Daniel Fung of Watertown, CT is a consultant and speaker in the medical marijuana industry. He has long covered efforts to decriminalize medical marijuana over the years in his Daniel Fung Arrest blog. Below, he recaps some of the latest news concerning the increased acceptance of MMJ by the public at-large.
Over half of the states in America have legalized medical marijuana now. While drug perception has shifted dramatically over the years, the debate over whether all narcotics should be legalized still persists.
However, misconceptions around medical marijuana – and drugs in general – are still rather prevalent. How much has the public’s perception of illegal substances changed, and why is that?
Not a Gateway Drug
From the Daniel Fund Arrest blog we learn that researchers from the US National Institute of Justice stated that they cannot “conclusively claim cannabis as a gateway drug.” There isn’t enough evidence that tie cannabis with the abuse of other illicit drugs. So, would medical marijuana really become a gateway drug for those being prescribed? Many argue that if tobacco and alcohol can be classified as legal drugs and categorized as gateway drugs, then what is the issue with medical marijuana?
On October 20, Jane Coaston, host of the show “The Argument,” discussed whether marijuana is a gateway drug. She started off her segment recapping President Joe Biden’s weigh-in on the topic.
President Biden suggests that there has not been enough research gathered to determine whether it is a gateway drug. But in fact, there is. Many researchers do contest this point. While President Biden may not be ready for recreational marijuana or even medical marijuana to be legalized, many states already are.
Decriminalizing Drugs – Daniel Fung says Arrests are Down
Daniel Fung of Watertown explains that state governments are decriminalizing weed further and retracting old laws that were set way back in the 1970s to the 1990s. Much of these are only symbolic, preventing physicians from “prescribing” marijuana, which is classified as a Schedule 1 drug.
However, as of May 18, 2021, 36 states and four territories allow for the medical use of cannabis products. Out of which:
- Virginia – passed legislation on February 27 and approved the governor’s amendments of HB2312and SB1406 on April 7, 2021
- New Jersey – NJ AB 21passed the legislature and signed on March 1, 2021
- New Mexico – passed HB 2Cannabis regulation act on March 31 and signed on April 12, 2021
- New York – both AB 1248A / SB 854passed legislation and were signed on March 31, 2021
- Connecticut – passedSB 1201 on June 17, and the governor signed it on June 22, 2021
The Future of Medical Marijuana
Despite the plant being illegal under federal law, people’s views toward the drug have eased over the last decade, according to Daniel Fung CT. Marijuana has garnered significant attention from investors, manufacturers, and researchers.
- In 2019, the legal marijuana sector in the US was predicted to be worth $13.6 billion, offering employment to 340,000 people.
- Nonpartisan Pew Research Center poll shows, 91% of Americans say marijuana should be legalized, out of which 31% said for medical use only.
- The legal marijuana market in the US is projected to produce $43 billionby 2025; some estimates even show $85 billion by 2030.
- As per a New York University study, the percentage of persons aged 50 to 64 who use marijuana has doubled to 9% in the last decade, while use among adults 65 and older has climbed seven times to nearly 3% (due to a higher % of medical marijuana users).
- New Frontier Data estimates that the market for medical marijuana products, such as CBD-based products, will expand from $390 million in 2018 to $1.3 billion in 2022, a 3.3x increase.
Destigmatizing the Plant
The pandemic saw a rise in plant owners but also a lot of plant losses. Because of this, fibers such as silk, plastic, and polyester have become popular for creating artificial flowers, like orchids and succulents.
A small online store that opened in fall 2020 called Pot Plant sells artificial weed plants to be displayed anywhere you would like. They hope that these visual and symbolic plant-like objects will spark open conversations and help fight the negative perception of marijuana. Something that can be seen as a natural and beautiful plant.
Many athletes, celebrities, and iconic figures have also voiced their stance on the herb. On August 19, Kevin Durant announced his partnership and sponsorship deal with his VC firm Thirty-Five Ventures. What this partnership hopes to accomplish is destigmatize medical marijuana use. Javier Hasse, the Senior Contributor of Forbes, reports that this will lead to more conversations of cannabis and sports medicine along with its relationship to the prescription pharmaceutical industry.
The acceptance of marijuana for medical use is slowly on the rise, with more people understanding its deep medical benefits. Extensive research has indicated that a substantial number of people with mental illness can find a therapeutical use in cannabis to manage symptoms such as stress, anxiety, chronic pain, sleep issues, and more.
There is still much to overcome with regard to legalizing this drug for medicinal use while also removing the surrounding stigma. Daniel Fung of Watertown, CT says it is proving likely that medical marijuana would soon become a common mode of relief in the future of modern medicine.