Pot Prohibitionists Push Back
If you think the fight to legalize marijuana is over, think again. The prohibitionists are pushing back.
Case in point: A secret recording surfaced this past weekend in which President Trump can be heard saying marijuana use makes people “lose IQ points.” He also lamented that “in Colorado they have more accidents” because of marijuana legalization in that state.
Trump’s claim that using marijuana causes people to shed IQ points is contradicted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). According to the federal agency:
“[R]ecent results from two prospective longitudinal twin studies did not support a causal relationship between marijuana use and IQ loss.”
Trump isn’t alone in his disdain for pot. Many health experts and social conservatives are trying to reverse the tide of growing marijuana use.
The U.S. Attorney for the District of Utah recently said he’s worried that marijuana legalization will “bring down our society.”
According to Ohio State Rep. Candice Keller (R), mass shootings across the United States in large part stem from cannabis legalization. Rep. Keller claims that getting high on pot makes young people more likely to devalue human life.
The Austin, Texas police chief said that marijuana arrests will continue in the city despite a unanimous City Council vote designed to terminate such arrests. Austin is a free-spirited, fun-loving city, but the police chief is avowedly anti-pot.
The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia tweeted:
“Concerned that people with serious health issues may defer real treatment to self-treat based on UNPROVEN health claims by CBD sellers. FOLLOW ADVICE OF REAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS. Don’t rely on UNPROVEN claims that might be wrong or worse. Could be very dangerous or fatal.”
U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has consistently voted against protecting marijuana laws in legalized states. His lack of enthusiasm for marijuana legalization slowed the impetus for cannabis reform in Congress, when Republicans were in charge of the House. Pot reform currently enjoys far better odds, with marijuana-friendly Democrats now controlling the chamber.
But the fact is, despite the efforts of pot prohibitionists, the legalization of marijuana rolls on (so to speak). As I’ve previously written, there’s too much money at stake. Anti-pot crusaders will probably prove unsuccessful in putting the genie back into the bottle. By the time all the votes are counted in November 2020, several more states are likely to have legalized marijuana to one degree or another.
Don’t get us wrong: we’re agnostic on marijuana legalization. We make no moral judgments, either way. As investors, we take the world as we find it. Legalization helps marijuana investors…period. If you agree with the prohibitionists, let your conscience be your guide.
In the meantime, let’s look at marijuana’s latest momentum on the legal front, at the federal and state levels.
Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang said at a town hall meeting that he wants to legalize psychedelic mushrooms for military veterans. Yang argues that the mushrooms can help alleviate post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as physical injuries. Yang also endorsed eliminating the federal prohibition on marijuana and pardoning people imprisoned for pot. Yang joked that these marijuana offenders should be “high fived” on their way out of prison.
Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer’s new criminal justice reform plan includes legalizing marijuana, decriminalizing opioids, making he capital markets more accessible for marijuana companies, and ending the crack/powder cocaine sentencing disparity. Here’s an excerpt from Steyer’s plan:
“Tom believes we must end the failed War on Drugs. Based on the flawed idea that incarceration is the answer to addiction, federal and state elected officials passed severe sentencing laws that encouraged incarceration for low-level drug offenses. Unfortunately, communities of color were and continue to be disproportionately affected and targeted by these laws, even when other ethnicities were committing the same drug crimes at the same rates.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden (D), a presidential candidate, recently said at a campaign event that it would be a good idea to clear marijuana records.
The U.S. House bill to deschedule marijuana and fund programs to repair the damage of the drug war gathered one new cosponsor for a total of 69.
Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner recently met with the Kentucky Hemp Industries Association and the Kentucky Hemp Farmers Association, to find ways to expedite the growth of the state’s hemp industry.
Hemp was decriminalized nationwide by the 2018 Farm Bill. As the following infographic shows, hemp is blossoming into a big business throughout the U.S.
A Massachusetts judge granted a temporary injunction against Cambridge’s plan to give economic empowerment marijuana business license applicants a two-year head start over existing medical cannabis dispensaries.
Separately, the state legislature’s Joint Committee on Cannabis approved a bill to let regulators review agreements and payments between marijuana businesses and the communities that host them. Bay State officials also transferred the medical marijuana dispensary license application process to an online portal.
In November 2016, Massachusetts voters passed Question 4, legalizing recreational marijuana for individuals 21 years of age or older. The law went into effect December 2016 and the state’s recreational-use market officially began sales in November 2018.
Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) spoke about her administration’s efforts to repair the damage to individuals and communities harmed by the drug war.
The Rhode Island Senate Judiciary Committee and House Judiciary Committee started hearings Tuesday on legislation to overhaul medical cannabis regulations.
California’s insurance commissioner said his agency will show leniency toward applications from people with past marijuana convictions who want to be licensed to become insurance agents or brokers.
California activists have vowed to put a ballot measure to the state’s voters in 2020 that would lower taxes and ease regulations on marijuana, as a way to undercut the Golden State’s proliferating black market for marijuana sales.
The Louisiana Supreme Court starting hearing oral arguments Monday in a case challenging a life sentence over selling $30 worth of marijuana.
John Persinos is the editor-in-chief of Marijuana Investing Daily.