Voters rose up and made their voice heard last week as marijuana is now recreationally legal in Washington, Colorado, Alaska, Oregon, and Washington D.C. Everyone got all bent out of shape by our loss in Florida on the medical front but let’s not let one sour grape spoil the bunch. Florida will come, along with many other key states in the battle for legal weed across the country. But our loss in Florida on the medical level is not what should be the focal point of the election results. There’s one key factor that people are missing here. One factor that I believe has a much bigger impact on our fight than Florida.
Like it or not the pot industry is set for an explosion. And it won’t be from Florida legalizing it on a medical level. It will come from a federal declassification of marijuana as a Schedule I drug. And Washington D.C. legalizing recreational weed is absolutely essential for this to happen as we have just taken the fight right to the government’s backyard. Now they get to see firsthand that not only is legal weed not harmful, but it’s actually beneficial to society!
Just look at Colorado, aside from the millions of dollars in tax revenue they hope to use to redo their school systems, the state has seen a strong influx of job opportunities while crime has declined. Without getting into all the exact numbers and details, I think everyone is in agreement that it worked out pretty damn well. But back to Capitol Hill…
You see, the marijuana industry is going to be in a bit of a choke hold until Congress drops the Schedule I classification. How weed is classified the same as ecstasy and heroin truly blows my mind. That makes about as much sense to me as do the stupid little decorative pegs people put in their Crocs.
Declassifying the drug is so crucial to the growth of the marijuana industry because it would lift the IRS Tax Code 280E, which bars companies from deducting expenses if their business dealings consist of “trafficking of controlled substances.” Until now, neither political party showed much interest in debating the topic but now that it’s in their backyard, they don’t have a choice but to discuss it.
Even anti-marijuana activist Kevin A. Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), was quoted saying, “Indeed, I do envision a national marijuana industry. They already have a lobbying group in D.C., and that is exactly the direction they are heading.” The shift may come one congressional session after the 2016 election, predicts Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority, an advocacy group that favors regulating cannabis sales and ending pot arrests.
The politicians, Angell said, simply need to read the polls. “We can expect to see more members of Congress and even presidential candidates working to court the cannabis constituency,” Angell said. “And I think this is going to happen rather quickly, just as happened with marriage equality.”
You see everyone, RELAX! Florida not passing medical marijuana isn’t as big of a deal as originally interpreted. Marijuana stocks took an absolute beating the day after the failed Florida vote completely neglecting the fact that Washington D.C., Alaska, and Oregon all approved recreational marijuana. The election votes were good, not bad. Washington D.C. may not be a state, but it just may prove to be the most influential step in our fight for legal weed coast to coast.