For the marijuana community, the last few months have been particularly busy ones. Most recently, the DEA has finally decided to loosen their tight restrictions on medical marijuana, but still kept the drug classified in the same ‘Schedule 1’ category along with heroin and LSD. Both before and after the decision was made, there was a lot of discussion over the pros and cons of the possible re-scheduling of marijuana. Whilst some thought that taking it down into Schedule 2 would make the industry vulnerable to a brand new set of potentially crippling regulations, others believed that this would be the best step towards de-criminalizing the substance completely.
The Impact of Classification
In reality, the classification of marijuana has had little to no impact on the industry whatsoever. John Hudak, an expert on marijuana policy from the Brookings Institute, says that many people misunderstand scheduling. In reality, all that classification actually does is change the rules by which federal researchers or others conducting studies which are federally approved need to abide by. This means that the classification of the substance actually has no impact on the legal cannabis market.
Microsoft and Marijuana
In a further key development, Microsoft have recently announced their partnership with Kind, a Los Angeles-based company which makes ‘seed-to-sales’ software for the purpose of tracking the journey of a marijuana plant. This software is able to track the plant all the way from its inception and to dispensaries right up until it finally makes its way into the pipes and vaporizers of customers. In order to understand why Microsoft has made this move, just take a look at the annual sales which are generated by the cannabis business. Research company ArcView has recently revealed that the sales of legal cannabis are expected to grow significantly in the next few years, having already grown to over $6 billion this year.
Why Are the Sales Growing So Quickly?
One of the main reasons why the sales of legal cannabis are growing so rapidly is that society’s attitude towards marijuana is changing. Along with this, there is no denying that selling legal forms of cannabis plants definitely generates a lot of cash for certain U.S. states. Apparently, Colorado alone netted a huge $70 million just last year from taxes on marijuana sales, almost double the amount they received from taxes on alcohol. In turn, this has also helped to boost the economy of many small towns within the state and has also given a massive boost to a range of social projects that provide relief and support to homeless and low-income people. Already, four U.S. states have seen a number of benefits from legalizing both the recreational and medicinal use of the cannabis plant.
Amidst all of this news, the rules for things such as alcohol and marijuana tend to differ from state to state, which could make compliance become more complex and potentially problematic within an industry that in some parts, is still viewed as shady. However, there is no denying the economic and financial benefits enjoyed by the states which have legalized the drug.