As of April 2021, 19 states have legalized marijuana for medical purposes and an additional 16 states have legalized marijuana for recreational purposes. In November 2020, four states were added to the growing list of states to legalize recreational marijuana via ballot measure.
Last month, New York followed suit; Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation to allow recreational marijuana starting in 2022. New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed legislation on April 12 to allow recreational marijuana; the legislation goes into effect on June 29. The Virginia General Assembly, whose original legislation slated recreational marijuana for 2024, on April 7 moved up its effective date to July 1 at the behest of Governor Ralph Northam.
As more than one third of all Americans now have access to recreational marijuana, the industry is exploding. On April 20, we’d like to explore the history of legalization.
Marijuana was outlawed over the course of decades, first in 1937 with the passing of the Marijuana Tax Act (with some states illegalizing it previously to that). This essentially taxed and regulated marijuana into oblivion, effectively making it illegal. In 1952, the Boggs Act levied strict, mandatory sentences for offenses involving drugs, including marijuana.
Then, in 1970, the Controlled Substances Act was passed into law. This law famously categorized drugs by their use for medical purposes and potential for abuse. Schedule 1 drugs were the most restricted, and marijuana was placed into this category, alongside heroin, 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA or ecstasy), lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), psilocybin (mushrooms), and more. Counter to popular belief, cocaine is not a Schedule 1 drug, as there are medical purposes using it as a local anesthetic.
Some states flirted with decriminalization and medical use of marijuana through the following decades. It was not until 2012 when Colorado became the first state to legalize marijuana for recreational uses. Alaska and Oregon legalized recreational marijuana in 2014 via ballot measure. By the 2016, eight states in total legalized recreational marijuana.
Marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, classified as a Schedule 1 substance.
Despite this, 60 percent of Americans believe that marijuana should be entirely legal. Many Americans praise efforts to carry this legalization through legislatures across the country, overcoming the outdated laws of a draconian justice legal system that imprisons nonviolent offenders and effectively ending the failed War on Drugs.
The path to legalization in many states follow a similar path. As 91 percent of Americans believe that marijuana should at least be legal for medical use, passing such legislation or forcing a ballot initiative to legalize medical marijuana is often the start. This was the case in New York, Colorado, California, and more.
As the current administration considers the push for decriminalization at the federal level, the marijuana industry continues to expand. Never before has there been such demand and opportunity.
As a budding industry, it remains relatively underserved by the technology sector. While existing programs can be used to account for and track a cannabis business, there are many nuances and complications (particularly due to the fact that it remains illegal at the federal level, hence why many banks and other federally regulated industries cannot enter into business relationships with cannabis growers and distributers).
Cannabis business owners face a high number of common obstacles. As an underserved industry, is can be very difficult to properly streamline operations, reduce administrative overhead, increase the quality of your business data, and continue to reliably scale your organization as demand increases, all while remaining compliant to your respective regulatory agencies.
Fortunately, these are all features that lie at the core of Tigunia’s Herb Commerce (TigHC).
For more information, sign up for today’s webinar at 11 a.m. CDT to see a thorough walkthrough of this comprehensive software. We will record it, as well, so if you’re not able to join the live session, register anyway and get details for viewing the on-demand video later this week.