As the 4th of July rolls around, let’s take a moment to reflect and remember what this date stands for – it’s the day we signed the Declaration of Independence, a document that officially dissolved political bands that connected the colonies to England. In short, the Declaration of Independence stands for freedom. It’s what we Americans value most.
When the issue of legalizing the use of cannabis (legal term marijuana) made it into the forefront of American discourse, you can imagine the controversy. The federal government considers cannabis a schedule I drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970. However, individual states have enacted legislation permitting exemptions for various uses, mainly for medical and industrial use.
California is one of nine states, plus the District of Columbia, where it’s legal to buy and consume recreational marijuana. There are also 29 states, plus D.C., that have approved medical marijuana.
When it finally became legal to consume cannabis recreationally in California, where Oster and Associates is headquartered, the company collectively decided that cannabis was an industry it wanted to support and service. It’s clear that cannabis is here to stay. While many may criticize the industry, we decided as an agency to embrace it and here’s why…
One, there is a great economic opportunity with cannabis. Cannabis is creating jobs from horticulturists cultivating plants, to labs testing the safety of the medicine, to budtenders at dispensaries. California is the world’s sixth largest economy, which can mean billions of dollars for the state. To be specific, the cannabis market could reach $4.27 billion in 2018 and $6.45 billion by 2020 when you combine medical and recreational sales. Just last week Canada agreed to legalize cannabis starting October 17, joining 19 other countries who have already seen cannabis’ economic value.
Two, and perhaps most important, cannabis has been shown to have healing properties. There is promising research into the use of marijuana that could impact tens of thousands of children and adults, including treatment for cancer and Alzheimer’s to name a few. This last Monday the FDA approved the prescription cannabidiol (CBD) medicine to treat rare and severe forms of epilepsy. CBD is derived from cannabis but does not contain THC, a mind-altering chemical, which means it is non-psychoactive.
Celinda Lake, a national political strategist for the Democratic Party, recently stated that “Medical marijuana is now more popular than the 4th of July.” In a Quinnipiac poll – 94% of Americans are in favor of medical marijuana. One of the largest collective groups in the U.S., our military veterans who have fought long and hard for our individual freedom, are pro medical marijuana, and there’s no group more deserving than our men and women in the armed forces. It has also shown to help with PTSD, reduce the need for opioids and provides medical benefits that help save lives.
The issue comes down to this – freedom and individual liberty to make choices that are the best for us. So, this 4th of July, when you’re out barbequing with friends and family and enjoying the fireworks, remember how lucky we are to live in a country where we can fight for the right to consume cannabis if we so choose.