There is no doubt that the introduction of legal cannabis throughout various states in the U.S. has been a major breakthrough for many parts of the nation, but the legalization has had a large effect on social politics as well. With decriminalization happening around the nation, many people of color and those from low-income communities, are still targeted by old marijuana laws.
Jon Boehner is currently looked at as someone revolutionary for the pot industry. As a longtime proponent of the legal cannabis market, Boehner has finally turned around, joining as a board member of one of the largest cannabis companies in the business. But although these pieces of news seem incredibly positive for the industry, and they are, there are still many socioeconomic issues with the cannabis market.
Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii stated earlier in the week that “More than 2 million in jail, mostly black and brown, many for holding a small amount of marijuana. The drug war is a fiscal and moral failure but before moving on, we must stop imprisoning people of color for something that is effectively no longer illegal in fancy towns.” This figure is quite startling when looking at the whole of the industry, and needs to be considered when making new legislation for the future of the market.
According to one survey, almost one half of a million people were arrested for selling weed during Boehner’s House Speaker stint from 2011 to 2015. There are two main reasons that he has stated the industry should change. The first of those is the fact that cannabis can have a very positive effect on the world of veterans. Veterans can suffer from a wider range of illnesses that often can be helped by the use of cannabis. Because of this, many politicians have been changing their stance on the issue due to the fact that cannabis has the potential to help so many people. With new medicines being made on a daily basis, it seems as though cannabis could potentially change the pharmaceutical world in the near future.
The other reason that Boehner states is incremental to legalizing marijuana is the opioid crisis. A new study has come out recently showing the correlation between states that have legislation of cannabis in some form or another, and individuals who are addicted to opioid-related drugs. The study showed that in states where weed is easy to get, the instance of opioid addiction is statistically lower.
Both of these reasons are main contributing factors in the fight for marijuana legislation reform in the U.S. The recent news of Senate Minority leader Charles E. Schumer from New York, announcing a new bill into the marijuana industry, has taken the market by storm. He stated that the new bill will “inject real dollars into minority and women-owned businesses to ensure those disproportionately affected by marijuana criminalization can benefit from this new economy.” Throughout D.C., the sentiment around marijuana has been changing greatly. With Washington D.C. being one of around 9 states in the U.S. that have legalized cannabis for recreational use, it seems as though the times are changing. Senator Kirsten Gillbrand of New York stated that “Black and Latino people in NYC are arrested at TEN times the rate of white people for virtually the same rate of marijuana usage. Along with Cory Booker and Sen. Sanders, I’m cosponsoring a bill to legalize and decriminalize marijuana. Raise your voices and join us in this fight.” The hopes are high that the efforts from those in office will help to change the marijuana industry for good.