When a handful of minds came together, the United States was the first country to land a person on the moon. Support, dedication, and a wealth of research went into a crowning achievement that saw the United States of America leading the world in space exploration and manned missions. We are a country of innovators, pioneers, and proud business people looking to change markets forever. Still, even after 68% of U.S. adults support the federal legalization of cannabis, we’re met with crickets. Where is the “Will of the People” when it matters most?
Over 48.2 million people in the United States used cannabis products in 2019, and that number has only grown in the years since. Even if you were to disregard the surveys, polls, and countless letters to representatives, the growth of cannabis to a $17 billion industry says everything you need to know about public sentiment towards the “budding” industry. The record-breaking numbers announced by Forbes and a recent Gallup Poll paint a complicated picture for our lawmakers who continue to stifle efforts to facilitate compliant growth.
Which States Support Cannabis?
Out of 50 states, only 37 support legalized medical or recreational cannabis. However, four have scheduled bills for reviewing their laws in the 2021 legislative season, including Maryland, Missouri, New York, and Texas.
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The economies that opt into a compliant program experience higher employment, a wealth of tax, jobs, and research opportunities for industry innovation. Numbers speak even when lawmakers won’t: those that do not are refraining from a place of superstition, stigma, and lobbying—not out of the interests of their own people.
Cannabis remains one of the only major political issues that ignores the deepening Right vs. Left rut that our national politics is mired in, and enjoys support from both sides of the political aisle, as well as among almost any demographic you can carve out.
In a statement released in the wake of their latest findings on nationwide cannabis support, Gallup pollsters said, “As was the case in 2020, solid majorities of U.S. adults in all major subgroups by gender, age, income and education support legalizing marijuana.”
With more than 2 out of every 3 American adults in favor of federal cannabis reform, it seems like it should be a safe and easy victory for spineless politicians, but still they drag their feet, revealing that what voters really want is of little or no concern to most lawmakers when there are well-funded lobbyists taking them golfing and out for drinks on a daily basis. It is up to the American voters to hold them accountable when Election Days roll around.
“There is no buyer’s remorse on the part of the American people,” says NORML’s Executive Director Erik Altieri. “In the era of state-level legalization, voters’ support for this issue has grown rapidly — an indication that these policy changes have been successful and are comporting with voters’ desires and expectations. Today, voters of every age and in virtually every region of the country agree that marijuana should be legal. We have a mandate from the American people and we intend to make sure that elected officials abide by it.”
America is at its best when it collaborates with its citizens and produces exceptional results. An inclusive industry for cannabis producers and consumers could see a transformed economic region that benefits everyone equitably. As for what magic percentage of supporters they are looking for, before finally taking it seriously, is anyone’s guess. Until then, we continue to be the voice of an industry that refuses to go unheard.