
To learn more about the benefits of cannabis and why 2019 will be huge for medical marijuana, please call our office today.
We will be happy to schedule a consultation with Dr. Bruce Rashbaum to determine if medical marijuana is right for you.