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Has the Marijuana Tide Turned in the United States?

By: Gregory D. Thomas, Esq.

On April 17, 2016, Pennsylvania’s governor signed a measure legalizing medical marijuana (“MMJ”), potentially establishing one of the largest MMJ markets in the country. Now that legal MMJ calls 24 states and the District of Columbia home, this country is two states away from a majority legalizing MMJ. With Florida and Ohio showing overwhelming voter support for MMJ of 65% and 74%, respectively, according to a recent poll by Quinnipiac University, a majority of states could be achieved as early as November 2016. That same poll shows national support for MMJ at 81%. Polls in California, Massechusetts and Michigan also show majority support for recreational marijuana.

In addition, a recent announcement by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) could mean a change as early as this year in the federal status of marijuana from a Schedule I Controlled Substance to a Schedule II Controlled Substance. If the DEA reclassifies marijuana to Schedule II, it means the federal government acknowledges the drug as having an accepted medical use. While such a reclassification may not markedly affect the day-to-day operations of existing MMJ businesses throughout the country, it certainly bodes well for the future of the industry as other states contemplate marijuana legalization.

While marijuana has a long way to go before it is accepted in the same way as, say, alcohol, its future certainly looks brighter than it did five years ago when MMJ was legal in only sixteen states and recreational use was illegal in every state.

Please contact Cantafio & Song PLLC at (888) 458-0991 for more information on how we can assist you with your marijuana business law needs.