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Working Towards Sustainable Green for the Green

How the United States Is Currently Under-Selling Itself in the Cannabis Market

In considering the growing acceptance and legalization of cannabis throughout the United States, it may be prudent to examine and analyze the various aspects of how legalization or the continued banning of medical or recreational use may affect our society, our culture, our health, as well as even our own state and federal economies. In fact, just simply because of our current approach, or more specifically, our lack of a sustainable one, we could argue that from a strictly financial aspect, we are currently under-selling ourselves to the opportunity that cannabis can provide in economic revenue.

Federally speaking, the Drug Enforcement Administration still categorizes cannabis as being a Schedule I drug. This being the case, this classifies cannabis as being the equivalent of other drugs such as LSD and heroin. Because of this, “no deduction or credit shall be allowed for any amount paid or incurred during the taxable year in carrying on any trade or business… [because it] is prohibited by Federal law” (Cornell Law School, Law Information Institute)…

As a consequence of this, the only players who seriously benefit financially from distributing cannabis are those engaged in the black market. And with the current state of affairs, until recreational use is legalized federally and until it is removed as a Schedule I drug, they won’t be leaving that business any time soon.

By contrast then with the legalization of recreational use of cannabis in Canada, within just these past six months, Alberta by itself has75 recreational dispensaries more than any other province within the nation (Jordan, Leafly). And this just barely scratches the surface of the stark differences between the American versus the Canadian approach with cannabis. Upon legalization, Canada has opened the door to numerous possibilities of economic growth, particularly through stocks.

Numerous corporations such as Canopy Growth and OrganiGram Holdings Inc. amongst others are very much on the rise in their own growth and expansion through their stocks. Granted, lately there’s been some decrease in value amongst these cannabis stocks, however within the long term, these stocks have the capacity of potential multi-million dollar opportunities (Karmazyn, Profit Confidential). This isn’t even considering if and when American businesses enter the market with their own stocks.

Before we can even begin speculations of the effects this may have, however, we first have to reform and restructure our whole approach to cannabis, altogether. It makes absolutely no sense to continue treating the plant as a Schedule I drug and to have a remaining, stubborn stigmatization of it as well as those who use it and are a part of the culture.

It also makes no sense to hold on to these sensationalist and irrational perspectives of cannabis when it is scientifically proven to have numerous medical benefits and can also be a source of sustainable economic revenue from state to state, as well as even from a federal level upon legalization. What seems to be a critical underlying element with the issues that the United States has with cannabis seems simply to be that of ownership, or the lack thereof.

It is just a matter of whether or not we decide to continue living in the past and believing in the lies and propaganda surrounding cannabis, or whether or not we decide to utilize it as much as we can as a substance. If we were to just simply expand our approach with cannabis and, upon legalization, to implement measures such as taxing it and actively seeking various approaches of commercial and consumerist opportunities that it offers in directly the same vein that we’ve approached with substances such as alcohol and tobacco.

If we were to cease this prohibitionist lens and treatment of cannabis, we truly only have everything to gain from it, not lose—contingent, of course, on the most appropriate legal and ethical approaches of it. We have everything to benefit from federal legalization of recreational use of cannabis from a medical perspective as well as purely from an economical one, as well. As a nation that prides itself on industrial and corporate innovations, cannabis truly has all the potential of really extraordinary possibilities in prosperity of economic revenue that we consistently overlook and take for granted… or at least for now in these current state of affairs before it is ultimately legalized federally in hopefully the not-too-distant future.

Works Cited

“26 U.S. Code § 280E. Expenditures in connection with the illegal sale of drugs.” Cornell Law School, Legal Information Institute. Sept. 3, 1982,

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/26/280E.

Jordan, Harrison. “6 Months Since Legalization: A Snapshot of Canada’s

Legal Cannabis Sector.” Leafly. April 17, 2019, https://www.leafly.com/news/politics/6-month-legal-cannabis-canada.

Karmazyn, Stephen. “Marijuana News Today: Legalization Paying Off for Pot Stocks.” Profit Confidential. April 15, 2019, https://www.profitconfidential.com/marijuana/marijuana-news-today-legalization-paying-off/.

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